I saw my first Song Sparrow in the yard on march 19th. It was hiding in a bush at the corner of the house. I was returning form walking the dog when i saw it and quickly went inside to grab my camera. I could only hope the bird would still be there and it was, but the bush was so twiggy that it made it difficult to get the full body of the bird. No matter which way I maneuvered the sparrow managed to keep its face obscured by branches. I think it was so cold and hungry that it was too tired to fly away. I guess it was trying to do the old child’s game of, “if I can’t see you, then you can’t see me!” After taking a few photos I left it alone hoping it would soon find my feeders.
Often the bird watching around here is like this, a dark silhouette against a gray sky at the very top of a tall tree. Can you guess what bird species this is?
Black-capped Chickadees are the most bold and most often to be seen on these feeders. I had to move them from the dining room windows where I first had them set up because the darned squirrels soon learned they could climb a bush at the corner, then cling to the window edge until they reached the feeders where they would scramble up and gobble up all the seed!
It took about 2 weeks for these guys to find my feeders and we have been doing battle ever since. We are playing our own little game of, “Are You Smarter than a Gray Squirrel?” I tell you what, they are the epitome of persistence and problem solving!
Now all the snow has melted and the yard is full of song sparrows!
It took awhile for the woodpeckers to find the suet but once they did they have returned on a regular basis. I have seen both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers here so far. I am still waiting to see if Red-bellied or Pileated show up. I have not seen or heard a Red-bellied woodpecker in Maine yet this year, but I saw my first Pileated Woodpecker on Mere Point Road while driving to town this past weekend, so there is hope! I have also seen evidence of their excavations on some trees over at the boat launch.
I took this picture through the bow window on March 21st.
These feeders seem to work pretty well. I have two of these that I brought with me from Tucson which I got at the Wildbirds Unlimited on Tangue Verde Road. I wasn’t sure I would be able to find the seed cylinders here in Maine but discovered that the Freeport Wildbird Supply sells them.
Now that the weather is warming up it is much easier to go outside to photograph birds. I am going to have to learn to sit and be quiet and wait for the birds because taking pictures through these windows is practically pointless because of the distortion. I have also discovered that Song Sparrows look an awful lot like dried leaves and when the wind is blowing it is hard to tell if that’s a sparrow hopping or a leaf fluttering on the lawn! Binoculars are definitely needed!
I had my first Cedar Waxwing on March 3rd. It was only one and I haven’t seen any since. I think this is some kind of fruiting tree it was perched in but the very hungry robins devoured all the fruit long ago. I keep hoping for a Bohemian Waxwing but that is doubtful here at the coast! If this was a Bohemian Waxwing it would have rusty colored undertail coverts instead of the pale ones you see here. (Undertail coverts are the feathers underneath the bird’s tail that hide its private parts. I sometimes call them bird underpants!)
I had my first Fox Sparrow on March 31st. Since then they have been regular yard birds though their numbers have dropped from a high of 10 birds seen in one day on April 4th. Yesterday I only saw two.
I moved this bird feeder from the yew bush on the side of the house where it was hanging to the back yard where I could hang it from a limb. However, I could only reach so high and by the time I hung the chain, squirrel baffle and feeder, the feeder was about waist high. It worked for about two days, then the squirrels realized they could leap straight up and get on the feeder, so yesterday I dragged a step ladder out of the basement and climbed the steps to hang the feeder higher on the limb. It is now face high to me, which means about 5 feet off the ground. I can still fill the feeder easily and hopefully the squirrels will not be able to get on it. One good thing about moving it to this location is it is away from the side road and has more cover for the birds. Since moving the feeder over here I have been seeing more titmice and nuthatches. However, I am wondering what all of this is going to look like once everything leafs out!
Before going to Florida I had seen 16 species of birds in this yard. Since my return I have added to that total almost daily. One of my favorite yard birds right now is the American Woodcock, also known as a timberdoodle. I love this bird! It’s dawn and dusk calls and flight displays are spectacular. I cannot believe I have this bird as a yard bird! One night one landed right at the edge of the driveway as I was walking towards the house. I got to see it do its rocking walk where it takes a step and rocks back and forth, then takes another step. I read there is speculation that they do this to startle the earthworms and make they move so they can probe in the mud and eat them. Since they are mostly active at dawn and dusk it will be hard to get a photo of them, but I have seen them during the day and it is my hope to get a picture of one someday soon!
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Mere Point Cottage Recent Species: