Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Bird brains

Things have been very busy at the bird feeder lately.

To say the feeder has been very popular all winter is a vast understatement. Most of the time, I see just three species: Oregon juncos, Cassin's finches, and lesser goldfinches.

On the ground beneath the feeder, turkeys will frequently glean fallen seeds. And quail are common both at the feeder and on the ground below. I can always tell when the quail arrive because they land on the deck with a thump. I mean, these guys are fat. Why shouldn't they be? They've been feasting like kings all winter.

In fact, sometimes the quail will literally pile on top each other as they greedily gobble seeds, to the annoyance of the smaller birds who are shouldered out of the way. Bird brains.

So yesterday (Feb. 1), I finally saw a new species: evening grosbeaks.

I hadn't seen these critters since last summer. It was nice to see something a little more flamboyant at the feeder than Oregon juncos.

It's also the first (early) indication that winter may be losing its grip. We'll see.


  1. We had a bunch of Evening Grosbeaks at our feeders one time a year or two ago. It was the first time I had ever seen them. They were so pretty! I knew right away they had to be a grosbeak of some kind by the shape. We have Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks from April to September-ish (West Michigan) so we're very familiar with them. During the winter we have Dark-Eyed Juncos, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Goldfinches, Mourning Doves, Downey Woodpeckers, Flickers, and various sparrows and finches.We'll get the occasional Bluebird at the heated birdbath, but not at the feeders.

    And bunnies. And white-tailed deer. LOL!


  2. The stellar jays have taken over all feeding spots at our place. The quail will eat side by side with the jays but all the little birds stay away.

  3. I saw a couple of birds around our deck so I went out and got a bird feeder with the sides that you put in a slab at each end and of course the middle that you fill up with seed. I have thus far gotten zip. I am guessing it is because it is too close to a window and they can see in and want nothing to do with humans I am guessing. Will update after I move the feeder to a more private spot away from the window. Any tips? I am in N. Idaho.

  4. I know these are becoming pets to y'all, but if you ever get in a pinch for food, quail are delicious !
    It's also becoming a thing to raise quail on homesteads. They mature very fast, faster than chickens, take up less space, and if memory serves me correctly start laying eggs at 6 weeks.
    I have friends who raised quail and pheasants to release for hunts. It would probably be easier to eat quail than a chicken. Most chickens are big personalities.
    Well, March is just a few weeks away now, and to me is the beginning of spring since it's usually warm enough by then to consider it so.
    Gosh, February. It's time to start seeds!

    1. Quail jalapeno poppers!

    2. I'm glad I'm not the only one to have this thought. I used to feed wildlife when I lived in a more rural area, and always had them somewhat mentally earmarked as a back up resource. Lots of quail and rabbit.


  5. I agree - quail are a great dish! As long as you don't pound them flat like some restaurants do; then you have to pick lots of broken bones out...

    They are also small enough to easily use in a single meal, so you don't have leftovers to take care of when refrigeration is unavailable.

  6. I'm in SW Idaho near the Oregon border. Had 6 robins in our yard today. I'm hoping for a nice spring, unlike the dreary one last year.