Winter baths and drinks for birds

Photo by Chris Bosak A northern mockingbird drinks from a birdbath in New England, January 2021.

We all know it’s important to offer water as well as food for our feathered friends. It can be discouraging, however, to watch a birdbath day after day and not see any birds using it. They typically aren’t as busy as birdfeeders with a constant stream of birds using it. Factor in the sub-zero temperatures associated with a New England and, unless you have a heated birdbath or bubbler, your birdbath often holds simply a block of ice. I don’t have a bubbler or headed birdbath, but I have been diligent about pouring a few cups of hot water on the block of ice a few times a day to give the birds a water option. I’ve been rewarded with a few sighting over the past week. There hasn’t been a ton of activity but enough to make my trips to the yard worthwhile. Here are a few shots of the visitors.

Photo by Chris Bosak A white-throated sparrow visits to a New England backyard, January 2021.
Photo by Chris Bosak A white-throated sparrow visits to a New England backyard, January 2021.
Photo by Chris Bosak A northern mockingbird drinks from a birdbath in New England, January 2021.

A few more snowy bird photos

Photo by Chris Bosak A pair of Carolina wrens visit a platform feeder in New England, December 2020.

Parts of New England got varying degrees of snow during this week’s storm. I got about a foot of the white stuff, but I’ve heard from friends throughout the region of much more and much less. At any rate, the birds came out to eat during and after the storm. Here’s proof.

Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco eats a berry following a snowstorm in New England, December 2020.
Photo by Chris Bosak A black-capped chickadee visits to a New England backyard, December 2020.
Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco eats a berry following a snowstorm in New England, December 2020.
Photo by Chris Bosak A pair of Carolina wrens visit a platform feeder in New England, December 2020.

Junco eats berry in the snow. More snow photos to come

Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco eats a berry following a snowstorm in New England, December 2020.

Here’s just the start to the bird photos taken during the snowstorm that blanketed New England on Wednesday and Thursday.

Prepping for the storm

Photo by Chris Bosak A Carolina wren visits to a New England bird-feeding station, December 2020.

New England is bracing for a major snowstorm on Wednesday evening and into Thursday. In the meantime, we got a little preview on Monday with a coating of snow. Here are some shots from Monday with thoughts for better snow photos coming soon. Feel free to send your snowy bird photos to birdsofnewengland@gmail.com and I’ll include them on the Reader Submitted Photos page.

Photo by Chris Bosak A red-breasted nuthatch visits to a New England bird-feeding station, December 2020.

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Good winter for red-breasted nuthatches

Photo by Chris Bosak A red-breasted nuthatch visits to a New England bird-feeding station, December 2020.

Based on emails I have received and bird reports I have read, it has been a good fall/winter to see red-breasted nuthatches throughout the region. This one has been hanging around my house for the last several days. Have you had any luck seeing this small bird Continue reading

Hey there, stranger

Photo by Chris Bosak A downy woodpecker grabs a seed and looks at a coffee mug bearing a drawing of a white-breasted nuthatch in New England, fall 2020.

A fun bird photo to get you in the holiday spirit.

For the Birds: The way birds eat

Photo by Chris Bosak A blue jay positions a second suet nugget from a platform feeder, Danbury, Conn., March 2018.
Photo by Chris Bosak A blue jay positions a second suet nugget from a platform feeder, Danbury, Conn., March 2018.

I received an interesting email the other day from a reader who witnessed a fascinating behavior at her bird feeder recently.

Margaret from East Alstead wrote about her blue jays stuffing several sunflower seeds in their mouths and bills before flying off. “A jay landed and proceeded to pick up seeds at a great rate. He left in a bit, but he really had my attention. When he returned I started counting. He took in 25 before departing. Subsequent counting came up with a similar number.”

Blue jays, like many other birds, will cache seeds and nuts for future use. Blue jays have an expandable pouch, or crop, in their esophagus that allows them to hold great Continue reading

Siskin and others

Photo by Chris Bosak A pine siskin perches on a log in New England, November 2020.

I never did post this photo of a siskin that visited a few weeks ago. It showed up on the same day that the purple finch did. The finch stayed for only about an hour, while this siskin remained for a few days before disappearing. Here’s the story regarding those visits.

Here are a few more recent shots from this fall …

Photo by Chris Bosak A red-bellied woodpecker perches on a log in New England, November 2020.

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For the Birds: More from the readers

Photo by Chris Bosak A purple finch perches on a log in New England, November 2020.

The regular flow of feeder birds continued this past week, but they were joined by a few newcomers.

Two weeks ago, it was a lone red-breasted nuthatch that showed up and stayed for a day. This past week, a lone purple finch and a lone pine siskin joined the usual gang of backyard birds. The purple finch stayed for only one day — a few hours, to be more precise. The pine siskin, however, has visited daily ever since it first arrived on the scene.

Pine siskins are notorious for showing up in large numbers and cleaning out thistle feeders. I am surprised this siskin has not been joined by others of its kind, but so far it has been just the one. It mixes with a large group of American goldfinches and can be quite feisty when another bird tries to steal its perch. Pine siskins often flock with American Continue reading