Feeder Update #10: Hope You Like Bluebirds

Eastern Bluebird

This week was a little slow. I didn’t have quite the volume of visitors that I like to see, but I think you’ll find that pictures I did get more than made for it. Specifically, the best Eastern Bluebird pictures I’ve ever taken are to be found here.

Last week, I brought you a few shots of Mrs. Bluebird, but this week, the only visitor was Mr. Bluebird. I suspect that the Bluebird couple has a nest nearby and one of them is sitting with the young while the other fetches food. I’ve tried to add a little extra mealworms to the seed rotation to help out. I hope I can show you some fledglings soon!

A big surprise visitor was the Pine Siskin, who usually only visits Kansas during the cold winter months. I saw two visiting my feeders, traveling closely with my ever-present House Finches. I had heard this year was a population explosion for siskins, so perhaps them still being in Kansas is part of that. Either, I’m glad they’re around and let me get some good photos.

Speaking of, the Pine Siskin and female House Finch can be difficult to differentiate, especially at a distance. Both are small brown-streaked birds that tend to hang out together and eat largely the same things. So how do you tell them apart?

Pine Siskin

This is a Pine Siskin. Notice it has a small, thin beak. It’s also tough to see on this picture, but the siskins have a yellow stripe on the lower part of their folded wing.

And this is a female House Finch. Notice her beak is much thicker! She also lacks the yellow on the wing present on the siskin.

I also observed a few birds I haven’t seen before, but wasn’t able to photograph. The first was a flock of migrating seagulls flying overhead. I couldn’t get a good enough to tell what kind.

I saw a sparrow of some kind with white stripes on its head. I couldn’t get close enough to adequately ID it, but my first thought was a White-crowned Sparrow. Hopefully soon I can know more.

Third, I saw a Great-crested Flycatcher up in the trees. I wasn’t able to get any pictures of it, but so cool to know they’re around.

Finally, one of my favorite birds, the Barn Swallow was around. There were several of them, flying around like F-16 fighter jets trying to capture bugs in flight. I’m happy they’re around and hope they’ll help out with the wasps when it gets warmer. The Barn Swallow will definitely get a shout out as a bird of the week at some point. They are very cool birds!

Anyway, please enjoy the photos and tell me what you think!

Species Pictured:

  • Eastern Bluebird
  • House Finch
  • Pine Siskin
  • Red-winged Blackbird

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