Category: Birds

Fruit-eating birds: American robins, northern mockingbirds, and gray catbirds

What the above photo lacks in quality is hopefully made up for in quantity–of robins, that is. After looking at it for a long time, I make out 9 American robins on 2 distinct winterberries. The winterberry shrub in the foreground with purplish berries… Continue Reading “Fruit-eating birds: American robins, northern mockingbirds, and gray catbirds”

American goldfinch: common bird with unique characteristics

American goldfinch (Carduelis tristis). Do you see 3 birds in the photo above? A darker-colored female American goldfinch to the far left isn’t easy to spot. A yellow male goldfinch is center left. I suspect that I saw only this bird as I snapped… Continue Reading “American goldfinch: common bird with unique characteristics”

Robins, and holly–and starlings, oh golly

The harbingers of spring. An American robin (Turdus migratorius) stopped by on February 9, 2018. Perhaps he was a loner. Perhaps he is a member of the small flock of robins I saw recently in the park across the street. He sat in the magnolia… Continue Reading “Robins, and holly–and starlings, oh golly”

Persephone months

Eliot Coleman calls the period of time when days are less than 10 hours long from sunrise to sunset the Persephone months. In his Maine winter garden, this is when vegetables under cover will be available for harvest, although they do not grow. The… Continue Reading “Persephone months”

A new garden plan for Fortex green pole beans

Pole bean (Phaseolus vulgaris). Fortex green pole beans have been my favorite green bean for many years now. I’m not inclined to try bush beans (again) or to experiment with new varieties of pole beans. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s the… Continue Reading “A new garden plan for Fortex green pole beans”

Robins ate the winterberries

For Christmas 2015, I bought a small Winter Red winterberry shrub (Ilex verticillata). Sometime the following January, something ate the red berries. I suspected the robins, but did not have proof. This Christmas, the winterberry bush was double in size with multitudes of beautiful… Continue Reading “Robins ate the winterberries”

Bird news: dark-eyed juncos, American robins, and common grackles

The dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) are back. The first juncos of the winter came to the feeders on December 12 as a light snow moved south from upstate New York. It’s good to see those roly-poly sparrows with the stick legs once again. Juncos come… Continue Reading “Bird news: dark-eyed juncos, American robins, and common grackles”

Are blue jays getting a bad rap

Are blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) getting a bad rap. It could be. According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, blue jays are known to take and eat eggs and nestlings of other birds. Indeed, Birds of New Jersey makes a special note of this behavior in… Continue Reading “Are blue jays getting a bad rap”

Short winter for the dark-eyed juncos

Short winter for the dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis). The crocuses in the photo above are lovely and harbingers of spring for sure. Today is March 11. Yesterday the temp was a record 82°. Yikes. The problem is what’s not in the photo. No dark-eyed juncos.… Continue Reading “Short winter for the dark-eyed juncos”

Mourning doves are welcome in my garden

Mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) are year-round New Jersey inhabitants, although they make partial migrations in search of food. They are ground feeders. Their fawn color with black spots helps to camouflage them on the ground. Although they are the most hunted bird in the… Continue Reading “Mourning doves are welcome in my garden”