[Tweeters] greetings from my bird feeder in norway (longish)

Devorah the Ornithologist birdologist at gmail.com
Sun Jun 18 04:00:22 PDT 2017

hello everyone,

this morning had an interesting beginning: after i'd finished feeding all
my birds -- these include the wild ones as well as those i keep and breed
-- i walked into the kitchen to hear a bird trapped behind my orchids,
fluttering against the window glass. i quickly grabbed the bird -- a house
sparrow (Passer domesticus). i inspected its wings and legs to make sure it
hadn't injured itself, and then took a minute or so to pet the bird on the
head and to be impressed with the softness of its plumage. the wee thing
regarded me with surprising calm through its black eyes. the yellow corners
of its beak were still plainly visible, indicating this was a fledgling.
i've got at least 2 pairs of house sparrows that visit my feeders, and at
least one of those pairs had only recently started bringing their
youngsters with them to my feeders, so this bird was just a few days out of
the nest.

the great spotted woodpeckers (Dendrocopos major) are common visitors at my
feeders, especially since i hung some sticks coated with seeds from the
bottom of another of my feeders. recently, the female has been a
near-constant visitor, whereas the male only pops in every few days. the
female also feeds differently than the male: she gloms on to the
seed-covered sticks, banging away for food, whereas the male drills holes
in my peanut bags. i've not been able to find any more peanut bags, so
these are almost gone, which may be the reason the male doesn't come around
as much as he used to. anywho, this difference in feeding strategies at my
feeder between woodpecker sexes makes me wonder if these birds pursue
feeding strategy differences when they forage in the wild.

in my last message, i forgot to mention that there are some European robins
(Erithacus rubecula), who pop out of my hedges occasionally. i think they
are nesting nearby, but since i'd not put out any live insects to attract
them, i've only ever caught brief glimpses of these birds (but i do hear
them singing from waaay up high in my birch tree.)

the most unusual bird that has shown up at my feeders since i last wrote
was the pair of common (Eurasian) bullfinches (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). not only
is the male brilliantly coloured -- his red chest is an almost neon scarlet
-- but they are surprisingly small -- the beak-to-head ratio deceived me
into thinking they were somewhere close to the size of house sparrows, or
maybe larger. (I've seen this species before, waaay up in a very tall tree,
in the dead of winter in finland, with no other species sitting nearby to
provide a useful size comparison.) these birds are smaller than house
sparrows, and barely much larger than Eurasian siskins (Spinus spinus).

the bullfinches had a different feeding strategy to the other birds at the
feeder: the male would sit quietly on the railing, whilst the female would
feed. sometimes, he would join her, but usually, he would sit up high, and
observe. sadly for me, these lovely birds only spent one day at my feeders
before moving on.

the siskins are nearly always present. you might think their tiny size
means they are the last to get anything to eat, if they get any at all, but
these small birds (half the size of house sparrows) are incredibly
aggressive. whenever they show up at the feeders, everyone else moves out
of their way and lets them have whatever they want. having bred a close
relative, endangered venezuelan red siskins, in captivity for a number of
years, i can tell you from bloody experience that siskins have incredibly
sharp, stabby beaks and they know how to use them.

whilst picking dandelions to make dandelion wine one afternoon, i was
surprised to spot a lone glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) flying
overhead. "surprised" because i didn't know they were here.

whilst out walking, i see quite a few shorebirds in the area, as you might
expect. for example, i see lots of common ringed plover (Charadrius
hiaticula), a few killdeer (Charadrius vociferus), a few bar-tailed godwit
(Limosa lapponica), and one exquisite pair of Eurasian curlew (Numenius
arquata), that hang around in a farmer's field near my house. i've come to
feel quite protective of these curlew and always feel happy when i see
them. i also spied a number of Eurasian oystercatchers (Haematopus
ostralegus), and watched one poke around on the steeply sloped roof of a
house that is a stone's throw from the fjord.

the most common small gull here is the Black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus
ridibundus), although i do see at least some of what i believe to be are
black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla). the most common large gull here
appears to be the European herring gull (Larus argentatus).

but do keep in mind that i've not yet managed to find and unpack my
binoculars, and only recently unpacked and shelved my gull (and other
eurasian birds) field guides, so i will have to spend some time studying
these birds further before i am confident in my IDs. sadly for me, i've not
discovered a place that is frequented by numerous gulls of a variety of
species, as seattle's ballard locks were, so i've not got a place where i
can make easy side-by-side comparisons between species and years.

and speaking of gulls, i am still wishfully looking for a Ross's gull
(Rhodostethia rosea).

well, that's all for now, although i've undoubtedly forgotten to tell you
some story or another that i meant to share. hopefully, i'll remember these
forgot niblets of adventures the next time that i write about my feeder
birds in norway.

have a great rest-of-the-weekend and may all your birds be identified!

GrrlScientist | @GrrlScientist <https://twitter.com/GrrlScientist>
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