Four Birds and Who They Are

Top Photo: December 2022, what bird is this? The photo above depicts a hermit thrush. The clues are there. You should be able to tell from the shape of the bill that the bird is a thrush, at the very least, not a sparrow. Though you’re viewing the bird from behind and below, and mostly see the belly and undertail coverts, you can also see, at minimum, half of the tail. Along the outer edges of the tail you canRead 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

A musky herp and some avian arrivals

The thumbnail sized Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), or Stinkpot, in the photo above was walking up the middle of the path in Explore the Wild. The light markings on the marginal scutes of its carapace and face identify it as a musk turtle. To get a feel for its size, the willow leaf next to the turtle is less than a centimeter across at its widest (7 or 8 mm). I saw several adults of these bottom-walking, tree-climbing aquaticRead more

The Fox and the Squirrel

As I stood near the top of the boardwalk, unsuccessfully attempting to photograph a squirrel stripping a pine cone of its seeds (the squirrel kept turning its back to me just as I tripped the shutter) I noticed a reddish-brown and gray colored object quickly move out from under some exposed tree roots to my right. It was a bird, a large, brightly colored sparrow. It was a Fox Sparrow. I hadn’t seen a Fox Sparrow here at the MuseumRead more

A Tiny Wren

A tiny dark bird flew past me as I stood at the split in the trail leading to the Red Wolf Exhibit in Explore the Wild. The bird flew down into the grass and immediately began chipping and hopping along, searching through the grass for insects or other invertebrates to munch upon. These little birds can often be found along rivers and streams with some regularity, but most folks just pass them by as the birds forage half-hidden among theRead more

There’s Always the Birds…

With the low temperatures of the 15th-18th of this month, the Wetlands iced over enough to force the Hooded Mergansers to take flight and seek bigger water where they could swim and dive for fish. One merganser returned on January 24 and four were in attendance on the 29th of the month. Canada Geese remained as long as there were small pockets of open water. They too finally departed as snow and more cold weather moved in on the 21stRead 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