“Almost everything delights a chickadee.” —E.B. White
Perhaps not snow, though.
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.
Dark-eyed Junco (12/7; about 18 inches of snow fell in the night of 12/6 and the morning of 12/7)
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)
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.)
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.
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…)
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:
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.
Enjoy 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.