Juniper Berries Anyone?

Top Photo: American robin foraging on eastern red cedar. Had you visited the Red Wolf Enclosure’s overlook in the past few days you may have heard the chortle of robins above. You may have had juniper berries rain down on your head. You may have seen a dozen or more birds flitting about, knocking the small blue fruit off the tree limbs in their zeal to consume them. American robins, bluebirds, hermit thrushes, sapsuckers and yellow-rumped warblers have all beenRead more

Frontal Arrivals

Top Photo: Yellow-bellied sapsucker. November 11, was overcast and cool, weather conducive to photography with saturated colors and no harsh light. A front moved through the area bringing in migrating birds. Here are images of just a few of what I saw that day. Yellow-bellied sapsuckers arrived earlier in the month, in fact the previous month, but it seemed additional sapsuckers rode in on the front. Hermit thrushes, like the sapsucker, have been in place here at the museum forRead more

Woodpecker vs Window

Chances are, you’ve been sitting quietly at your kitchen table or lounging on your living room couch and heard a loud thump at your sliding glass door or living room window. Upon inspection, you noticed a bird sprawled out on your deck or lawn. Or, the bird may have been standing there below the door or window motionless, dazed and confused. The chances of this happening are greatly increased if you have a bird feeder in your yard. Even so,Read more

Red Wolves and Sap-sucking Woodpeckers

Red wolves #1803 and #2062 seem to be getting along well. They’re frequently seen together with, so far, no observed conflicts. With mating season (Feb.) fast approaching, this behavior is promising. While standing and watching the wolves I noticed a cat-like meow and a gentle tap, tap, tap coming from high up in the trees inside the wolf enclosure, a yellow-bellied sapsucker at work. These rather small sized woodpeckers drill evenly spaced wells into the bark of trees. The wellsRead more

Shadowy Silhouttes, Sap-sucking Arrivals, and a Murder

While walking through the Dinosaur Trail this past Tuesday (10/11), I noticed several dark spots on a leaf of one of our banana trees. On closer inspection I could see that what I was looking at were the shadows of three creatures which were on the opposite side of the leaf. The sun shining through the leaf created silhouettes of two tree frogs and an insect. Turning the leaf over confirmed two green tree frogs and a stink bug. TheRead more


While walking through Explore the Wild I heard the cat-like call of a yellow-bellied sapsucker to my right. A closer look revealed two sapsuckers in a holly tree picking and eating the red berries of the small tree, a good opportunity to get a few photos.     The two sapsuckers went back and forth from the trunk to hanging on branches to harvest the fruit of the holly. Here’s a few shots of the birds, both males.    Read more

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Time

  Yellow-bellied sapsuckers are woodpeckers. Unlike red-bellied, downy, hairy, and red-headed woodpeckers they’re not year round residents in our area. They typically arrive in the Piedmont in October and depart by April when they head north or retreat back into our mountains to nest. You might see one or two a bit earlier or later than October or April, but those individuals are the exception. Sapsuckers drill small, neatly aligned holes or wells into the bark of trees. The holesRead 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

And the sap is flowing!

On Tuesday of this week I noticed a large wet area on the trunk of a Carolina Maple in Catch the Wind. That could only mean one thing, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker had been at work. This is the same maple that I mention each year around this time. It seems to be a favorite of our visiting sapsuckers and it’s easy to observe (it’s right next to the path). I’ve been keeping a casual eye on this tree but hadn’t seenRead more