Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Wintry Bluebird Kind of Day

Over the weekend, 
we had very blustery weather and even some swirling snow showers.
Oh, how I have missed the snow this year.

Tucked out of the wind, a shy blue bird greeted us first thing in the morning. He was knocking at the window trying to come in.

He took one look at us though and dashed away, but then returned, perhaps because he enjoyed the break in wind he had found or perhaps, was curious about us. He did this for hours and provide us delightful entertainment.

He reminded me of a cheerful little book from my daughter, 
called "The Bluebird of Happiness" 

and this quote, 
"This is the best day the world has ever seen. Tomorrow will be better."

You can't help but smile, when you see a bluebird.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Our Observations and Results for the Great Backyard Bird Count!

For the past 2 days, John and I have been observing birds and taking notes for the Great Backyard Count. We revisited a few pointers for identification such as with the woodpeckers, the Downy Woodpecker has a short beak, white back and black dots on the white outer section of the tail whereas the Hairy Woodpecker, which looks very similar, is bigger and has a longer beak. Can you figure out which one is which from these amazing illustrations from online?

Then, for the iridescent black birds. The European Starlings are smaller and compact with short tails and yellow beaks this time of year and usually fly in quick moving flocks whereas the Common Grackle is larger with a long keel-shaped tail and dark beak. Which one is which?

Finally, here are the results of our Great Backyard Bird Count:

Locality: 18901, Doylestown, Bucks County, PA
Observation Date: FEB 19, 2012
Email: shiverjh2002@yahoo.com
Start Time: 9:30 AM
Snow Depth: No snow was present
Total Birding Time: 4 hours
Location Type: Yard
Party Size: 2
Skill: good
Weather: good
deciduous woods
Number of species: 14
All Reported: no
Turkey Vulture3
Red-tailed Hawk1
Mourning Dove3
Red-bellied Woodpecker1
Downy Woodpecker1
Blue Jay3
American Crow3
Carolina/Black-capped Chickadee2
European Starling12
Song Sparrow3
Dark-eyed Junco13
Northern Cardinal3
Common Grackle3
House Finch1

There is still one more day to observe. Wow, I see a Northern Flicker on the feeder. Got to go!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Partake in the Great Backyard Bird Count!

This coming weekend, starting February 17 and running 4 days until February 20, is the annual

Great Backyard Bird Count. 

The site listed below provides a data form and list of birds for your area.

Have fun and happy birding!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Feasting Robins and Cedar Waxwings

A couple of weeks ago, our Green Hawthorne was overflowing with red berries. Not for long! A flock of robins flew in, flying back and forth between a maple and seemingly taking turns in feasting.

Within an hour, a tightly oval shaped flock of Cedar Waxwings joined them. These medium sized birds have a silky appearance,  have yellow-tipped tails and striking black markings on their faces. They eat insects during breeding season and berries especially from Junipers year round. They are know to pass berries from bird to bird which is believed to help in the digestion of the berry. Find more info at this Cornell Birding site : http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Cedar_waxwing/id/ac

Robins and Cedar Waxwings are both very social birds and eat the berries whole and seem to get along quite well, contrary to the report I found online. (http://www.jstor.org/pss/4513265).

Here is an excellent video of these beautiful birds on Youtube:

Monday, February 6, 2012

Demise of the Unruly Pussywillows!

Pussy willow stands are quite unruly!

 We tried cutting them down from 25 feet to 5 feet for them only to grow back within a season back to 25 feet or more. They had become twisted with errant trees and vines of all sorts, causing them to fold over onto the driveway. 

After careful thought, the 3 stands were removed by Tophat Landscaping's Jason and his colleague, Mark, over 2 days and lots of hard work. 

Now we have an amazing view!