Sunday, December 5, 2010

First Snowfall of the Season; Winter Birds

Snow covers our backyard birdfeeders, Rockford, IL, 12/4/10.

The first Rockford Snow of the season blankets trees in our backyard; 12/4/10.
We had our first snowfall of the season in Rockford, IL, Saturday night and woke up with this beautiful scene.  Probably about 4-5 inches accumulated during the day.  As I imagined they would, the local birds flocked to our feeders. I counted Black-capped Chickadees, House Finches, American Goldfinches, Northern Cardinals, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, House Sparrows, Downey Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, and Dark-eyed Slate-colored Juncoes all looking for food around our backyard and front yard feeders. Here are some of the photos I took during the day.

Northern Cardinal; 12/4/10.

American Goldfinch; 12/4/10.

"There is a seed in here somewhere," wonders this female Dark-eyed Junco; 12/4/10
Female Downey woodpecker; 12/4/10
Downey woodpecker; 12/4/10
House Finch; 12/4/10
"Got snow?" House Finch; 12/4/10

Black-capped Chickadee; 12/4/10.

Red-bellied Woodpecker; 12/4/10.

House Finches Feast; 12/4/10.
A Red-bellied Woodpecker wonders "What's all the fuss about?"
"Hey, where'd everyone go?"
"Okay, I'll eat it myself."
Don't you just love birds?


Anonymous said...

Looks like you had a party at the feeder this morning...looks like the birds didn't mind the snow anyways! These are all great pictures!

Anonymous said...

What a great series and a fine day at the feeders.

Hannah said...

I love the picture of the Goldfinch and the Cardinal. The stark red against the white looks beautiful!

Sarah Gesiakowski said...

Yours was one of the first and best blogs we found for learning to identify birds in our Illinois' backyard. How fun to come back today and realize we have seen most of these same birds and know their names. We also have learned about some of their personal habits and have become quite avid in our birdwatching. I wanted to ask you though, how do you determine the difference between the American Goldfinch and the Male House Finch variety that is yellow?

jon said...


House Finches (6")are a bit larger than Golfinches (5"). In winter, Goldfinches are much more bland and their yellow feathers are less obvious, but their wings are darker and have a more white/black contrast than the male House Finch. Also it is very rare (in my experience) to find the yellow variety of House Finch in llinois. The only yellow varieties I have seen have been out West on the California Coast and in the Channel Islands. However, if one happened to find its way to Illinois, the House Finch would have more streaks on its flanks, whereas the Goldfinch would have no streaks on their flanks. I hope this is helpful. Jon.