Posted by: atowhee | April 12, 2018


Raining siskins in our garden…we went well past 100 at our feeders and in our shrubs today.  At this rate I will need to buy a sunflower farm. I refer to our current condition as “peak siskins.” We all have heard of kinetic sculpture (thank you, Mr. Calder), kinetic energy, kinetic energy theory, even kinetic sand.  Well, here we have an excess of sis-kinetic energy.  They flurry, they flutter, they pack the feeding platforms scaring off other species, they twitter charmingly from the bushes when the food runs out.  Occasionally I find a single immobile juvenile siskin, brought to earth  by his greedily packed gullet and the cold wind.  A couple times I have picked up one such “frozen” bird and placed him on a feeder where a squirrel can’t as easily gobble him up.

The first White-crowned Sparrow of the year [in our garden] appeared a few days ago.  In past years I have records only for end of March and through April.  Migrants heading back north.  No idea why I don’t see them in the fall when they should be more numerous and equally hungry.  Two brightly plumaged Golden-crowns linger.  I have not heard them sing yet so doubt they will leave before I get the song treatment.

The pair of Bushtits come together to the feeder, apparently nesting nearby.  I see only one wren at a time now, indicating they are incubating those eggs they have put into their nest next to our house.  Ditto Spotted Towhees except I have no idea where they are nesting…plenty of dense shrubby about.  Saw one Chestnut-backed Chickadee here today…they vanish for a short breeding spell in late spring and early summer, then return for daily visits by late August.  No Black-capped around now but they must be nesting nearby while the smaller CBCH will go off to some damp Doug-fir forest.IMG_1543siskineticsiskinetic2Here’s one place ther siskins go to scold me when the food runs out:siskpine

The heavy rains create streams and ephemeral lakes along the sides of the suburban streets around us.  Each temporary pool is lined with pink, a beach of cherry petals. Each new rain front becomes a petal pushing, the run-off creating dams, dikes and petal-bars along the streets and over the storm drains.  Nature, you profligate, how many zillions of cherry petals do you produce each spring?

The blooms now abound: magnolia of several types, cherry, azalea, first crabapples of the season, saw my first blooming lilac today, daffodils linger, bluebells from across the Atlantic, tulips now at their height, hyacinths, vinca, andromeda, heather, hellebore continue.blubllsIMG_2153magnotulipspetals820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Apr 12, 2018.  12 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  2
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica)  1
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens)  1
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group])  2
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii)  2
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group])  2
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  2
Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)  2
Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus)  1
Pine Siskin (Spinus pinus)  120
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)  X


  1. Nice that you are kind to the juvenile as that many siskins (piggy as they are) could drive you nuts!

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