Jody Writes

#Western Tanager
The male Western Tanager is one of the most colorful birds found in the west. Summer welcomes this delightful 7" bird to our area, although a few may stay all year. The male has a red face and a yellow belly. Their back, wings and tail are black. They also have two bands of color on their wings. The upper band is wider and yellow; the lower band is thinner and white. The females are less colorful as with most species. Females are camouflaged out of necessity to resist being detected while on the nest with eggs. The Tanager females are greenish yellow and gray. They have brown wings with thin white wing bars. Tanagers eat wasps and other insects - often caught in midair. Halved oranges and grapes may lure these birds to a feeder. They love the Bottlebrush plant as do many nectar drinking birds. They will come to birdbaths to bath and drink. Their preferred habitat is in forest.

The Downy is the smallest of the North American woodpeckers. It is also the most abundant and can be found in the woods, the suburbs and even in urban areas. It's success may actually be due to it's small size. Being only 6 inches long, enables the Downy to nest in spaces where it's competitors and larger relatives are unable to fit. With a thorn-like bill, it is able to chip away bark and feast on spiders, ants, larvae, and insect egg masses. The males and females dine on different areas of trees. The females scour the trunk and larger limbs of a tree, while the males feed on the smaller limbs. These diminutive woodpeckers also like suet, shelled peanuts, peanut butter, and cracked corn. In the spirit of co-operation, as many as 60 individual birds might feed on one feeder - visiting in rotation.

Chickadees are tiny - weighing on 1/3 to 1/2 ounce. Yet they are often seen claiming their spot on a feeder, unintimidated by much larger birds. Because agile, nimble and often hanging upside miniature acrobats are a joy to watch. Constantly movement, they are one the most familiar of birds. Chickadees are warm- blooded metabolisms so they are in constant need Some favorites include insects - berries sunflower seeds. With patience you might that they are one of the few species that to eat directly out of a person's hand.

Red Tailed Hawk
Raptor - Bird of Prey
The most commonly seen Hawk, is a raptor that is seen throughout North America. They are approximately 19-25 inches long, with a wingspan of 4 feet, and weigh 2-4 pounds. It gets its name from its broad rounded tail which displays rich, russet red. There are 14 sub-species of Red Tailed Hawks. They employ many hunting styles, from hovering, diving, to sitting and waiting (for long periods of time.) Long - sharp talons (claws) are its main weapon. While its prey consist of rodents, skunks, insects, snakes and lizards. Other birds make up about 10% of its diet - explaining why most small bird species appear agitated when one is nearby. Red Tailed Hawks are easily identified by their distinctive call - a scream somewhat like "tseeaarr" slurring downward. Males and females share duties of raising the young, which leave the nest (usually 20-80 feet high in trees) after 30-60 days. They are often seen in our nearby open space.

# American Goldfinch

These are the bright yellow birds at your feeders enjoying nyger and sunflower seeds. They are about 4-5 inches long. Male Goldfinch bodies are bright yellow in the summer - duller in the winter. They sport a black cap on their heads and black wings and tail with white tips and wing bars. Females are less bright and have no cap. All have seed eating bills. They nest in shrubs or trees about 4-20 feet above the ground. The nests are made of weeds, vines, and the downy filaments from wind-dispersed seeds, such as thistles, bound with caterpillar webbing. They have looping flights. During mating season it is done in an exaggerated manner by the male, while he circles his territory. The female builds the nest and may have a second nest while her first young are fed by the male. Their song is almost canary-like. They use a second song while in flight. Goldfinches leave their breeding territory in the winter and head south. They wander in flocks in search of food. American Goldfinches are the most frequently reported finch found at feeders.

# Ever wondered the difference between a crow and a raven?

American Crow
Is all black and about 18 inches long. They make the familiar "caaw"sound. Their nests are high in trees and made of twigs and sticks lined with bark, grass and moss. They "cache" or hide food to consume later and have communal roosts - which means they flock together. They have "helpers" at the nest (offspring from previous years) that help defend the territory and feed the young (babysitters). Their habitat is across most of the U.S. - increasingly around cities and towns.

# Common Raven
Is all black, but much larger than the crow - about 24 inches long with a massive bill. They soar like a hawk. The males have elaborate courtship maneuvers of steep dives and tumble rolls. They also are communal roosters in the fall and winter. Their call is a "gronk." ARaven's habitat is commonly in the mountains and forest - where they build nests of bulky masses of twigs and earth - mostly on cliffs but can be in trees. © 2019 JODYWRITES.COM