It was a crowded day at the feeder with the Hairy Woodpecker showing up again.
The larger of two look alikes, the Hairy Woodpecker is a small but powerful bird that forages along trunks and main branches of large trees. It wields a much longer bill than the Downy Woodpecker's almost thornlike bill. Hairy Woodpeckers have a somewhat soldierly look, with their erect, straight-backed posture on tree trunks and their cleanly striped heads. Look for them at backyard suet or sunflower feeders, and listen for them whinnying from woodlots, parks, and forests.
There were about 50 Red Polls lined up in the tree waiting for me to put the feed out. They are getting to be very tame.
As energetic as their electric zapping call notes would suggest, Common Redpolls are active foragers that travel in busy flocks. Look for them feeding on catkins in birch trees or visiting feeders in winter. These small finches of the arctic tundra and boreal forest migrate erratically, and they occasionally show up in large numbers as far south as the central U.S. During such irruption years, redpolls often congregate at bird feeders (particularly thistle or nyjer seed), allowing delightfully close looks.
The Pine Grosbeaks have been around all winter in a flock of about 100.
The pine grosbeak (Pinicola enucleator) is a large member of the true finch family, Fringillidae. It is found in coniferous woods across Alaska, the western mountains of the United States,Canada, and in subarcticFennoscandia and Siberia. The species is a frugivore, especially in winter, favoring small fruits, such as rowans (mountain-ashes in the New World). With fruit-crop abundance varying from year to year, pine grosbeak is one of many subarctic-resident bird species that exhibit irruptive behavior. Inirruption years, individuals can move long distances in search of suitable food supplies, bringing them farther south and/or downslope than is typical of years with large fruit crops. In such years in the New World, they may occur well south of the typical extent of winter distribution, which is the northern Great Lakes region and northern New England in the United States. This species is a very rare vagrant to temperateEurope; in all of Germany for example, not more than 4 individuals and often none at all have been recorded each year since 1980. (From Wikipedia)