Bathe and Graze

Top Photo: Adult robin attempts to coax one of its offspring (left) to bathe in the water below waterfall at Red Wolf Enclosure. There are numerous bird families flying and foraging about our campus. Fledglings need to learn to cope with life before they go out on their own and the adults are doing their best to show them how. Finding food, bird song, and even bathing are all on the list. I came upon a group of American robinsRead more

Early Spring

Neotropical migrants won’t begin arriving on the scene for a month or more. However, our local year-round resident birds have the jump on those mainly insectivorous migrants. Some of the locals like cardinals, towhees, brown thrashers, Carolina wrens and others are in full song and some are building or investigating nest sites. American robin numbers are increasing, and keep an eye out for cedar waxwings on any shrubs or trees that still have fruit, like holly or red cedar. NorthernRead more

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

Robins and Berries

You may have noticed numerous American robins about your lawn and shrubbery lately. They’re on the move. Flocks of these common birds are sweeping through our area. To most, robins are synonymous with earthworms. Who hasn’t witnessed a robin wrangling a worm out of the ground on a spring day? Truth is, besides the lowly worm robins eat plenteous fruit. If you happen to see robins swarming around a particular tree in your neighborhood, that tree may be loaded withRead 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

Lawn Thrush

Everyone is familiar with the robin. It’s the bird that, when describing another bird, people often use as a reference, “it was about the size of a robin.” We see them on our lawns, in city parks, in our fruit trees, and even nesting in our backyards. We see them in every season of the year from the blistering heat of the summer to the frigid (especially this year) winter. The American Robin got its name from the early EuropeanRead more

The Hollies

Last week I wrote about a small flock of Cedar Waxwings flying around the Outdoor Exhibit area of the Museum searching for berries. That’s what waxwings do. They’re nomadic and social. In winter you can expect to see flocks of these gentle birds wheeling across the countryside looking for fruit. You may not see them as often as you’d like (they are very attractive birds and worth your attention) but if you have a fruiting tree or vine nearby andRead more