Monday, December 03, 2007

Winter is here!

Canadians can always strike up a conversation about the weather as we experience such extremes in temperature and precipitation. Winter storms affected the west, east and central parts of the continent with snow, freezing rain and more snow over the weekend. The Weather Channel was likely the most frequently viewed station as people watched satellite images of high and low pressure swirls with red and yellow bands of heavy precipitation.

Storm Phase One;- ten to fifteen centimeters of snow. Thankfully my husband has the snowblower in good running condition for our double driveway and corner lot. Phase two of the storm came last night with lots of rain and freezing rain. Now we are waiting for Phase three...more snow and high north westerly winds that will produce lots of flurries from Lake Huron. Schools and workplaces are open as we adjust to a change in the weather that will last for weeks to come.

I kept putting seed down for the ground feeding birds like this Junco, but it was covered up quickly. Yesterday I had literally hundreds of house sparrows descend on my yard in a large flock. If I stood outside, the Nuthatches, Chickadees, Finches, Juncos, and Downy Woodpeckers would come, but as soon as I went inside, the sparrows took over. I finally brought in two of my large feeders leaving only the peanut and suet feeders hanging.
How do you discourage House Sparrows from taking over a feeding station? The squirrels are a minor nuisance in comparison!
I hope everyone in stormy regions is warm and safe! Off to work I go.....


  1. Hi Ruth,
    Sparrows are always hungry (as you've seen) and difficult to discourage. Switching to just black oil sunflower and safflower seeds might slow them down a little--because it's more work for them to crack the seeds.
    Or you could try diverting them to their own feeder by putting less expensive seed (cracked corn and white proso millet) in an open tray feeder someplace farther away from your regular feeders where you still want to see good birds. (I use this diversion method)

    I get tons of sparrows too in the winter. When I enter the numbers in Project FeederWatch data, it always questions me "this is an unusually high number--are you sure it's correct?" Unfortunately, I always have to click on YES.

  2. A snow blower is a blessing. Shoveling when you are young is great fun and good exercise but about 20 years ago, we purchased our first snow blower. We sold it when we left Delaware.

    Ruthie had good comments about house sparrows. I haven't had the problem yet. I say "yet" because a little strip mall is planned to be built 1/4 mile away from me.

    I enjoyed your snow photos :o)

    Stay warm!

  3. Poor sparrows! They have to eat as well! Down with the racism! (Sparrowphobia?)

  4. Anonymous7:45 pm GMT-5

    Wow, guess you did have a visit by mr winter! I do love the birds that follow the winter!

  5. RuthieJ- Thanks for the tips. I will have to give the diversional feeder idea a try.

    Mary- If we have time and the snowfall is relatively light, we use our shovels. I never use the is too big and complicated for me.

    Alex- These sparrows are like a gang of 100 acquaintances who crash your party, eat all the food and bully your good friends! I don't mind feeding them, but the flock grows every day. I guess I am a bird racist. :-0

    Monarch- You are overdue for a good snowfall, the way winter is starting early this year.

  6. We have lots of sparrows but they don't bother my only feeders which are for the varieties of hummingbirds. I have 3-4new visitors - Gilded Flickers. They are just 3 cm. smaller than the northern kind and have learned to perch on the small plastic flowers on one feeder. They drive the hummers away and drain the juice quickly. No answers for these intruders?

  7. My problem is not sparrows but Gilded Flickers that drain my hummingbird feeder quickly They are 3 cms. smaller than the Northern Flicker but perch on the little yellow plastic flowers. They are noisy aand dirty. Any suggestions?

  8. Perhaps you don't like the house sparrows because they remind you too much of that scene from "The Birds" where a group of sparrows come out of the chimney and attack people lol. XD

  9. Brrrrr Ruth. I am cold just reading this. :c) Discouraging house sparrows? Hard to do, the buggers are so aggressive and bully others for dominance.


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