I have a new visitor to the backyard. After a bit of research, I discovered that this fellow is a red-winged blackbird. He has been spotted at the feeder today hanging with the sparrows and doves. In addition, I saw a pair of cardinals and a blue jay. The cold snap has made my well-stocked feeders very popular.

Yesterday evening, I cleared a small section of the yard (about 3 feet by 4 feet) and planted corn. Yes, I know – corn in a suburban backyard is a bit strange – but it will make sense later in the summer when it attracts more birds. The small patch will provide perches for sparrows as well as corn on the stalk for some of the larger birds. There are already about two dozen “volunteer” sunflower plants growing from seeds scattered last season. In just a few short weeks they have skyrocketed already to one and two feet high. I expect a veritable jungle of tower sunflowers again this summer. The sunflowers bring the house finch, a bird that was very rare here a few years back, but seems to be slowly migrating down to Texas.