One thing we do most winter weekends is collect data for Feederwatch ( …….. somethng everyone with a garden should do as their small contribution to ornithological knowledge. This weekend is pretty cold with light snow falling and thick crusty snow on the ground – we are seeing the usual birds such as Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Northern Cardinals, American Crows, Black-capped Chickadees, House Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncoes, a Sharp-shinned Hawk (regular visitor which cruises the neighbourhood feeders seeking a packed lunch), Am. Goldfinches etc etc. The picture on the right shows a couple of American Goldfinches and a Common redpoll on one of our niger-feeders over the Christmas holiday period.

As this is a new year we are starting a new garden list for the year …… our 2005 list comprised 49 species (out of our seven year garden total of 82) and included occasional sightings of the Carolina Wrens that have a toe-hold here, almost the furthest north examples of the species. They get through the winter by making use of garden feeders as the leaf litter they evolved to rely on for insects and seeds is pretty well unavailable. At night they shelter in holes and crannies and occasionally under our deck where there is no wind and occasional warm air from the clothes drier outlet!

Let’s hope for at least 50 species in 2006.

For the record, this weekend’s feederwatch counts (numbers = max seen at one time) were :

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1
Mourning Dove 4
Downy Woodpecker 2
American Crow 3
Black-capped Chickadee 9
Red-breasted Nuthatch 2
White-breasted Nuthatch 2
Dark-eyed Junco 2
Northern Cardinal 1
American Goldfinch 8
House Sparrow 3