Monday, July 25, 2011

Life in a Northern Town

Visiting family up north in Ohio is always fun, partly because the birds that visit their backyard feeders are so different than the birds that visit ours. At my dad's house in Canton, Ohio, dozens of small songbirds visit his feeders each day, most of which we never have a chance to see in Central Florida. His yard is flanked by tall trees, so even in an urban setting, it's not unusual to have 10 or 12 birds at his feeders at a time, waiting for their turn and fighting off the squirrels.

Finches especially are fond of nyjer thistle seed, like this American Goldfinch pair. The males are a brilliant yellow during mating season, with females only slightly duller. This species is known to winter as far south as Florida, and this year we plan to try a thistle feeder and see if we can't lure a few to My Florida Backyard.

Finches will eat black oil sunflower seed too, and this red-headed House Finch joined a White-Breasted Nuthatch in a search for dinner. Nuthatches are very fun to watch, as they frequently feed head-down both at feeders and along tree trunks. Neither of these birds are seen in Florida, so we have to enjoy them when we're out of town.

Perhaps our favorite Ohio backyard visitor, though, is the Black-Capped Chickadee. Another bird we'll never see in Florida, these little guys are so friendly they're often known to eat out of people's hands. Their call is easy to recognize... they sing "Chickadee-dee-dee!" early and often, and their adorable hopping behavior endears them to nearly all backyard bird lovers.

As much as we love My Florida Backyard, a trip to another backyard is always fun. The birds at my dad's are very different than those at home, and we truly enjoyed the chance to watch them for a few days!

P.S. There was one familiar visitor to this Ohio backyard... this little Tufted Titmouse dropped by to remind us of home!


  1. Aww... great pics! The tufted titmouse is probably my favorite. I'm not quite sure why... something about his coloring and the striking eyes. My daughter knows them and calls me to the window when she sees one at the feeder so I can see my "favorite"! :) I did not realize they went as far south as Florida. They are with us all winter.