Pileated Woodpecker ( female) by Hilke Breder
We have an Eastern Kingbird nest outside of our dining room close to our feeders. A pair of crows likes to clean up the ground under the feeders, but as soon as they cross a line visible only to the Kingbirds they are dive bombed and driven from the yard. The nest is right over our garden and the Kingbirds completely ignore us.
A couple of weeks ago the crows must have been feeding young. One of them collected several worms from the lawn, that were sticking out of his bill, and he flew off with them. He looked like a fox who had just found a mouse nest.
---Susan James, Guilford
I reported the Carolina Wren off Orchard St. last week. According to Sibley, they're rare in our territory although perhaps they're coming north with warmer temps.
Scarlet Tanagers have nested in the woods by our house off Bonnyvale Road for the past several years and are here again. I've noticed an increase in these birds over the past 2 decades.
Lots of warblers this year, including nesting Blackburnians near us.
An extraordinary number of Pileated Woodpeckers live in the surrounding woods. I watched one call in an air strike of 3 others on our cat who, as a result, seems less likely to stalk pileateds.
---Mimi Morton, W. Brattleboro
While preparing supper today I glanced out my kitchen window into the backyard and saw a female Pileated Woodpecker making her way around a dead pine stump that serves as an anchor for a clothes line. She was removing chips of bark and retrieving ants with her long tongue (second photo). The crest was brilliant, almost iridescent red, difficult to catch in a photo.
---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro
Please Report Dead birds
The only birds that tested positive last year for West Nile Virus in Vermont came from Windham County, and again this month the Department of Health is starting its program of collecting and testing dead birds to track the spread of the disease. 370 dead birds were collected in Vermont in 2007. 55 were tested, 3 of those tested positive, all 3 were from Windham County.
The health department reports that people cannot get the virus from handling live or dead birds, and officials there are asking anyone who sees a dead bird to bring it in to the district office in Brattleboro, Vermont Department of Health, 232 Main Street, Suite 3 or by calling the dead bird report line at: 800-913-1139.
More information can be found on the Health Department web site: www.healthvermont.gov
Please keep us abreast of what birds you are seeing, whether at home or on a trip in or out of the Windham County area.
A friend is someone who reaches for your hand and touches your heart.
W. Brattleboro, VT
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Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society website: