The bird feeders have been filled for a couple of weeks now and with a couple of cold fronts that have come through, our familiar winter birds have returned. I was very excited the past two days at my own feeder at home. A flock of about a dozen Pine Siskens and a White Crowned Sparrow came to visit! The Siskens are unusual for me because I don't have quite the right habitat.
Here at Wahkeena, the usual cohorts are frequenting the birds seed. We feed mostly black oil sunflower seeds, but Tom also makes a mix of sunflower seeds, white millet, and cracked corn. He uses this mix for the ground feeders.
Here is a list of what birds are at our feeders so far:
and of course the ever present gray squirrels and striped chipmunks
We also put out suet cakes. These can be expensive, but if you look for the larger packs in the plain boxes, they are often cheaper. Remember the birds don't care how colorful the packaging is, they just want the fat! I personally just buy plain suet. It is cheaper and there is little waste. If the bird wants seeds to eat, they can get them at a feeder. You can make your own too, if you didn't know. Just ask your local butcher for it. You will have to render it yourself and pour it into some molds. Many of the same feeder birds will eat the suet, but you'll also get Woodpeckers.
At Wahkeena's suet we get:
and every once and a while a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Don't have any bird feeding stuff set up? Consider it. Winter bird watching is really great. You can stay warm and dry in your house, and get pretty great looks at the birds. If you are just getting into bird watching, I think this is the best place to start. You have a finite (mostly) number of birds to identify, and with good views from the comfort of your home (or local nature center), you can get lots of practice using your binoculars and training your eye to look for field marks. Plus, it's just fun!
Happy winter birding!