Backyard Birds – January 11-17

Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus)
The challenging to photograph Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) demonstrating how to place the shadow of a twig between camera and bird.

Had Bushtits (Psaltriparus minimus) visit our suet feeder twice this week – we’ve had them moving through in a flock once a week in the earlier part of the fall and winter but hadn’t seen them for at least a month. Nice to see them again.

Bushtit (Psaltriparus minimus) at feeder.
A pair of a Bushtits (Psaltriparus minimus) at the suet feeder.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) continues its regular daily visit to the suet feeders, giving me multiple opportunities to photograph it. It seems to becoming used to my presence but is still quite skittish – I have to approach fairly closely to it in order to get a good image due to the limitations of my telephoto lens. Of course, the constant movement of this bird also makes it challenging to photograph! I’m still trying to get a good image of the bird that is sharp and has a background that works.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) - never noticed the yellow feet on this kinglet before!

Highlight birds this week were the two flocks of American Bushtits and a brief visit by a Northern Flicker. Both Downy Woodpeckers have made appearances at the feeder this week and American Goldfinches and Pine Siskins are regulars in huge numbers.

Here’s the species list for the week:

  • House Sparrow
  • Dark-eyed Junco (including 1 Slate-coloured Junco)
  • Chestnut-backed Chickadee
  • Spotted Towhee
  • House Finch
  • Purple Finch
  • Bewick’s Wren
  • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  • White-crowned Sparrow
  • Pine Siskin
  • European Starling
  • American Goldfinch
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Bushtit
  • Northern Flicker

As part of Project FeederWatch, I’m keeping an eye on our feeders two days out of the week to help scientists track winter bird activity, abundance and diversity. It’s a great way to spend an hour or two drinking coffee and peering out into the rain. I’ve also decided to start a yard list of all the birds that visit our backyard.

Project FeederWatch