Welcome to Shady Oaks, our home and our sanctuary for birds and wildlife. Since 1996, we've focused on removing invasive plants and restoring our property with native plants that belong here. As a result, we see many species of native birds, butterflies and other wildlife, who find sustenance in these plants, perhaps from caterpillars, nectar, seeds or fruit that are found on them. Birds need native moth and butterfly caterpillars and other insects to feed their young because they are the primary sources of protein in a bird's diet. Every gardener and birder can help our North American birds by adding native plants to their landscapes!
I share my images with others so that they might also be inspired to help birds and wildlife. To date, we've seen 147 species of birds and 111 of these have come to our little Bubbler in the woodland. What's a Bubbler? More on that soon in the Blog!
This fall, I've been seeing some of the usual migrant birds along with one real surprise. On October 4, 2013, a bird approached our Bubbler when two birds, a Northern Parula and a Tennessee warbler, spooked it and it flew. I was able to get just one image of this bird, a Blackpoll Warbler. Though it can be confused with other warblers in dull fall plumage, the orangey feet are a sure give-away. This tropical species breeds from western Alaska across the midsection of Canada to Hudson Bay, Labrador and New England. The Blackpoll warbler leaves these breeding grounds and travels farther than any North American songbird to its wintering grounds. Typically, it first crosses the continent and then flies southward over the Atlantic Ocean, with some continuing as far south as western Brazil. In all, the elliptical round trip may cover 11-12,000 miles! The bird I saw may be a new fall record for this species here in Missouri. I've documented the bird with the Bird Records Committee of the Audubon Society of Missouri and wait to hear from them. Check back for updates!