Pygmy Nuthatch

Hi birders,
Continuing at our house, 3601 W Pinehurst Dr, 83703. The bird has now been with us for over a month. Danette & Matthew Henderson stopped by for a look this morning, anyone is more than welcome to do the same. Our feeders can be seen from near our large mailbox in Pinehurst Dr, on the corner with 36th St.
Amy Bechtel & John Shortis.  

Battle of Wits

Blue skies with scattered clouds, 39° headed to 46° today. Snow is melting & patches of ground showing. So, after a walk down to the river, decided to enjoy the sunshine on back deck. Was watching the usual feeder visitors, House Finches & American Goldfinches with DE Juncos picking at scattered black-oil sunflower seeds on the ground. Plus, the BC Chickadees & RB Nuthatches sneaking in for a quick seed.

Suddenly, all took to flight in 3 different waves. Always amazes me by how many I underestimate their numbers to be! Would have guessed about 35 birds, total, visiting the feeder. The different waves totalled at least 75 birds. The only birds remaining, after the exodus, were 8 Chickadees giving steady 3 & 4 note alarm calls. About this time, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew in and landed in a nearby cottonwood. 

The battle of wits between the Sharpie’s patience, the alarms of the chickadees & the disappearance of finches began. No idea how far away the finches’ exodus took them, as they disappeared. The chickadees stayed & would make quick, 1-seed visits to the feeder, one-by-one, while their friends kept up the alarm. It took 25 minutes for a lone House Finch to fly by &, immediately, the Sharpie was after it. A miss. The hawk then took up position in a different cottonwood about 30 yards away. The chickadees kept up their steady alarms. After 10 minutes, the Sharpie returned to its original position closer to the feeder. 

By this time, 45 minutes had passed. All the sudden the Sharp-shinned Hawk flew downward to a sumac bush 20 yards away & disappeared toward the ground. Suspect, a hapless meadow vole met its demise. It’s been over an hour now, the chickadees are visiting the feeder with no apparent concerns, no longer giving alarm calls & coming in by threes & fours. And, House Finches are gradually returning to the feeder in twos & threes.

Interesting  encounter! No unusual winter finch arrivals, so far, this year. But, will keep watching!

Brian Carrigan

Gray-crowned Rosy-finches roosting in Canyon County.

Two evenings ago JC Clancy from Nampa was on Map Rock Rd in Canyon County in SW Idaho looking at a Golden Eagle nest hoping to see some action at this long used nest, when she noticed a flurry of activity at the numerous cliff swallow nests near the Eagle nest. She managed to get some decent photos and realized she was seeing rosy-finches coming in to night roost in the swallow nests. I went out this evening about 4:45 to see for myself. Through my scope I could see a lot of activity but couldn’t get a good count until a Northern Harrier came along the cliff face and the flock swirled out in response. I’m thinking there’s about 50 Gray-crowned Rosy-finches in that area. I tried hard to find a Black Rosy-finch but distance and lighting made that difficult. 
Map Rock Rd runs along the Snake River and connects with Deer Flat Rd on the west end and Hwy 45 on the east end. The spot for the rosy-finches is just east where Pump Rd comes down  and joins Map Rock Rd. Pump road is closed from Dec 1- Mar 1 though so have to get to spot from west or east end. A scope is probably best for viewing and look for swallow nests just down from the rim.  This is a great discovery by JC! I thought many of you ible folks might want to know about it. Viewing time would be between 4:30 to 5:30 pm. 
Happy Birding! 

Cheryl Huizinga