Sunday, March 1, 2020

Winter Bird Watching from a Tiny House


Over the past few years I have really enjoyed watching the birds that frequent the woods around our tiny house and the feeders. I have to thank my good friend and fellow tiny house dweller Moose for giving me a bird feeder he had when he moved. The little birds that started to visit it inspired me to create the current bird feeder setup I have. (It's so far been bear and squirrel proof! Check it out if you are interested - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0zylzSISwE) There were birds around before for sure, but I didn't get to see so many or watch them as up close. Watching and listening to the many little feathered friends is so much fun, plus they do a lot of work for me. Constantly patrolling the garden in the summer for any little unhelpful bugs that might be trying to take over, searching out the larva and eggs over the winter, and eating a lot of mosquitoes! They are great neighbors to have. And the time to enjoy watching, photographing, and listening to them is one of the many things I enjoy about living a slower paced life, much of which has been made possible by my tiny house. So I thought it would be fun to share with you all some
of the little feathered neighbors I see in the winter. Some of these are around in the summer as well, some are not, and there are other species that come only in the summer. But here's most of my winter birds.

 The photos above and below are both Goldfinches in their winter plumage. Most of the early winter they were no where to be seen, but the past month or so there's been quite a few around. 



The pair above was really exciting to me as I first saw them about a day ago! That's a male and female Red Crossbill that came to visit. I saw the male again today. They are common in this area, but I had never seen one. before By the way, I've found the web site AllAboutBirds.org  to be a great place to look up birds who's names I don't know. If you look closely, you can see their funny twisted beaks which allow them to pry open unopened pine cones to enjoy the pine nuts inside. But occasionally they'll come check out things like sunflower seeds as well. They and all the other little feathered friends thank those of you who have gifted us bags of seeds from our wishlist! 


Above and below with the stripped heads are Mountain Chickadees. One of the two varieties of chickadees around here. They both are here year round and always have such cheerful songs along with their bouncy flight pattern.




Above and below here with the solid colored heads are Black Capped Chickadees. Almost identical to the Mountain Chickadees above except for the color of their caps. 



These are Hairy Woodpeckers which are very similar to Downy Woodpeckers. They mostly hunt for bugs under the bark of trees, but sometimes swing by the feeder for a sunflower seed too. The below photo was something else I'd never seen before, a napping woodpecker. He had been flitting around the trees, and the next time I looked out, he'd perched still, fluffed up his feathers, and tucked his head under his wing. A bit later he was back to flying about. 



These are Pine Grosbeaks. The brighter red ones being breeding males, and the third photo of the paler one that's more grey and yellow/orange is a female. The bright colors especially of the males really stands out in all the winter brown, white, and green. They also have very lovely songs and I love listening to them as they gather in large groups in tree tops and mostly travel together. 




Much larger than most birds here, a Ruffed Grouse. Kind of like a wild chicken, they do not come to feeders, but do forage through the woods and trees. This one was right outside the loft window at my head when I opened my eyes one morning. 



Above is a Grey Jay, also called a camp robber for their habit of trying to make off with things from camp sites. They are relatives of the Steller's Jays and occasional Blue Jays that are also around, but these guys are usually higher in the mountains.


A very unassuming little bird in photo, this is an American Dipper. Also called a Water Oozle. Very plain in coloration, but with one of the most wonderful varieties of songs and sounds you've ever heard from a little bird. They love to bounce around the water edges and sing constantly. This one was along the edge of a creek not far from the house that we frequently snowshoe along. They also build the kind of nest I'd want to hatch out in if I was a baby bird. Look them up and check out how cozy they are! 


This colorful fellow is a Evening Grosbeak. While I see lots of these in the summer, a few stop by every now and then in the winter. 



Every now and then, a much much larger bird comes by. Like the Bald Eagle above. Burley is sure these guys do not belong in his air space! :) And below is a hawk. That part I'm sure of, I think it's a light morph Rough Legged Hawk. But there are a lot of different hawks that come in a lot of different shades, so I'm not positive about that. Either way, when these guys visit, suddenly every other little bird vanishes completely! And they don't reappear for quite a while. 


I'd love if you comment below and tell us what your favorite birds are in your area! I know there is a wide variety around the world. If you've never noticed, I highly encourage making the time to stop, breath, and watch the birds in your area as they are quite fun to observe.


32 comments:

  1. I wish there were more birds around my place. I think I need to get more trees so that they would have a place to stop. Today I heard a lot of birds in the tree line by the creek that is a quarter mile away. This spring I want to put up a few more posts with perches and a bird feeder.
    I miss the crows when I lived in California. I would feed them nuts when I went walking. There were a few that recognized me and fly over and wait for the nuts. This past winter when I was visiting there was one that came by when I was out walking. It was sad as I didn't have anything to give it.

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    1. They do appreciate trees and bushes to hide safely in. That's neat!

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  2. I've got two bird feeders in my front yard. The little feathered fellows seem to enjoy the wild bird feed. I have no idea what type birds they are....I just like watching them. I recognize Robin's, Blue Jay's, Cardinals, and Crows. My bird expertise is extremely lacking.

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  3. Just north of Prescott, AZ, we have crows, sparrows, occasionally hawks, some quail, and my faves, a few roadrunners.

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    1. Neat! No quail or roadrunners here so those seem extra cool to me.

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  4. Thank you for these. I live in a once rural now developing area, I.e. very few trees! I really miss the birdsong....don't have a birdfeeder anymore...turned out to be a buffet for my cat! Again, thanks for sharing. I REALLY miss your videos. Journey mercies.

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    1. That's too bad. Thanks for the kind thoughts!

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  5. Hi Ariel, really, REALLY miss your excellent entertaining YouTube Content....Really!!!

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  6. I just love your photos of wildlife and birds! I live in TN and we have a lot of really large Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Wrens. I was very lucky one afternoon to catch a Pileated Woodpecker in our backyard. I could not get over how BIG he was!! Like bigger than a hawk! He didn't linger but it will be a memory I never forget!

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    1. Those are cool! I used to see one every now and then in PA and would have loved to get a good photo.

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  7. I recall some of these same birds being in the trees late in the tourist season up in YP. I had a favorite sunning spot by the Firehole River near my employee housing back in the day. Their songs and silly antics made for a wonderful day off.

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  8. We have a feeder up for the first time this year. We've seen lots of cardinals, house finches, goldfinches, several warblers, wrens, juncos, chickadees, downy woodpeckers and red-bellied woodpeckers. The woodpeckers look so crazy hanging onto the feeder because they are so big! And squirrels...so many squirrels.

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    1. That sounds like a great variety! Aren't they fun to watch?

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  9. I feed grey partridges, sparrows. and a few other small birds on my apartment patio all winter. Jackrabbits (or snowshoe hares) come to eat the seed all winter, too. Not enough trees in this new development area for there to be squirrels or lots of birds. I get a little more variety in the summer with robins, grackles, mourning doves, and a few strays. I should check out that website. There's a hawk that comes by every so often and I don't see many birds for a day or two after. I love seeing your winged visitors! The shot of the napping woodpecker is just amazing!

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    1. Squirrels eat a lot of baby birds, so it might be a good thing you don't have too many of them. :) I love listening to mourning doves, but don't ever see them here in the woods.

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  10. Love the pictures Ariel. Such a variety of birds. Love the eagles we have some coming back in our area of southern Ohio. They sure are a majestic bird! Thanks Ariel have a blessed day!

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    1. So glad I can share glimpses of beauty to be enjoyed!

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  11. From one bird lover to another, great shots of the variety of Birds that you have at Fy Nyth. Birds are fun to watch and entertaining, especially when they are relaxed and know that they are truly safe at a place like yours. I will do my part in sending you seeds, so I and many others can enjoy your birds. You and Burley stay safe and Warm. Thanks Ariel

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    1. They are a lot of fun to watch and they thank you very much for your generosity for sure!

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  12. Hi Ariel...I loved your posting and pictures. We have two bird feeders here in Vermont. Right now, we have tons of Black Capped Chickadees, Juncos, Blue Jay's, Tufted Tit Mouse, Hairy & Downy Woodpeckers, Gold Finches, Purple Finches and Rose & White Breasted Nut Hatches. But I'm waiting to see come back the Evening Grosbeak's and my favorite the Rose Breasted Grosbeak's. I really love seeing those guys a lot at the feeder and they are so sweet sounding too. Oh and we get Cardinals year round and I love seeing and hearing them as well. Thank you for sharing your birds with us!!!

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    1. That's a lot of beautiful little feathered friends!

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  13. Hi Ariel, I LOVE birds of prey. My favorite is the Bald Eagle. Also enjoy the Red Tailed Hawks in my area. Live in PA right on the NYS/PA border. Several rivers nearby.We are blessed with multiple mature mated Eagle pairs along the Susquehanna River. My small winter birds include Chickadees, Cardinal's & Woodpeckers but no finches this winter. Ariel, I've been meaning to tell you...been looking for an Chevy Astro van since I saw your video about yours. If I find one I'll let you know. LOVE the "dutch doors" Cathy M.

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    1. Nice. There does seem to be a lot of eagles across the country now. They are a wonderfully practical vehicle for many things!

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  14. Snow lady of the West,
    LOVE your bird pictures and the identification for each one! I assume birds that are dependent on bugs, grubs etc. for protein are a species that migrate to the south and the seed eaters stay around. The owls and hawks depend on warm blooded kills I suppose. How about putting a microphone near a feeder and recording their meal songs? P.H. S. Carolina

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    1. Thanks! Most of the ones that stay eat some bugs too. They search out all the little larva and eggs that try to hide through the winter.

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  15. I get so many birds on my winter too, most of them being Juncos, Black-capped Chicadees, Red Cardinals and Blue Jays and two different types of woodpeckers. It is AMAZING to literally spend hours just looking at their fun party. At this time some hawks are showing up as they breed pretty early around here. Birding is a golden activity!

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    1. Cardinals are such a pretty one that I never see here!

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  16. Hi Ariel! I'm so grateful for this blog to keep in touch, but still miss your YouTube vids. I'm in ZSeattle, my favorite bird is that littl busybody, the wren. I love it's little upturned tail, the way it moves and it is constantly busy.

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    1. They are such perky little birds! I catch glimpses of them in the summer occasionally.

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