Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Feeding Birds in an Apartment

Red-bellied woodpecker
at a backyard feeder.
Question from Reader:  I live in an apartment.  Can I feed birds from my balcony?  Should I participate in Project Feeder Watch?

My Answer:  Long ago before I met Kathy and when I was a young man, I used to live on the third floor of a "luxury" apartment complex and had the same issue with rules you have. Basically, I just broke the rules. Fortunately, the apartment managers (all female!) thought I was a wonderful tenant, so I got away with breaking the rules---one of the privileges back then of being young and dashing.

But I did use cracked sunflower seed that left no hulls or mess on the balcony---Kathy and I use the same kind of seed in our yard. You can purchase it at any of the Wild Birds Unlimited stores in the Houston area, or you can order it online at http://www.shopwbu.com/products/. Get the "No-Mess Blend Bird Seed." They also sell suet cakes specially blended for warm climates---order the "No Melt" variety. (I have no financial interest in Wild Birds Unlimited; I simply like their products and customer service.)

We also travel quite a bit, so we record birds when we're home and leave it at that.

Project FeederWatch has no hard-and-fast rule that you have to count birds every week. If you sign up for the project, it will take about two weeks to receive the kit. But you can download the tally sheet on the website at www.FeederWatch.com and begin keeping tallies right away.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Strange bird at feeder

Baltimore oriole at water bath.
Copyright: Kathy Adams Clark 
Question from Reader:

Several weeks ago a very beautiful orange and yellow bird, about the size of a mocking bird, lit on one of my humming bird feeders.  I was mostly orange with yellow on the breast.  The closest thing I found in my Texas books was the Altamira Oriole.  I don’t remember the dark wings and tail, but I only saw it for a few seconds before it gave up on the feeder and flew off.  Any Ideas?


My Reply:

The orange bird at your hummingbird feeders was probably a winter plumaged Baltimore Oriole migrating to Southern Mexico or to Central or northern South America.  Altamira Orioles are a Mexican species that occur in the Rio Grande Valley, and I know of no records of that species showing up much farther north.  

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Carolina Wren in the Backyard

Carolina wren with characteristic cocked tail.
Copyright: Kathy Adams Clark 
Carolina Wrens typically remain on or near breeding grounds throughout the year and return to the same location to breed throughout their lives.  Their offspring and even relatives generally reside in the same neighborhood but don't compete with each other for space.  

The Carolina's Wren's song, or I should say, songs are among my favorite bird vocalizations.