It’s time to get bird feeders cleaned, filled and set out unless they are already up because, like me, you feed birds all year. I like to keep a few feeders up all summer to see the parent birds bring their young to them and watch the youngsters try to navigate landing on these strange things. It’s fun to try and identify these new ones since they may not look like the parents, but they will catch up soon. Many of the chicks lack tail feathers, but they will grow in with time.
We can learn something every day by watching our yard birds. I have a Blue Jay that has tried its best to confuse me and the feeder birds with its calls. It has been imitating the calls of a Red-shouldered Hawk to cause other birds to flee and seek safety. Well, it worked for a while, until we caught on. Now he is trying other strategies. He sits by the feeders waiting for peanuts to be dropped and flying down before the squirrels or chipmunks can get to them. I have seen him chasing squirrels from the dropped food. He also follows birds, who have taken something, to see where they hide their treasure. He is fearless, even taking on the larger woodpeckers. His strategies will, no doubt, help him survive through the winter.
During this time of the year, it is often difficult to identify birds, especially those that are flying south. Warblers are coming through our area and, because many of them change into fall colors, they are very hard to I.D. Leaves still on the trees make it even harder to just find these little birds.
Sitting outside for some sun is a great way to notice these little treasures, even if you don’t know their names. They are fun to watch as they flit through the trees. Some other birds are easier to see, but just as difficult to identify.
One day last week, I watched a bright-colored bird hunting bugs but didn’t realize what it was until I noticed its bright black wings. The Scarlet Tanager male is bright red with black wings until the fall, when the red breast turns yellow with greenish tints over the rest of its body. It then looks more like a female.
Thankfully, most of the birds we see year round at our feeders don’t change too much, if at all. Even if you don’t know what they are, it is enjoyable to feed and watch birds any time of year. There are several stores in the area, which you can locate online, that carry feeders and food. If you get hooked and want to learn about them, there are websites to investigate and books to use to help you.
Get those feeders up and have a great hobby for the fall and winter — it might lead you to be a year-round feeder of birds.