Suet birds

Little piglets found on the suet feeders.

I’ll put RBW first because we can easily identify them, but they still need to be here because this is my list of suet-feeding birds. The Red-Bellied Woodpecker’s call is a sharp, rolling “kwirr” or “churr”, and occasionally, “Hi Pat!”

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The grandkids are Downy Woodpeckers, and obviously, we know them, too, but they have a larger cousin; the Hairy Woodpecker. We have mostly Downy, but we do have a few Hairy.

Male Downy. Often found 2′ away while I’m trying to fill feeders, ignoring me because he’s a bold little bastard.

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Male Hairy. Markings are much the same, and he’s only a bit larger than the Downy, but look at the beak. Downy has a petite, delicate-looking beak, but the Hairy’s schnoz is over half the length of his head. A true “woodpecker beak”.

 

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Size difference. Downy on the left, Hairy on the right. Hard to judge the difference unless they’re side-by-side, though. These are both female (or possibly immature male…I can’t tell).

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White-Breasted Nuthatch. Grey and black back, white under the chin and on both sides of the head, black only on top of the head and down to the back. You might mistake him for a Black-Capped chickadee, but the black on his head is more a wide stripe than a “cap”, and his beak is long and pointed. He moves more like a woodpecker than a perching-type bird (like a chickadee).

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Another view of White-Breasted Nuthatch that shows his white underparts (maybe white underwear, too…I don’t know).

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Black-Capped Chickadee. Very small bird–smaller than a nuthatch–with a grey and black back, white belly, buff flanks, and a distinct black cap. Also black under his chin, which a nuthatch does not have in any form. Tiny beak; he doesn’t dig under tree bark for insects like a nuthatch does. There’s also a Carolina Chickadee that looks almost identical, and Parview is in the overlap range for the two, so here, it could be either. For our purposes, “chickadee” will suffice. If there’s a tiny, black-headed bird 15′ over your head in a tree, buzzing and cussing at you, it’s probably a chickadee.

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Tufted Titmouse is chickadee-sized, soft grey, and possessed of a crest like a cardinal, but doesn’t always have the crest up. I think their most notable feature is their shiny little black eyes; looks like an oil drop on that light background. White under-bits, little bit of rusty colouring on his flanks. The black over his beak shows up well in this particular picture, but IRL, you’ll notice the oil-drop eye first. Short little beak, a perching bird not closely related to a woodpecker, but loooooves the goor-met suet. Can cuss you out almost as well as a chickadee.

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Carolina Wren is pretty easy to identify because he’s distinctly reddish brown, with barring on his wings and tail feathers, and a distinctive white stripe over his eye. Makes him look kind of like he’s permanently frowning. He’s a perching-type bird, but will also climb up and down trees like a woodpecker-type. He’s also a wren, so he often holds his tail feathers cocked up at a saucy angle.

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Brown Creeper. Little bitty brown-speckled thing, smaller than a Carolina Wren and practically invisible against tree bark unless he’s moving so you can see his white under-bits. No reddish tint at all; he looks like tree bark. Often moves in a spiral up or down around a tree. Doesn’t usually perch on a branch or shepherd’s hook or whatever; he’s more a woodpecker-moving type that clings to tree bark. We have a few, but they’re quite shy.

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House Wren. I’ve seen them a couple of times, but they’re not particularly common at the suet feeders. Lighter brown than a Brown Creeper, and more barred than speckled. Cute little thing; looks almost like it has no neck and its head grows right out of its body. Being a wren, it does perch, but can climb tree bark, and often cocks its tail up at an angle like the Carolina Wren does.

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