Posts Tagged With: chickadees

Birdhouse in your soul

The new addition to my feeder collection was a gift from my friends — a birdhouse coated in seed. After it’s been stripped bare, I’ll mount it on a tree and see who takes up residence.


Notice I come from the ‘Leave the weeds standing’ school of lawn care.

Soundtrack by They Might Be Giants.

Categories: Bird photos, Feeder birds | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Roosevelt Truck Trail, 11/2/13

Hello! Welcome to everyone who’s visited, ‘liked’, and left comments! This should put me on my mettle to post more regularly.

Continuing my effort to become more familiar with the ‘Dacks, I joined a club trip up to the Minerva/Newcomb area. The weather not unpleasant for the north country in November, close to 50 and almost still. The rain held off in the overcast sky until we were leaving.

The Roosevelt Truck Trail is an old dirt road, now driveable only with DEC permission to reach two nominally handicapped-accessible campsites. Given that they’re just flat areas with picnic table, fire ring and an outhouse between them, I think they would only be suited for someone who’s still pretty mobile. In any case, it was obvious no one had driven through in a while.

The air was fragrant with evergreens — cedar, spruce, white pine and balsam fir. The fallen needles silenced our footfalls.

The trail rolled gently for 2 1/2 miles, then we turned and strolled back. Overhead a Common Raven rattled while Golden-crowned Kinglets see-see’d from every tree. Black-capped Chickadees were joined by their northern cousins, Boreal Chickadees, a brown-capped version with a wheezy, scratchy call. We never got a decent look at them despite their numbers, but they called their identity clearly enough. Life bird!

The other target bird for the day was the Black-backed Woodpecker, another boreal conifer-loving species. We didn’t find one, despite listening carefully for the soft tap of their bug hunting, but this tree showed they are present in the area. Their feeding technique is to strip the bark from dead trees to reach insect larvae under the surface. They prefer burned-out stands of trees, and after a few years move on to newly burnt territory. Their population is suffering due to forest fire supression.

IMG_5615 2



On our way in we met a bear hunter. We didn’t see any bear, but did find a few piles of fresh-ish bear scat.

Just down the road, abandoned freight tracks ran north and south. We followed them for a while, past rock cuts, bogs and ponds.

The lake, mirror-still a few minutes before, dimpled with rain.



I’ll be returning in the spring. Goodbye and keep cold!


Categories: bird behavior, Field trip, Life bird!, NYS 2013 | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”*

It’s easy to tell adults birds from young’uns this time of year, even though they’re the same size. The fledgelings are sleek and shiny, still carrying a bit of that baby pudge. The adults look worn to a thread, in poor plumage (who has time to fuss over their own looks?), starting to molt and looking in general like they need a long vacation, not a long migration. Take this Black-capped Chickadee:

"Is summer over yet?"

“Is summer over yet?”

I remember those times, BCC. The kids trying to pack all the fun they can into the waning summer, while we parents are counting down the days til school starts. Hang in there! Here, have some suet to tide you over.



*In case you’re not familiar with the reference.


Categories: bird behavior, Bird photos, Feeder birds, Usual suspects | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Fine Homebuilding


Last year I observed Black-capped Chickadees nesting in an old fence post. Today I had a chance to watch them at work excavating the hole.

They started with a rotten Sumac about 6″ in diameter, broken off a few feet from the ground. Nice punky wood in the middle. They had obviously been working at this for a while.


In for a landing —

IMG_5607_16 Dive!

IMG_5609_14 It’s a full bird deep!

IMG_5608_14 Aaaaand out, with a beakful of wood.


Repeat, taking turns, until the photographer gets too intrusive. They scolded me and after my retreat to the car, it was back to work.

Categories: Bird photos, Nests | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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