Oct 6, 2015
Whether you'd like to admit it or not, summer is over and autumn is upon us. Spring cleaning gets lots of attention, but for the backyard bird watcher, there's just as much to do in fall as in spring. Check out four tips to help your backyard birds in fall.
Sep 28, 2015
It's a myth that a hummingbird, or any bird for that matter, will be deterred from heading south in the fall because of human-provided food. Instinct and hormonal urges are what drive birds to migrate, and hummingbirds are no different. Besides, there is good reason to leave your nectar feeder up and full of fresh sugar water until the temperature dips to below freezing, even if you haven't seen a hummer for weeks.
Sep 8, 2015
Have you ever looked at house wren nesting material? After a pair of house wrens left his backyard nesting box, contributor Greg C. Greer had an opportunity to study the materials they used. What he found surprised him.
Sep 1, 2015
A beady, insect-like trill first alerts many bird watchers to the presence of cedar waxwings, as they tend to completely blend into the surrounding foliage. These wandering fruit eaters appear and disappear seemingly without rhyme or reason, descending to strip a tree of its fruits and then whirling off to parts unknown. Fermented fruits sometimes cause entire flocks of waxwings to stagger about on the ground until their intoxication wears off.
Aug 25, 2015
Almost all migratory birds are experiencing population decreases due to loss of habitats and environmental contamination. Nonmigratory resident birds, too, are feeling the effects of the growing human population. This is not a call to rally on the White House lawn. You can do your part in your own backyard.
Aug 18, 2015
Keep your birdbath clean. It's a simple adage, oft repeated, but there are reasons to be scrupulous that go beyond hygiene and aesthetics. Of course, the birds' health comes first. If we're going to provide water, we owe it to them to give the bath a good scrubbing when droppings and algae foul the water. Bird droppings contain nitrogen, which is algae fuel, so the quicker we get rid of them, the cleaner our bath will stay.
Jul 29, 2015
This mother robin has gathered a mouthful of lunch for some lucky fledglings! What interesting things are happening in your backyard today?
Jul 21, 2015
If birds have vanished from your yard, perhaps they are trying to tell you something about your landscaping. Birds prefer landscapes that are a bit wild and unkempt.
Jul 9, 2015
During the middle part of the 20th century, eastern bluebirds were nearly wiped out in North America. Habitat destruction, pesticide use, and increased competition for nest holes from starlings and house sparrows decimated bluebird populations.
Jul 2, 2015
WBB reader Jess Yarnell has her cat Goldilocks to thank for turning her into a bird watcher. Her indoor-only window watcher needed some entertainment, so she purchased a bird feeder. The feathered friends started showing up, and bird watching became a family hobby.
Jun 25, 2015
Mockingbirds are loud, persistent singers and they have a habit of singing all night long. With a suspicious genius they usually choose the corner of the house right over the master bedroom. Even if you close the window the sound penetrates. It would be OK if the song were melodious. Sounds of birds and nature, when sufficiently soft and rhythmic, can be sleep inducers. But the mockingbird’s song is neither soft nor melodious. The mocker is a mimic extraordinaire, incorporating not only the songs of other birds, but also the sounds of the neighborhood.
Jun 18, 2015
Sometimes, yes, sapsuckers damage trees. Their boring won’t kill the tree, but it will weaken the wood and allow the potential for disease to enter. But not necessarily. We’ve seen enormous, healthy-looking trees with sapsucker scars. Unless you plan to sell your tree for lumber, you might never notice a health problem with the tree. Odds are, it will live for many decades despite the sapsucker holes.
May 28, 2015
A close look at chipping sparrows reveals much to admire in its quiet and confiding ways. As common as they are around backyards and parks, we know surprisingly little about their mating habits. One Ontario study showed males not to be monogamous, as assumed, but to mate freely. These birds have the interesting habit of lining their nests with animal hair. They'll also use human hair, but more on that later.