Many bird lovers either purchase or build nest boxes for their favourite wild birds: bluebirds, swallows, chickadees, nuthatches and many more. These boxes vary in size and shapes and in particular, the size of the entrance hole, depending on the desired species. We have had as many as 40 swallow houses on our property, and an equal number of bluebird houses on fence posts along the sides of the roads in our area but only after receiving the permission of the landowner.
It’s fall again, and for many who do not feed birds all summer, it is now time to get those feeders out. Learn some insights from avid birder, David Homer.
Double-crested Cormorants are anything but a pretty bird. They are prehistoric in looks and age, one of oldest bird species at about two million years. Painted images of them have been found in ancient North American caves and Egyptian tombs. There are about thirty Cormorant species throughout the world, the Double-crested are the only species in North America.
One of the more interesting birds in our region is the Wilson’s Snipe. Classified as a Shorebird, this species inhabits flooded grasslands, bogs and marshes. They are frequently seen, as this one in the accompanying picture, standing on a fence post scanning the surrounding area and uttering a very loud and weird “tuck-a-tuck-a-tuck-a-tuck” call!
Brown thrashers got their name from the thrashing sound they make as they forage for food in dried leaves and other vegetation on the ground. Where the “brown” came from is beyond me, because, in fact, they possess beautiful rufous- or rusty-coloured feathers on their back, wings and long tail.
In the bird world, there is a basic premise that male birds with bright plumage leave nest building and incubation duties to the female as their bright colours would attract would-be predators to the nest site. I guess that theory was left out of the young male Rose-breasted Grosbeak’s school curriculum, because they engage, along with the female in all of those activities.
Red-tailed hawks are the most easily recognizable hawks we have. They are rather large, with stocky bodies and broad, rounded wings. They normally have brownish streaks on their white breasts, but their most distinguishing identifier is a short, wide and wonderful russet coloured tail.
When I first wrote about Blue Jays back in 2012, concentration was on their darker, meaner, rogue side as members of the Corvid family of birds which also includes Crows and Ravens; how they steal eggs and young of other birds to feed their own young and how they bully any other bird or animal in the playground!
Song sparrows usually arrive back in our region while there is still snow on the ground. Two individuals arrived at our property on March 22 this year. If you are brave enough to sleep with your bedroom window open just a little, he will serenade you with his song as he cracks the early morning quiet, at first light.
A member of the very large family of Sparrows, often referred to by birders as “little brown jobs” or LBJ’s, Song Sparrows are one of the most widespread bird species having a number of sub species. They nest in most every region of Ontario.
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