Posts Tagged With: bird nest

Ithaca is birdeous, too. Or, frequently distracted by birds.

For five years now I’ve wanted to spend some time birding around Ithaca but we always seem to be in a rush, dropping kids off or picking them up. So when Will’s graduation was near we decided to spend a few extra days, booking a cabin in Robert H. Treman State Park.

You have to drive across the creek to enter the campground.


The first afternoon, after unpacking, we lounged about listening to the falls and forest sounds. A pair of Carolina Wrens chattered nonstop, fluttering from tree to roof and under the rafters, I realized the squeaking was coming from a nest and one by one the fledglings popped out, bounced off the ground and almost immediately fluttered up to anything they could cling to: a tree trunk, the side of the cabin, or ME! One tiny bundle of fluff clung to my shirt for a minute before gathering the energy to take off into the hobblebush, and another used me as a rest stop while flying between trees.

Eventually five young wrens had emerged and the parents lured them away — all but one, the bird on the left above. It was the last one out of the nest, last to get off the ground at all, and as long as I watched was never able to fly more than a few feet. When I saw it last it was hunkered down in some undergrowth. The parents by then had stopped calling to it and moved off with its stronger sibs.

One afternoon we walked part way up the Rim Trail — we had a deadline that day, so only went halfway up and had to pick up the pace on the way downhill. There was still time for a long look at a Scarlet Tanager overhead, a satisfying look after trying to catch a glimpse the day before at Buttermilk Falls. How something the color of a firetruck can be so hard to see among green leaves! But this guy decided to be generous with his beauty.


After this we really did had to hurry, so when I saw a warbler with a yellow face and black throat, I mentally checked it off as “Black-throated Green, seen a million of ’em,” and kept going. We were almost back to the cabin when I slapped my forehead — bright yellow face, black at the back and top of the head — damn, I’d charged right past a Hooded Warbler, the best look I’d ever had.

Of course we had another reason to be in Ithaca besides birds and hikes…


…though birds made an appearance at graduation too. One of the resident Red-tails soared overhead and landed on a light pole to rearrange its lunch.

A model plane equipped with a camera took aerial photography of the festivities.


I kept mistaking it for another hawk.

And here’s our star of the show:


William L. Feldhusen, BA, Math.

Categories: bird behavior, Bird photos, Mammals too, Nests | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Winter moon and abandoned nest

Won’t someone write me a haiku for this picture?



Categories: scenery | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Cups, scrapes, and floating platforms

I have been enjoying reading Avian Architecture by Peter Goodfellow.  In addition to leaving me awestruck with the skill and ingenuity of birds, it has increased my vocabulary. For instance, if your post-graduate child keeps boomeranging back home, you may observe that your offspring is nidicolous. My favorite part, though, is this dramatic tale of thievery among Adelie Penguins:

Please do click on it! It’s like a silent movie with title cards!

Categories: Tools of the trade, Why? | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment


See the bird nest here?

No? How about now?

Why there they are!

And here’s a parental unit keeping a watch on trespassers.

This well-concealed Eastern Phoebe nest is right in the middle of the Indian Ladder Trail, one of the most-used in the area. I didn’t notice it until one of the adults flew in with food for the other. We kept our distance until both were off the nest for a moment, and I took one quick photo of the fuzzlings. Meanwhile, on a blazing hot day, dozens of people walked past us and them wholly unseeing. Here’s to stealth nesting!


Categories: Bird photos | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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