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Ask Birdsquatch: Head Bangers

Dear Birdsquatch:

I love woodpeckers and have managed to attract five woodpecker species to my backyard here in Kentucky. At my feeders they eat peanuts and suet and sunflower hearts. I know their natural food preferences are wood-boring insects, which they dig after with their chisellike bills. My question is this: How do they keep from knocking themselves out when they pound on a tree trunk repeatedly? Do they get concussions? Headaches?

—SIMONE, MUDLICK, KENTUCKY

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Ask Birdsquatch: Angry Birds!

Dear Birdsquatch:

My girlfriend lives in a apartment complex next to a river where there are lots of ducks. The management of the complex left the following note on the exit doors of the complex:

"ANGRY BIRDS!! The angry birds are back!! Please be careful!! These birds are protected, so we cannot injure them. They like to come at your head."

Is this an Alfred Hitchcock movie come to life? What kind of birds are these and why would they attack?

—Nervous Boyfriend (Dennis B.) Waukesha, Wisconsin

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Winter Owls
Many owls begin nesting in late winter. Now is the ideal time to listen for them calling at night if you have an older pine stand or deciduous woods nearby. Owls will call all night, but the first hour of dark and the last hour before sunrise are the best times to listen.
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Readers Write: Waiting in Line
When my son, Ryan, and daughter, Amanda, were around 5 and 3 years old, we built our first squirrel box as a family project. Soon after placing it high in our maple trees, squirrels began to entertain as we watched their babies grow and frolic in and on top of the box—our gift to them.

Semi-retired 35 years later, I decided to relive the good times past by placing a new squirrel box in our mulberry tree.
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Watching Backyard Birds Across the Country
I have been watching birds in several yards as my husband and I have relocated around the country. Feeding and watching birds give me a sense of stability and pleasure as we move from state to state. Most recently I have watched and photographed birds in Tucson, Arizona; Andover, Massachusetts; and now on the coast of Maine!
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Is There a Snowbird at Your Feeder?
For many of us, winter is the only time we have dark-eyed juncos around. They form large flocks in backyards, parks, and pastures, and along rural roadsides and woodland edges in just about every corner of the United States except southern Florida. Watch for the flash of white from their tail feathers as they dart between brush piles or scatter from feeding on the ground beneath a bird feeder.
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The Owl in the Flicker Box
A few Aprils ago, WBB contributor Kathy Crowe Finholm hung a nest box on the back side of her garage. A few years later, she hosted a family of northern saw-whet owls!
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Four Backyard Birds to Watch for This Spring
No matter where in North America you reside, chances are that you're enjoying (or are about to enjoy) the warmer temperatures of spring. This also means you're noticing (or are about to notice) changes in the birds in your backyard. Here are a few of the many interesting species to watch for in birdy backyards across the continent this spring.
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It's Raining Orioles!
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.
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Attention, Readers and Web Visitors!
We're taking an informal survey of our readers: Are you noticing a reduced number of northern cardinals at your feeders? Several staffers here at BWD/WBB headquarters are finding very few cardinals at their feeders. Please share your cardinal report with us! Are your cardinal numbers lower, higher, or about the same as last year? And please tell us where you're located.
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2012—A Great Year for Bird Babies
In our new Photo Blog segment, featured Blogger Julie Gidwitz shares captivating photos of juvenile phoebes, bluebirds, hummingbirds, and more.
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The Latest Comments

  • I have the same situation. The feeder is attached to the middle of a large picture window that goes ceiling to floor w/ no ledge or sill for animals to climb or balance. Yet every morning all the sunflower seeds have been cracked open and hulls left. Any ideas what it is?
    by Liza Fox, Sun, 15 Nov 2020
  • I have a bird feeder that sticks to my window and I've been hearing noises against the window at night right now its going on. But whatever it is it is aware of me. And when I get to window it leaves.I can't imagine a squirrel or mouse or possom being able to get at it. ...So as I was reading this article im to assume no bird eats at night. Or no birds will eat at night. Why is that? Then im also thinking of a sinereo that could a lost confused bird eat at night. This eating thing is watching meI turn out the light go there noise dissappears..Thank you.
    by Nosferatu, Thu, 05 Nov 2020
  • I have metal baffles (cones) on my pole for my bird feeders. Something is still tempting them at night. What else could it be? Deer???
    by Ella Spencer Connolly, Thu, 27 Aug 2020
  • I found where he lives, then I keep him up all day by singing at full volume! Hah, that'll show the little sucker!
    by Pike Juan, Tue, 11 Aug 2020
  • I never knew feeding birds could be so confusing. I love watching the birds in my backyard even though I don't get a very big variety.
    by JustMyOpinion, Sun, 26 Jul 2020
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