Notes From a North Western Ontario Backyard – March, 2017

Welcome to Spring!!

It is officially the Vernal Equinox as of 6:28 am Eastern time today.  Doesn’t that make you feel better?!

Unfortunately, most of my photos this month still look like mid winter.  March has been an exceptionally cold month with brutally high winds, wind chills sometimes nearing -40 at night and daytime high wind chills near -30C.  Pretty incredible.  I so dearly hope we are finally finished with those temperatures but I fear we’re not.

Throughout winter’s bitter cold, many bird species appreciate a drink of water.  This first series of photos is all about thirsty birds either standing on the rim of the bird bath for a sip or actively drinking.

Female Common Redpoll (left) and female Pine Siskin.

Golden female Pine Grosbeak

Male Common Redpoll

Male Evening Grosbeak

Male Pine Grosbeak

Pine Siskins

I don’t have a high number of different species visiting the feeders right now but between Redpolls and Pine Siskins, the yard is absolutely hopping with finch activity.  I’m feeding 65+ Common Redpolls, 5 to 12 Hoary Redpolls and over 35 Pine Siskins.  I have 2 nyjer feeders out there that get refilled twice per day along with the platform feeder containing peanuts, cracked corn, safflower, suet & black oil sunflower seed.  I am now well into my second 50 lb bag of nyjer seed this season.

Speaking of Redpolls, I was thrilled a few weeks ago to receive a message from Jon Ruddy, a top birder in Ontario, telling me that he had completed the Redpoll Challenge at my feeders, remotely, over the webcam in my yard!  I was shocked when he described seeing all 4 subspecies of Redpoll:  rostrata (Common), Hornemann’s (Hoary), exilipes (Hoary) and flammea (Common).  Here is Jon’s EBird report.

Paul Nicholson, a bird writer at the London Free Press in London, Ontario, did an article this month about the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s webcam program, including the webcam in my yard.  You can read his article here.  Some of the birds seen on ‘my’ webcam include:

Ravens (and Crows)

Red Breasted Nuthatches

Pine Grosbeaks (with incoming Hairy Woodpecker!)

Gray Jays

Hairy Woodpeckers

Downy Woodpeckers

Black Capped Chickadees (with Nuthatch)

Ruffed Grouse (with Blue Jay)

You may also see something a little more interesting like this female Pine Grosbeak (below, far right).  She’s been around my feeders for part of the winter.  She has a very strange tuft of feathers sticking out of her right side, appearing to come from under her right wing.  She can move & fly normally.  This affliction doesn’t slow her down at all.

Far right: female Pine Grosbeak with abnormal feather growth

Another angle showing the size of the odd feather growth

Recently, I picked up some other interesting things over the webcam, not just birds.  One night last week, I happened to put the cam on just to see what I could hear and I caught a coyote conversation!  Then, a couple of nights ago, I did the same thing and discovered this fellow!

Well, that’s it for this month.  I’m hoping to see the return of Purple Finches and various Sparrows any day now.  Maybe I’ll even get to hear the little Northern Saw-Whet Owl over the webcam again like I did last year.  We can only hope.

Oh!  Before I forget:  I am participating, once again, in the Great Canadian Birdathon (previously known as the Baillie Birdathon) one day in May.  I have not picked an exact date yet but it will be around the middle of May.  I am currently looking for donations.  All funds I raise will go to Bird Studies Canada.  If you would be interested in sponsoring me, please go to this link to make an online donation or email me at bthache at yahoo dot ca if you would prefer to send a cheque or email transfer.  Thank you for your consideration.  🙂

Thank you so much for reading …… ‘see’ you in April!


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4 Responses to Notes From a North Western Ontario Backyard – March, 2017

  1. Tammie Hache says:

    Glad you enjoy it, Rosie!

  2. Tammie Hache says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words, Raili! Glad I can help. 🙂

  3. Rosie LaLonde says:

    I so enjoy seeing your posts and watching the cam. Thanks!

  4. Raili says:

    nice one again Tammie and great pictures.Thank You so much for doing this.
    I like to watch birds like most of us,but don’t have
    much knowledge about them. You teach us and fill that gap.And the “bird cam” is real bonus for all of us.
    You put lot of work into this, and you are much appreciated.