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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Baby Birds!

Eastern Bluebirds
American Goldfinches
Hairy Woodpeckers
Babies are everywhere now! Here are some photos of fledglings getting fed by their parents. For many nesting birds, they are fed in the nest and once the young leave the nest they are fledglings and still dependent on their parents to feed them for a while, "college age" we joke. These are know as "altricial" birds. "Precocial" birds are capable of moving around and feeding on their own once they hatch. Examples of altricial birds would be these shown, all your feeder birds and many others. Precocial birds would be species such as turkeys, pheasants, grouse, waterfowl and shorebirds. It's a fun time watching all the young birds now.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Rare Terek Sandpiper Being Seen Now!!

There is a super rare Terek Sandpiper at Napatree Point in Rhode Island right now. This is an Asian vagrant to w. AK and casual farther south. It was found by Jan St. Jean. Parking is limited in this area of Rhode Island, the lot at Napatree Point entrance is usually filled so parking at meters in town is an option if you go to see it (socially distancing safely). This is a page from our The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America that shows Terek Sandpiper summer, winter, juv. and flight photos.…/…/0316010502

Sunday, June 28, 2020

House Wrens Fledged Today!

House Wrens fledged this morning. This was the scene yesterday where babies were coming to the entrance of box to get food sometimes nearly falling out of the box. Will miss their bubbly song and antics. Babies are dispersed in the woods, calling for food. We provide lots of different houses to accommodate all the species that use them. There are Tree Swallows nesting right next to the wrens.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

It's Atlantic Puffin Time but Trip Cancelled

Atlantic Puffins are one of my favorite seabirds and ordinarily this would be the time to get out and see them. These "parrots of the sea" live in the North Atlantic from Maine to Greenland to northern coastal Europe where they breed on rocky islands in underground tunnels and fly out to the sea to capture fish to bring back to their young. The trip to Machias Seal Island (where I photographed these puffins) with Capt. Andy of Bold Coast Charters is one of the best places to see and photograph puffins, but due to the virus, it is canceled until the end of July. However some people may still find ways to see puffins this summer.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

10 Tips to Help Birds in Hot Weather!

Birds need water to drink,

and bathe.

"Hey, where's the towel and the frozen daquiris?"

An extra roof cools off the bird house below.

This baby American Robin cooled off the only way it knows how, by panting. Birds have no sweat glands and so cool themselves by rapid respiration with their mouths open

I used the mister setting on the hose to cool off the robin nest by misting the air and foliage above.

Hummingbird Feeder with shade roof

In this extremely hot weather gripping much of the nation, here's some tips to keep your feathered buddies cool:

1. Bird baths, bird baths, bird baths! Birds need water to bath and drink in hot weather so buy
a bird bath. You can even use any wide flat container for a bird bath, such as the lid of a trash can or a large saucer that it used under a flowerpot.

2. Choose a bird bath that is shallow and has a non-slip surface. Small birds do not like to bathe in deeper water. You can add flat rocks to a bird bath that is too deep in order to create a shallow ledge for small birds to land on to drink and bathe.

3. Add a dripper, bubbler or to your bird bath. The sound of moving water will be a magnet for the birds and alert them to the presence of a water source.

4. Keep the water in your bird bath cool by adding ice cubes several times a day, or refilling
the bird bath with a hose.

5. Birds will feel safer if the bird bath is placed in a more open area so no predators can hide nearby. Provide a stake or branch placed in the ground near the bird bath, if no landing places exist near it, so birds have a place to wait their turn at the bath.

6. Air condition your bird houses. We nail on a piece of plywood, using long nails and only nailing them part way into the original roof. This leaves an airspace between the two roofs of about an inch. The second roof shades the first roof plus the airspace between the roofs acts as an insulator, keeping the bird house cooler. In some cases we have just shaded the roof of a bird house with piece of cardboard.

7. Misters are coolers. Misters can be bought to attach to a bird bath, or clip to shrubs near a bath. They spray a fine mist that birds can fly though, or rub against the wet shrubbery. Hummingbirds will often fly through misters, or even a garden sprinkler.

8. Use a mister on a hose. Our hose has a mist setting on the nozzle. We have misted the foliage and area above a robin nest to cool off the babies in extreme heat.

9. Think Shade. Birds will seek out shady areas and lie low in the worst heat of the day. If you do not have shade on your property plant some shade trees and big shrubs. Place bird feeders in a shady area during summer.

10. Shade hummingbird feeders. Place them in shade. Some feeders, come with their own shade/rain roof, including an ant moat on the roof. You can buy also by baffle-type shields and hang them above a feeder. Don't forget to change your hummingbird nectar solution every 2 days in really hot weather.

And tips for you....

Stay out of the sun and heat in the middle of the day, wear a hat and sunscreen when you do go out, and at the end of the day, after you have taken care of the birds, have a cold beer, gin and tonic or some Prosecco,,,aaahhh!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Oh Wow, Great Blue Herons!

We are fortunate to see Great Blue Herons fly across our property many times a week. That is because there is an active nesting rookery not far from here, in a secluded private area, and the parents hunt our lake for food for the young. This is the majestic, iconic heron that breeds across much of this country and southern Canada and produces "oh wow" comments from bird lovers.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Monday, June 08, 2020

Warbling Vireo, Listen to its Lovely Song Here

Warbling Vireo, the sound of summer here at "Bobolink Farm" our NH 23 acre property that includes deciduous woodlands, fields and lake frontage, and we are hearing them constantly. Warbling Vireos breed in open woodlands across much of the upper two-thirds of the country. Listen for their song to discover them. Here,

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Magnolia Warbler, Finally!!

Finally! A Magnolia Warbler, male, showed up in our NH yard. One of my very favorite warblers it has everything going on in terms of field marks - black face mask, white eyebrow, streaks sometimes forming a necklace, yellow underparts, wing bars, yellow rump and best of all, the unique undertail pattern of white tail with "dipped-in-ink" dark tip. Even if you saw none of the rest of the bird the undertail pattern would be a giveaway.

Monday, June 01, 2020

A Two Cuckoo Day!

 Black-billed Cuckoo

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Going Cuckoo! Two days ago we had a two cuckoo day, first we had a Yellow-billed Cuckoo then a few hours later a Black-billed Cuckoo! This morning we heard a Black-billed Cuckoo calling. These are special, secretive birds that are more often heard than seen. Caterpillars are the favorite prey of both and both have had steep population declines, partly due to habitat loss on breeding and wintering grounds and increased use of pesticides impacting caterpillar availability. Get to know their song and calls.
Black-billed sounds,…/Black-billed_Cuckoo/sounds
Yellow-billed sounds,…/Yellow-billed_Cuckoo/sounds
(Photos of Black-billed Cuckoo, adult, and Yellow-billed Cuckoo, first year, from other times.)