Wednesday, February 25, 2015

He's Back! Male Pileated Woodpecker

And here he is! I was just writing about "Ricky" our male pileated woodpecker yesterday wondering when he was going to make an appearance when he showed up today. Perhaps he was reading my blog yesterday. :-) It really is amazing to see such a huge colorful bird at your bird feeder that usually hosts birds less than half his size! Thanks for stopping by to view the wildlife in our back yard in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beauty In Winter From Colorful Birds it the longest season or does it just seem that way to a Southern California born girl living in the rural mountains of Virginia? I know Spring is surely around the corner since the end of February is thankfully approaching. It's hard to believe though when currently the temperature is 13 degrees which is actually quite an imporovement from the -1 that the morning started with! I'm trying to stay positive though and find what beauty I can in this cold and color muted world of winter. Luckily the cold does come with a silver lining in the form of beautiful birds like this very chilly male cardinal and this hungry female pileated woodpecker who seems to be saying "More Suet Please!". If we are lucky we will get to see the male pileated this year as well. The male and female pileated woodpeckers look identical at first glance but can be told apart by what I call their mustache. The males have a red mustache (see photo below) and the females have a black mustache (see photo above). Well I'm off to make some more suet for our hungry hoards of winter birds. Thanks for stopping by to read my blog and view my photos. More of my photos can be viewed at

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

WHSV Photo Contest

Thanks to all who helped with their votes. I didn't place but I did make it to page 6 out of  200 and some entries. I entered after a friend suggested I do so, ran outsdide with my camera and literally got my entry in just minutes before the closing deadline. Thanks again for all who voted, it was much appreciated. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Helping Our Feathered Friends

This weekend took on a sense of urgency for our feathered friends. The temperatures in the valley were ranging from 5 degrees to the teens but with the wind gusts of up to 45 miles an hour the wind chills got as low as 25 below zero! Some people don't think that we humans should interefere with nature and wildlife...but the way I look at it is that since we already have altered the balance of nature by our presence here on planet earth, it's up to us to help take care of our fellow creatures. We had a steady stream of birds at the feeder all day long today. We kept them fed with home made peanut butter suet, rose hips, black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. We were even surprised by a visit from a rather large female pileated woopecker. We also saw cardinals, red bellied woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers, juncos, purple finches, gold finches, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches and one of my personal favorites, wrens.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Feeding Winter Birds

Here are a few of my favorite winter birds in the Shenandoah Valley:

These little beauties "will work for food" and seem more than happy to pose for me when given their favorite tasty bird treats.

We have three feeders in the winter months to help our little bird locals get through the winter months.

We feed them home made suet, black oil sunflower seeds and safflower seeds. The cardinals really like the safflower seeds.

My home made suet attracts a wide
variety of birds ranging from
woodpeckers, to wrens.

 Here is a loose recipe for my home made suet:

I buy the store bought suet for the
little plastic molds that they come in and then I use those for my home made suet. The birds will eat the store bought but they devour my home made.


Melted Lard (not Crisco but real lard) Maybe about two or two and 1/2 cups
Once melted, remove pan from heat and add about a cup of peanut butter
Add about a 1/2 a small bag of cornmeal
Add about 2 cups of black oil sunflower seed
Add enough flour until the consistancy is about that of cookie dough
Scoop into the molds and put in the refrigerator or freezer until hard and then you can pop them right out of the mold and put them in any suet feeder.