Archive for the Category ◊ Birds ◊

• Friday, March 29th, 2013

On March 24th, 2013 Pam led a program on dyeing eggs with natural dyes at Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve. While the eggs were soaking in the dye, she taught the kids and adults about the different kinds of creatures that lay eggs.
Link to photo story from the Bucks County Herald.

• Monday, January 03rd, 2011

See this Philadelphia Inquirer article where Pam from Nature by the Yard is quoted on ways to attract wildlife to your yard in the winter, including placing a “nature-trimmed” Christmas tree outside.
Link to article.

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• Thursday, June 17th, 2010

Hello all.
So, here is the saga of the screech owls. They have been hanging around my yard, one in the box, the other in the tree since March. Presumably, the female was incubating while the male fed her at night. Recently, I noticed they had both moved to a crab apple tree in my yard.

In the late afternoon, one of them would move back in the box. I’ve never seen the fledglings, but I’m hopeful this pair was successful. I want to believe they left the box to encourage the young to leave.

Now, it has been two days, and there is no sign of either. I have to say, I miss them and I’ve been a little melancholy today. I hope they come back next year. I’ve gotten so much pleasure from watching them.

Another recent addition to the yard is a family of Tufted Titmice. They are busy going back and forth feeding their clutch. I counted 7 trips in 15 minutes by both parent. When I hang the laundry on the line which is tied to the tree their box is on, the babies chirp and peep hoping it is mom or dad with their next meal.

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• Saturday, April 03rd, 2010

I haven’t seen my screech owl in the box for about 10 days. I’m not sure if it is hunkered down in the box because the chickadees and bluejays are relentless in their harassment, if it is a female sitting on eggs or maybe it left. But I was out moving logs from the wood pile yesterday and happen to glance up in a tree next to the one that holds the box and I found another owl, sitting in the ivy.

I’m hoping they are a pair and the one in the ivy is the male. He’ll feed her through the night as she incubates the eggs. I may try to scope them out tonight since it is supposed to be clear and try to watch the action. Will keep you all posted. Stay tuned. Please comment so I know someone is reading this.

 

 

 

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• Sunday, March 28th, 2010

After three years, my offering has finally paid off. When we moved to our current house, I put up several boxes for nesting birds. I climbed up a ladder to put up two small boxes for chickadees or titmice and one large box for a screech owl.

The first year, two English sparrows took up residence in the small boxes. Not okay with me. English sparrows are not native birds and are extremely aggressive. They have been known to build their nest on top of baby bluebirds.

As soon as I noticed the male sparrows checking out the boxes, I opened the side door to discourage them. Later that season, I closed them when I saw a chickadee checking out one of the holes in one of the boxes. Then my summer schedule hit and I got busy. I lost track and before I knew it, the sparrows were back and sitting on eggs. Bummer.

The second year, I kept the side door open. I’d rather no one use the box than provide nesting sites for the sparrows. In the big box though, a Gray Squirrel raised a litter. Not my intention, but okay.

Last year, no one used the boxes for some reason. I thought it was strange since in my area, suitable holes for cavity nesters are in short supply, but nature does strange things.

Two weeks ago, I was in the yard picking up my 20 millionth sweetgum ball. I noticed debris stuffed in the large box. I didn’t have my glasses on, so I assumed it was leaves and a gray squirrel had once again found the box as was raising another litter. I won’t lie I was a little disappointed. My neighbor told me she had a screech owl in her yard nesting for years. She had no idea what an amazing thing it is. What an honor in my mind. She was so off handed, I really wanted to scream at her.

Anyway, back to the over zealous squirrel with the leaves in the box. I thought I saw the leaves move, but since I didn’t have my glasses, I attributed the illusion to just that, my eyes playing tricks. But I went in to get my glasses just in case. I’m such the optimist, so you can imagine my surprise when this is what I saw.

This is an Eastern Screech Owl, cinnamon phase. Screech owls come in two phases, gray and cinnamon. I am so excited about my owl. I’ve become somewhat obsessive. I check to make sure s/he is still there and when I don’t see it, I become melancholy. I haven’t seen my owl in a few days, but the other birds seem especially tense and chatty around the box, so I’m hoping it is a female sitting on a nest and is just hunkered down.

From what I’ve been able to determine, the male and female share the cavity and at night, he hunts and feeds her while she sits. I have only seen one owl, but I’m holding out hope.

Stay tuned for more owl progress. Same owl time, same owl channel.

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