Busy day at the feeder (in photos)

Photo by Chris Bosak A tufted titmouse looks into a cup for peanuts in New England, February 2020.

For a cold February day, it’s been a pretty good day at the feeder. In all, 14 species showed up already and it’s not even noon. The pileated woodpecker was in the side yard, not at the feeders. I took the photo through a dirty, hence the poor quality. Here’s some photographic evidence of the busy day: Continue reading

Just a typical day in the backyard

Photo by Chris Bosak
A white-breasted nuthatch perches on a pole as a downy woodpecker eats suet from a feeder, New England 2019.

The word typical can have a negative connotation. It is usually used to describe something boring or mundane. Or worse, as a word of exasperation to draw attention to a recurring negative behavior: “Oh, that’s so typical of him.”

But I’m going to use typical in a positive way here. Yesterday, all the typical birds showed up at my feeder. And that’s a good thing. My ‘typicals’ include chickadees, titmice, white-breasted nuthatches, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, and blue jays. You can throw juncos in there, too, in the winter. Other birds come from time to time, but those are the birds that are always there. Many people write to me about a lack of chickadees at their feeders lately. It’s definitely a trend to keep an eye on, but thankfully, I still have plenty of chickadees visiting my feeders.

Not that I’m boasting about my feeders. There are some obvious bird species that I hardly ever see. Cardinals, for whatever reason, are Continue reading

A nuthatch and a borrowed camera lens

Photo by Chris Bosak A white-breasted nuthatch perches on a branch in New England, fall 2019.

My friend Ellen was excited to show me her new Canan f2.8 lens with a range of 70 to 200mm. She asked if I wanted to borrow it for a week and I said yes (of course). With 200mm as the maximum zoom, its capability as a wildlife photography lens is limited, but still very useful for some circumstances. Many of the days were overcast and that made the 2.8 aperture very handy. It is also a high-quality lens so even subjects that are a bit distant will still be sharp.

I experimented with the lens mostly in the backyard where I know I have a steady supply of subjects near the birdfeeders. White-breasted nuthatches turned out to be the best subjects as they perched in a tree close to the feeders before coming to get a seed. Here are some of the results. Continue reading

Homemade peanut birdfeeder does the trick

Photo by Chris Bosak A white-breasted nuthatch lands on a birdfeeder offering peanuts, Danbury, CT, March 2019.

I originally used this homemade birdfeeder (made from simply from drilling holes into a section of a fallen branch I found in the yard) to serve suet to the birds. It proved to be quite labor intensive to get the suet into the holes and it has the potential to harm birds if they get the suet on their feathers, so I put the feeder on the backburner for a while. I never like to discard things like this because you never how it may be repurposed.

The other day I got the idea to stick peanuts in the holes instead. It worked out great. The larger birds such as blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers are strong enough to pull the peanuts out and fly off. The smaller birds such as nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and titmice simply perch on the branch, or even another peanut, to pick apart the shell and get at the nuts inside.

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.

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.