The Amazing Lives of Birds

Book Review: Beaks, Bones, and Bird Song, by Roger J. Lederer If you are interested in birds but don’t have much of a science background, this book is a fun and fascinating read. The author establishes first that birds face daunting odds in their struggle to survive and reproduce. Only about 10% of songbirds make …

We Got a Hummingbird Feeder

So on the Sunday before last I bought a hummingbird feeder. It was something of a Father’s Day present to myself. The Wild Birds Unlimited store was having a 25% off sale so it would have been foolish not to buy one.

Overdue Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles were supposed to arrive early this year (according to people who know their birds), but came late instead. Normally they arrive right around May 1, but this year Judy saw our first Oriole on Thursday, May 5. Perhaps our topsy turvy  spring weather first hastened and then delayed their arrival.

My Kind of Bird Watching

Today we participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count, which is sponsored by the Audubon Society, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and Bird Studies Canada. GBBC brings together tens of thousands of people from around the world to compile data that scientists use to evaluate the state of our feathered friends. This year it started …

Will Vinyl Predators Keep Birds Safe

Our back porch has nice, big windows. Nice big windows that invite birds to fly up and go THUNK right into them. This makes me worry about keeping my status as Friend of Birds. What if inspectors from the Audubon Society show up and start asking questions?

Robin Takes A Bath

Robins go in for a very aerobic style of bathing. We have a bird bath set up so that we can watch it from the back porch. Provides a lot of entertainment. A young robin contemplates taking a dip. And SPLASH! And rest. And SPLASH! And a little grooming. OK, where’s the hair dryer?

Robin Goes a Huntin’

This is the time of year when you see juvenile American Robins about the garden. Juveniles have a spotted breast instead of a red breast. They are cute and fun to watch, especially when they are on the hunt. Robins like to hunt in leaf litter and lawns, which is another good reason to keep …

The Catbird Came Back

Catbirds sound as if they should be some kind of mythical creature – part cat, part bird – like centaurs or griffins. However, Gray Catbirds are actually another one of those migratory birds that arrive from Central America to spend summers in our garden. They compensate for their relatively drab coloring with vocal talents. At …

An Indigo Bunting for Mother’s Day

According to All About Birds, the website of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Indigo Buntings are common. That has not been our experience, however. Maybe three years ago Judy and I saw an indigo bunting foraging for seeds in the back garden. These are small birds, about the size of a sparrow or goldfinch, but …

Return of the Prodigal Songbirds

Right around May 1 they return from winters spent in southern Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. (If only I could spend my winters there.) Of all the migrating birds that return from the tropics, my favorites are probably the Baltimore Orioles and Rose Breasted Grosbeaks. In late April I start putting out grape jelly …