Posts Tagged With: nest material

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

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

Hairy situation

Back in the spring I hung Randall’s trimmed ponytail from a post in the yard, and watched as Orioles and Titmice (mouses?) tugged away the long blondish strands. Well, in a recent windstorm, this blew down from a spruce tree in the yard.

Notice the finely-woven cup, just the color of my son’s sun-bleached hair.




Categories: Bird photos | Tags: , | 1 Comment


After three days of building and a day of sitting, the Blue Jays have abandoned this nest. Good idea, maybe. I’m not sure it’s up to code. Would you raise your children here?

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

The birdiest time of the year

So birdy, in fact, I’ve hardly had time to enter all I’ve seen. I’ll have to break the posts down by trips — we took a lot this month, including a very damp but very productive weekend at Montezuma NWR. I’ve wanted to go there ever since Will toured Cornell and I finally got my wish! And I’ll give you a hint — TWO life birds! More on that soon!

It’s also been an incredibly wet May, approaching Noahlike conditions. Many of the migrants must have snuck through on the few bright days, or maybe they’re camouflaged by grey skies, their usual flittyness, and the difficulty of seeing birds while constantly wiping rain off one’s binocs and glasses. I am learning to be resigned — even in spring, you can’t ID every warbler.

Even so, we’ve had a few bright days and a few bright visitors. The Rose-breasted Grosbeak family is back and enjoying the sunflower seed and Baltimore Orioles are nesting somewhere in the yard. See that tuft of dark-blond hair on the pole to the left? That’s Randall’s tail from last year. We saved it all winter, putting it out at the beginning of the month. Titmice were the first to harvest until the Orioles found it too. It was gone in a week! The female would fly in, tease out a hunk, then fly to another branch to arrange the strands neatly in her beak . Then off she’d go, and back later for another helping. I’m almost tempted to chop off a few inches of my own mop.

Imagine the grass a foot longer by now. Too wet, can't mow.

The female Cardinal is still furiously attacking that persistent rival that mocks her from every window in the house. I’m surprised she still has a beak…

Most of the waterfowl are gone from the lakes now, either further north or in search of quieter waters. The Loons on Snyder’s Lake disappeared with the arrival of powerboats, while a pair of Horned Grebes stuck it out for a few more days before the noise got to them too.

And deep in the woods, a Veery calls, spiraling, spiraling down.

Categories: Bird photos, Feeder birds, Field trip | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

In lonely lands

Mary Beth brought it to my attention that April is National Poetry Month. How better to celebrate than with a bird poem?

He clasps the crag with crooked hands;
Close to the sun in lonely lands,
Ringed with the azure world, he stands.

The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls;
He watches from his mountain walls,
And like a thunderbolt he falls.

— Alfred, Lord Tennyson

And here’s the eagle nest everyone is watching:

<br /><a href=”; style=”padding: 2px 0px 4px; width: 400px; background: #ffffff; display: block; color: #000000; font-weight: normal; font-size: 10px; text-decoration: underline; text-align: center;” target=”_blank”>Live Broadcasting by Ustream</a>

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

Snow on the roof…

… not just a human problem.



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

Me and the Titmouse

I love the little birds so much, I share my hair with them. Randall took this picture back in April.

Categories: Bird photos, Feeder birds, OMG bird | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Create a free website or blog at