Sightings listed for the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

BIRD NOTES ~ July 1, 2009

Bird Notes

Fun at the Feeders

I've previously had Oriole's sipping nectar from my Hummingbird feeder, but this year I've had a female Downy Woodpecker taking a drink now and then. When I was doing some yard work, near my sunflower seed/ suet feeder, a Chickadee landed on top of the feeder, about two feet away from me. Although that is not all that unusual for a Chickadee, this one didn't even flinch as I moved. He looked a little scruffy, so I thought he might be a naive youngster. Moving more slowly, I took a sunflower seed from the feeder and presented it to him. He eagerly took it, from my palm and then another, but he dropped both. Then he went to the suet feeder, which hangs on the side of the sunflower seed feeder. It was then that I noticed he was hanging on the wire suet feeder by just one foot, while he ate suet. After some suet, he went back to the top of the sunflower seed feeder. This time, I saw that he was only standing on one leg, while the other leg, bent at an odd angle, was of no use. He took another seed from me, held on to it this time and then flew off with it. Sadly, I think that having just one working leg must make food gathering pretty difficult and his hunger made him bolder. And with me being near the feeder, I helped by scaring away the competition, making it easier for him to feed.

---Steve Medved, Putney, VT




Bank Swallows

The other day I followed Lance Tanino's post in the NHBIRD list and drove to Surry, NH, to check out the colony of bank swallows. It was an overcast day, and my pictures came out brown in brown - the dark brown swallows against the sand-colored bank. There were maybe 30+ swallows flying around but none of them would enter their nest cavities until I, and my dog, got back into my car using it as a blind. We were too far from the bank to pose any threats but the swallows appear to be extra cautious. Anyway, here is a link to the photos:

---Hilke Breder, Brattleboro, VT



Henslow’s Sparrow in Montague, MA

This grasslands sparrow was named by John James Audubon for his friend John S. Henslow, an English botanist, geologist, clergyman and teacher. It is a real neat little bird that is becoming rarer due to the loss of more and more farmland to developers. This morning we made the half hour drive south to Montague, Massachusetts, with fellow birder Chris Petrak, in search of this rare sparrow that was reported to have been first sighted this past Saturday in a hayfield along Meadow Road. It is only about 5 inches in length with a striped olive-colored head and rufous in the wings. We found it in that exact field perched atop a tall weed, emitting a loud, insect like, “chi-lick”. It was a life bird for Chris and only the third sighting of that species for us.

---Barbara Merritt, W. Brattleboro, VT




Vermont Farmers Change Ways to Help Birds

SHELDON, VT (AP)—A University of Vermont researcher is merging science with conservation with a project that pays farmers to help protect grassland songbirds. The six years that wildlife biologist Noah Perlut spent studying Vermont hayfields has resulted in a federal program that pays farmers $135 an acre to cut their hayfields by June 2 and delay their second cutting till mid-July. That gives songbirds like Bobolinks time to build nests, hatch eggs and raise young.

     Under the usual haying schedule, most of the nests are destroyed. Before Perlut’s study, researchers assumed that postponing all cutting until after nesting season was the only way to protect the birds. The Burlington Free Press says four landowners are participating this year.



The Kindergarten Gang at Chipmunk Crossing

If you do not feed the birds at this time of year, you are missing out on all of the fledglings that are, or soon will be, showing up with gaping mouths, fluttering wings, and squeaks and chirps begging food from their parents. At present we have the following frequenting our little acre:

Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Common Grackle, Crow, Redwing Blackbird, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Black-capped Chickadee, and Purple Finch.


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.

Al Merritt

W. Brattleboro, VT


A friend is someone who reaches for your hand

 and touches your heart.





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