Thursday, January 20, 2022

Connecticut feeder birds

During the 18 years we resided in south Florida, I was disappointed if our early morning walks in the Wounded Wetlands provided sightings of less than 20 bird species. Here in inland northern Connecticut, I expected to find about  ten "target" winter resident species. After settling in for a couple of weeks, I put up an iron shepherd's hook and hung a tube feeder filled with black oil sunflower seeds and a suet cake. It attracted absolutely no birds until the fourth day (January 13) when a Tufted Titmouse visited.

My photos were of poor quality, as I was shooting through the double-glazed windows of the front door, although I had carefully washed both inside and outside surfaces. 

Almost immediately, there was an explosion of avian visitors. Black-capped Chickadees were next to arrive:

The titmice dominated the feeder, chasing away the chickadees, which flew in and quickly perched just long enough to grasp a single sunflower seed and fly back to a tree to hack open its shell.

I had mixed some white proso millet with the sunflower seeds. The titmice scattered the millet on the ground as they retrieved the black seeds. This was good for the ground-feeding Dark-eyed Juncos, which gathered under the feeder:

They were joined by White-throated Sparrows which scratched with both feet at the same time to expose the fallen millet seeds:


A male Northern Cardinal flew in. He attempted to take some of the sunflower seeds, but the perch was too small. He settled for whatever fell to the ground:

He was joined by a demure female cardinal:

The word "demure" popped into my vocabulary. I meant it to describe her more sudued but certainly beautiful plumage, not her attitude or "birdsonality."  

A Blue Jay visited briefly:

The suet feeder attracted a Downy Woodpecker. Note that it has black bars on its tail.

I was surprised when a Hairy Woodpecker suddenly arrived. While its plumage is nearly identical to that of the Downy Woodpecker, this larger bird has a proportionally longer bill (about the length of its head). It also lacks black bars on its outer tail feathers. (To remember this distinction I say that the Hairy "H'aint" got any black tail bars). Red on its head indicates that it is a male;:

While they did not visit the feeders, a flock of "Bonus Birds" settled into trees behind the feeder, too far away for good images but clearly identifiable as  Cedar Waxwings:

We were delighted when the waxwings flew into a holly tree next to our door to feed on its red berries. They were so close to an adjacent window that I could not fit the entire birds into the viewfinder:

Eight species on the first day! The birds seemed to be jumping for joy:

Cold night on January 15 (minus 16.1 C):

Over a foot of snow fell after I put up the feeder on January 9:

That night at 9:30 PM in ambient darkness I took this photo with my iPhone 11  Pro Max. The only light was a wash from a window to the left, and the hand-held exposure was 1.5 second. It revealed hidden color and beauty. The low light performance of the phone camera is amazing: 

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Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Nature Thursday

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Natasha Musing

Our World Tuesday


Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display


  1. Not bad at all. I love the tufted titmouse photos especially.

  2. The Cedar Waxwings look amazing, and I enjoyed your jumping for joy bird photos. Looks like your settling into the northeast just fine. Take care.

  3. What a great variety of birds go so soon. I love the concept of bonus birds.

  4. You attracted a lot of birds it seems to me (not that I really know #'s in birding) Such a nice variety too.

  5. That's interesting. I haven't tried my iPhone for low-light photos. Did you use a tripod? It was almost as if all the birds were waiting around, and nobody wanted to go first!

    1. For that shot I held the phone against the window pane, so it was equivalet to a tripod shot.

      Just checked the EXEF-- Exposure 1.1 sec +1.5 bias; at f/1.18 ISO 5000; focal length 4mm

  6. Minus 16 deg/ C - I feel for you! Bit still you found some birds! You are amazing in adaptability:):)

  7. Glad you are helping these birds with something to eat during the winter months. Nice photos posted.

  8. Hello,
    It is nice you can watch the birds at the feeders, you do see a nice variety. The Downy and Hairy and both great visitors. The lake sky shot is beautiful. Take care, enjoy your weekend!

  9. That is a lovely selection of birds!

  10. Great series of bird photos. Your new feeders will attract many birds to your back yard. Your iPhone shot is amazing given the low level of light. The Cedar Waxwings are a wonderful bonus.

  11. Welcome to my birdies..except for the Waxwing they are my usual birds..I'm going to miss them until Spring..A bear has taken down my feeders and the ground is too cold to put them back up..I even miss the squirrels..Great pictures!!

  12. Hello Ken,
    On these cold winter days, my birds photos are taken while looking out my windows. I think your bird photos are great, you see a nice variety of birds there too. I am sure they appreciate the feeder on those cold winter days. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Take care, have a happy weekend. PS, thank you for leaving me a comment.

  13. It didn't take long for the birds to find you! A little seed and suet helped, maybe.

    What a diverse group you had visit!

    That appears to be a lot of cold white stuff. But I am not an expert, nor do I wish to be!

    Take good care, Ken.

  14. The titmouse and chickadees are cute little birds. I'm fascinated with the titmouse's eyes! Wish I had waxwings at my house. I used to see them when I lived in Illinois. Maybe they just don't come to my yard. I love your pics of the birds just hopping along.

  15. The Cedar waxwings are some of the most beautiful birds! And how wonderful to see so many different birds in your feeders. You must have some yummy seeds in there! Have a good weekend! Hugs, Diane

  16. Beautiful captures, especially the one biting berry.

  17. The waxwing with the bright red berry is wondrous. All your birds are terrific.

    I DO hope you test negative and you can get to your much needed appointments ...and be on the mend!!

    Thanks for taking time to link in this week.

  18. Pretty good first day for a bird feeder!

  19. Wonderful birds at your feeders. I kind of remember that it always took a few days for them to decide the feeders were safe. It's almost like they finally send a scout out and if that bird returns then they decide its' safe for all. (I know I'm amorphothizing and I know I spelled that wrong, but I don't want to lose my comment by looking it up.) I hope you both are well by now and staying that way.


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