Ruby-throated Hummingbird on garden arborRuby-throated Hummingbird on garden arborOne of many ruby-throated hummingbirds in our garden rests on the garden arbor.

Welcome to our blog! It's all about our discoveries here in our Shady Oaks yard, a Sanctuary for birds and other wildlife. We began to restore habitat for wildlife here in 1996 and gauge our success by the diversity of species we observe and document with our photography. We hope you enjoy our images and come back often to see what's new! 

Migration wanes, into June now 6-4-22

June 04, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Most migrating birds have moved on to breeding grounds, though species are still coming through!

Check out Birdcast for movement just last night:  St. Louis County, June 3, 2022

 

Species that nest here have stayed in the area.

Resident breeding birds have been busy raising young!

All of these species need the same things: cover, places to raise young, insect foods and fresh water. 

 

4-28-22 Blackpoll Warbler4-28-22 Blackpoll Warbler

5-1-22 Blackpoll Warbler female5-1-22 Blackpoll Warbler female

 

Birdcast had predicted a high influx of birds on Saturday and Sunday nights, 5-7-22 and 5-8-22. Sure enough, Monday, 5-9-22 was my personal 'big day' with 53 species for the day, including 15 warblers. Blackpoll Warblers fly the longest overwater journey of any songbird species - nearly 1,800 miles non-stop over the Atlantic Ocean to their wintering grounds in South America. 

Blackpoll Warbler

 

This species is rarely seen in the fall in Missouri because of its route over the Atlantic. Birders know they better see it in spring to be sure to get it for the year. However, our yard hosted a young female that took the shorter route and this sighting became the third fall record for Missouri. This event was covered in our very first blog post on October 14, 2013. Time sure flies like the birds!

Wildlife at Shady Oaks

 

4-30-22 Yellow Warbler with a caterpillar!4-30-22 Yellow Warbler with a caterpillar! 5-9-22 Yellow Warbler female5-9-22 Yellow Warbler female

 

Yellow Warblers have been seen here more this year than ever before. They nest over much of North America, including in Missouri, and prefer habitats like wet woods or areas with trees like willows near streams. That's where they'll find the most insect foods. See if you agree that their song says, "sweet, sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet!" It's an easy one to learn.

Yellow Warbler

 

Years ago, I was determined to learn bird songs. It was a struggle to begin, but slowly, they started to stick. Start with the birds you hear every day, then prepare over the winter for the deluge of new birds that arrive with migration. It's still a struggle, but there's a FREE app for that!

Listen to birds using an app called Merlin Bird ID:   Merlin

 

Merlin is another tool to add to your toolbox, so to speak. We still need to use our own ears and eyes to confirm the songs recorded. But this app has improved tremendously since it was first introduced, and it's fun to help you be aware of the birds around you. 

 

4-29-22 Eastern Bluebird4-29-22 Eastern Bluebird 5-5-22 Eastern Bluebird with insect5-5-22 Eastern Bluebird with insect 4-30-22 Eastern Bluebird female4-30-22 Eastern Bluebird female
5-10-22 Eastern Bluebird carrying fecal sac away5-10-22 Eastern Bluebird carrying fecal sac away
4-30-22 Eastern Bluebird4-30-22 Eastern Bluebird
 

This spring we had our first nesting pair of Eastern Bluebirds. They managed beautifully and were attentive to their feeding and housekeeping duties. The male is shown with a fecal sac which was carried far from the nest site. On 5-12-22, it was time for the young birds to fledge. Once they leave the nest box, they will not return. It's a day when everyone is nervous and excited! 

 

5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird female chattering to fledgling in cover5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird female chattering to fledgling in cover 5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird fledgling5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird fledgling

 

One by one, they left the box. The female was calling to them. I could imagine something like, "Keep your heads down! Watch out for those big birds! Stay low!" 

 

5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird fledgling5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird fledgling

 

One fledgling managed to fly up into a spice bush (Lindera benzoin). Well-camouflaged, it waited for an adult to bring more food. 

 

5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird with fledgling5-12-22 Eastern Bluebird with fledgling

 

How all five of those little birds managed to have room to exercise their wings before their entrance into the big wide world, I'll never know! The male returned once to the box on 5-29-22 and called a few times, then flew. According to my sources, that would have been the earliest day to begin a new nest, seventeen days after fledgling. Maybe this is their first brood and they're taking a well-earned break! Will keep you posted.

 

5-29-22 Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)5-29-22 Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

 

While I was weeding in front one day, I heard the familiar buzzing of a hummingbird flying by. I looked up to see it enjoying the sweet nectar of the Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens). Those of you who have this plant must enjoy their visits, too. It's a bit more gratifying to see them at a natural food source that you've planted and nurtured!
 

 

5-29-22 Northern Cardinal eggshell5-29-22 Northern Cardinal eggshell 5-29-22 Northern Cardinal nest in Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle5-29-22 Northern Cardinal nest in Coral Trumpet Honeysuckle

 

As I worked up the front walk, I saw a broken egg shell from a Northern Cardinal's nest. Were the young just hatching? I had been so busy watching birds in back that I had missed this nest being built! The female and male scolded me for getting too close. So, no more weeding will be done in that area for a while! Minimal disturbance, that's our motto here.

 

5-12-22 Northern Cardinal fledgling5-12-22 Northern Cardinal fledgling 5-12-22 Northern Cardinal fledgling #25-12-22 Northern Cardinal fledgling #2 5-30-22 Northern Cardinal fledglings5-30-22 Northern Cardinal fledglings

 

There are at least two other pairs of Northern Cardinals that have young. One nest is in the other Coral Trumpet vine that has been around much longer with more cover. The other nest, well, I'm not sure where it is, but the adults bring their young to the bubbler area and have me babysit while they look for food!

 

Back in February, 2011, I had the first opportunity to meet Doug Tallamy, mentor and author of Bringing Nature Home, Nature's Best Hope and The Nature of Oaks. I couldn't wait to tell him all the work we had been doing to create habitat and how many birds we had seen in our yard. Then, he zinged me with, "Yes, but how many nesters do you have?" "Oh, um, not sure..have to think about that," was my weak reply. Since my awareness has been raised, we've both learned what we need to do to make our yard more receptive to nesting species. Below is our current count of 34 native species. 


 

2021 Summer Breeders2021 Summer Breeders

 

Now, perhaps I stretch this a bit because the birds may be nesting in a tree across the street or two doors away. However, these species are foraging here or coming into our yard with young and feeding them here. Oh, how I wish we had 100 acres sometimes! At this point in our lives, that is not feasible. I share ideas with all of you to compensate for that. Each of us can do more to support breeding birds and migrants and help bring back the birds, bees, butterflies and more. 

 

Learn more about Doug Tallamy's books and his big idea, Homegrown National Park and get on the map, too!  

 

Tallamy's Hub

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


More birds of May 5-17-22

May 17, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

May, oh my!

So many birds = so little time

 

Today, we start with a video. Fortunately, I saw this bird and could confirm its identity. That will be revealed in due course. So, watch for the bird on the left side on the down-angled branch. It disappears into cover and comes into the basin area 'back door' on the left side. As you can see, these birds are small, quick and it's often difficult to catch sight of them when the leaves have filled out and the bubbler area is so dark and shady. 

 

5-16-22 Mourning WarblerMourning Warbler bathes in the basin.

 

4-28-22 Warbling Vireo4-28-22 Warbling Vireo 5-11-22 Philadelphia Vireo5-11-22 Philadelphia Vireo 5-11-22 Blue-headed Vireo5-11-22 Blue-headed Vireo 5-10-22 Red-eyed Vireo5-10-22 Red-eyed Vireo

 

Four different vireo species have come to the bubbler, usually to splash-bathe. They pause to look, giving me a better chance to get their passport photos. Warbling Vireo and Philadelphia Vireos look similar and are often difficult to separate out. The Philadelphia is the least common. The Warbling Vireo has a white throat and is duller overall, sometimes with yellow on the sides. Blue-headed Vireo and Red-eyed Vireo are a bit easier to tell apart.

  5-10-22 Baltimore Oriole5-10-22 Baltimore Oriole
5-11-22 FOY Orchard Oriole5-11-22 FOY Orchard Oriole

 

Both Baltimore and Orchard Orioles have come to the bubbler this spring. It is the first time that a male Orchard Oriole has gotten in to bathe.

 

5-7-22 Summer Tanager, immature5-7-22 Summer Tanager, immature 5-4-22 Scarlet Tanager5-4-22 Scarlet Tanager

 

Summer and Scarlet Tanagers have also been seen and heard. The young Summer Tanager reminds me of Neopolitan sherbet with its multicolored plumage. Soon, it will be an orangey-red all over.

 

5-8-22 Gray-cheeked Thrush5-8-22 Gray-cheeked Thrush 5-8-22 Swainson's Thrush5-8-22 Swainson's Thrush 5-3-22 Wood Thrush, first time in 10 years at the bubbler!5-3-22 Wood Thrush, first time in 10 years at the bubbler!

 

Gray-cheeked and Swainson's Thrushes come early and often to the bubbler. However, one evening this spring was the first time in ten years that a Wood Thrush got in! Now let's look at a few more warblers.

 

5-2-22 Yellow Warbler5-2-22 Yellow Warbler

5-9-22 Yellow Warbler female5-9-22 Yellow Warbler female

 

Yellow Warblers have been a joy to see this year, and a female came in on Monday, 5-9-22.


5-4-22 Northern Parula5-4-22 Northern Parula

 

We had Northern Parulas a few more days before they began to establish breeding territory. 

 

5-9-22 FOY Bay-breasted Warbler5-9-22 FOY Bay-breasted Warbler 5-11-22 Bay-breasted Warbler female5-11-22 Bay-breasted Warbler female

 

The lovely Bay-breasted Warbler pair arrived on different days. Both are so uniquely colored, though the female can be confused with the Blackpoll female. Dark legs? Bay-breasted. 

 

5-9-22 Blackpoll Warbler5-9-22 Blackpoll Warbler 5-1-22 Blackpoll Warbler female5-1-22 Blackpoll Warbler female

 

And, here is the Blackpoll pair. Certainly don't have dark legs, do they? Orangey legs are a key diagnostic feature for this bird.

 

  5-12-22 Blackburnian Warbler5-12-22 Blackburnian Warbler

5-9-22 Blackburnian Warbler female5-9-22 Blackburnian Warbler female

 

What would spring be without the beautiful Blackburnian Warblers? Firethroats!

 

5-16-22 FOY Mourning Warbler5-16-22 FOY Mourning Warbler
5-16-22 FOY Mourning Warbler5-16-22 FOY Mourning Warbler
 

The video of the first bird was recorded on Friday, 5-16-22. I was able to find the bird in the hydrangeas behind the bubbler. It gave me one full frontal view, Mourning Warbler! Then, it flew down into cover again to forage and sang a little, "cheery-cheery, chorry-chorry-chorry." I had a long list of other things to be done, but thought there might be a good chance that the bird would come back after feeding. It is a skulker, and stayed in the cover of mayapple and wood poppies most of the time, but I was able to get these two photos, certainly not glamour shots but, "C'est la vie!" It is #109 for the year and #78 at the bubbler. To me, having it be comfortable enough to come back in was reward in itself. Every minute a bird is here finding what it needs helps to anchor our location into its genes.

 

All the photos that make it into a gallery or on the blog go through my 12-step process. I've taken hundreds every day this spring and I'm still sorting through them. Maybe I'll be caught up by fall migration!

If you'd like to look at more of the birds, start here:  Photos beginning May 4

 

Update:  The Eastern Bluebirds fledged successfully on 5-12-22. We hope to see more of them soon!

 

 

 

 

 


First week of May, 5-8-22

May 08, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Happy Mother's Day!

How about some warblers to help celebrate?

 

5-1-22 Yellow Warbler5-1-22 Yellow Warbler

4-30-22 Yellow Warbler4-30-22 Yellow Warbler 4-30-22 Yellow Warbler with a caterpillar!4-30-22 Yellow Warbler with a caterpillar!

 

"Sweet, sweet, sweet, I'm so sweet!" There have been Yellow Warblers here almost every day since 4-22-22, Earth Day! Some years we don't see them at all. 

  4-29-22 Pine Warbler4-29-22 Pine Warbler 4-30-22 Pine Warbler4-30-22 Pine Warbler

 

An unusual sighting is this Pine Warbler that was here for several days. It is a rare but regular migrant through the St. Louis area during the last two weeks of April and first few days of May. There is a wintering population in shortleaf pine stands in the southern part of Missouri. 

 

4-28-22 Blackpoll Warbler4-28-22 Blackpoll Warbler 5-1-22 Blackpoll Warbler female5-1-22 Blackpoll Warbler female

 

Blackpoll Warblers! Orange legs are diagnostic for the species. Male is in first photo, and the most beautiful female I've ever seen in the second.  It's important to see this species in the spring because there are very few records of them in the fall. In fact, we have the third record of a fall sighting for the state. 

 

4-29-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler4-29-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler 4-29-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler4-29-22 Chestnut-sided Warbler

 

Chestnut-sided Warblers have been heard calling, "Pleased, pleased, pleased to meet 'ya!"

 

4-30-22 Blue-winged Warbler4-30-22 Blue-winged Warbler 4-30-22 Blue-winged Warbler4-30-22 Blue-winged Warbler

 

Blue-winged Warblers! "Bee-buzz!" What a beauty to be blowing raspberries, but that is just what it sounds like.

 

5-2-22 Golden-winged Warbler5-2-22 Golden-winged Warbler 5-1-22 Golden-winged Warbler5-1-22 Golden-winged Warbler 5-1-22 Golden-winged Warbler5-1-22 Golden-winged Warbler
 

"Zee-bee-bee-bee bee!" sings the Golden-winged Warbler, the bird of highest conservation concern that we've seen here.

 

5-1-22 Northern Parula5-1-22 Northern Parula 5-2-22 Northern Parula5-2-22 Northern Parula 5-2-22 Northern Parula5-2-22 Northern Parula

 

"Zeeee-up!" The diminutive Northern Parula can easily be heard, not always easily seen. It took years to coax them down to the bubbler.

 

4-30-22 Black-and-white Warbler4-30-22 Black-and-white Warbler 4-30-22 Black-and-white Warbler4-30-22 Black-and-white Warbler 4-30-22 Black-and-white Warbler4-30-22 Black-and-white Warbler

 

"Weesee, weesee, weesee, weesee, weesee." The Black-and-white Warbler has a repetitive, rhythmic squeaky song. 

 

5-3-22 FOY Magnolia Warbler5-3-22 FOY Magnolia Warbler 5-3-22 FOY Magnolia Warbler, "tail dipped in ink"5-3-22 FOY Magnolia Warbler, "tail dipped in ink" 5-3-22 FOY Magnolia Warbler5-3-22 FOY Magnolia Warbler

 

The brilliant Magnolia Warbler sings, "Weeta-weeta-weetsee". Its tail looks like it's dipped in ink and like no other warbler's.

 

4-29-22 Northern Waterthrush4-29-22 Northern Waterthrush 4-29-22 Northern Waterthrush4-29-22 Northern Waterthrush

 

The Northern Waterthrush loves the still waters of the swampy thicket. It has a loud metallic "chink" call, and sings, "Sweet sweet sweet swee wee wee chew chew chew." 

 

5-1-22 Black-throated Green Warbler5-1-22 Black-throated Green Warbler
5-1-22 Black-throated Green Warbler5-1-22 Black-throated Green Warbler 5-1-22 Black-throated Green Warbler5-1-22 Black-throated Green Warbler

 

The Black-throated Green Warbler has two songs, "zee-zee-zee-zee-zoozee!" and "zee-zee-zoo-zoo-zee." It's fun to hear all these songs tumbling on top of one another. In May, it is challenging to keep up with all the activity! 

 

Birds will be tumbling in now, in even greater numbers. Here's the forecast:   http://birdcast.info/

 

For all the birds since the last post:  Birds beginning 5-28-22

 

Just warblers, you say?   Warblers

 

 

Enjoy the miracle of migration!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Migrants are on the move! 4-30-22

April 30, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

 

Migration is now in full swing!

What a big change in the last ten days. Here are just some of the new FOY (first-of-year) birds.

 

4-19-22 Rusty Blackbird4-19-22 Rusty Blackbird

 

The last Rusty Blackbird was seen on Earth Day, 4-22-22. There are still a few being seen in Forest Park, very late for this overwintering  species still to be here. 

 

4-21-22 Blue-headed Vireo4-21-22 Blue-headed Vireo

 

This Blue-headed Vireo splash-bathed on 4-21-22.

 

4-22-22 FOY #62 *42 Black-throated Green Warbler4-22-22 FOY #62 *42 Black-throated Green Warbler 4-22-22 FOY #64 *43 Orange-crowned Warbler4-22-22 FOY #64 *43 Orange-crowned Warbler

4-23-22 Orange-crowned Warbler in cover of Blackhaw out of the wind4-23-22 Orange-crowned Warbler in cover of Blackhaw out of the wind

 

Black-throated Green and Orange-crowned Warblers came in on Earth Day. The second Orange-crowned Warbler was sheltering in a Blackhaw, out of gusty winds the following day.

  4-22-22 FOY 65 *44 Yellow Warbler4-22-22 FOY 65 *44 Yellow Warbler

 

A Yellow Warbler stopped by the bubbler on Earth Day. This species has been seen on three days, more photos will be added soon (if I ever catch up!) 

 

4-22-22 FOY Indigo Bunting4-22-22 FOY Indigo Bunting

 

To complement the Yellow Warbler, and Indigo Bunting also came in for species #66 for the year and #45 at the bubbler.

  4-23-22 FOY 70 Ruby-throated Hummingbird4-23-22 FOY 70 Ruby-throated Hummingbird

4-23-22 FOY 70 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells4-23-22 FOY 70 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Virginia Bluebells

 

Finally, our first Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrived on Saturday, 4-23-22. This bird was at the Virginia Bluebells even more than the feeder. I saw the first female yesterday, 4-29-22.
 

4-23-22 FOY 73 *49 Northern Parula4-23-22 FOY 73 *49 Northern Parula 4-25-22 Northern Parula female4-25-22 Northern Parula female 4-25-22 Northern Parula female4-25-22 Northern Parula female

 

Beautiful Northern Parulas came in on Saturday, 4-23-22 as well. The female shows us all what these birds are doing, finding caterpillars on native plants to eat! This is exactly why we do not use pesticides because that would eliminate this essential food for these migrants and for nesting birds. Caterpillars are the primary food fed to baby birds.

 

4-23-22 Nashville Warbler4-23-22 Nashville Warbler 4-24-22 Tennessee Warbler4-24-22 Tennessee Warbler 4-24-22 FOY Blackpoll Warbler4-24-22 FOY Blackpoll Warbler

4-24-22 FOY Blackpoll and Tennessee, Nashville Warblers4-24-22 FOY Blackpoll and Tennessee, Nashville Warblers

 

Nashville, Tennessee and Blackpoll Warblers, you guessed them! "Parties at the Bubbler" have officially begun!

 

4-25-22 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher4-25-22 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4-25-22 FOY Lincoln's Sparrow4-25-22 FOY Lincoln's Sparrow 4-26-22 FOY Wild Turkey4-26-22 FOY Wild Turkey

 

From the tiny Blue-gray Gnatcatcher and shy Lincoln's Sparrow to the Wild Turkey that stepped out of the woods before scooting back to cover, birds of every size have been coming through. It's spring migration!

 

4-26-22 FOY Rose-breasted Grosbeak female4-26-22 FOY Rose-breasted Grosbeak female

4-26-22 FOY Golden-winged Warbler4-26-22 FOY Golden-winged Warbler
4-26-22 FOY Great Crested Flycatcher4-26-22 FOY Great Crested Flycatcher

 

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Golden-winged Warblers and the Great Crested Flycatchers have been added to the mix.

 

4-25-22 Red-headed Woodpecker4-25-22 Red-headed Woodpecker

4-27-22 Red-headed Woodpecker4-27-22 Red-headed Woodpecker

4-26-22 Red-headed Woodpecker4-26-22 Red-headed Woodpecker

 

For the first time ever, we have TWO Red-headed Woodpeckers frequenting the woodland. They both are seen and heard every day now since Monday, 4-25-22. The first photo shows the near adult bird and the next two show an adult. Perhaps they are a pair now. This species is on the Watch List due to habitat loss, so this is a remarkable development. With the leaves filling out on the trees, it may be trickier to see and photograph these birds. Will try to keep you updated.

 

Carolina Wrens and House Finches have fledged. Northern Cardinals, Eastern Phoebes, Eastern Bluebirds and more are feeding young. Yesterday, I had 56 species of birds here, including 14 warblers. It will take me a while to catch up, but photos will be added into this gallery. 

 

It's truly spring!

 

Birds since 4-17-22

 

PS  Some of you have asked about the highly contagious Avian Flu situation for the birds in other states. I'll post an alert if we need to take down feeders and bird baths. At this point, it is not necessary as far as I know.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mid-April updates 4-17-22

April 17, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

 

The moody month of April is now under the full Pink Moon.

 

4-7-22 Purple Finch female4-7-22 Purple Finch female 4-7-22 Purple Finch female4-7-22 Purple Finch female

 

A female Purple Finch was seen on a couple days and visited the bubbler on 4-7-22.

  4-7-22 Hermit Thrush with pupa4-7-22 Hermit Thrush with pupa

 

Two Hermit Thrushes were also here chasing each other and finding tiny larvae to eat.

 

4-8-22 American Goldfinch on Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium)4-8-22 American Goldfinch on Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium) 4-8-22 American Goldfinch on Spicebush4-8-22 American Goldfinch on Spicebush 4-8-22 American Goldfinches4-8-22 American Goldfinches

4-8-22 Virginia Bluebells in light snow4-8-22 Virginia Bluebells in light snow

 

We had a setback with sleet and light snow when a cold front came in on 4-8-22. The next morning, we had a hard freeze. Birds need to find food no matter what the weather! Somehow, dark days make the goldfinches all the brighter.

 


4-9-22 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica)4-9-22 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker on Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) 4-9-22 Hairy Woodpecker4-9-22 Hairy Woodpecker

 

A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and a Hairy Woodpecker found insects by pecking away at a Green Ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) and small stump.

 

4-9-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch with insect4-9-22 Red-breasted Nuthatch with insect
4-9-22 Yellow-rumped Warbler with insects4-9-22 Yellow-rumped Warbler with insects 4-12-22 Eastern Phoebe4-12-22 Eastern Phoebe 4-12-22 Eastern Phoebe caught insect in 30 mph gust4-12-22 Eastern Phoebe caught insect in 30 mph gust

 

Red-breasted Nuthatches glean insects from vines and bark. The Yellow-rumped Warbler also does but along with the Eastern Phoebe, a flycatcher, it will sally out and catch insects on the wing.

 

4-10-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-10-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-12-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglet4-12-22 Ruby-crowned Kinglet 4-12-22 Carolina Chickadee4-12-22 Carolina Chickadee 4-12-22 Yellow-rumped Warbler4-12-22 Yellow-rumped Warbler 4-12-22 White-breasted Nuthatch4-12-22 White-breasted Nuthatch

 

Bathing is a favorite activity even on the coldest days. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet checked the bubbler when it was full of wind-blown leaves and returned the following morning. The Carolina Chickadee, Yellow-rumped Warbler and White-breasted Nuthatch always find a time to  freshen up.


4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage 4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage 4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage

4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage4-13-22 Red-headed Woodpecker juvenile, near adult plumage

1-27-22 Red-headed Woodpecker Juvenile1-27-22 Red-headed Woodpecker Juvenile

 

I was filling the feeders one morning when I heard a scuffle and looked up to see a Red-headed Woodpecker and Yellow-bellied Sapsucker having a bit of a confrontation. Four days later on 4-13-22, I was able to find the Red-headed Woodpecker again in the woodland. What a striking bird! Because it has dark barring in the secondary feathers and they're not pure white, it is a young bird in near adult plumage. I wonder, is it the same juvenile bird that was here in January? (last photo)

 

4-13-22 FOY #56 White-eyed Vireo4-13-22 FOY #56 White-eyed Vireo 4-15-22 FOY #57 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher4-15-22 FOY #57 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 4-16-22 FOY#58 B#40 Swainson's Thrush4-16-22 FOY#58 B#40 Swainson's Thrush

 

We've seen three new arrivals for the year. In between storms on 4-13-22, I spotted this bedraggled little White-eyed Vireo for FOY #56. Two days later, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was confirmed. (Thought I'd had a glimpse when I saw the vireo.) And, yesterday, this Swainson's Thrush popped out of the bluebells at the bubbler for FOY #58 and Bubbler Bird #40.

 

4-15-22 Brown Thrasher4-15-22 Brown Thrasher
4-15-22 Brown Thrasher4-15-22 Brown Thrasher 4-15-22 Brown Thrasher4-15-22 Brown Thrasher

 

Remember in the last post, I mentioned my little nemesis, the Brown Thrasher. Well, I have to take that back. It came out on Friday to give me a real education on how it thrashes about in the leaves to find food and lives up to its name. Of course, haven't seen it since! Some days it's all about luck and being in the right place at the right time.

 

4-12-22 Five Eastern Bluebird eggs! Found at 3:52 pm4-12-22 Five Eastern Bluebird eggs! Found at 3:52 pm

 

We checked the Eastern Bluebird nest on 4-12-22 and found five beautiful eggs. The female is diligent about being on the nest and the male takes his guard duty very seriously. Fingers crossed they'll be successful. 

 

Recently, I was asked why we have so many beautiful birds here in our yard. We became aware years ago that birds were in trouble. My birding mentors told me stories of birds literally, "dripping off the trees." Well, birds are in trouble and their numbers have dropped dramatically since 1970. Birds are the "canaries in the coal mine", that means they are indicators of environmental health. If you are interested in helping birds and more, here are some things that you can do, right in your own yard.

 

 

Together, we can make a huge difference for our native birds, butterflies and bees! 

 

To view all the photos taken since 4-7-22, begin here:  Mid-April

 

 

 

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