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.

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Side-by side-comparison of New England’s two nuthatches

A Red-breasted Nuthatch perches near a birdfeeding station in Danbury, Conn., Oct. 2016.

A Red-breasted Nuthatch perches near a birdfeeding station in Danbury, Conn., Oct. 2016.

A White-breasted Nuthatch perches near a birdfeeding station in Danbury, Conn., Oct. 2016.

A White-breasted Nuthatch perches near a birdfeeding station in Danbury, Conn., Oct. 2016.

Here’s a side-by-side (well, really top-to-bottom) comparison of the two nuthatches in New England. The White-breasted is more common throughout much of the region. It is also larger than its cousin. The Red-breasted is more common in the northern parts of New England and visits the southern region in the winter in numbers that vary greatly from year to year.

Latest For the Birds column: Loving the ‘regulars’

Photo by Chris Bosak White-breasted Nuthatch at backyard feeder, Oct. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
White-breasted Nuthatch at backyard feeder, Oct. 2014.

Here’s the latest For the Birds column, which runs weekly in The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.), The Keene (NH) Sentinel and several Connecticut weekly newspapers.

The feeders went back up a few weeks ago. Nothing extraordinary has shown up yet, but it sure is nice to see the “regular” birds back.

My constant companions are nuthatches, titmice and chickadees. There is usually a downy woodpecker or two there as well, but they are not as reliable as the aforementioned birds.

I love seeing the nuthatches. I love the titmice and chick Continue reading

More photos of birds using the homemade feeder

Photo by Chris Bosak A White-breasted Nuthatch checks out a new bird feeder in Danbury, Conn., March 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A White-breasted Nuthatch checks out a new bird feeder in Danbury, Conn., March 2016.

As promised, here are a few more photos of birds using the feeder that my 12-year-old Andrew and I made last week. Here’s the original story in case you missed it.

More photos by clicking below.

Continue reading

Nuthatch after spring snow in New England

Photo by Chris Bosak A White-breasted Nuthatch takes a peanut from a feeder following a spring snow fall in New England in March 2016.

Photo by Chris Bosak
A White-breasted Nuthatch takes a peanut from a feeder following a spring snow fall in New England in March 2016.

The snow that covered the ground as New Englanders woke up on Monday morning seems like a distant memory. Sunshine and rising temperatures took care of the white stuff by the time afternoon rolled around.

But the morning certainly did look pretty and gave anyone who might be obsessed with photographing birds another chance to “shoot” them with a snowy background. Being of that ilk, I took advantage of the freshly fallen snow in the morning. I didn’t venture far. In fact, I focused on my feeders as they were particularly busy.

Here’s one shot from this morning — a White-breasted Nuthatch at my apple-shaped feeder. More to come, including additional photos of that homemade feeder being used.

Thanks for checking out http://www.birdsofnewengland.com

For the Birds column: Project FeedWatch underway

Here’s my latest For the Birds column, which ran last Thursday in The Hour (Norwalk, CT) and Monday in The Keene (N.H.) Sentinel.

Photo by Chris Bosak White-breasted Nuthatches are a common feeder bird in New England.

Photo by Chris Bosak
White-breasted Nuthatches are a common feeder bird in New England.

Project FeederWatch gets under way

What will $18 get you these days?

About four cups of coffee from Starbucks. (Served in plain red cups void of evil, offensive snowflake images.)

About eight gallons of gasoline. Way better than the five gallons it used to get you.

Three bundles of the firewood stacked at the entrance of every grocery store, convenience store and hardware store these days. The bundles are each good for about 10 minutes in a firepit.

Two and a half craft beers at just about any bar or restaurant. Oops, forgot about the tip. Make that two beers.

Or, $18 covers your entrance fee to participate in Project FeederWatch, a citizen science project of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada. It entails keeping track of the birds you see at your backyard feeding stations and submitting your results online. The data collected helps scientists track bird populations in the winter — similar to the Christmas Bird Count and Great Backyard Bird Count.

The fee also gets you a bird ID poster, birdwatching calendar, instruction sheet and newsletter. No guarantee here that the materials will not have images of snowflakes. Try not to be offended if they do.

Project FeederWatch officially started this past Saturday and runs through early April. Don’t worry if you missed the opening day, you can join in whenever. Participants can count the birds as much or as little as they’d like — 24/7 monitoring is not necessary. Being an expert birdwatcher is not required either.

All skill levels welcome. Why not get the entire family involved? Old and young.

I’ve never participated in the Project before, mostly because I’ve never lived in a place where my feeders have been terribly active. Now that I live at a place with very active feeders I’m looking forward to participating this year. (Active feeders, however, are not a prerequisite for participation. Anybody can do it as long as they have a feeder up.)

The feeders at my new place are always bustling with the common visitors White-breasted Nuthatches, Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Downy Woodpeckers. I also see Carolina Wrens, Blue Jays, Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers and American Goldfinches. Lately I’ve noticed a few Dark-eyed Juncos under the feeders. The White-throated Sparrows are not far behind, I’m sure. Will my Pine Warblers I had earlier this fall return to the suet cake? Probably not, but I’ll be watching. Who knows what else will show up?

To join the Project or to get more information, visit http://www.feederwatch.org. The website is full of information and tips on identifying birds (including tricky IDs), feeding birds tips, trend maps, and historical data.

So why participate other than it “helps scientists?” Many bird species are in decline, some seriously so. Tracking the winter abundance and distribution of birds with long-term data offers valuable insight into their lives. It helps scientists track gradual population shifts of bird species. WE know the Carolina Wren and Red-bellied Woodpecker are trending northward. This data quantifies the movement.

That’s more of a positive population shift. What about the negative one? What about the species that are declining year after year?

The data helps scientists recognize the decline and figure out solutions more quickly.

Let me know if join and what birds you see at your feeders.

 

For the Birds runs Thursdays in The Hour. Chris Bosak may be reached at bozclark@earthlink.net. Visit his website at birdsofnewengland.com

Love this White-breasted Nuthatch photo

Photo by Chris Bosak White-breasted Nuthatch at backyard feeder, Oct. 2014.

Photo by Chris Bosak
White-breasted Nuthatch at backyard feeder, Oct. 2014.

Sometimes when photographing birds (or anything for that matter) you never really know what you’ll get. You should always be mindful of the background, but sometimes it’s tough to determine exactly how the photo will look until you take it. Honestly I got kind of lucky with this shot with the jet black background, which really makes the White-breasted Nuthatch standout. I’m not even sure what in the background was so black. Oh well, I’ll take it.

This is the third in a series of photographs celebrating our common backyard feeder birds.