Downy Woodpecker and Pine Siskins

Later in the morning the front yard seemed busier than usual. The zhreeee calls of Pine Siskins were all around. A Pine Warbler sang. An Eastern Towhee called chur-wheee. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet stuttered its dry jidit. A pair of House Finches, the male bright red; and Brown-headed Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, two Chipping Sparrows, a Carolina Wren and several Goldfinches – some beginning to turn bright yellow-gold – all came to the feeder in turns, sometimes three or four at once. White-throated Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos and Mourning Doves scratched for seeds on the ground.

The aggressive little brown-streaked Pine Siskins crowded the feeder three and four at a time, hovering and pushing, all trying to chase each other and other birds away. Most of the other small birds didn’t seem to be intimidated, except maybe the Goldfinches, which give up easily and fly away – coming back when the coast is briefly clear. The other small birds either ignored the Siskins or flew in quickly, grabbed a seed and flew away.

One Downy Woodpecker sat on a branch and watched three voracious Siskins on the feeder below for minute or two, with its head cocked to the side. Then it flew down to the feeder and sent the Siskins scattering away. The Downy – a regular visitor that often shares the feeder with other small, but less pushy birds – clung there and sort of shook itself all over, feathers rumpled, and looked around, as if generally annoyed and offended by these rude and pesky little intruders.

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