While you're staying at home and washing your paws,
take some time to get outside and enjoy nature in this wonderful season of Spring!
Here in our Shady Oaks Sanctuary yard, we're still seeing Brown Creepers that come in for a bit of bark butter in between forays up the trees for insects hiding in the crevices of the bark.
Eastern Phoebes are busy calling and catching insects. This one got a bit worried when a large predator swooped in above it. Yikes! It flew off to a higher perch as a Cooper's Hawk came down to the wetland to bathe.
Dark-eyed Juncos are still here, this one seen in soft afternoon light on Blackhaw(Viburnum prunifolium).
A female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker clung to small oak trees as little gnat-like insects emerged from the bark. The bird quickly snatched up as many as it could! This is the first time I've captured this behavior.
There is a lot going on in the nesting department around here! Eastern Bluebirds have been checking out the nest box. They have serious competition from the Eurasian Tree Sparrows, though.
We cleaned out the nesting material the Eurasian Tree Sparrows had put in and brought the box inside for a few days. They are not native birds like the bluebirds, and we want to support our native birds. We may move it to a different location. We will keep you posted!
While I was keeping an eye on the bluebirds and sparrows, a new bird for the year popped up onto the feeder. It was a Chipping Sparrow! It continued foraging in the mossy lawn. A female Hairy Woodpecker was spotted on the base of a Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), which has such warty bark.
On that busy day, Friday, 3/27/20 a Carolina Wren decided it was time to bathe enthusiastically in the basin.
On Saturday, 3/28/20 the Eastern Phoebes were busy at building their nest. However, which one? Been doing a bit of head scratching lately because it seems there may be two pairs of phoebes with nearby nests. I've seen the first pair chasing another pair, and some other squabbles. Typically, the female will not tolerate another so near. Perhaps the wrens are back in the first nest. I just don't know, time will tell!
About noon that drippy day, I had just come into the breakfast room and saw a little brown bullet shoot from the bluebells by the bubbler right up to the back door, not a foot from where I stood. It was a Winter Wren, popping up and down, up and down as if to say, "I'm BACK, I'm BACK!" It flew to the brush pile and then it foraged among the fungi on a log. I believe it had to be the same wren that was here last October!
Among the most beautiful of our resident birds right now is the Northern Cardinal, in its rich, scarlet breeding plumage.
The American Toads have been very noisily calling for mates the last few days with the warmup. Sleeping with earplugs has been required. Yesterday morning, 3/29/20 a Red-shouldered Hawk was spotted having a toad for breakfast. May the hawk enjoy many more meals of toad!
To view all the photos since the last post, open a new window here: Birds from 3/24/20