Monday, December 9, 2013

Cardinals, Blue Jays and Sharp Shinned Hawks at Feeders

 With the below zero weather we are having the birds are at the feeders all day to keep energy levels high enough to ward off the cold.

And they bring lots of color, too.  The Cardinals, with their bright red are among the brightest colors to see.
 The big beak on the Cardinal can easily open the hardest seeds on the feeder.

At Springbrook Nature Center's bird banding yesterday in the falling snow we caught over 85 birds that were stocking up on energy for the cold night coming up.

Several Cardinals were captured, banded, and released.
 We don't often catch Blue Jays at banding activities as they are too large and wary to get caught in the traps, but we caught several yesterday, which shows how desperate all of these song birds are for the food at our feeders during winter storms.

It is easier to photograph them too, as they are concentrating on the food, and let me get a bit closer, as this one did yesterday.
 The Blue Jay's blue colors make a great contrast to the red of the Cardinals. 

The Blue Jays are big and can become bullies at the feeders, not letting other birds near them until they are done feeding and leave.
Because of all the many little birds feeding around the feeders, this Sharp Shinned Hawk stopped by this morning to see if one was slow enough to become breakfast.  None were on this pass, and the hawk stayed for less the one minute before moving on.  I was only able to get two pictures before it was gone.

The predators need to eat too, and they keep the flocks of song birds healthy by eating the slow and less fit.  And they are a wonder to watch with their fast flying and manuerving ability.

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