Sometimes, the birds come to us

You can tramp for an hour through the woods and fail to find a bird to photograph, and sometimes all you have to do is look up from the kitchen table to find something magnificent paying you a call. The latter happened yesterday as my wife and I sat down to lunch. I was oneContinue reading “Sometimes, the birds come to us”

Recommended bird feeder: The Squirrel-Buster Plus

Throughout time, Man and Squirrel have uneasily co-existed in a Hegelian dialectic battle for supremacy in controlling access to bird feeders. It is a noble struggle for both creatures, thesis and antithesis, with the fortunes of the birds hanging in the balance. We first got serious about feeding the birds about 10 years ago whenContinue reading “Recommended bird feeder: The Squirrel-Buster Plus”

Who are those guys? Lessons from the backyard bird count

The Great Backyard Bird Count was on last weekend, and I did my part, logging all the familiar birds that visit regularly. But there was one trickster in the mix, and it took me a while to figure out that this particular bird breed had fooled me once again. On Sunday morning, I logged inContinue reading “Who are those guys? Lessons from the backyard bird count”

Harbinger of Spring: morning birdsong

With 37 days of winter remaining yesterday, it didn’t strike me at first when I went out to fill the bird bath, but morning birdsong is back! Robins and finches (not to mention a squawking blue jay) were making their presence heard in my yard. I didn’t really clue into the return of the morningContinue reading “Harbinger of Spring: morning birdsong”

My little friends, the sparrows

Until I started taking a more serious interest in birding, to me a sparrow meant the ubiquitous house sparrow. A passer domesticus, rarely alone, was always at the feeders when I was a kid growing up in Ohio. Years later, I marveled at how the house sparrows thrived amid the skyscrapers of Midtown Manhattan, flittingContinue reading “My little friends, the sparrows”

The magnificent hummingbird

As the pandemic wore on last summer, I hung a hummingbird feeder from a portable metal stand outside the window where I set up my home office. The wind kept knocking the stand over. I managed to nick the stand with my lawn tractor one day, and to my great dismay the glass portion ofContinue reading “The magnificent hummingbird”

Naming our neighbors in nature

Like so many others keeping close to home since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re paying much more attention to the creatures inhabiting and visiting our yard and neighborhood. We can’t resist naming some of them. I mentioned recently that we’ve named Aeneas and Dido the house wrens who’ve moved into in our backyardContinue reading “Naming our neighbors in nature”

On rose-breasted grosbeak watch, a mighty fine surprise

We’re in the second week of May, and I’ve been watching the reports of rose-breasted grosbeaks roll in from other birders nearby. No such luck here at home, even as I’ve camped out with my coffee and camera each morning, hoping one of them will arrive at our feeders. This afternoon as I passed byContinue reading “On rose-breasted grosbeak watch, a mighty fine surprise”

Home is where the house wrens are

Spring has sprung here in central New Jersey, and I’ve been on high alert for seasonal visitors who are due to arrive soon, some just passing through and others who will stay awhile. I was on the back patio the other day when I spotted what I was almost certain was a house wren checkingContinue reading “Home is where the house wrens are”

The first bird I identified on my own

As a kid growing up in northeast Ohio, I knew the basics of the birds that frequented our neighborhood. Mom always pointed them out, marveling at the cardinals and their song, tisk-tisking the raucous blue jays (“those bullies!”), and pointing with delight at the cute house wrens popping in and out of the birdhouse thatContinue reading “The first bird I identified on my own”