08 January 2006

Missing Finches

A bright and cold start to the weekend, gradually warming and turning to light snow has brought a lot of birds to the feeders, in particular an ever changing flock of almost 20 American Goldfinches amongst whom was a solitary House Finch. In previous years, the numbers of HOFIs have been much greater by now and reasonable numbers of Pine Siskins have appeared whereas thus far they have yet to be seen (note: small numbers were reported in recent CBCs in the Montreal and Hudson areas so they must be close). Similarly, we have seen only occasional Common Redpolls this winter but as they are an irruptive species that is less concerning.

Early this morning a Sharp-shinned Hawk took a sparrow for its breakfast and perched on our television antenna to enjoy it, dripping remnants onto the snowy roof and entertaining passers-by.

Otherwise, it's the usual crowd of birds with assorted woodpeckers, sparrows and nuthatches plus the "Gang of Three" American Crows who are regulars hereabouts. It seems likely they are parents plus hang-around offspring, but how to tell them apart we do not know.

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