It’s said that birds are attracted to feeders in greater numbers when there’s a drop in temperature or right before a storm, and it makes sense — they’re filling their bellies in case they have to hunker down for a while. But during the most recent snowstorm, it seemed that the birds around my house in Hancock County were active before, during and after the storm. They were also quite noisy, perhaps because it’s about time to be looking for a mate to nest with.
One of the cool things about being a journalist who writes feature stories is that it’s often easy to work from home in the case of bad weather. I have an office set up on the second story of my house, and from the desk I can look down on my bird feeders in the backyard. I also have a large wooden feeder perched on the rail of my tiny upstairs balcony, and through the glass balcony door, I can watch birds come and go, carrying off sunflower seeds or staying a while to peck at a suet cake.
So when the snow hit on Monday, I worked from home, writing stories, editing hiking videos and on occasion, getting up to take some photos of the many birds swarming around my house. To photograph them, I simply had to open a window (taking note first of where my indoor cats were) and search the feeders and trees with my 400mm camera lens.
An army of goldfinches have taken over my yard, and I noticed that they’re starting to change into their bright yellow summer plumage, yellow splotch by yellow splotch.
The downy and hairy woodpeckers were busy making racket, drilling on the dead birch trees, likely to attract attention from the opposite sex rather than to gather insects. Since they don’t sing songs to attract a mate, they resort to drumming loudly on trees and other loud objects.
I also noticed a pair of crows, and a pair of mourning doves. The season of bird love has begun.
Here are a few of the resulting photos, with captions to help you identify some of Maine’s common birds (or explain why I found the photo worth sharing).