Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Uh-oh, a House Wren returned from migration last night. Just when we though the competition for nesting boxes couldn't get more fierce, this little bird shows up. That's OK, we have a solution. We always keep some bird houses in reserve. When House Wrens arrive, we put up some more bird houses, to keep them happy and away from the other birds. We also use some boxes that have a smaller ( 1 1/4 inch) diameter hole, unlike most of our bird houses that have a 1 1/2 inch diameter hole. House Wrens can use the smaller hole.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
On our morning walk with the Corgis, we were having fun birding by ear, that is, recognizing all the birds we heard by their songs and calls. We both can hear the songs equally well. Interestingly, Don tunes into the low pitched sounds, such as a Ruffed Grouse drumming, more than I do. I am more likely to immediately pick up on the higher pitched sounds, such as the song of the Blackburnian Warbler, more than he does. Sometimes I wonder whether this is a male-female thing, or just our individual differences.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010
Several people just wrote to us about mockingbird problems. One person has mockingbirds chasing off bluebirds from mealworms. The other person has mockingbirds chasing off smaller birds from the bird feeders. Here is some information and some answers to these problems
Mockingbirds sing to defend a rather small nesting territory, of about one to two acres, in spring. Both male and female Mockingbirds will defend their nesting territory. The male sings during the day and sometimes even at night, and when he gets a mate he generally quiets down and sings a lot less. Mockingirds will incorporate into their song imitations of other bird’s songs. Many people enjoy the song of Mockingbirds. If they are singing at night and it is bothersome, some people try foam rubber earplugs from the drugstore, they work well, or a white noise machine, etc.
Mockingbirds are native birds and are protected by law so it is illegal to harm them or harm their nests while they are constructing them or have eggs or young in the nest. They incubate their eggs for 12-13 days and the babies are in the nest for 10-13 days then fledge and leave the nest and do not return to the nest. They will be fed for a little while longer by the parents before they become independent.
If a feeder is in the area of their territory they may drive other birds off the feeder. Generally Mockingbirds do not eat seed but will eat fruit, mealworms, raisins, insects. If you have a feeder in their territory and they are disturbing the other feeder birds here are some strategies,
- You may have to move the feeders until they are not in the Mockingbirds territory (experiment and keep moving them away until you pass that magic point that is their territory line). If you have a small property the Mockingbirds territory may encompass too much of it for this strategy to work so...
- You may have to have several feeders spread around widely over your property on the theory the Mockingbird can only be chasing at one feeder at a time, leaving the other feeder open for the birds.
- You may have to try feeders that it is difficult for the mockingbird to land on or eat from such as ones with a cage, or ones that birds have to hover in front of before they enter, etc.
- You might also try suet feeders that are encased in a larger cage so chickadees can enter but the cage would prevent the larger birds from entering, or suet feeders that birds have to cling to from underneath.
If you have found any other solutions we'd like to hear from you.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
We also saw 2 Pine Warbler males, singing, of all things, in pine trees! If you hear a musical trill on one pitch coming from the top of a pine, look up, it could be a Pine Warbler. These beautiful birds breed on our property, as we have many pine trees. If you want to learn warblers, see our Stokes Field Guide To Warblers book, in which we cover identifying all North American Warblers with beautiful full color photos. We invented a special color tab system making it possible to ID any warbler easily, really! Click here for the link to amazon. By the way, if you go to the amazon.com link, you can see inside pages of the book!
Monday, April 12, 2010
Yesterday we had a Blue-headed Vireo in our yard singing, the first we have seen this spring. I was first alerted to it by it's song, then I could see it high in the maple tree. It was backlit by the sun at first, so I studied it's shape. This is a big-headed, broad-necked bird with a relatively short tail, and a rather thick bill that is slightly hooked, as seen on the last photo. Look how short and small, compared to the size of the bird, the tail looks on the last photo. I thought about how these shape clues said vireo to me and helped me immediately know it from other birds, such as warblers.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Friday, April 09, 2010
Thursday, April 08, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Our planters on our deck with mini daffodils and hyacinths. I always plant hyacinths because they are one of the first flowers I remember, as a child, from my grandmother's garden. She had a fragrant walkway of them and they were an inspiration to start my own gardening.
Abby, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi, now 1 1/2 years old. She looks more and more like her father Keiffer. She loves to run and is a great mover. She and Phoebe, our other Corgi (and her cousin), chase each other for hours.
Phoebe, the queen. She loves to watch us from a favorite perch, here high on our rocks. Note the black smear on her left lower cheek. She has rolled in something we would think is disgusting, probably now uncovered since the snow melted, but from a canine point of view, it's perfume. Time to get out the hose and clean her off.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Migrant birds are continuing to arrive here in southern NH. We had a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker arrive here in late afternoon. We were alerted to it by on of it's more striking calls, which we've described as "like the music in the shower scene in the movie Psycho." This sapsucker also makes a drumming sound of a short burst then irregular beats, a descending catlike mew, and other calls.
Friday, April 02, 2010
Most orioles do
In addition to fruit and sugar water, orioles can be attracted to grape jelly and mealworms. Offer the jelly in a small dish placed on a platform. Mealworms can be placed in a small container, but make sure it has straight sides that are high enough (about 1 1/2 to 2 inches), enough so that the mealworms cannot climb out. Mealworms are found in pet stores and wild bird stores. Many orioles feed the mealworms to their nestlings, who require a good protein source.
Orioles weave nests of natural plant fibers and will also use lengths of string cut into 8-12 inch pieces. You can put the string in a wire suet basket, drape it over shrubs, or lay it in the open where orioles will see it. Orioles nest in trees in suburban areas, parks, forest edges, and along rivers.