Colorful Evening Visitors – Project Feederwatch Report

Male Cardinal at Winter Feeder
Male Cardinal at Winter Feeder

The colorful native birds arrive at my backyard feeder in the very late afternoon. I went to replenish the feeders at 4 o’clock, and the Cardinal pair and a female Hairy Woodpecker were already eating.

The woodpecker pecked at the suet cake, just as she would peck at hibernating insects and eggs in the tree trunks.


Female Hairy Woodpecker eating at the suet feeder
Female Hairy Woodpecker eating at the suet feeder in my backyard.

The Cardinals were foraging for seeds underneath the feeders, but few were left. The gregarious hoard of House Sparrows had cleaned the area out earlier in the day.
She lacks the bright red patch on the back of her head that the male Hairy Woodpecker has. But I could see she was a Hairy woodpecker by the lack of spots on her outer tail feathers. The Downy Woodpeckers have black spots on their tails.

I like the House Sparrows, but their pushy ways and loudness, get on my nerves. I kind of resent them. These invaders from the other side of the world, keep the native birds away from the feeders.

They are fun to watch. They vocalize all day. They travel in packs. And they eat the full buffet I put out at my feeders, black oil sunflower seeds, suet, millet and Nyjer seed. I guess this is why they are so successful and numerous. I am trying to love House Sparrows.

House Sparrows eating at a wire nyger or thistle feeders in my backyard.
Eight dark-eyed Juncos hopped into view from under the shrubs. When the House Sparrows are around, there are at most, three Juncos in my garden. I had no idea there were so many of these little birds in my garden.

In the fading light the birds left my garden, one by one.

Location: My backyard, Philadelphia, PA; Time: 4:00 – 4:57 pm

Weather: cold 28 degrees F, clear, breezy H: 26 degrees F, L: 22 degrees F

Species seen: Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis), Northern Cardinal ( Cardinalis cardinals), and Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides pubsecens)

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