, Newburyport, MA

Local News

July 27, 2013

Local nesting continues as migration begins

After the monsoon rains on Tuesday, I saw a female oriole on the jelly feeder that we have hanging in the back window at the store. This is the first oriole that I have seen here this season. The catbirds found the feeder some time ago and have visited off and on. The goldfinches are feeding regularly from the thistle feeder hanging in the other window, along with a couple of house finches. The goldfinches are nesting now, so I expect to see some youngsters in the weeks ahead.

I received a call from a Salisbury resident who was a bit confused by the woodpecker that was coming to her suet feeder. She has regular visits from downy and hairy woodpeckers, and even flickers and pileated. This one looked like a downy woodpecker — it was the size of a downy, perhaps a tad larger. But she was confused because this bird had red on the top of the head, not on the nape or back of the head as the male downy typically has. She considered sapsucker, but that wasn’t quite right. I explained to her that young downy woodpeckers do have red on the top of their head instead of on the nape. They might also appear a little larger as they may still have some down feathers underneath their feathering, “puffing” them up a bit.

Many birds are still nesting, some on their second or, even, third brood. Wrens and bluebirds are still busy raising families and we still see young chickadees and titmice fluttering their wings, begging for food. I received a photo of a cedar waxwing fledgling, found on the ground under a shrub. The parents were likely nearby and still feeding it. I also have received photos of hawks at feeders. Most comical are the young sharp-shinned hawks who insist on perching right on top of the feeder poles. Do they really think that the birds won’t notice?

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