Exploring natural history one itsy bitsy spider at a time...

Exploring natural history one itsy bitsy spider at a time...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More winter yard birds...

American Goldfinch
"An old field, overgrown with thistles and tall, stalky wild flowers, is the paradise of the goldfinches, summer or winter.  Here they congregate in happy companies while the sunshine and goldenrod are as bright as their feathers, and cling to the swaying, slender stems that furnish an abundant harvest, daintily lunching upon the fluffy seeds of thistle blossoms, pecking at the mullein-stalks, and swinging airily among the asters and Michaelmas daisies; or, when snow covers the same field with a glistening crust, above which the brown stalks offer only a meagre dinner, the same birds, now sombrely clad in winter feathers, cling to the swaying stems with cheerful fortitude." -Bird Neighbors by Neltje Blanchan

White-throated Sparrow
"These sparrows are particularly sociable travellers, and cordially welcome many stragglers to their flocks- not during the migrations only, bt even when winter's snow affords only the barest gleanings above it.  Then they boldly peck about the dog's plate by the kitchen door and enter the barn-yard, calling their feathered friends with a sharp tseep to follow them.  Seeds and insects are their chosen food, and were they not well wrapped in an adipose coat under their feathers, there must be many a winter night when they would go shivering, supperless, to their perch." -Bird Neighbors by Neltje Blanchan

Dark-eyed Junco
"From the tip of that stout little flesh-colored bill to the ends of the long white feathers which form the outer edges of its tail, the junco is every inch the 'snowbird' so popular with millions of Americans from coast to coast and from the border to the Gulf.  In spring it moves to breeding grounds among the hills and mountain ranges of Pennsylvania, New York, New England, and Canada, seeking a well-hidden nook on or near the ground for its deep cup nest of moss, bark shreds, and grasses in which to raise a family of four or five youngsters.  But October finds it back on accustomed winter ranges, flitting busily among the weed patches, enlivening countless suburban yards and country farms with a welcome presence." -Our Amazing Birds by Robert S. Lemmon

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