Birdfeeder Visitors (Cont'd)
either a bright yellow or red underneath the wings (yellow
Yellow Shafted Flicker
Flickers either display a bright yellow or red underneath
the wings. Flickers, as well as most woodpecker-like birds, can
be attracted by a suet feeder. Their normal diet consists of insects
and to a lesser extent, fruit.
The Northern Flicker is a common species, yet trends indicate
this speciesí numbers are declining, particularly the eastern
race (known as the Yellow-shafted Flicker).
Possible reasons may include the general maturing and closing
of forests in the East and the use of pesticides on lawns and
other feeding areas.
Flickers build nests in tree cavities and produce three to ten
eggs in a clutch. Eggs are approximately one inch in diameter
and are white with a few black spots.
Male Downy Woodpeckers
differ from the female by the red markings on the back of
Downy Woodpeckers are found in woodlands and river groves. They
are easily confused with their larger cousins, the Hairy Woodpecker.
Downy Woodpeckers are small, approximately six ( ~15 cm). The
Downy is the most common woodpecker in North America and is the
fourth most common bird sited at feeders.
The male defends his personal space and will chase off other
birds trying to feed near it. The Downy woodpeckers' diet consists
mainly of insects, but will eat seeds and fruit.
The Downy Woodpecker, like the flicker, makes it's nest in tree
cavities. The normal clutch size is three to six eggs each approximately
three quarters of an inch in diameter.
Male and Female
Red Bellied Woodpeckers are similar in appearance except
the female doesn't have the red cap.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers have zebra-like markings on the back
with males having red capped heads. The female is similar but
has the red only on the nape of the neck. The "red-belly"
is really very faint and only viewable under perfect conditions.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers will eat seed in winter and can be regularly
attracted to feeders. Red-bellied woodpecker's diet consists mainly
of nuts and fruit with lesser quantities of insects.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker, in common with other members of the
picidae family, nest in cavities. They have between three and
eight eggs per clutch.
Male and female
Grackles are similar with the female slightly duller in
Grackles display an iridescent head with either a bronze or purple
body. Grackles are found in farmlands, towns, groves and streamsides.
They eat seed, waste grain, small fruits and small aquatic life.
They are known to eat small lizards, minnows and small bats.
They are in the same family, Icteridae, as Blackbirds and Orioles.
As with other members of their family, Common Grackles tend to
gather in large flocks or troupes. They are migratory birds and
assemble in the thousands for their journey in early fall.
Grackles will nest by the breeding pair alone or in colonies
in evergreen trees. Nests are bulky and made of twigs, grasses,
feathers, and mud. Eggs are pale green and blotched with brown
and lavender. The breeding season occurs from March until July.
|The European Starling displaying
it's winter plumage.
The European Starling was introduced in the 19th century to
North America. It is heavily speckled in winter with a dark
bill. The Starling's bill lightens to a yellow and the body
becomes more iridescent in the spring. European Starlings have
short tails and are about six inches in length.
European Starlings are very common and are found in large flocks.
They are very adaptive and found in almost all habitats; cities,
parks, farms, open groves, fields and other open areas.European
Starlings are easily attracted to suet feeders. Their usual
diet consists of insects, seeds and berries.
Starlings nest in cavities in the canopy of trees or in buildings.
They will have two to three broods of four to seven eggs. Incubation
time ranges from twelve to fourteen days.
Deer have been
known to predate on the ground nest sites of sparrows.
The Song Sparrow is fairly common and ranges from about five
to six inches in length. These birds prefers shrubby habitat and
brushy cover along streams, ponds and other wetlands. They also
like rural roadways with shrubby cover and rural back yards. The
Song Sparrow's vocalization is one of the most attractive of the
Song Sparrows eat insects in the summer by foraging through bushes,
grasses and trees for grasshoppers, beetles, flies, wasps and
other insects. It will also eat grass and weed seeds as well as
some waste grain and wild fruit.
Nests are either on the ground hidden by clumps of weeds and
grasses or in shrubby cover a few feet off the ground. Deer have
been known to predate on the ground nest sites of sparrows***.
Hawks are unusual birdfeeder visitors.
Similar to the Coopers Hawk, the Sharp Shinned Hawk feeds mainly
on birds and occasionally small mammals. The adult is a blue-grey
with a white breast marked by thin reddish bars. Both sexes are
similar with the female larger. The Sharp Shinned Hawk is approximately
10.5 inches with a wingspan of 21 inches.
Sharp Shinned Hawks are short-range migratory birds and are found
mostly in woodlands. Sharp-shinned hawks are hunters that prey
primarily on small birds and mammals. They hunt in wooded areas
and dense brush flushing small birds and then overtaking them
in flight; or by sitting on a perch and watching for unsuspecting
prey. Once prey is captured, the sharp-shinned hawk takes it to
a site known as the "butcher block" or "plucking perch" where
the prey is plucked and then eaten. The most commonly taken prey
is the robin as it is easily caught.
The Sharp Shinned Hawk nests from April to July. It usually has
four to five eggs in a clutch and a long incubation period of
are easy prey for raptors.
Shinned Hawk Food
Hawk Food sometimes appears on the ground as scattered feathers.
Seriously, the Mourning Dove (Family Columbidae, Zenaida
macroura) is a fine meal for hawks. Mourning Doves share
the same family and are similar to pigeons. They have a pale buff-brown
head, neck, breast, and belly. Mourning Doves are approximately
ten and a half inches in length and are identifiable by their
pointed tails. .
They almost exclusively seed eaters.
Mourning Doves have two to three broods of usually two eggs each,
but are known to have up to 6 broods. Incubation time is approximately