Chickadee checks out birdhouse

Photo by Chris Bosak A black-capped chickadee checks out a birdhouse in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak A black-capped chickadee checks out a birdhouse in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2017.

One of the biggest thrills in spring is seeing what birds are choosing your yard to raise a family. I have mourning dove and robin nests this spring, and this chickadee is checking out one of my four birdhouses. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen it since, so it likely found another home.

I did notice great-crested flycatchers flying into a large oak tree with nesting material in its bill. Hopefully that’s a good sign. I’ll certainly keep an eye out to see how that develops. I also have male and female hummingbirds coming to the feeders, so if hummingbirds nested in the yard somewhere, that would be cool.

As spring progresses, I’ll keep an eye out for what else might be nesting nearby. Drop me a line and let me know what’s nesting in your yard.

Nice to see this guy back

Photo by Chris Bosak A male ruby-throated humminacgbird visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak A male ruby-throated hummingbird visits a feeder in Danbury, Conn., during the spring of 2017.

Not sure if it’s the same male ruby-throated hummingbird I had last fall, but at any rate, it was good to see him return to the feeder a few days ago. He’s been their daily, several times a day. The female is still hanging around, too. Hopefully there’s a love connection there and they’ll build a nest somewhere on my property. I’ll keep my eyes open.

 

Another shot of the ‘pileated’ woodpecker

Photo by Chris Bosak  A pileated woodpecker looks for insects at the base of a tree at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., April 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A pileated woodpecker looks for insects at the base of a tree at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., April 2017.

Here’s another photo of the pileated woodpecker I saw the other day.

Hearing the name of this remarkable bird begs the question: What does pileated mean? According to dictionary.com, it simply means “crested,” an apt name for this woodpecker. There’s also this, more descriptive, definition from thefreedictionary.com: “Etymologically means “capped,” like a mushroom, but now refers to a bird with a crest on the top of the head from the bill to the nape.”

So there you have it …

 

Look who’s back

Photo by Chris Bosak A ruby-throated hummingbirds hovers near a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A ruby-throated hummingbirds hovers near a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

This female ruby-throated hummingbird arrived today (Sunday, April 30, 2017) at the feeder. I put the feeder out about two weeks ago in anticipation of the hummingbirds’ return. Is it the same female hummingbird that has visited my feeder over the last few seasons? I’m not sure, but I’m glad to welcome them back, either way. Hopefully she will find a suitable nesting site on my property. If she heads farther north, well, that’s fine, too.

Photo by Chris Bosak A ruby-throated hummingbirds perches on a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A ruby-throated hummingbirds perches on a feeder at Merganser Lake in Danbury, Conn., in April 2017.

Putting another homemade bird feeder to the test

Photo by Chris Bosak  A white-breasted nuthatch takes a sunflower seed from a homemade platform feeder in March 2017, in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A white-breasted nuthatch takes a sunflower seed from a homemade platform feeder in March 2017, in Danbury, Conn.

I know I’m not breaking any ground with the design of this homemade bird feeder, but figured I’d share it anyway. I’ve been wanting a platform feeder for a while now. The ones I made last year simply by cutting a thin section of a tree trunk with a chainsaw worked for a few months, but I didn’t treat them and they dried up, cracked warped and eventually fell apart.

On to plan B, which was to check out some offerings at stores. I saw one I liked but its design was so simple I couldn’t justify spending money on it. So I mulled it over and procrastinated for a long while before heading into the basement to sift through the scrap wood left by the previous owners of the house.

Almost right away I found an old, wooden cabinet door. The bottom (or inside) already had two thin pieces of wood running near the edges. All I had to do was add two more pieces to close the box and keep the seed contained and I would be done. Just as easily said than done.

The only tricky part was getting it to hang straight, or at least relatively straight. The small chain I used at first just wasn’t cutting it. It would hang low on one end so I’d adjust the links and only make it worse. So I dug out some old carabiner/keychain tchotchkes and linked the same number on each side of the feeder. It still didn’t hang perfectly straight, but that’s fine because I like it slightly angled toward the house anyway. Also, the angle will allow for drainage in heavy rains. (I love when I can justify flaws in my creations.)

As you can see, it’s also a fairly sizable feeder so I can offer a variety of foods at once. It’s working great already and I look forward to sharing photos of future visitors. It’s got rose-breasted grosbeak written all over it. Time will tell.

Photo by Chris Bosak  A white-breasted nuthatch takes a sunflower seed from a homemade platform feeder in March 2017, in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A white-breasted nuthatch takes a sunflower seed from a homemade platform feeder in March 2017, in Danbury, Conn.

 

Leftover snow photo 4: just another junco

Photo by Chris Bosak  A Dark-eyed Junco perches on an evergreen during a snowstorm in Feb. 2017 in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Dark-eyed Junco perches on an evergreen during a snowstorm in Feb. 2017 in Danbury, Conn.

Tomorrow we’ll think warmer thoughts on this site (stay tuned) but for now here’s another photo from that snowstorm last week. Remember, juncos were the most prolific bird in my yard that day, so naturally I have plenty of junco photos.

Leftover snow photo 2: Titmouse eyes a peanut

Photo by Chris Bosak  A tufted titmouse contemplates grabbing a peanut from a deck railing following a snowstorm in Danbury, Conn., Feb. 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A tufted titmouse contemplates grabbing a peanut from a deck railing following a snowstorm in Danbury, Conn., Feb. 2017.

Here’s another leftover snow shot from last week’s storm. Titmice were the second-most reliable sighting in the backyard during and after the storm(s). Junco was the best most reliable with dozens in the backyard at any given time.

A few leftover snow photo: Black-capped Chickadee

Photo by Chris Bosak A black-capped chickadee checks out a feeder during a snowstorm in Feb. 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A black-capped chickadee checks out a feeder during a snowstorm in Feb. 2017.

Snowstorms are great for backyard birdwatchers. The snow adds an interesting element to an already fascinating subject. Here, and a few more in the days to come, are some more shots I got over the snowy weekend.

Another New England woodpecker in the snow; keep sending me your photos!

https://birdsofnewengland.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/rdwood1c.jpg

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Red-bellied Woodpecker eyes a peanut a few days following a snowstorm in Danbury, Conn., February, 2017.

Yesterday I posted photos hairy and downy woodpeckers. Today it’s the red-bellied woodpecker’s turn. They love peanuts at my house (as you can tell from the amount of photos I post of them grabbing peanuts off my deck railing.)

Not too long ago, the red-bellied woodpecker wasn’t a New England woodpecker. The species is gradually expanding its range northward and is now very common in southern New England and becoming more and more common in the middle of New England.

Now that’s it’s snowing again (it’s the morning of Sunday, Feb. 12 as I write) feel free to keep sending me your snow bird photos. I got some great shots on Thursday from readers, how about some more? To see the Thursday entries, click here.