Yard BIrds

Cardinal Nest watch

Discovered the cardinal nest in the blackberry patch on June 6:

2015-06-06 11.38.18


Eggs have hatched on June 13:

Cardinal babies

Cardinal babies


Punk hairdo on June 18! Forgive the bad photo, I didn’t want to scare them off the nest.

2015-06-18 10.27.41

By June 21, the babies had fledged.

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Great Backyard Bird Count

Button with a bird and The Great Backyard Bird Count February 13 to 16Every year citizen scientists report their bird sightings each day over a four day period in February. This year the Great Backyard Bird Count is February 13 through 16. This is a huge effort to record changes and trends in birds.

It is a great activity for individuals, families, or groups to take part in citizen science.

Check out the link and consider taking part this year.

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Feeder watch

This is my third year to participate in Cornell’s Feederwatch Citizen Science Project. It is a simple task of counting the number of each species of bird that comes to your feeders or your yard because of the natural planted food available. You then report this to their online website.

It helps me be more intentional about observing the birds.

I have lots of help as can be seen by this picture!


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Blackberry season is good for nature lovers

Discovered a Chipping sparrow nest in our blackberry patch this afternoon.


Also thrilled to see a Monarch caterpillar. The milkweed are doing their job!


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Spring House Cleaning

DSC_0487It looks like someone is trying to tell me that it is way past time to clean out the old nests from the wren house on the porch! I haven’t heard the wren yet this year, but it is obviously here! I don’t like this style of wren house – the slot to open and clean it out is way too small for all the sticks the wrens put in it.

Heard the screech owl whinnying this morning as I stepped out my door at 7. And when I left work at 3 this afternoon, a flock of Sandhill cranes flew over the parking lot! The day was sunny to cloudy and 38 degrees this afternoon.

Daughter saw a very small and very reddish squirrel in our back yard today.

Feeder watch & yard watch:DSC_0466

  • Crow
  • House Sparrows
  • Chickadees
  • Cardinals
  • House Finches
  • American Tree Sparrows
  • Juncos
  • Mourning doves
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Robins
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Kestrel Box Project

Kestrel Box Construction 2My wonderful husband is very supportive of my addiction to nature. He attended the American Kestrel Partnership workshop given by the Indiana Audubon Society at Cool Creek Nature Center back at the first of February.

He then proceeded to build me a kestrel box according to their specifications.

Finally yesterday, the weather was cooperative enough for us to mount the nesting box on one of the big maple trees across our second drive today. The kestrels have nested nearby maple, but the power company has marked it to be cut down. We are hoping to lure it Kestrel Box Treeto the new box. We hope to add another box on the opposite corner of our 3 acre plot. Conservation chair Jeff Canada said we could probably support two kestrel nests on our property.

Our land is a 3 acre wooded plot set in the midst of farmlands. We also hope to put up a similar box for the screech owls that we have nesting here every year. There nesting hole is in a branch that overhangs our power line and every year I am afraid that it is either going to blow down in a storm Kestrel Box Mountedor the power company is going to cut it down.

I’m hoping hubby will make a few chickadee and wren houses to add around the property. We have quite a few old and holey trees on the property and the birds and mammals have no problems finding homes, but I want to be as nature friendly as possible.

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Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Backyard Bird Count logo

As I have in the past few years, I counted birds in my backyard for the Great Backyard Bird Count. It takes place February 15, 16, 17 and 18. All they (GBBC is a joint project of The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada) ask you to do is count the highest number of each species seen during your reported period. This can be as little as 15 minutes a day. The hardest part of this is counting the little spatzies that flock to my tray feeder each day. I know I am not “supposed” to like House Sparrows as they are not native, but they are very beautiful birds.

My counts for the day are:

Species February 15 February 16 February 17 February 18
American Crow 1 1
American Robin 1
American Tree Sparrow 3 3
Black Capped Chickadee 2 2 1
Blue Jay 3 3
Cardinal 4 5 5
Cooper’s Hawk 1 1
Dark-eyed Junco 2 1
Downy Woodpecker 1 2
European Starling 1
House Finch 1 4
House Sparrow 34 44 40
Mourning Doves 2 2 1
Red Bellied Woodpecker 1 1
Tufted Titmouse 1 1
White Breasted Nuthatch 2 1
Time Counted 2 hours 15 minutes 6 hours 30 minutes 30 minutes Was not able to keep count

As usual family obligations and something called jobs, prevented us from counting much on all days, but the count is a pretty good overall picture of our backyard birds. The Mourning Dove count is way down from several years ago. 2010 saw 30-50 birds.


Categories: Birding, Feeder Watch, Great Backyard Bird Count, Montgomery County, Yard BIrds | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tenants in the Blackberry Patch

DSC_0068I meant to post something last summer about the bird nests in my blackberry patch. But the demands of maintaining the patch and the garden keep me from having much time or energy left at the end of the day to do much blogging.

I planted 3 blackberry plants 21 years ago when we first moved to the property. They have now expanded to a patch about 25 by 35 feet which we have semi-tamed. At one point it was an impenetrable mess. Now we have rows in it that we can walk down to pick the berries fairly well.

DSC_0485The birds absolutely love the brambles as a place to build their nests. Last year at one point we had a mourning dove nest, 3 chipping sparrow nests, a cardinal nest, and a brown thrasher nest.

One year robins nested right on top of the fencepost and we came home from church and the Red-tailed Hawk was raiding the nest. The babies were all dead, but left in the nest for several days before they disappeared. The parents were frantic.DSC_0072

Having nests in the berries during the peak season is very difficult. The parents don’t appreciate it when I come by to pick. And it always seems that the biggest berries are just right around the nest!! But I am very careful not to go too close and to wait until the mother has flown off and quickly pick by them.

I am going to keep a better log this summer of the nests, dates etc.

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