More Cedar Berries

  The cedar trees which line the fence at the Red Wolf Overlook have been, and still are, prolific in berries. The birds have noticed. This is a good spot to stand by and watch the avian parade. The birds move around in loose, mixed flocks searching for forage. And here, they have found what they were looking for. Most of the birds are migrants who will most likely spend the winter with us, if they don’t move further south laterRead more

Fall Arrivals

  Most of our winter staples have arrived here at the Museum. There are a handful of birds that arrive each fall at about the same time; yellow-rumped warbler, ruby-crowned kinglet, yellow-bellied sapsucker, hermit thrush, white-throated sparrow, and dark-eyed junco. There are other land birds that come in each year but those six are the main characters in our winter troop of feathered players. I haven’t seen a junco or a hermit thrush yet, but they’ve been observed in the local area outside ofRead 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


I was standing at the Secondary Black Bear Overlook. A whiny, scratchy, mew sound was coming from the shrubs just inside the chain-link fence and to the left. I knew from the sound that it was a yellow-bellied sapsucker, but I couldn’t see the bird. The woodpecker was making quite a bit of noise, but where was it. Finally, I could see the fresh wells drilled by the bird. The wells were on the main trunk of a viburnum whichRead more

Drilling wood

There are four species of sapsucker in North America, Yellow-bellied, Williamson’s, Red-naped, and Red-breasted Sapsuckers. Being woodpeckers they all make their living by drilling holes in wood. Sapsuckers specialize in drilling shallow wells, often in neat little rows, in living trees in order to suck the sap that eventually fills those wells. They also take insects which are attracted to the sweet tasting sap. Although the summer range of the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker stretches from the Maritime Provinces of Canada toRead more

The Butter-Butt

This year’s “Butter-Butt” goes to Ranger Kristin who saw the first Yellow-rumped Warbler (a.k.a. Butter-butt) of the season – beat me by about two minutes (10/5/11). However, she’s the one that pointed out the Butter Butt that I saw, so I probably wouldn’t have seen it if she hadn’t pointed it out. Congratulations Ranger Kristin! There are still more seasonal firsts to be had so don’t despair. The first Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and White-throated Sparrow, among others, have yetRead more


Just last month, Nathan Swick (Reservations and Memberships) walked away with the RCKI Award for spotting the first Ruby-crowned Kinglet of the season here at the Museum. Well, Nathan’s done it again. This time it’s the coveted Sapsucker Award for seeing the first Yellow-bellied Sapsucker of the season (10/8/10). Congrats Nathan! Nathan and I, along with Insectarium Manager, Leon Bradford, were standing near the trail-head of the Dinosaur Trail talking about the paucity of migrant birds here at the MuseumRead more

Sapsuckers and Other Migrants

Northern Flickers continue to be observed as they filter through the area. The first-of-the-season Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was seen on October 11 during the Wild About Animals Event. Don’t look for a bright yellow belly on these guys, most of them are rather dingy looking. The white vertical line on the wing (when the bird is perched as in the image at right) is a dead giveaway as to this woodpecker’s identity. They make a catlike meow sound (Gray Catbirds, whichRead more