Voice of Audubon: Keeping hanging feeders filled critical

Here are this week’s bird sightings from the Voice of Audubon for western Massachusetts.

The ground is no longer bare, and the blizzard has made life more difficult for birds and bird finders alike. However, feeding stations have seen plenty of action. It is crucial to keep the hanging feeders filled with sunflower and suet. If possible, spread mixed seed or millet on cleared ground or on a large platform. Then sit back and watch the action.

Species reported coming to enjoy these offerings following the storm include downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpeckers, white and red-breasted nuthatches, chickadees, titmice, house finches, goldfinches, pine siskins, redpolls, mourning doves, tree, song, and white-throated sparrows, juncos, and cardinals. Best of all, hope and watch for visits from a Cooper’s hawk, or a sharp-shinned hawk, and, if you are really lucky, a barred owl.

The gyrfalcon that has been spotted hunting or perching in the open meadows of Hadley was seen briefly Monday, Thursday and Sunday.

Three American wigeons, a rough-legged hawk, a peregrine falcon, a merlin, 400 horned larks, a Lapland longspur, a snow bunting and 200 common redpolls were also seen in Hadley.

An American wigeon, a northern pintail, a ring-necked duck, a lesser black-backed gull and an Iceland gull were seen in Turners Falls.

A ring-necked duck, an eastern screech owl and a winter wren were reported in Belchertown, and another winter wren was found in Amherst.

A turkey vulture and two peregrine falcons were seen in Northampton, a great blue heron was spotted in Egremont, and 13 mute swans were found in Holyoke.

Trudy Tynan, a member of the Hampshire Bird Club and a retired reporter for The Associated Press, edits the sightings that are compiled by Seth Kellogg of Southwick. For more information www. hampshirebirdclub.org. Call 781-259-8805 for state bird sightings. To record sightings, call 781-259-8805 ext. 2 and wait for the end of the tape. It is a long-distance call.

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