On this cold and blustery February afternoon, I decided to follow up on local birder reports of Common Redpolls and Pine Siskins flocking to the feeders at the Stony Creek Metropark nature center. Being the curious birder that I am, I decided to check it out for myself.
The nature center has an open and airy viewing room with comfortable chairs and large windows overlooking the mature forest and a flowing creek bisecting the landscape. A very nice birdfeeding area was adjacent to the nature center building offering thistle and all-purpose birdseed in separate feeders. I watched for several minutes as the resident backyard feeder birds made a brief dash at the feeders. I watched the Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, House Finch, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers all coming in for a sampling at the birdfeeders. I was delighted with what I was seeing on this gray day, however, I wanted to see those rare nomadic visitors of winter - the Pine Siskin and Common Redpolls.
I did not wait long for the first House Finch to appear and then one by one a few Pine Siskins made an appearance at the feeders. I kept looking as the Siskins and Goldfinches fed together at the thistle feeders. I kept watching and hoping for the Common Redpolls to show up and they came in by the twos and threes to the feeders. As I watched, more Redpolls started jousting for feeding perches at the feeders and the birdfeeding party was in full force with Siskins, Goldfinches and Redpolls all taking turns pushing each other off the perches of the thistle feeder. This frenzy of feeding activity lasted 30 minutes, and, as if on cue, they all flew off into the forest leaving the American Goldfinches, Dark-eyed Juncos, Chickadees and Titmice to the space at the feeders. Happy to have seen the birds I had come to see, I returned to my car in a quest to see the Trumpeter Swans reported at the Southdale Picnic area, not far from the nature center.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012