Birds to brighten your day: Part XII

Photo by Chris Bosak Robins invade a birdbath.
Photo by Chris Bosak Robins invade a birdbath.

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. This is one of my favorite birdbath photos I’ve taken, even though it’s about 10 years old at this point.

(Repeat text from yesterday) With many of us working from home or otherwise “physical distancing” as we combat COVID-19, I will post a series of photos that are at least vaguely related to our dealing with the crisis. I’ve already done commingling species as a nod to social distancing. This week’s theme is birdbaths to highlight the need for handwashing. (Even though most birds in this series will be drinking and not bathing.)

Birds to brighten your day: Part X

Photo by Chris Bosak A Blue Jay drinks from a birdbath in New England, spring 2016.

This is one of my more well-circulated photos. I used to work for Hearst Media and write my bird column for the company, which meant my photos were fair game for all their products. During a routine Google search, I found that this photo was used for the cover of a special section for the Houston Chronicle. It has also been used by other newspapers, with my permission.

(Repeat text from yesterday) With many of us working from home or otherwise “physical distancing” as we combat COVID-19, I will post a series of photos that are at least vaguely related to our dealing with the crisis. I’ve already done commingling species as a nod to social distancing. This week’s theme is birdbaths to highlight the need for handwashing. (Even though most birds in this series will be drinking and not bathing.)

Birds to brighten your day: Part VIII

Photo by Chris Bosak An eastern phoebe visits a bird bath in Danbury, Conn., March 2016.
Photo by Chris Bosak An Eastern Phoebe visits a bird bath in Danbury, Conn., March 2016.

For the past week, as we’ve all practiced social distancing, I’ve posted daily photos of commingling bird species. Another coronavirus theme, of course, is cleanliness so I’m going to post pictures this week of birds in a bird bath The birds won’t necessarily be bathing (they may be drinking) but you get the picture.

With many of us working from home or otherwise “physical distancing” as we combat COVID-19, I will post series of photos that are at least vaguely related to our dealing with the crisis. I’ve already done commingling species as a nod to social distancing. This week’s theme is bird baths.

For the Birds: Bluebirds of my own

Here is the latest For the Birds column, which runs weekly in several New England newspaper.

Photo by Chris Bosak An eastern bluebird perches on a pole in New England, February 2020.

Sorry, but I have to go back to writing about bluebirds. After several weeks of writing about bluebirds that other people had in their yards, I finally got some of my own.

I would imagine no apology is necessary, however, as who doesn’t like to hear, read and talk about bluebirds?

I walked into my sunroom and saw through the window just a flash of a bird out of the corner of my eye. The bird had been perched on one of the arms of the feeder pole system and disappeared into woods behind my house.

That was a bluebird, I know it, I told myself, even though I got only the shortest of looks in my peripheral Continue reading

For the Birds: More on those bluebirds

Photo by Chris Bosak An eastern bluebird, Brookfield, CT, fall 2018.

Here’s the latest For the Birds column, which runs in several New England newspapers …

It’s still too early to make any official declarations, but it is looking more and more like the Winter of the Bluebird.

After last week’s hint that it might be heading in that direction I received several more emails from astute birdwatchers finding eastern bluebirds. It’s not that bluebirds are a rare New England winter sighting but it appears that more people than usual are reporting them.

Similar to the American robin, another member of the thrush family, many eastern bluebirds remain with us throughout the winter. The trick is finding them. 

Although I have still been shut out of the bluebird frenzy this winter, many others have written to tell me about their encounters. I appreciate the reports. Keep them coming.

Celia from Keene said there was “no missing the blue” of the bluebirds she saw on the rail trail in her city. She said they were the first ones she had seen during the winter. 

Celia added that bluebirds nested on her property for the first time last summer. The way she described it explains in a nutshell why I love New England so much: “We put a bluebird house up in our yard overlooking the pumpkin patch …” Who else but a New Englander could start a sentence that way?

Elena from Winchester reported that a friend of hers saw a large flock of bluebirds near the Connecticut River in the Hinsdale area. Elena, like me, has been shut out of the bluebird party this winter so far, but she did report that a small flock of red-winged blackbirds continues to eat suet and sunflower seeders from her feeders.

Marie Anne from Guilford has had bluebirds visit her backyard for the past seven winters. She has had as many as eight but this year she has four “cranky little guys arguing over the mealworm feeder.”

“Their winter presence brings me as much peace and joy as their sweet complaints do during the gardening season,” she wrote.

Last but not least, Andrew wrote to let me know that bluebirds were at Continue reading

For the Birds: Winter of the Bluebird brewing?

Photo by Chris Bosak
An eastern bluebird scans a yard in Danbury, CT, March 2019.

I thought it was going to be the winter of the junco again, but it’s looking more and more like the winter of the bluebird.

Last year was the winter of the barred owl. As you recall, barred owls were being seen in great numbers all throughout New England. Experts had conflicting theories on why so many of these beautiful owls were being seen, but there is no denying that more than usual were found. On one trip to visit my brother in upstate New York, I found two barred owls. The second owl was perched atop a Welcome to New York sign on the Vermont border.

Several years ago, Christmas Bird Count results were teeming with huge dark-eyed junco numbers. Whereas there are usually hundreds of juncos in a particular count area, there were thousands that year. I dubbed it the winter of the junco and have been on the lookout for similar anecdotal phenomena since then.

Who can forget the winter of the snowy owl a few years back? I can recall robins and pine siskins being highlighted in previous winters.

As I drive to work every day, one stretch of a particular road often has a large flock of juncos. They scatter as I drive by; their white-outlined tails giving away their i Continue reading

One final 2019 birding highlight

Photo by Chris Bosak
A rose-breasted grosbeak eats safflower seeds from a feeder in Danbury, Conn., May 2019.

I promise, here’s the last 2019 birding highlight that didn’t make my Top 10 list. This usually does make my yearly Top 10 list, but other highlights nudged it out this year. Last year was another great year of feeding birds and watching birds in my back yard proved to be a highlight once again. So here’s to those backyard feeder birds. OK, now on to 2020.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A blue jay checks out a box for peanuts in New England, fall 2019.