Chipping Sparrows Arrive

Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow

While this winter’s White-Throated Sparrows and Dark-Eyed Juncos will soon be leaving us to migrate up to Canada where they breed, Chipping Sparrows are now returning to Maryland and other parts of the US and Canada from their winter spent in the┬ásouth.

The first Chipping Sparrow of the spring showed up in our yard this week. These tiny little guys are definitely welcomed back!
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Birds in the Storm

Fox Sparrow & Northern Cardinal
Fox Sparrow & Northern Cardinal

The most active and interesting days are often not the bright beautiful sunny days but the stormy days when birds are eager to eat as much as they can to keep energy levels high. Yesterday’s storm brought us just such a day with really interesting feathered visitors and activity, so I have pictures and stories to share with you.

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Backyard Birds on a Damp Day

Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
Male Rose-Breasted Grosbeak, a First Time Visitor in the Yard

Today is cool and grey and damp here in Maryland. It’s not the kind of day where you wake up with an overwhelming desire to spend the day outdoors. In fact, staying inside wrapped in something warm is appealing. But often the grey wet days can be the most interesting bird days in the yard.

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Birds Choice Hanging Open Platform Feeder Review

White-Breasted Nuthatch, House Finches, American Goldfinch & Northern Cardinal in Feeder
White-Breasted Nuthatch, House Finches, American Goldfinch & Northern Cardinal Eating Sunflower Hearts in Birds Choice Hanging Platform Feeder (Dome Purchased Separately)

In the past year, as my bird-watching passion has grown, I’ve purchased quite a few bird feeders. You don’t have to have a zillion feeders of course, but I have found that having a variety of feeders can increase both the variety and the number of birds that come to visit and that’s what makes it fun! Some of the feeders have been clear winners from the start. Others have needed some tweaking to make them work for the birds in my yard. If you have considered purchasing a hanging platform bird feeder, read on!

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Nuisance Birds at the Feeders

European Starlings Arrive at the Feeders
European Starlings Arrive at the Feeders

If you are feeding birds, it is probably because you like them. Otherwise why do it? While some backyard birdwatchers welcome all birds to their feeders, for many of us, there are birds that are less welcome. Some people don’t like House Finches. Some don’t like House Sparrows. Others draw the line at Brown-Headed Cowbirds. Red-Winged Blackbirds? European Starlings? Common Grackles? Your list may vary. What birds at your feeders do you consider nuisance birds?

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Backyard Boys Platform Feeder Review

Backyard Boys Ground Platform Feeder
Backyard Boys Ground Platform Feeder

This unassuming ground platform feeder is very popular in my yard. It’s simply a screened tray on legs. If you are a woodworker yourself, you could make one, but this particular one’s frame and legs are made from recycled materials rather than wood, so it will last out in the elements far longer than one made of wood. It’s simple to fill, simple to clean and popular with many ground feeding birds. There are some down-sides to this type of feeder, but you can get around them. The trick is finding the right spot for it in your yard.

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Twenty-Four Robins: The Birds You Don’t See

Robin
American Robin

One thing I’ve learned watching birds in my backyard is that there is all kinds of activity going on in the yard that I never see. Today, about five-thirty, it was getting dark and I just happened to glance out the front window and realized that it was full of American Robins. I counted twenty-four, although there might have been more in the darkening yard. They were all spread out over the whole front yard doing their quick scurry, pause and listen, scurry again dance, turning over leaves and excavating here and there, looking for choice insects.

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