Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Finch and Bath Day

Awoke to a layer of ice on everything and after a short walk out to the end of the driveway to check the road, decided....no way. Too many reports of slide off's and accidents to risk getting on the road. I figured I probably could not even make it up the hill and the end of the road so why try.

At first light I could already hear birds outside at the feeders. I went out to spread some seed on the ground to accomodate the numbers and knock some ice off the nearby rest where I also put some suet.

Not sure where the masses of finches arrived from but I have enjoyed them today. The usual visitors were there today also. One thing that did amaze me today was that despite the very cold temperatures, the water feature/bath was extremely popular.

Back in the summer I did away with the ornamental fish pond and did a disappearing fountain. The main feature is a rock I secured from my parent land many years ago. The rock has a curved indention holding the perfect amount of water for bathing and a hole in the center that was drilled when a local lake was being made and a rock bed was dynamited. I was able to run the tube through the hole and fill the opening with of all things a plastic bag so the water holds up top.

A benefit I did not consider at the time is with the water being below ground level and covered with a grate topped with river rocks, the water is not freezing like the bird baths. It has proved to be a constant draw for the birds.

At one point today, while looking at the finches on the rail of the deck, I noticed that two of the male finches looked a little different. By the time it hit me that the different one was a Purple Finch versus a House Finch, it flew. Shortly after, the female arrived. It caught my attention because at the same time there was a female house finch. The other bird was larger and had a white band above and below the eye. Seeing them side by side I was quite surprised by the difference in size.

I had a running battle with the squirrels trying to climb the suet feeder. I must have knocked on the window dozens of time and of course everytime I would say"That darn squirrel", Ali would take off flying out the dog door to go find the squirrel. For sure she recognizes the word. I finally remembered I had some deer corn left and put some out which seemed to satisfy them.

After Ali slipping and falling flying out the door, I finally put the cover over the dog door so if I slipped and said the "S" word. I was really afraid she was going to hurt herself flying out on the ice.


Woodduck said...

Nice water idea. I'm sure the birds do enjoy it. The first American Goldfinches I had at my feeder in the winter; gave me trouble identifying them.

Paula said...

The birds absolutely love it. I think the somewhat rough texture of the rock gives them a little cleaning friction. At one point there were about 8 Goldfinches and 11 House Finches and 1 pair of Purple Finches here at one time. Was a wonderful day seeing them all.