A Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s hawks are not uncommon here in Durham. Even so, I was surprised to see one perched in a willow 15 – 20 feet off the path in a black willow. The hawk watched intently as a dozen or so butter-butts flitted around the nearby wax myrtle bushes. Cooper’s hawks are almost exclusively bird eaters. When the warblers moved on, the hawk settled in for a bit of preening. Cooper’s hawks are one of three accipiters (long-tailed, forest hunting hawks)Read more

Sky High Raptors

What do the 2 two geese (above) have to do with raptors, or birds of prey? Well, if I hadn’t been paying attention to those two geese I would not have seen a bald eagle soaring over our wetlands last week. As I approached a corner of our 750’ boardwalk near the Black Bear Exhibit, I noticed our two resident Canada geese below me in the water. As I peered over the rail, I realized both geese were staring skyward.Read more

Bird Feeders

If you happen to be passing Bird Viewing while on your way to or from Catch the Wind on the Museum’s outdoor loop trail, stop and sit down for a few minutes. Grab one of the very comfortable Adirondack chairs (you won’t want to get up again) and set a while. You’re very likely to see Carolina chickadee, northern cardinal, tufted titmouse, white-breasted nuthatch, Carolina wren, downy and red-bellied woodpeckers, mourning dove, and pine warbler, among others, year round. InRead 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

Bluebird Update 5.5.15

We’re into the eighth week of nest box inspections and we now have sixteen nestlings, twelve bluebirds and four chickadees. We also have six house wren eggs cooking. I haven’t been able to get an accurate count of eggs in the nest at the Cow Pasture over the past few weeks due to the female’s insistence at sitting tight on those eggs when I opened the nest box for a quick look inside. Likewise, she was reluctant to leave theRead more

Bluebird Update 3.31.15

I can now say that there is at least some nest material in each of our six nest boxes here at the Museum. And, one nest has a few eggs. Here’s the low down. The Cow Pasture nest box, which for the past two weeks has had nothing at all inside its cedar walls, now has one single pine needle. A male bluebird has been in the box and signaled his interest in perhaps starting a nest. Will more pineRead more

Siskin Trouble

  It’s been cold, snowy, and icy the past few weeks (oddly, it’s in the 70s as I write this), and the birds have been going through bird seed like a kid through an ice cream cone on a hot day. I’ve had to refill both sunflower and thistle feeders every other day (4 different seed feeders and 3 suet feeders). We’ve had much larger numbers of birds at our feeders before, but whenever it’s cold or there is substantialRead 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

Coop

As I drove the golf cart along the path through Catch the Wind towards Explore the Wild I saw Ranger Rock standing on the side of the path intently staring at something in the upper swamp, a small wooded swamp on the northeast side of the campus. I parked the vehicle and quietly walked towards Rock. It was an overcast but warm December day. Ranger Rock had gotten the Bungee Jump set up for business ahead of time and decided toRead more

Cooper’s Hawk or What!

I was very excited when I first spotted the bird in the above photo. I was making the final run of the day, driving from Explore the Wild into Catch the Wind. Glancing over at the swamp between those two areas of the outdoor exhibits I saw the hawk perched about twenty some feet above the floor of the swamp on my left. Why the excitement over a Cooper’s Hawk? I see them fairly often here at the Museum throughout theRead more