Hello again! Hope everyone had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day.
Believe it or not, it is time for the Gray Jay to nest! Up here in NW Ontario, I believe the Gray Jay is the earliest species to begin nesting, usually in mid to late February. The signs have been there lately too. Twice this week, I’ve seen a pair feeding each other peanut butter from the log I have hanging with my feeders. Last week, I was able to see this from 5 feet away, as one fed the other from my honeysuckle shrub while I was standing there watching. I loved it!
Redpoll numbers have finally picked up nicely in my yard and the bonus is that there are a couple of Hoary Redpolls in the mix. The season for them started out very slow. I normally have Redpolls at my feeders by the end of November but this year, although I would see or hear small flocks of them flying around, they didn’t come to my feeders until nearly Christmas and even then, the numbers were very low. Now, I’m averaging 40 to 60+ at a time …. much better. 🙂
Grosbeaks are here pretty steadily. Evening Grosbeak numbers fluctuate from 5 to 20 per day. Pine Grosbeak numbers are pretty steady around 15 at a time.
Speaking of Grosbeaks, I had a visit from a very interesting one last week. I thought at first that this was a female Pine Grosbeak with messed up colors but once I asked around to a couple of ornithologist friends, I found that this is actually a MALE Pine Grosbeak with a condition called Xanthochroism: excessive yellow pigment instead of the normal red. I’ve seen various forms of this before in the Pine Grosbeaks but never to this extent. He’s stunning in lovely gold!
One or two Ruffed Grouse are still coming around almost daily. A few days ago, this smaller Grouse spent an entire day in the yard. She (I think) had breakfast at the feeders, then she made her way over to my spruce tree where she has a favourite perch in the middle of the tree. She settled in there and spent the whole day resting, napping and looking around, well protected from the elements. I have a perfect view of that spot from my office window.
Two Crows come in to fight the Blue Jays for peanuts. It can get very noisy sometimes but the Crows are actually quite shy and jumpy. I don’t mind having them around one little bit either.
A few Chickadees come around off and on all day long. This little Black Capped Chickadee finally sat still just long enough for a quick snap. I’ve been very lucky in the past two weeks to have a couple of quick (VERY quick!) visits from this fellow’s cousin, the Boreal Chickadee. In almost 12 years, these are the first two visits from a Boreal that I can be sure of. I’ve heard them nearby before but have never seen them in the yard until this month. No photos of them ….. yet.
And that’s about it for this month. By the time you hear from me again, it will be just as spring is officially arriving! Doesn’t that make you feel good?
Thanks for reading!