October is "ober!" 10-31-22

October 31, 2022  •  Leave a Comment


Cover, Food and Water


First, let's take a look at how native plants provide essential cover, or safe places to rest, nest and digest.



This is the Bubbler area, with the native smooth hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) in the upper right, surrounding the back of the Bubbler. 



From the opposite side, one can see the umbrella effect of the shrubs on the west side. Birds constantly fly into the twiggy cover of these plants. The birds feel safe as they check out the different ways to access the water, then preen and rest. 


10-22-22 Yellow-rumped Warbler in cover of smooth hydrangea10-22-22 Yellow-rumped Warbler in cover of smooth hydrangea


This Yellow-rumped Warbler flew in there after a bath, preened its feathers and then looked for any tiny insects. This is the kind of activity that I see all the time, so if you have a water feature, you might want to think about adding more native shrubs around it for cover. It helps the birds feel safe! Use this resource to find the best plants recommended by Doug Tallamy and his research, tailored to your zip code.


Native Plant Finder, “Best” = Keystone Plants:



10-19-22 Eastern Bluebird eating Virginia creeper berries10-19-22 Eastern Bluebird eating Virginia creeper berries 10-24-22 Eastern Bluebird after Blackhaw drupes10-24-22 Eastern Bluebird after Blackhaw drupes 10-19-22 Eastern Bluebird10-19-22 Eastern Bluebird

The last post showed the blue berries of the Virginia Creeper(Parthenocissus quinquefolia), and that is what the Eastern Bluebird is eating in the first photo. The second bird has picked off the much larger drupe of the Blackhaw(Viburnum prunifolium). Fall fruits help birds fatten up for the winter!


10-20-22 First winter Chipping Sparrow10-20-22 First winter Chipping Sparrow 10-21-22 First fall Chipping Sparrow10-21-22 First fall Chipping Sparrow


A first fall Chipping Sparrow had me scratching my head, consulting the field guides and my birding friends! Was it a rare Clay-colored Sparrow? No, because it has the dark eye line and a grayish rump, they kindly told me. The third photo shows a spring adult bird in breeding plumage. Birds can be tricky to identify!


Now we move on to the Cutest Bird Contest...


10-21-22 Winter Wren10-21-22 Winter Wren 10-21-22 Winter Wren10-21-22 Winter Wren


A diminutive Winter Wren is the first contestant, mousey-brown and perky.


10-28-22 Brown Creeper10-28-22 Brown Creeper 10-21-22 Brown Creeper10-21-22 Brown Creeper


How about the Brown Creeper, which I call the 'little toasted marshmallow'?


10-27-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch10-27-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch

10-21-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch10-21-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch


And the Red-breasted Nuthatches make us smile with their 'tiny tin horn' call!


10-19-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglet10-19-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 10-19-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglets10-19-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglets


Ruby-crowned Kinglets? They definitely rank high on the humorously cute scale.

  10-28-22 Golden-crowned Kinglet10-28-22 Golden-crowned Kinglet 10-24-22 Golden-crowned Kinglet10-24-22 Golden-crowned Kinglet


There's nothing like being flashed by a Golden-crowned Kinglet! I'll leave it up to you to pick a favorite, if you can. 


10-28-22 FOY #114 Field Sparrow10-28-22 FOY #114 Field Sparrow 10-28-22 FOY #114 Field Sparrow10-28-22 FOY #114 Field Sparrow


I was really pleased to see a Field Sparrow come to the bubbler, maybe only the third time I've had one here. This species is in decline, with a Conservation Concern Score of 12, just like the next bird.


10-28-22 Mourning Dove, juvenile10-28-22 Mourning Dove, juvenile 10-29-22 Mourning Doves10-29-22 Mourning Doves


Mourning Doves are also having difficulty finding good habitat. The first photo shows a juvenile bird, the first time I've managed to photograph one. Its tail feathers are still growing out, it looks very young. Don't know where they nested, but I'm so glad to see a young bird.


Listening for birds, with a little help...


12-17-13 Bird Monitor12-17-13 Bird Monitor 11-29-14 Bird Monitor11-29-14 Bird Monitor


In 2013, I purchased a baby monitor, with the microphone mounted inside this PVC pipe that Dan put together and painted brown. It's nice to turn it on and listen to whatever birds might be calling outside, when I'm inside. Then, I step out to look for them and confirm their presence. It keeps me connected to what's happening in our sanctuary. 




We recently added another device called a Haikubox to help us know what may be here in our habitat.(It seems to be out of stock again, we were on the waiting list for a while. FYI, we receive no compensation for mentioning this on our website.) Here is an article about it and how it was developed.

Haikubox gives citizen scientists a tool to track birds


After one week, here is the list of birds detected by our Haikubox and how often they were recorded. The app alerts me to new birds, with low, medium or high confidence. Now, I did not see or hear many of these birds such as the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Wild Turkey or Mourning Warbler. It sure has me looking and listening for them, though! When I can confirm a bird that is detected, I do so with the app.

Now, we've always realized that we would never know all the birds that might be here because we have intentionally provided lots of cover (safe places in the form of native plants) for them.

The best part about the Haikubox is that it is working all the time and sending the data directly to the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We love the idea of making this contribution to the data set of "where the birds are", 24/7.



10-26-22 Barred Owl10-26-22 Barred Owl

Barred Owl, resting in cover, quietly


Happy Halloween!









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