Through the Window: February Birds at the Feeders (more or less)

Tree Sparrow (carved by Bob Spear)
Tree Sparrow (carved by Bob Spear)

Birds

We’ve bolded the one we didn’t observe last month.

  • Tree Sparrow
  • Wild Turkeys (2 on 2/4; 13 on 2/24)
  • American Robin (7 on 2/4)
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Jay
  • Ruffed Grouse (across the road on 2/8, near the brook)
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Mourning Dove
  • European Starling
  • Raven (flying over)
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • American Crow
  • White-winged Crossbill (Male and Female on 2/16)
  • Common Redpolls (3 on 2/23 on the thistle seed)

Mammals

  • Red Squirrel 
  • Gray Squirrels
  • Fisher (tracks seen 2/16, fisher itself on 2/28)

And if you’re curious, here’s a quick picture and post about what we feed the birds.

Through the Window: January feeder birds

Birds

Downy Woodpecker at Platform feeder
Female Downy Woodpecker at the platform feeder. Photo by Kir Talmage for the Birds of Vermont Museum
  • Wild Turkeys (1/2/11; two talkative turkeys)
  • Hairy Woodpecker (both male and female)
  • Blue Jays
  • Black-capped Chickadees
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Mourning Dove
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Common Redpolls
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • American Robin (2 at 2:30 pm 1/21 on nearby branches)
  • Pileated Woodpecker (1/25 at the front of the Museum—happened to notice while coming into work)

Mammals

  • Red Squirrel 
  • 3 fat Gray Squirrels

A bit of a spare month. Perhaps we’re not sitting at the window enough?

Chickadee

“Almost everything delights a chickadee.” —E.B. White

Perhaps not snow, though.

Chickadee on a snowy day, in an evergreen
Chickadee on a snowy day, in an evergreen

I was using a Canon PowerShot S3 IS, and out of curiosity I set it to the sports setting (I don’t do or watch much sports) while photographing chickadees and downy woodpeckers near and at the Museum feeders. The birds were sharp, the snow not so much. I liked it.

– Kir, webmistress/program coordinator

Through the Window: December feeder birds

We had a new visitor this month, and I’ll tell you who right after the monthly list of birds.  A light-weight month, perhaps for weather, but more likely for the season.

Birds

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker
Photo ©2008 E. Talmage,
Huntington, Vermont

  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Wild Turkey
  • Blue Jay
  • Dark-eyed Junco (12/7; about 18 inches of snow fell in the night of 12/6 and the morning of 12/7)
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Northern Cardinal
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Mourning Dove
  • American Tree Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow (12/10, a warmish, wet and windy day)
  • American Goldfinch (12/17)
  • Common Redpolls (4 of them on 12/17)

Mammals

  • Red Squirrel (of course)
  • and an Eastern Cottontail

Coincidentally, today (posting day) is  the Hinesburg/Huntington Christmas Bird Count. It’s rather foggy, actually, so not too much observed yet, I’m told. But the day is still young! (In fact, I just saw a wild turkey, because it was chuckling to itself and I looked up from typing this.)

What’s in Our Feeders?

Visitors often ask us what we feed the birds. We currently have several feeding locations: the ground (including up on some rocks), crabapple trees, and elevated seed and suet feeders. We also hang oriole and hummingbird feeders in summer.

On the ground, we sprinkle kernel corn and mixed seeds, to attract turkeys, sparrows, juncos, blackbirds, and others. Not only do we sprinkle this by the viewing area, but in the summer Bob scatters corn by the pond for resident and visiting waterfowl (although the turkeys appreciate it too).

The crabapple tree produces small, cheery-sized apples, which attracts grouse and many of the smaller birds who also visit our feeders. This tree is visible in the photo below, in the background behind the feeders. There are other crabapples and feral apples on the property (that’s another post, someday).

The hummingbird feeders are hung just outside the viewing window and another outside the front door, but those are removed for the winter. We usually see hummingbirds during the first week of May, and they typically leave the first week in September. We do keep the feeders up through most of September, to support those migrating from points north.

Our upper feeders hold (generally) black oil sunflower seed, sunflower chips, mixed seeds, thistle, and suet. These attract a wide variety of birds, from doves to jays, grosbeaks to finches, woodpeckers, nuthatches, and many more. We hang a jelly feeder for orioles in the summer also. Check out our birds at the feeder posts for records of what we’ve seen when (a click on those post titles will take you to the posts and any pictures as well).

Our webcam shows a few of our upper feeders; this image is from a sunny morning in November 2010.

Four Feeders (visible with web cam), food types labelled
Four Feeders (visible with web cam), food types labeled. The crabapple tree is the red-dotted one in the background behind the mixed seed feeder.

Our elevated feeders–the ones in the photo–are mounted on a 4″-diameter steel pole, 8 feet above the ground. The pole is set in concrete, and has a baffle beneath. We grease the pole every now and then. Most feeders are hung above the cross-bar part of the pole, although occasionally we will hang a feeder below.

Why all the elevated infrastructure? In a word, bears.

It is recommended that people in bear country not feed birds when bears are awake, especially early in the year when they are just awakening and are hungry after hibernation. For us in Vermont, this is roughly April 1 through November 1. However, as a Bird Museum, we also want to attract birds so visitors can enjoy them as we do, not to mention learning about and from them. Thus: tall, greased poles than black bears can’t knock over. (They have tried…)

Through the Window: November Feeder Birds – and Others

What a lovely month! We started this winter’s Feeder Watch, and had a few notable visitors. Here’s the month’s list, more or less in the order spotted.

Black-capped Chickadee Carving
Black-capped Chickadee
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Blue Jay
  • Fox Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Mourning Dove
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • American Goldfinch
  • Red-breasted nuthatch
  • Wild Turkey
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Rusty Blackbird
  • American Tree Sparrow

And of course, both the Gray and Red squirrels “assisted” with the corn and seed on the ground…

Through the Window: October Birds at the Feeders

If you’ve been to see us, you know that we record these birds on a whiteboard by the viewing window. The handwriting on the board is varied, as staff, volunteers, and even visitors will jot down the common name of birds they see. This month, against the final changes in foliage, we noted:

Brown Creeper, carved by Robert N. Spear, Jr.
Brown Creeper, wood carving by Robert N. Spear, Jr.
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Blue Jay
  • Evening Grosbeak
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • American Goldfinch
  • White-crowned sparrow
  • Cooper’s Hawk
  • Purple Finch (male)
  • American Crow
  • Mourning Dove
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Brown Creeper
  • Fox Sparrow
  • Ruffed Grouse
  • Song Sparrow
  • Rusty Blackbirds (unless they were Common Grackles?)

the Big Sit! 2010 Results

On Sunday,  October 10, the Museum hosted the Loonatics and their Big Sit! circle.  Thanks to Jim O. for coordinating the event and to all the volunteers who joined in. It was a beautiful day, and several people contributed excellent food to keep us warm.

We identified 27 species. The time sheet:

Time Common Name
0626 White-throated Sparrow
0633 Mourning Dove
0633 Northern Cardinal
0634 Dark-eyed Junco
0646 American Crow
0648 Blue Jay
0648 American Goldfinch
0650 Black-capped Chickadee
0656 White-breasted Nuthatch
0659 Red-breated Nuthatch
0703 Hairy Woodpecker
0709 Downy Woodpecker
0712 Common Raven
0721 Evening Grosbeak
0740 Tufted Titmouse
0759 American Robin
0832 Yellow-rumped Warbler
0836 Canada Goose
0920 Blue-headed Vireo
1104 Turkey Vulture
1154 Purple Finch
1307 Sharp-shinned Hawk (Female)
1348 Golden-crowned Kinglet
1359 Northern Harrier
1413 Red-tailed Hawk
1416 Cooper’s Hawk
1748 Barred Owl

Come to the Fall Festival, Saturday October 9

Come to our Fall Festival Saturday, October 9, 2010Enjoy our Fall Festival with Woodcarvers — Live birds — Used Books/Garage Sale — Nature Journal Workshop — Insect Info — Birds!

Woodcarvers will be demonstrating their art in the workshop.
Carol Winfield returns with live birds at 11:00.
Find something wonderful at our Used Books/Garage Sale.
Heather Fitzgerald offers a Nature Journal Workshop.
Rhonda Mace from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture will answer questions about Invasive Insects.
Kids activities and games, nature walks.

Celebrate a great year!
Free!
Fun for Everyone!

Through the Window: September Feeder Birds

Against the shifting foliage, we’ve seen many birds (some the last of the year, as they migrate southwards).  Nearby, we also observed a mammal of some note!

Birds:

  • Blue Jay
  • Grackle
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird (last male on 9/7/2010; last female on 9/14/2010)
  • Purple Finch
  • Red-breasted Nuthatch
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • American Goldfinch
  • Mourning Dove
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak (still here 9/11/2010)
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • White-throated Sparrow (9/17/2010, 9/29/2010)
  • Easter Phoebe
  • Pileated Woodpecker — swooping over and museum
  • Song Sparrow
  • Bluebird (9/28, 11:30 a.m.)

Mammal:

  • Bobcat sighted by a cyclist on 9/20/2010 at 1:33 p.m., just north of museum parking lot on Sherman Hollow Road

And something you can’t actually see from the window, but must get up and walk to:

Autumn Flowers at the Birds of Vermont Museum
Autumn Flowers at the Birds of Vermont Museum. Photo taken in September 2005 in the field between the road and the pond.