Wednesday, May 25, 2011

#53 Backyard Tip: Attracting Orioles

Orioles are one of North America's most colorful birds. Most, like the Baltimore Oriole (left) are summer visitors, breeding in the US, and returning to the tropics for the winter.

Being primarily nectar feeders it is unlikely that you will see them at your seed feeders. However, you can attract them to your backyard by putting out a small cup of grape jelly (they love it) or an orange.

Cut an orange in half and spike it on a stick. Be sure to have a perch nearby so that they can easily access it, and you will soon be enjoying another backyard visitor.
photo © adrian binns

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

#52 Field Tip: Always Prepare for Foul or Fair

Be prepared for all types of weather. Temperatures and conditions can change drastically and quickly, in wilderness or suburban areas. Temperature fluctuations are greatest during Spring and Fall; last weekend’s lows can be this weekend’s highs, and visa versa.

Basic birding necessities include hat, sunscreen, bug spray, water bottle and plenty of layered outerwear. I never go anywhere without gloves and umbrella – they live permanently in my car!
photo © adrian binns

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

#51 Keeping an Eye On..... Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers

Two very similar woodpeckers visit my feeding station - the Downy (left), and the larger, less common Hairy Woodpecker. On a Hairy (below), the bill is longer and considerably bulkier than a Downy’s, and if you look closely, the Downy has several small black bars on the outer tail feathers, while on a Hairy they are plain white. Both of these features help separate these two species.

On the males of both species, I notice that the red nape patch of a Hairy (right) is separated by a black bar (at least in the East), while on a Downy (above), this is not the case.

Keep an eye out for these male woodpeckers, and see if you notice this as well.
all photos © adrian binns

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#50 Field Tip: Following Fast-Movers

Birding along a wooded hedgerow during migration season can feature an exciting array of species. But it can be frustrating when the warblers, kinglets, and vireos are moving through at break-neck pace, making it difficult to get on them. Don't despair.

First, pre-focus your binoculars on the foliage so that you are ready when a bird comes by. Use your eyes to spot movement, and keep your eyes on the target while bringing binoculars up to them. Once you've locked on the bird, it's easier to follow it through the trees. If it flies out of sight, lower the binoculars, and re-find it with your naked eye.
photo © adrian binns