[Tweeters] odd finch behaviour during snow; silly hummingbirds also

mary hrudkaj mch1096 at hotmail.com
Sun Dec 26 20:22:26 PST 2021

Several years ago I had an over wintering flock of over 200 pine siskens here. I too have watched them harass larger birds (in this case red crossbills) to make them drop seed. In this case it was sunflower seeds in the hull. Several siskens caught on quick and one got to the point of actually stealing opened seed from the crossbill's beak. Timing had to be crucial having to wait until the sunflower seed was mostly or fully opened so the sisken didn't have to do any work to get food other than harassing the crossbills.

Birds never cease to amaze me. They even have me well trained to shovel the deck and ground feeding area several times during our 8 inch snowfall today.

Mary Hrudkaj

From: Tweeters <tweeters-bounces at mailman11.u.washington.edu> on behalf of Gary Bletsch <garybletsch at protonmail.com>
Sent: Sunday, December 26, 2021 5:52 PM
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu <tweeters at u.washington.edu>
Subject: [Tweeters] odd finch behaviour during snow; silly hummingbirds also

Dear Tweeters,

Today (Boxing Day) we have over a foot of snow here in the Lyman-Hamilton area. The past two days, my feeders have been swarming with a far larger contingent of birds than we have had in a long time, probably years. Luckily for my dwindling supply of birdseed, the usual horde of Red-winged Blackbirds has thinned. Yesterday at dusk, as the snow flew and visibility dropped to a hundred meters or so, I heard Snow Geese calling overhead. Their name would make one think that they would be happy in the environment here, but I don't believe so--there is very little exposed vegetation for them to eat up here right now.

All day, I kept seeing a strange behaviour from Pine Siskins, of which we had between 70 and 100 visiting the feeders. As the birds foraged on the snowy ground below the feeders, a siskin would repeatedly approach a male Purple Finch and peck at its bill. It almost seemed to me that the siskin was trying to grab some seed out of the Purple Finch's bill. I could not tell if it was the same siskin or the same Purple Finch each time. The Purple Finch would meekly withdraw each time, seemingly cowed by the upstart little siskin.

We had up to 16 Anna's Hummingbirds here as late as the 27th November, but the numbers of hummingbirds began to drop soon after that. Today we had two [2], count them, two Anna's Hummingbirds! I had not seen more than a single hummer here since the eighth instant.

However, I still cannot figure out how these birds survive, judging by their silly behaviour. We have three hummingbird feeders. I keep them full of my special mixture, 50% glycerin, 10% sugar, and a dash of moldy honey...just kidding. It is actually one third sugar and two thirds hot water. Anyway, during these rare cold snaps, I do the labor-intensive rotation method, keeping one inside and two outside. In weather such as we have the last two days had, there is always a nice, warm, thawed hummingbird feeder outside, and a nearly frozen or totally frozen one--plus one warming on the kitchen table. Which feeder do the hummingbirds visit most often? They visit the one that is frozen or close to it! What is up with that?

Yours truly,

Gary Bletsch

Sent with ProtonMail<https://na01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fprotonmail.com%2F&data=04%7C01%7C%7C18bd0536b4e14289746708d9c8db9a64%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637761667812646895%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=LLB4BSsDo0myiU%2BHqlH8B4xXvCgu0P9DcSfDh%2B3Ma4w%3D&reserved=0> Secure Email.

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://mailman11.u.washington.edu/pipermail/tweeters/attachments/20211227/626b4fee/attachment.html>

More information about the Tweeters mailing list