About Chris Bosak

Bird columnist and nature photographer based in New England. Co-managing editor of The Hour newspaper. Bird

No wonder the birds suddenly stopped coming to the feeder

Photo by Chris Bosak  A Cooper's hawk looks up after landing on a snowy branch during a moderate snowfall in Jan. 2018.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Cooper’s hawk looks up after landing on a snowy branch during a moderate snowfall in Jan. 2018.

Watching birds at my feeders during a snowfall is one of my favorite things to do. This year I’m getting nothing out of the ordinary. Not that I’m complaining because I love seeing the titmice, nuthatches, chickadees, woodpeckers (downy, hairy and red-bellied), blue jays and juncos, but I haven’t seen a single siskin, redpoll, Carolina wren or even goldfinch or white-throated sparrow. A male cardinal makes a very rare appearance.

During a recent snowfall I saw nothing for a long stretch. I had been seeing lots of birds earlier in the day and suddenly, nothing. I looked behind the feeding station and noticed why. You guessed it, Cooper’s hawk. Along with sharp-shinned hawks, Copper’s hawks like to check out feeding stations periodically for an easy meal. And why not. The “feeder birds” are there for an easy meal; why begrudge birds of prey one?

Advertisements

Another banner Snowy Owl year

Norman Spicher of New Hampshire got this photo of a snowy own in the Keene, N.H., in January 2018.

Norman Spicher of New Hampshire got this photo of a snowy own in the Keene, N.H., in January 2018.

It looks like another good year to see snowy owls throughout New England.

The white, powerful Arctic visitors may not be as prolific as they were four winters ago, but it is another exceptionally strong year for sure.

A glimpse at Rare Bird Alerts throughout the region show they are being seen at both coastal and inland areas. They are more likely to be seen along the coast, but not exclusively. Keep your eyes open and you just may spot one of these magnificent creatures.

I have not spotted one this year yet. To be fair, I haven’t made much of an effort as work and family duties have kept me from visiting areas where they have been seen. Luckily, I heard from a reader of my bird column in New Hampshire who sent me a photo of a snowy owl that has been seen in the southwestern corner of that state.

That photo is above and also on the “reader submitted photos” page on this site.
It’s funny, that page also includes a photo of a snowy owl taken in southwestern New Hampshire a few years ago. As I said, snowy owls are most likely to be seen along the coast, but not always.

Good luck in your search. Let me know how you do.

Below are a few photos I took during the historic irruption of 2013, but first here are some links to interesting stories about these northern birds of prey.

From Audubon:

http://www.audubon.org/news/hold-your-bins-another-blizzard-snowy-owls-could-be-coming

How are the owls doing overall?

https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2017-12-21/snowy-owl-migration-gives-scientists-chance-to-study-them

Well-done blog with maps:

https://bryanpfeiffer.com/snowy-owl-scoop/

Here’s where they are being seen:

http://ebird.org/ebird/alert/summary?sid=SN40647&sortBy=obsDt

Now here are some photo I took a few years ago.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl flies across the beach at The Coastal Center at Milford Point in early March 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak A Snowy Owl sits on a sign at The Coastal Center at Milford Point in early March 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Snowy Owl sits on a sign at The Coastal Center at Milford Point in early March 2014.

More photos from Erie’s historic snow

Photo by Chris Bosak
Historic snowfall in Erie, Pennsylvania, Dec. 2017.

Of course I have to post more photos of the snow that Erie, Pennsylvania, experienced during Christmas week. Here’s the original post in case you missed it.

In fact, I’m going to post new photos every two hours this weekend. What else do we have to do when its this ridiculously cold out?

OK, this is the last one. The regularly scheduled bird photos will resume shortly.

 

 

More photos from Erie’s historic snow

Photo by Chris Bosak
Historic snowfall in Erie, Pennsylvania, Dec. 2017.

Of course I have to post more photos of the snow that Erie, Pennsylvania, experienced during Christmas week. Here’s the original post in case you missed it.

In fact, I’m going to post new photos every two hours this weekend. What else do we have to do when its this ridiculously cold out?

More photos from Erie’s historic snow

Photo by Chris Bosak
Historic snowfall in Erie, Pennsylvania, Dec. 2017.

Of course I have to post more photos of the snow that Erie, Pennsylvania, experienced during Christmas week. Here’s the original post in case you missed it.

In fact, I’m going to post new photos every two hours this weekend. What else do we have to do when its this ridiculously cold out?

I have a few more photos, so again, every two hours one will magically appear on this site.

This happens to be one of my favorites. Love those big willows.

More photos from Erie’s historic snow

Photo by Chris Bosak
Historic snowfall in Erie, Pennsylvania, Dec. 2017.

Of course I have to post more photos of the snow that Erie, Pennsylvania, experienced during Christmas week. Here’s the original post in case you missed it.

In fact, I’m going to post new photos every two hours this weekend. What else do we have to do when its this ridiculously cold out?

This will be the last one for today. I’ll end with a bird-related photo. Thankfully it’s not nesting season.

More photos from Erie’s historic snow

Photo by Chris Bosak
Historic snowfall in Erie, Pennsylvania, Dec. 2017.

Of course I have to post more photos of the snow that Erie, Pennsylvania, experienced during Christmas week. Here’s the original post in case you missed it.

In fact, I’m going to post new photos every two hours this weekend. What else do we have to do when its this ridiculously cold out?

My brother Paul pointed out this interesting composition. Leave it to an ex-Marine.