Northern Cardinals have been extending their range for decades and are now a beautiful and beloved part of the New England landscape, all the year long. Safflowers seeds are a favorite (and squirrels don’t care much for these seeds). At this time of year, we daily place a small handful of chopped peanuts in a bowl to help fatten the fledglings, and they also love the Catbird’s blueberries. Meet our resident Cardinal family!
Papa Cardinal is always first on the scene in the morning, scoping his territory for potential danger. His feathers are mottled because at this time of year, like many songbirds, Cardinals are molting.
Fledgling #1 – The fledglings are shyer than the adults, but also persistently vocal, nonstop actually, especially when hungry. Notice how its beak has not gained its red-orange color.
Splish Splash! Mama Cardinal taking a bath. Oh no, Junior shows up–“haven’t you had enough to eat?”
During this snowiest of winters, we’ve been refilling the bird feeders several times a day. We usually only purchase safflower seeds because squirrels do not much care for the hard shell seeds. Recently though I thought that with all the snow cover, our little bird friends would benefit from some variety and decided to add black oil sunflower seeds to the mix. What a colossal error! This morning at the feeder a fight broke out over the sunflower seeds, with no less than five squirrels defending their new found cache. The sunflower seeds also drew two fat black rats to the feeders last night. We’re back to strictly safflower seeds!
The following are eight common birds that we see at feeders at this time of year and these eight species are content with the safflower seeds provided.
While filming B-roll for several projects I caught the sunrise at Brace Cove several mornings ago. The seals were awakening, as were the swan couple, the cormorants and gulls stretching wide their wings, and the songbirds breaking fast on the abundance of wild berries and seed heads found along the berm at Niles Pond. Click image to see full size.