If you live in North America and feed with sunflower seeds, chances are you’ve seen your share of house finches. These small but vocal visitors generally travel in small flocks during most of the year. Here is a link to pictures of both the male and female from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site.
While it is estimated that less than 10% of the population is affected by the House Finch Eye Disease (mycoplasmal conjunctivitis), the large numbers that can flock and hit your feeders makes it imperative that you keep an eye on them and take steps at the first sign of infection. Here is another link dealing specifically with House Finch Eye Disease from the CLO.
I had a very unusual experience yesterday. Because I feed birds in my backyard, we get an occasional visit from our friendly neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk. Our lot backs up to woods so sometimes he’s able to sneak into a tree unnoticed. Luckily for the other birds, we have a pretty well established Blue Jay alarm network in place. Whenever they see the hawk, they immediately begin squawking and carrying on. They’ll even go so far as to dive at it, chase it into a tree and then continue to harass it until it finally flies off. This is exactly what took place yesterday morning so I thought I’d seen the last of the hawk for that day. I was wrong.
He showed up again in the early afternoon. To my complete surprise, he was on my bird bath. I thought he was catching a quick drink and would soon disappear. Boy, was I ever wrong. He planted himself at that bath for over an hour! I got out my bird watching binoculars and examined him closer. Most of the time when a bird sits on the bath for any length of time they are injured or sickly. I could see right away that he was very healthy and vigorous. The funniest part was watching him try to put his enormous rear end in my 2 foot diameter, 3 inch depth bath and try to bathe himself. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to get it on video but all my batteries were uncharged when it happened.
I’ve got to say that I have never in my almost 6 years of feeding ever seen this before. It just goes to show that if you have your eyes open you’ll see a lot of things other people miss.
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