A Question of Identity

As I walked along the path heading towards Catch the Wind, I noticed small pieces of what looked like bark or some other flaky plant material falling down around me, there must be a bird somewhere up there pecking away at something in the trees. There was. Some forty feet directly above me, a loose flock of small birds was in the outer branches of a large tree, busily consuming the seeds of the tree. Can you identify the tree? the bird?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

Signs of the Seasons

Two sure signs of the changing seasons are the tap-tap-tap high up in the pines of the Brown-headed Nuthatches excavating nest holes, and ee-awKEEEE of the Red-winged Blackbirds in the Wetlands. We hear, and see, the nuthatches each year at this time as these little dynamos drill one, two, three or mores cavities into the soft wood of the pines. For all of their work they more than likely only use one of the holes to actually nest in. TheRead more

Creeper Pods

Seed pods of Trumpet Creeper can be seen hanging from the now brown, leafless vines throughout the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop, most noticeably on either side of the path next to the Wetlands Overlook and behind the Sailboat Pond. These 4”-8” long pods (image at left) contain small winged seeds. I’m not sure if many bird species include these seeds in their diet, but I saw an American Goldfinch pecking at one of the half-open pods.Read more

Excavations Underway, Visitors from the North

For the past month or more, a male Red-bellied Woodpecker has been excavating a hole near the end of a broken branch of a Loblolly Pine. The pine is just outside the entrance to the Lemur House. The bird will, presumably, use the hole to roost in during the cold winter nights, and perhaps to nest in later in the year. This industrious woodpecker is not always at the site, but is usually on the job from a little afterRead more

Two Fruits

If, on your stroll around the Wetlands, you happen to notice small red, berry-like fruit on thorny, bare twigs along the water’s edge, you’re looking at Rose Hips. The small, red fruit of the various wild roses are eaten by many birds and animals on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind Loop. Also, Sycamore “balls,” the fruit of the Sycamore Tree, are another food source for the birds and animals that make their homes at the Museum. Of the birdsRead more

Blue Jays Hoard, Butter-Butts Swarm

Mallards are back in the Wetlands. Three Mutt Ducks (Mallard x Domestic) and eight or so “normal” Mallards have been feeding and resting in the quiet water and under the Willow Trees. Canada Geese are paying regular visits to the Wetlands. For nearly a week after the passage of the cold front that moved through on the 18th/19th of October the skies were mostly clear with high cirrus clouds making it easy to pick out high flying birds. The 18thRead more