Backyard Birds

Many thanks to guest blogger Carlos Barbery for the following post. Check out Carlos’ impressive bio below!

My backyard has had lots of very interesting birds.  Our neighbourhood includes a Pine forest and is also right next to the Lac Deschenes IBA so we get a mixture of different birds.  So far, we have had over fifty-six species that we’ve seen in our backyard and the list is growing.  Many are foraging for insects on the trees and some are just flying over like Ring-billed gulls, Common Terns, Bald Eagles and Common Nighthawks. One of the most unexpected birds that was flying over but ended up landing in our backyard was a Wood Duck.

a Pileated Woodpecker pair

a Pileated Woodpecker pair

We have the expected birds visiting our backyard feeding station like Black-capped Chickadees and White and Red-breasted nuthatches, American Goldfinch and Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers.  We also have a Pileated Woodpecker pair that comes to our suet feeders and Ruby-throated hummingbirds that visit our nectar feeder.  Mourning Doves, Chipping Sparrows and Juncos feed on millet on the ground.  Our feeders have so far attracted over 30 species of birds and at times we have had seven species of birds at the feeder at the same time.  We’ve had several unusual birds at our feeders including a Carolina Wren, a Pine Warbler and a Hoary Redpoll. The Pine warbler came to our suet feeders last fall.

Last year we had a drought and we had three different bird baths set up that were visited by birds we had never seen at them before including a Yellow-rumped warbler, a Great-crested Flycatcher and a Northern Flicker.  One of the bird baths was used by an American Crow to soften up food it had found.

Merlin

Merlin

So far we have had 56 species of birds in our backyard.  In spring we see lots of warblers and vireos in the oak and maple trees including Black-and-White Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Pine Warbler and Blackburnian Warblers.  I’ve seen Common Raven, Brown Creeper and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks as well.  All the birds in our backyard have come to the attention of our neighbourhood Cooper’s Hawks and Merlins, both of whom are nesting nearby.  The Cooper’s Hawk has tried several times to catch Mourning Doves at our feeder but so far was unsuccessful.  The Merlins have been more successful, having caught an American Goldfinch and a European Starling that they ate in a tree above our house.

I just added another backyard bird to my list last weekend,  Blue-headed Vireo, and am hoping to be adding quite a few more.

Photo by Gillian Shields

Photo by Gillian Shields

Bio: Carlos Barbery is a 12-year-old birder who has been watching birds since he was five-years-old. He has been actively involved the past few years in three different Christmas Bird Counts in Ottawa, Dunrobin and Algonquin Park. He participates in several Citizen Science Projects, including Feederwatch, the Great Backyard Bird Count and Nestwatch and actively logs his bird sightings in eBird. He is a member of the Ottawa Field Naturalist’s Macoun Club and has served as its president. In 2012 he was thrilled to be able to receive a scholarship to attend an Art and Nature workshop at the Cornell Lab of Orthithology where he was, amongst other activities, able to view their vast collection of bird specimens and view original artwork by Louis Agassiz Fuertes. He continued to add to his list of volunteer activities last year when he helped with the Spring Migration Monitoring Program and Saw-Whet Owl banding at Innis point Bird Observatory and is looking forward to adding two more activites to his volunteer list this year: Marsh Monitoring and Owl Surveying.