Birds, by the way

I neglected to post a picture of a pileated woodpecker which, very cooperatively, worked on a tree across the driveway in Casco for long enough to let me get my camera, step out onto the front porch, and take a few pictures. Most often these guys are pretty shy, but occasionally they don’t seem to mind humans watching them. That tan spot to the left of the bird’s head? That’s the hole it has dug into the tree trunk. You could stick the end of a 2×6 into it. These are big birds, and when they start pounding on a rotten tree trunk the chips fly!

Starting Christmas weekend and finishing last weekend, I made a bird feeder that I copied from a photo on a web site from the Michigan Upper Peninsula. I just liked the way it looked, and it seemed like a good quick woodworking project. I’ll have to get a post to put it on, and a big sheet metal cone to keep the squirrels off it; but here’s the feeder, ready to mount and fill:

We had several pine siskins at the feeders in Casco this past weekend, both at a monster thistle feeder across the driveway (it was an anniversary present from Arlene’s brother) and at a little thistle feeder on the kitchen window. Siskins are small birds that you might possibly mistake for sparrows, in other words, not spectacular birds at all, but with some bright yellow stripes on the wings and an overall much more delicate look than sparrows — more the size and shape of goldfinch, which they were flocking with, but less colorful and finely streaked with dark brown all over. They’re uncommon in New England, sometimes showing up in the winter. We don’t see them at all often, so they were very welcome additions to our list of birds we’ve seen in Casco and this year.

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