Birdcam Back in Business

My two Birdcam photo stations have been shut down since mid-February.  Recall the problems I was having with Eastern Gray Squirrels and House Finches.  Too much success can be the worst dilemma of all.  I decided to give all bird feeding a cooling down period.  This week, I began setting up my Birdcam stations again.  Station No. 2 now has a brand new woodpecker feeder and I provisioned it with pepper suet.  I have been experimenting with it for a couple of months, and the Gray Squirrels have shunned it totally.

I was pleased to catch this photo of a Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) on the first day out.  This is the bird that inspired me to purchase and install a Birdcam in the first place.  This is also my first photo of a female Pileated.  The black mustache and black forehead are the distinguishing marks.  Until now, I had only seen males in the yard.  Yes, friends, I am definitely back in business.

The Black-headed Grosbeak (Pheucticus melanocephalus) is one of our summer-only birds.  It is also Fidalgo Island's only member of the Cardinal family.  The tortoise shell markings and colors identify a male.  In the Northwest, they will be attracted if there are a few broad-leaved trees among your confers and a water source.

The pepper suet received mixed reviews at Amazon.  I decided to give it a try anyway.  It is softer than the regular kind I bought locally and a bit messy to use.  Contrary to some of the reviews, it does seem to repel my local Gray Squirrels and the cakes last a good two weeks.  That offsets the higher cost a bit.  I would enjoy hearing suet recommendations and experiences from others.

Northern Flickers (Colaptes auratus) are always photogenic and another of my favorites.  Hanging out in small groups is an interesting behavior I have noticed during the winter.  They will just sit quietly together in the yard, perhaps sharing flicker gossip.  This is a red-shafted flicker and a female distinguished by the lack of a mustache mark.  I also see a few yellow-shafted birds who venture down from Canada, but most of my Flickers are red/yellow hybrids.  They have orange feather linings and will display a faded nape mark of the yellow-shafted race.

I was shut down for four months, so I missed the spring migrators.  Last year, I caught locally rare Western Tanagers passing through.  I will have to wait another year for that opportunity.  I am also waiting for the little Nuthatches, Chickadees and Wrens to show up.  They should discover the suet in a short time.  There is never a dull moment in the wildlife garden.

This post is being published simultaneously at Wild Fidalgo.


  1. Morning Dave, congrats on your web cam. Reading your post this morning and our resident Pileated showed up. What timing. Was doing some research on the Pileated and found they have a range of 1000 to 4000 square acres which would make up 6% of our island. She really gets around.I added some commercial suet in to the cage with my homemade recipe last night. It will be interessting to she which she prefers.

    Take care,


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