Tag: Birds

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

House sparrow patriarchy

Male house sparrows (Passer domesticus) are hierarchical, according to Nicholas Lund on the Audubon.org website. The hierarchy depends on the size of the black patch on the breasts of male house sparrows. Breeding male house sparrows have larger black chest badges than non-breeding males. Other…

White-throated sparrow: new bird at the feeders

White-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) are new ground feeders in the garden this winter. The following photos were taken from February 12-15, a period of sub-zero temps in central New Jersey. White-throated sparrows are winter residents in this area, so I don’t know why they…

Dark-eyed juncos are back at last

Dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis) are back at last. The first photo of a junco this winter was taken January 13. They may have been back a few days previous. But they were late this year, that’s for sure, probably because of all the warm December…

American robins come calling

A small flock of American robins (Turdus migratorius) came calling on February 11 to sample the berries on the Sparkleberry winterberry shrub. The high temp for February 11 was 42° F., so the 37° theory may have been a factor. (The theory being that robins come…