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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Breakfast in the sweetgum

The birds returned for "breakfast" in the sweetgum this morning.  

When I lived in Massachusetts, I didn't see Pine Siskins that often, so it's been fun getting to know them better in California.

Here's a classic pose, hanging onto a sweetgum seed pod:

The siskins frequently feed upside down, and often in close proximity to each other:

After feeding, they will sometimes sit quietly in the sun with their eyes closed: 

The activity of the siskins attracted other birds.  While the siskins would roll the seeds around in their bills, the Chestnut-backed Chickadees had a slightly different feeding strategy.  They would extract a seed, then take it to a perch and hammer on the seed to separate it from its winged covering.

The Lesser Goldfinches also hung from the pods, and fed in a similar way to the siskins, maneuvering the seeds in their bills.  How many goldfinches can you find in the photo below?

[There are four goldfinches in the photo above — three near the center (top, middle, bottom), and one in the upper right corner.]

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