January was an unseasonably warm month. Lots of bird activity with many of the usual suspects and one unexpected rare appearance by a Wilson’s Warbler (see our recent January 14 post). In addition to the photos below we had visits from a Great Blue Heron and a Red-tailed Hawk. The Northern Flickers in the photo below were engaged in a territorial fencing display, which we have seen one other time.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – Sphyrapicus varius
Brown Thrasher – Toxostoma rufum
Cedar Waxwings – Bombycilla cedrorum
Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla
Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla
Carolina Wren – Thryothorus ludovicianus
Eastern Bluebird- Sialia sialis
Eatern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Golden-crowned Kinglet – Regulus
House Finch – Haemorhous mexicanus
Mourning Doves – Zenaida macroura
Northern Cardinal (male) – Cardinalis cardinalis
Northern Cardinal (female) – Cardinalis cardinalis
It’s been a warm, dry fall so far. With the drought, birds and critters have appreciated the water in birdbaths and the pond. But the drought was broken as reported in our previous post, and we have started hearing toads again at night.
A flock of several hundred grackles passed through a few days ago and we have started seeing Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Surely colder weather is not far off.
There’s been much nesting activity in April, as there should be. Three of the four houses on the Peachtree Park Nature Trail have occupants and there is a Red-bellied Woodpecker pair nesting in a snag on the trail: (see the recent post Nesters on the Nature Trail). The bluebird house in the Darlington Road triangle is occupied, and Bluebirds are competing with Brown-headed Nuthatches for a box three houses down. Birds are nesting in shrubbery in multiple locations in our yard and Carolina Wrens in the oven vent. This is occurring all over the neighborhood, and most likely in your yard.
Also, Goldfinches descended in mass in the trees inback of us for several days and emptied the thistle feeders every day for a few days. The morning chorus at sunrise continues to be quite loud; some singers go on almost all day, like the Brown Thrasher below. It’s a great time of year.
Brown-headed Nuthatch populations are declining in many areas. In fact, the brown-headed nuthatch is considered by some experts to be the least common nuthatch in North America. Brown-headed nuthatches prefer mature pine forests, and loss of this habitat has played a major role in their decline.
They are small industrious birds and are fun to watch. It’s easy to tell when they are around because their call sounds like a small squeaky toy.
Brown-headed Nuthatches nesting in a snag
The good news is that, so far, they seem to be doing well in Peachtree Park. We’ve noticed them nesting here in birdhouses and snags for the last several years.
But that’s not to say that they don’t still need your help. It’s nesting season, and you can do a lot for this little bird by putting up a birdhouse. Atlanta Audubon’s Nest Boxes for Nuthatches page has information on how you can buy or build your own nest box along with other information about the Brown-headed nuthatch.
Below is a short video of a pair nesting in a birdhouse mounted on a snag just down the street from us (thanks for leaving the snag!) The video was recorded yesterday and today. We think they are still building the nest because you can see nesting material in one Nuthatch’s mouth at the beginning of the clip.
These photos were taken in Peachtree Park and there are two additional Brown-headed Nuthatch videos on our Bird Videos page.
Mild weather continued in March. It actually felt like Spring as we passed the first official day of the season. Last month we told you we heard frogs. This month we’ve been hearing them more and seeing them, as well as lots of tadpoles.
March’s photos include nesting birds, native bees and two butterfly species: Sulfur and Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Also both of our native honeysuckle vines are blooming coinciding with the arrival of hummingbirds. So be on the lookout.
As you can see below, the Cooper’s Hawks are still here. This one had just caught a Mourning Dove.
It is spring after all. It’s time. Stake out your territory, find a mate and start a family. Here are three houses that have boarders and another with a serious prospect.
Our friends Greg and Stephanie three houses down have a Bluebird house on a pine snag in their front yard, but Brown-headed Nuthatches beat them to the punch. We’ve seen Nuthatches nest in a box and once their chicks fledge, the Bluebirds will come along behind them with their own family. It’ll be interesting to see what happens here this year.
And some Nuthatches are checking out a house in our front yard, but so far no takers.
Brown-headed Nuthatch inspecting our birdhouse
In the back yard Carolina Chickadees have found their spot and one of the building projects close by is helping with insulation for nesting material.
Checking out the house
A little nesting material
And some really good news: the bluebirds who have used the house in the Darlington Road triangle are back! They’ve been coming back to this spot almost every year since 2007. Watch our video from 2014 on Bluebirds in this house.
Again our monthly journal is mostly about birds. In addition to these colorful visitors, we saw many Blue Jays, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Red-tailed Hawks in January. The weather continues to be unseasonably warm, and we are seeing territorial disputes already beginning; particularly Eastern Bluebirds, Brown-headed Nuthatches and American Robins. And we are on the lookout for early hummingbird arrivals.
White-throated Sparrow – Zonotrichia albicollis Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January 3, 2016
White-breasted Nuthatch – Sitta carolinensis Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Song Sparrow – Melospiza melodia Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January, 2016
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January, 2016
Pine Warbler – Setophaga pinus Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January, 2016
Eastern Towhee – Pipilo erythrophthalmus Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Eastern Phoebe – Sayornis phoebe Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Eastern Bluebird – Sialia sialis Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 16, 2016
Downy Woodpecker – Picoides pubescens Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016
Dark-eyed Junco – Junco hyemalis Peachtree Park, Atlanta, GA – January 3, 2016
Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 16, 2016
Brown-headed Nuthatch – Sitta pusilla Peachtree Park, Atlanta GA – January 30, 2016