I’m guess I would be called a pretty low-level birder. Over the past couple of years I’ve been trying to get better at identifying the birds that occur around me, and paying attention to how the birds and their behaviors change over the seasons. But I don’t plan birding trips, own a spotting scope, keep a lifelist or anything.
Thought it might be fun to have a thread where folk posted any interesting birding experiences they had.
Here in NW IN, the birds have been getting much more active over the past couple of weeks, and new birds are appearing just about every day. Pretty exciting.
Just this past week, I had been hearing a fluttering “witchity-witchity” call in the mornings as I walked my dog. It was coming from a field behind my home, and sounded as tho the brd was flying as it sang.
Yesterday I walked the dog through the field, and was surprised and pleased to startle a woodcock. It was the first one I had ever seen live. And I immediately realized that must have been what I had been hearing.
I’ve long thought them interesting, and wished I could see/hear their mating flights. This morning I listened carefully, and that’s what it was. Could hear the “peents” preceding the flutter. In fact, I think there were more than one.
Aww, American Woodcocks are awesome! Such big eyes, shy, and only rarely seen. Good for you! In southwest Virginia all the swallows come back a bit early, the Towee’s are doing their cute little chicken scratch dance under the feeder, and last month I drove a few miles to see a Harlequin duck which must have been blown off course by one of our winter storms. Only five have ever been spotted in TN, so birders traveled from hundreds of miles to see her.
Today a couple of sapsuckers are abusing my maple tree, and I have the usual southeastern assortment of finches, Northern Cardinals, Blue Jays, Song sparrows, Eastern bluebirds, Northern Mockingbirds, and our anteater: the Northern Flicker. Love the wicka-wicka call and the bright yellow feathers under their wings.
Last week we were at a wooded hotel up on the Colorado Springs mountainside. There were beautiful birds in the spruce and pines with sharp black and white contrasts that were half again as large as an average jay.
I have a nearby colony of Swallow-tailed Kites, I’m always seeing them swooping around here-I have a strong inkling as to where at least one nest is. And on top of that I have a pair of Ospreys nesting on a lightpole in front of my work-eggs were laid last week.
The coolest sighting of this past week tho was encountering a guy with a Sun Conure in a local park-he put the little bugger on my shoulders, and she apparently was really into me, because she did her little headbob greeting dance and then kept hiding from her owner when he went to retrieve her!
I’ve gone from one feeder to three (seeds for clingers, seeds for perchers, and a suet basket) outside my home office window. Lots and lots and lots of sparrows, regular if not frequent visits from the pair of cardinals who nest nearby, a catbird or two, the occasional junco. Mostly I just watch the sparrows come in one at a time, then all whoosh off at once at some unheard (to me) signal, then come back in two or three at a time.
A friend of mine saw a woodcock in Center City Philadelphia the other day – that was pretty weird.
So – nothing too interesting from a birder point of view, but plenty of entertainment for an urban setting.
In the same field I’ve seen eastern bluebirds twice in the last 2 weeks. Like the indigo buntings, when you see them they almost take your breat away. The almost seem not entirely real, they are so beautiful!
I recently moved here from the western burbs of Chicago. At my feeder yesterday there were a bunch off tufted titmice among the chickadees, a bird I NEVER saw 90 miles away. Really cute little birds.
At work, there are 2 retention ponds. I try to walk around them over lunch on days my schedule permits. Last year I was learned to identify the song of the song sparrow - after which I heard them EVERYWHERE! Pretty soon I should see all kinds of waterfowl moving through the area. I’ll let you know what I see.
My informal “goal” for this year is to get better at identifying hawks. The only ones I can identify with any certainty are adult redtails. Speaking of which, we keep an apt N of Chicago, across the street from some forest preserves. There is a pair of redtails that soar over the parking lot outside our window, and perch on a building opposite. I’d really like to figure out where they are nesting.
In my old office in downtown Chicago, I used to regularly see peregrines that nested on the building behind us. But that is 2.5 yrs ago now, and I asked about RECENT sightings!
The only non-stuffed woodcock I had seen before was dead in an alley in the Chicago loop. An apparent migration building collision casualty.
Not a birder or anything, but we haven’t run down by the canal in at least two months, so it was so nice to go this morning and see our Great Blue Heron, who we call Fred. We see him maybe 90% of the time there, but it’s always a pleasure.
It’s been too dark to actually see any other birds on our runs. Fred’s a big fella, though, and he hangs out in the edges of the canal not ten feet from the path. Hard to miss him.
Thank you for finding that. It must have been. It was on a limb outside our balcony facing me so I didn’t see the blue and it was in a squat position because of the cold. I don’t find anything else that comes close in the link. The B&W contrast was stunning though, a beautiful bird that’s obviously pretty tough too. We’d seen them before on the ski slopes robbing scraps from chalet lunch tables.
My grandpa died a few months ago, just after I moved far away from him. Our new innercity flat didn’t have any birds around, and it was eerily quiet without birdsong. I wrote to my grandpa to ask for his advice for attracting birds. I received his long and detailed reply at the exact time that I heard he died. It was so nice to get a message from him with his advice at that moment. It was nice to know that I will always have all the advice he gave me, and that I will always have all his lessons about nature.
So we’ve been following all his instructions and have attracted some birds to the neighbourhood; it’s not so eerily silent anymore. We even had a beautiful woodpecker, right in the middle of the city! Yesterday we had some kind of warbler, I think a chiffchaff. Only it was eating the mint. The fat balls have insects, but I still went out and bought some meal worms. It’s come back, but just ate the mint again.
I wish I could ask my grandpa what is going on. Maybe I misidentified it? Maybe they sometimes need some veggies? I checked the mint, there are no visible insects. It’s welcome to my mint in exchange for it’s pretty singing, but I want to know!
Do any of you know?
I realise it’s not a terribly exciting bird siting, but I get excited about any new bird that visits my little balcony…
Yesterday a large Bald Eagle flew by very close to my office window. They’re not rare around here, but I never tire of seeing them. We do seem to have more of a variety of water fowl in the area recently. All I know is they are “ducks.” (or at least I think they are).
Probably my favorite bird here is the Carolina Wren - they aren’t colorful, but they are as cute as can be and they like hanging around the house - they’ll roost in the hanging baskets or the rafters on the porch. They are also quite loud when they sing - I am always amazed at the amount of sound that can come out of such a small bird. Chickadees are like that too.
I saw a Barred Owl once - I hear them often but they are rarely sighted during the day. It was early in the morning and I was on the way to work. He was hanging out in a large tree by a swamp - probably still hunting.
I had one wake me up last weekend by pounding on the porch railing next to the bedroom window. I think that means we need to replace the railing … it’s got a spot on it that is starting to rot. I hope if it found any insects in there they weren’t termites!