It was a gray day that turned into a snowy day that turned into a misty, gray day. The weather never fails to be part of the story of a Christmas Bird Count (CBC) in New England. Yesterday (Sunday) was the annual CBC in my area and, as usual, I covered the Norwalk (Conn.) coastline and parts inland with Frank Mantlik, one of Connecticut”s top birders. We tallied 61 species, which will be combined with the other birds spotted by the Count’s other teams. Highlights included northern shoveler, northern pintail, prairie warbler, pine warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, northern harrier, merlin and horned lark. Full story coming in my For the Birds column. In the meantime, here’s what the Christmas Bird Count is all about.
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.
Here’s just the start to the bird photos taken during the snowstorm that blanketed New England on Wednesday and Thursday.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll include them on the Reader Submitted Photos page.
This common grackle visited my feeding station recently and brightened up a gray, Continue reading
Last week I offered some suggestions on donating to conservation organizations to help out these important groups during this season of giving. Many of these organizations are hurting this year due to the cancellation of so many revenue-producing programs.
This week, I’ll offer some tips on getting more traditional holiday gifts for your birder. A gift list for birdwatchers has to start with optics. Technically, no equipment is needed to go birdwatching. You can simply head to the woods or look out your window and scan for birds. Realistically, however, you need a few essentials, namely binoculars and a field guide. If you have a budding birdwatcher on your list, an inexpensive pair will likely suffice. More experienced birders will appreciate better-quality optics.
With optics, as with most things, you get what you pay for. A $15 pair of binoculars will serve you just fine, but a $150 pair will seem like a different world. A really great pair of binoculars will set you back hundreds of dollars, but they will last Continue reading
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
It’s the season of giving, and this year nonprofit organizations need your support more than ever.
COVID-19 changed everything. Aside from the horrendous physical toll it has taken on so many, businesses have closed and many people are struggling to make ends meet. Nonprofit organizations are not immune to this downturn. Those that specialize in land conservation or nature are just as impacted as the rest of them.
Many of these organizations rely on programming, events, summer camps or other activities that require people to be in close proximity to each other to help pay the bills. COVID put a hard stop on that. As a result, these organizations are out the revenue that these events would have brought in. Many have turned to virtual events, but they don’t have the Continue reading
A fun bird photo to get you in the holiday spirit.
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