Saturday, March 20, 2010

First Day of Spring

On our first day of Spring, March 20, 2010, we had a blizzard in Kansas City. Or, at least a heck of a lot of snow. It snowed all day. We had maybe 8 inches altogether.

Snowy weather brings many feathered visitors to our backyard, and yesterday was no exception. In fact, we added two new species to our backyard bird list (included on the left side of The Life Less Hectic), bringing our total to 55. The additions are Song Sparrows and Fox Sparrows. Here is a picture of the Song sparrow, which spent most of the afternoon digging for seeds under the snow.

We attract a good many birds, by far the greatest variety of species, by scattering seed on the ground. Many interesting species, including most of our native sparrows, rarely ever visit feeders. They prefer to feed from the ground close to cover like shrubs and bushes, wooden fences, and trees. Here is another picture of the Song sparrow.

And here is a picture of the Fox sparrow, which showed up later in the afternoon. Both birds stayed long enough for Elly to see them when she got home from work around 6:00 pm.

An American Tree sparrow also put in a brief appearance. We first spotted these in our backyard on December 27, 2009, and have only seen them once or twice.

We have had male red-winged black birds for a few weeks now, but hadn’t seen any females until a group of five or six showed up yesterday. Juncos are still plentiful, and will remain in the area into April, when they migrate to northern breeding grounds. We have had throngs of goldfinches, two and three dozen at a time. Late yesterday a group of 6 or more house finches arrived to share perches on our spiral finch feeder, easily the most effective feeder we have found for smaller birds.

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