Reddish

When asked to describe a male cardinal, there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind what color the bird is, red. It’s not so clear-cut when describing some of our other local fauna. The red-bellied woodpecker in the above (and below) photos certainly has red on its head, but the red on it’s belly, the derivation of its common name, is not often seen. The bird, more often than not, perches with its belly against a tree trunk or branch making itRead more

What Happened Here?

Near the Wetlands, and next to an American holly loaded with berries, stands a sapling elm tree. There are many such trees here at the Museum. But, as I walked past this particular pair of arboreal specimens I noticed several clusters of passerine contour feathers stuck to the thin branches of the small, bare elm. Most of the feathers were white, some had rufus colored centers. What happened here? When I see a group of feathers clumped together as on theRead more

Molt

  Each year, adult birds need to molt their flight feathers (the wing and tail feathers). The feathers wear out, become frayed, twisted, and in general less efficient. Some birds, like ducks and geese, lose all of their flight feathers at once, they can’t fly. Ducks and geese can afford to do this because they can spend their flightless days out on open water away from potential land-based predators. Most birds, though, need to fly every day, at a moments notice,Read more

The Feeders

OK, in the past few weeks we’ve had days with snow, ice, and some very cold temperatures. We’ve also had a solid week, seven days, with temps in the sixties and seventies. And now, it’s chilling down again. Not long ago the local birds were singing a happy tune. Now it seems all they care about is putting on fat, the bird feeders in Catch the Wind are busy! Here’s just some of the birds looking to put on weightRead more

Feeder Watch

Slow and steady is the best way to describe the activity at the bird feeders in Catch the Wind. The local residents are visiting the feeders as usual but there have been few winter birds yet. Our first Pine Siskin didn’t show up until the second week in January last winter and I don’t often see Fox Sparrows until sometime in January, so there’s no need to sound the alarm. That’s not to say that there are no winter species hereRead more

Siskins, others, and a sign of the season to come (maybe)

The cold weather following the cold front last Wednesday night brought with it increased activity at the bird feeders in Catch the Wind. There had been one Pine Siskin hanging around for a couple of weeks and Ranger Kristin reported 6 siskins at the feeders on Sunday (1/27) but it took the cold to bring in a group of 18 of the little finches. The birds had nearly cleaned out the thistle feeder, it was getting very low on seed,Read more

What else do they eat?

It was a cold and rainy end to the day, again. I was standing at the Red Wolf Enclosure with a few visitors talking about the wolves and their status in today’s world. All of the sudden, a Sharp-shinned Hawk came barreling in from the right hand side of the enclosure. Birds that had been foraging inside the enclosure scattered. The hawk circled through the trees and perched near the top of the ridge just outside of the enclosure’s fence.Read more

Brief Fall Update

Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, Northern Flickers, Winter Wrens, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets have all been seen here at the Museum. We’re still waiting to see the first White-throated Sparrow of the season. The cool weather brought in by a cold front yesterday had the local birds feeding heavily at the Bird Feeders in Catch the Wind. Even though the air was much cooler than the previous several days, the sun was intense, turtles were out taking advantage of its warming rays.Read more