Tag Archives: Wild Birds Unlimited

Nature Walk on Earth Day

It was a beautiful day for a walk, so I headed out to the Morton Arboretum to walk and celebrate Earth Day.  Spring flowers were in abundance!

Here’s what I saw:

White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)
Immature plants produce a single leaf and no flower, while mature plants produce a pair of leaves and a single flower. Colonies often have far more leaves than flowers.

Prairie Trillium (Trillium recurvatum)

This poisonous plant never really “opens” like other trilliums. The drooping sepals and stalked leaves are clues that you have this trillium and not the very similar Toad Shade.

Virginia Springbeauty (Claytonia virginica)

This small flower is a sure sign that spring has arrived! You’ll find them open on warm sunny days and closed during cloudy weather and at night. These are stunning as a sweeping sea of pink in the forest.

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Wild geraniums are easily identified by their large palmately lobed leaves and their beak-like seed capsules that point upwards.

Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)

This fragrant flower is easy to spot and identify by its toothed leaf pattern. By the end of spring, both the flowers and foliage will disappear until next year.

Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia)

While I often find these as weeds in my yard, their deep purple flowers are a cheerful find amidst all the decaying fall leaves.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

This escaped ornamental plant, which can be mistaken for Wild Leeks (Spring Leeks (aka Ramps), will soon show it’s distinct white flowers.  Unlike leeks, all parts of this plant are highly toxic.  If it doesn’t smell like onions or garlic, don’t eat it!

After my hike in the spring woods, I stopped by my local Wild Birds Unlimited store to stock up on sunflower seeds and suet for the birds and to buy a bat house to encourage bats to our place in Wisconsin. The staff at WBU is a great source of info for what’s going on in your local bird world, and I find the best birding supplies there. Today, I heard the hummingbirds are back already so time to get the feeders out (Hummingbird Nectar)!

Then as a last fun nature day stop, I went by a local nursery to buy some Summer Beauty Allium (Allium tanguticum).  I have a hot, dry sunny spot where oddly nothing seems too happy to grow.  I’ve been seeing these in similar locations in public gardens so I’ll give them a try. They produce a pretty pom-pom flower display mid-summer, are sterile so aren’t invasive, are pollinator favorites, and rabbits stay away from them.  All around sounds pretty good to me.

Did you get out and enjoy this spring day!

 

 

Great Backyard Bird Count

Great Backyard Bird Count
February 14-17, 2014

Cardinal

Since 1998, birders of all kinds have come together for a four day bird count in February. Counting birds at the same time every year provides a snapshot into the overall health of bird populations around the world.

Chickadee

Years ago as a service project,  my Girl Scout Troop participated in this event.  It was really fun teaching the girls about what they were possibly going to see in their backyards, and introducing them to thinking a little more about their natural surroundings. The girls loved it!

Downy Woodpecker

It’s super easy to participate. Simply tally the numbers and kinds of birds you see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, You can count from any location, any time of day, anywhere in the world.

To get more information and register your observations, go to the GBBC site.

GBBC

This project is a joint venture between the Audubon Society, The Cornell Lab,  and Bird Studies Canada.  It is also made possible by support by Wild Birds Unlimited and the National Science Foundation.

Are you participating? Did you see anything unusual?

This Painted Bunting would be highly unusual to see in my backyard, but it was one of my most exciting sightings!

Painted Bunting

Photos by Peggy and Stephi

Birdfeeder Cams

From my computer, I can’t really see much outside. Even if I did, my feeder (yes, only one right now) doesn’t usually attract a wide variety of birds.  I do enjoy watching the Goldfinches, Chickadees and Juncoes, but they are often overrun by the usual suburban fare.  So, I’ve taken to watching the bird cams that have popped up the last few years.  Many watch nests, but those are pretty quiet or off-line right now.  Instead, in the winter I mainly watch the bird feedercams run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds.  They have 2 feeders that have cameras on them.  One in Ontario, Canada, and the other at the Cornell Labs in Ithaca, New York.  The Ontario site is in a large, diverse, residential backyard in northern Ontario and is only on during the day.  The Cornell Labs site is located on the edge of Sapsucker Woods, right near a pond.  It’s supported generously by Wild Birds Unlimited and runs 24 hours a day.  Both are great locations for attracting birds and they get a variety of visitors.  If you have some time to watch , it’s a nice diversion, especially when your own yard isn’t all that interesting.   It’s also nice sometimes to just have it open in the background.  You can hear all the visitors and it makes you feel like you are there.

Here’s what I saw today:

Ontario was a little quiet today, probably due to snow and wind.  The Chickadees did venture out, though.  I love the holiday theme!

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

The Cornell labs location was quite busy today.  Lots of Chickadees, the Tufted Titmouse visited for a while, and ducks swam in the pond.  There were also some sparrows that were a little tricky to identify, but the consensus from watchers was that they were American Tree Sparrows.  I have to admit I am not very good at identifying LBJ’s (little brown jobs).

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

 

Cornell Lab FeederCam

I visited quickly this morning before my post was scheduled to go out and the Ontario feeder was a having a gathering of Grosbeaks!  

Cornell Lab Feederwatch

Do you watch any Feedercams?