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 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.
May 23, 2015
Cece Wetzel sent us these pictures of a summer tanager visiting her suet feeder in southeastern Ohio. So cool! What birds are sharing your backyard this weekend?
May 21, 2015
Not all birds make neat, cup-shaped nests, or carve out hollows in trees. Some use unusual materials and make truly odd creations.
May 14, 2015
If you've got some time to spare, here are a few backyard projects to keep you going on those slow weekends.
May 7, 2015
American goldfinches are brightening feeder-filled backyards, weedy fields, and grassy meadows all over North America. In fact, 48 states and 9 provinces host the black-and-yellow birds for at least part of the year. Generally speaking, southern Canada has them during summer; the southern United States has them during winter; and the northern United States has them year-round.
Apr 9, 2015
The very first time I saw a Baltimore oriole was when it landed on my hummingbird feeder one spring. I was immediately hooked. I had to have this bird in my yard! For the next five years, I placed numerous orange slices on tree limbs and special oriole feeders filled with orange nectar on hooks all over the yard-to no avail.
Apr 2, 2015
You don't need to be a bird expert to know that hummingbirds are cool! Check out this list of facts about these flying jewels of the bird world.