A Dropped Feather

Top Photo: What bird’s feather? I found the feather (above) on the path, not far from the Dinosaur Trail. I knew it was a primary feather, one of the last primaries, furthest out on the wing. The outer primaries tend to be long and narrow in comparison to the inner primaries and secondaries. This feather was about 87 mm long. A primary feather that long would probably belong to a bird about the same size of a robin, or aRead more

It’s All About Procreation

Top Photo: Fledgling eastern phoebes huddle together as they await feeding from parent. Spring keeps chugging along, and with it the lives of many different creatures. Below are photos of some of our local residents rolling with the flow. A nestling blue-gray gnatcatcher waits for one of its parents to deliver protein. The lichen covered nest is in a maple tree on an island in our parking lot. It was spotted by sharp-eyed Ranger Dakota. Unlike gnatcatchers, brown-headed nuthatches nestRead more

How Many Holes Would a Woodpecker Peck

Top Photo: Wood chips expelled from under-construction hole in willow. I first noticed the wood chips scattered about on the ground. I then heard the unmistakable sound of a wood-pecking bird hard at work, rap, tap, tap…rap, tap, tap. Could it be a woodpecker? a nuthatch? At first, I couldn’t see what was rapping and tapping away above me, that is, until the noisemaker stuck its head out of a hole twenty feet up in a willow snag on theRead more

Creepers

Top Photo: Brown creeper from (February 2015). Though they’re members of different families, brown creepers are often depicted in bird field guides on the same page as are the nuthatches. Let’s face it, their behavior is similar. While nuthatches, especially white-breasted nuthatches, work their way down tree limbs and trunks in search of insects and their larvae and eggs, creepers climb up and out on trunks and limbs doing pretty much the same thing. They’re gleaning food from under barkRead more

The Hermit and The Hole

Top Photo: Hermit thrush perches on vine in Explore the Wild. There are three thrushes which regularly spend the winter at the museum, eastern bluebird, American robin, and hermit thrush. All are migratory to some extent, though our local robins and bluebirds stay put. Only one is exclusively a winter visitor. Hermit thrushes arrive in our area late September to October. By the middle of May they’re gone. Mostly insectivorous, they consume many berries during the colder, insect deficient winterRead 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

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

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

Sapsucker

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

What’s all the ruckus?

    As the red wolves relaxed, two male yellow-bellied sapsuckers, one of them a young bird, began to scuffle over who the trees inside the wolf enclosure actually belong to. The woodpeckers chased each other around the trees, flying back and forth, shuffling around and around the tree trunks. The female wolf carefully watched the fracas.         At one point, the sapsuckers took off in aerial combat, fluttering to the ground. The wolf was up andRead more