Saturday, December 6, 2008

So Comes the Snow, So Comes the Birds!

I have lived in Indiana my entire life and every year I say the same thing, I hate snow, I hate ice, and I hate the cold!  I am definitely a warm weather man.  I have full intentions on moving to a nice warm location in Mexico upon retirement - unfortunately, many, many years in the future.

HOWEVER, I did come to one positive conclusion today as I was sitting in my recliner and counting my backyard feathered visitors for "Feeder Watch" - a data gathering project for Cornell University.  My conclusion - there is not a prettier scene or a site more relaxing than watching the backyard feeders when the snow is falling!  When the snow comes, so do the backyard guests - often in great numbers!  Today was one of those days.   

This morning, as I was making my coffee, I heard my first guest chirping - a Northern Cardinal.  Cardinals are usually the first birds to arrive in the mornings, usually just as the sun is lighting the planet.  Next comes the arrival of my most loyal visitors - The American Goldfinch.  Sometimes referred to as the "Wild 
Canary", the American Goldfinch is a common backyard feeder bird year-round in Indiana and is known in the summer for its very bright yellow feathers.  In the winter, it loses most of its spectacular yellow plumage but some do retain a pale yellow tint and some tend to be spotted bright yellow throughout the year.   I took this picture on the left today of one Goldfinch that retained a beautiful yellow throat!  Today, I had a record number of American Goldfinches at my feeders - at one time I counted 23!  I also had record numbers of Mourning Doves and Dark-eyed Juncos all which was result of the cold weather and especially the snowfall.  Seed eating birds know that snow is going to make their ability to find food more of a challenge so they move out fast when they know things are getting ready to get tough!

Today, I was glad I lived in Indiana!

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Indiana State Bird

Indiana State Bird
Northern Cardinal