In case you have not heard, we're buried under an old school blizzard dumping up here. The local weather folk were predicting with barely restrained glee the potential for a massive storm. And though many of us have heard in the Twin Cities that we could get 1 - 2 feet of snow, many of us eyed this impending Snowmaggedon with skepticism. It often amounts to only a few inches. But to to be safe, I head out to Neil's for some last minute honey bottling finished--I need to get some together to mail to family for the holidays. I generally use birds at the feeder as an indication if the weather predictions are true. On Friday all feathers pointed to us getting seriously slammed on Saturday. The goldfinches were draining the thistle feeder and even the pileated woodpecker chowed down on the suet feeder closest to the window.
While I was dealing with the honey (more on that later), I set up my WingScapes Camera out on a stump and covered it with some bird food. Above is a male and female cardinal along with a winter plumage goldfinch.
Check out this ambitious white-breasted nuthatch! Besides black oil sunflower seed, I crumpled up some peanut suet and the nuthatch was grabbing one of the larger chunks. I also noted the nuthatch was banded. Most likely the handy work of my buddies Mark and Roger who come out to band birds twice a year. There were quite a few banded birds coming in to the cam:
Here's a banded blue jay--I think it's been a few years since Mark and Roger got one of these in the nets, so this bird could be a few years old. Can't say for sure, since I can't read the band number, I can't say for sure. It could even be someone else's banded bird.
Here's one of several banded black-capped chickadees. Are they all photos of the same banded bird or several banded chickadees coming in to the seed, each taking a turn?
Here's a banded dark-eyed junco. With the dark gray head and the brown on the back feathers, its looks like a first year junco, probably banded this fall.
And here is a banded titmouse. It's nice to see all of the banded birds surviving and still coming to the feeding station, despite the nets going up twice a year.
There were a few other interesting photos that the cam picked up:
I find that crows are the hardest birds to capture on a motion sensitive camera. This crow was watching the other birds go after the suet and it really, really wanted it. It watched the stump for about ten minutes, trying to work out what the camera was all about. After watching dozens of smaller birds go down for the suet, it tried. But as soon as it landed, it bounced off the stump. I wonder if it can hear the digital camera go off? Can it see some change in the shutter? It never grabbed any suet and it never returned to the stump--which suited the smaller birds just fine.
This photo cracks me up. It looks like the cardinal is totally planning to ambush the chickadee.
These are just a small fraction of the hundreds of photos my Wingscapes Cam grabbed that afternoon. The birds didn't lie, we got slammed with snow. Even though the storm was Saturday, I can hear a semi truck in my neighborhood squealing it's tires as I type this. It's been stuck in a bank of snow for the last 45 minutes. Minneapolis is pretty savvy when it comes to snow removal, but this one came so fast and there's only so any places that a city can put it, we're still a few days away from normality.
Mom, I'll post photos of our neighborhood later