This has been a great winter for bird photography. I’ve been able to photograph several birds that I’ve never seen at my feeders and I’ve had a several species that have shown up in unusually large numbers. In contrast to last year when we had little snow this year we have had a lot of snow. More importantly it has snowed during the day when I can photograph birds. I live for photographing birds in snow storms.
Pileated Woodpecker – This year, for the first time, a Pileated Woodpecker has shown up at my feeder on a fairly regular basis. In the past I’ve seen them around the farm but they just flew past my feeders. This year I tried a new suet feeder and that has attracted a male Pileated. He is still a shy bird so I’ve only been lucky enough to photograph him a few times. He is a spectacular sight when he lands on the feeder and starts banging away. The down side is he does considerably damage to my suet feeder.
Pileated Woodpecker male
Northern Shrike – This is also the first time I’ve seen this bird at my feeder. Of course he is feeding on other birds usually the Black-capped Chickadees that frequent my feeders. I’ve only seen it a couple of time but still was lucky enough to get a few photos.
Common Redpolls – This bird showed up at my feeders in small numbers early in the winter. Around the end of February they showed up in large numbers. I had my thistle feeder out all winter and up and until the redpolls showed up I hadn’t had to change the thistle seed even once. One morning I woke up and found the thistle feeder filled with them. After a couple of weeks they were around in reduced numbers.
Common Redpoll male
Common Redpoll female
Northern Cardinals – I have Northern Cardinals at my feeder year around but this winter I’ve had an unusual number of them at my feeder. It has not been uncommon to see a dozen of them at the feeder at any one time. They really love my new suet feeder probably because I’m using peanut suet with nuts in it. The new feeder has plenty of places for them to perch so they can get at the suet.
Northern Cardinal – male
Northern Cardinal female
Downy Woodpeckers – They frequent my feeders year around but seem to be most active in the winter time. It is not unusual to have a half dozen of them at my feeders at any one time. They feed on both the peanut and regular suet feeders.
Downy Woodpecker male
Downy Woodpecker female
Hairy Woodpecker – Larger than the Downy Woodpecker the Hairy Woodpecker is seen less often around the feeder. I rarely see the female and male at the feeder at the same time.
Hairy Woodpecker male
Hairy Woodpecker female
American Goldfinch – Again they are here year around. They have appeared somewhat sporadically at my feeders. Generally there are some of them around but they were gone for a couple of weeks and on the day the Common Redpolls showed up at my feeders in large numbers the American Goldfinches also returned to the feeders in large numbers.
Blue Jay – Blue Jays are frequent visitors to my feeders but they usually stay in the shrubs at the base of the feeder. They seem to be fairly skittish so any movement and they are gone. The only times I’ve been able to get some shots is when it is snowing out and they are at the suet feeder.
White-breasted Nuthatch – White-breasted Nuthatches show up at my feeders every three or four years. This is the first time they have been at the feeder since 2009. They have been around all winter this year.
Red-bellied Woodpecker – The Red-bellied Woodpecker also shows up at my feeders every three or four years. They have also been around all winter. This is the first year both the White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches have been around the feeder at the same time.
Dark-eyed Junco – Is one of the first winter birds to turn up at my feeders. They have been around in large numbers this winter.
Black-capped Chickadee – I have more Black-capped Chickadees at my feeder than any other bird or at least it seems like there are more of them. Since they are in constant motion it seems like there are a lot of them going to and from the feeder.