Latest For the Birds column: Chickadees, scarce or not?

Photo by Chris Bosak Ablack-capped chickadee grabs a sunflower seed from a Christmas decoration during the winter of 2016-17 in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A black-capped chickadee grabs a sunflower seed from a Christmas decoration during the winter of 2016-17 in Danbury, Conn.

Where are the chickadees?

That question has been on the minds of many concerned birders this winter. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few at my feeding stations, but not great numbers. Consistent numbers, but not big numbers.

Titmice? Those I’ve seen in consistently high numbers. Nuthatches and the downy woodpecker — also consistent and high. 

But chickadees have been harder to come by. As I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’ve at least seen a few. Many people have written to me to say they’ve not seen any.

“What has happened to these birds?” one reader asked.

Another reader noted a general drop in bird numbers, but: “The biggest absence seems to be chickadees. … In all previous winters I would be inundated with chickadees and nuthatches. This winter: zero nuthatches, and only one or two chickadees at the feeder. I used to have more of them than there was room to perch!”

Chickadees are a beloved bird in New England and Continue reading

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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.

Putting a bow on winter

Photo by Chris Bosak  A broken birdbath and several inches of snow made for an ideal canvas to make a face made out of nuts and seeds used to feed birds.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A broken birdbath and several inches of snow made for an ideal canvas to make a face made out of nuts and seeds used to feed birds.

It’s supposed to be 70, pushing 80, degrees this week. Although New England can throw us some surprises, I’m fairly confident we are done with winter and spring is ready to bloom.

So with that said, here are my last leftover winter photos. I love the photo above. My birdbath bowl broke in half this winter and I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. I used it as a small platform feeder, but when the snow came, obviously it accumulated and covered the seeds. After one of the storms I used some peanuts and sunflower seeds to make a face on the accumulate snow. I was hoping a bird would show up and enhance the photo even more, but no such luck … at least not when I was looking. But it made for a neat photo anyway.

Enjoy and happy spring.

Photo by Chris Bosak Ablack-capped chickadee grabs a sunflower seed from a Christmas decoration during the winter of 2016-17 in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A black-capped chickadee grabs a sunflower seed from a Christmas decoration during the winter of 2016-17 in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak A white-breasted nuthatch sits on a bird-shaped birdfeeder during the winter of 2016-17 in Danbury, Conn.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A white-breasted nuthatch sits on a bird-shaped bird feeder during the winter of 2016-17 in Danbury, Conn.

Before winter gets too far in the rearview mirror

Photo by Chris Bosak A black-capped chickadee perches on a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., March 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A black-capped chickadee perches on a homemade birdfeeder in Danbury, Conn., March 2017.

Here are a few leftover bird photos fro this past winter. Signs of spring are everywhere and more are popping up every day, so I’d better get these photos out there now …

This week and next I’ll sprinkle in some “signs of spring” photos, too.

Photo by Chris Bosak A dark-eyed junco perches on a deck railing in Danbury, Conn., March 2017.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A dark-eyed junco perches on a deck railing in Danbury, Conn., March 2017.

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.

Chickadee pair picks its spot

Photo by Chris Bosak A Black-capped Chickadee cleans out a hole for a home to raise a family in Danbury, Conn., 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A Black-capped Chickadee cleans out a hole for a home to raise a family in Danbury, Conn., 2016.

I tacked onto the bottom of my last For the Birds column the need to keep some dead trees standing as these “snags” are vital for birds. They provide homes and food for birds and other wildlife.

The day after writing the column I took a walk to Little Merganser Lake. I didn’t notice it while walking to the lake, but on my way back I noticed two chickadees going back and forth to a skinny dead tree. I stopped and watched for quite a while.

The birds, of course, were clearing out a hole for the Continue reading

Who’s got the seed? Click and see

So who is this anyway? The guesses were great and the correct answer got the most votes. Good job to all and thank you to everyone to “voted” whether you got the right answer or not.

Click below for the answer.

Continue reading