North American birds sleep in nestboxes in winter too


This video is called Where Do Birds Go In Winter?

As we have seen, birds in the Netherlands use nestboxes for sleeping during cold winter nights.

Birds in other countries do as well.

From the Cornell lab of Ornoithology in the USA:

Roosting In a Winter Wonderland

by Robyn Bailey, NestWatch Project Leader

I have a few nest boxes around my house that have never been used for nesting, but I don’t dare relocate these duds. That’s because they have another purpose, for which I am happy to sacrifice them. They’re bird hotels, or if you prefer, “roost boxes.” That is, birds only use them in winter, tucking themselves in at night to keep warm and giving me great bird-watching opportunities all winter that I wouldn’t otherwise have.

It started with an Eastern Screech-Owl nest box three years ago. After checking this box all summer with binoculars, I didn’t see an owl face in the entrance hole until October. Then I saw it almost every day until March, after which sightings became a rare treat. But the following October, there it was again, sunbathing in the entrance hole. Then there’s the smaller box that is mounted on the side of my garage. No takers, but something was enlarging the entrance hole—I finally spotted the culprit, a Downy Woodpecker! Just about every night before sunset, the woodpecker flies to the box, peeks his head in before entering, then looks out one last time before settling down. Until recently, the small box on my back porch has never hosted anything. So imagine my surprise when an unidentified speeding bird-bullet came flying out of it as I walked onto the back porch and accidentally startled it (and it, me).

Most cavity-nesting birds will use nest boxes as a warm, dry place to sleep at night. Some roost individually, such as the Downy Woodpecker, but others, such as bluebirds, will roost in groups. Cavity roosting, especially in groups, can reduce heat loss, which in turn helps survival. In a study conducted in 1961, S. C. Kendeigh estimated that as much as 11% less energy may be burned by birds sleeping in cavities than out on a limb.

Watching your birds come home to roost at night, or in the morning in the case of owls, can be a lot of fun. So don’t be discouraged if birds aren’t nesting in some of your boxes; they may be roosting in them! How can you tell? A box that is used for roosting  will contain feathers and droppings. If you really want to provide the five-star treatment, you can also build your own roost box for small songbirds that is specifically designed to minimize heat loss and accommodate groups of sleeping birds.

Identifying North American birds


This video, from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA, says about itself:

Inside Birding: Size and Shape

Learn the most fundamental skill for identifying birds: recognizing them by size and shape. Birding experts Chris Wood and Jessie Barry show you how to compare different birds and employ your observations to make a confident ID.

Join them in the field to practice these techniques on common birds and learn how to distinguish similar species such as Hairy and Downy woodpeckers.

This video, also from the Cornell Lab, says about itself:

Inside Birding: Behavior

Recognizing behavioral clues is a key component of bird identification.

Improve your identification skills by watching Lab experts as they examine posture, foraging behavior and flight style.

This video, also from the Cornell Lab, says about itself:

Inside Birding: Habitat

Join birding experts Jessie Barry and Chris Wood as they explore the marshes, cypress swamps, and nearby mangroves of Florida’s Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in pursuit of the elusive Limpkin.

This video, also from the Cornell Lab, says about itself:

Inside Birding: Color Pattern

Color and plumage patterns are key components of bird identification. Improve your birding skills by watching Lab experts as they demonstrate how to recognize the color patterns that will help you identify birds with confidence.

Feeding North American birds in winter


This video from Indiana in the USA says about itself:

Winter Birds’ Feeding Frenzy

5 January 2013

My pagoda sunflower seed bird feeder served as the perfect feeding station, making this feeding frenzy a birdwatchers’ delight. Watch as Bluejays, Northern Cardinals, Chickadees, House Finches, Goldfinches, Tufted Titmice, Nuthatches, and House Sparrows all dart in to feed and take a spin on the pagoda feeder, while Red-bellied and Downy Woodpeckers dine on the nearby suet. Listen as the Pileated Woodpecker comes in close to scold from a nearby tree, but stays out of camera’s view. Notice, as the days get longer, the Goldfinches are already starting to get some yellow back.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Make Your Yard Songbird Central With These Easy Dos and Don’ts

There’s no better time than winter to diversify your feeder setup and bring some lively color to your surroundings. The right combination of feeders and foliage can turn your yard into the songbird version of Grand Central Station. We’ve got all your bases covered—feeder safety, all sorts of alternative foods, natural shelters, and more—over on our Citizen Science blog. Check out our tips.

Make a Pretty Feeder From a Pine Cone: All you need are cones, some bird seed, and a little suet. Here’s our recipe.

Prothonotary warbler wins mural painting contest


This video is called Prothonotary Warbler Portrait.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

The Prothonotary Warbler was voted as the winning warbler to be featured in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s centennial mural.

This Thanksgiving, all the world’s Prothonotary Warblers are settling in for a meal of caterpillars and flies in their winter homes in the mangrove forests of Central America and the Caribbean. They’ll return to the swamps and wetlands of eastern North America around April. …

Our featured bird for this year’s Thanksgiving eCard is the Prothonotary Warbler, the winning warbler in more than 32,000 rounds of voting on our website last week. As a result, artist Jane Kim will feature the Prothonotary Warbler in the mural she is painting at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to celebrate the diversity of birds for the Lab’s centennial in 2015.

Which North American warbler should artist paint?


This video from the USA says about itself:

Bird Watching: Spring Warblers in Central Park, New York City

During their spring migration many beautiful birds pass through Central Park. Shown are just 18 of the colorful migrating Warblers with their stunning plumage: Palm, Prairie, Yellow, Worm-eating, Magnolia, a graceful American Redstart, Hooded, Black-throated Blue, Northern Parula, Blackpoll, Bay-breasted, Ovenbird, Black-and-white, a Northern Waterthrush singing and foraging, Canada, Common Yellowthroat, a Yellow-rumped bathing and a Black-throated Green Warbler preening and drying off after a bath. Filmed April 12 – May 26, 2014 in Central Park, New York City.

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA:

Dear Friend of the Cornell Lab,

As the Cornell Lab of Ornithology heads into its centennial year, artist Jane Kim has begun painting an epic mural of birds, celebrating 375 million years of avian evolution and diversity around the world.

By the time Jane finishes a year from now, the mural, “From So Simple a Beginning,” will trace the diversity of birds through the ages, featuring life-size portraits of species from all 231 extant bird families. We need your help, though, to decide on one more species to join this ambitious mural: Which warbler should Jane paint to represent this brightly colored songbird family?

Warblers are one of the main attractions of spring birding in North America—they’re brilliant little jewels that come in a great variety—so we’ve created a fun and easy way for you to cast votes on which warbler best suits our beautiful bird mural.

The winning warbler will be one of the mural’s 250-plus portraits reminding us every day of the diversity of the world’s birds and the need to protect them today and in the century ahead.

Pick Our Warbler

We’ll announce the winning warbler in our Thanksgiving eCard.

How to watch birds with binoculars


This video from the USA says about itself:

How to get crystal clear focus with your binoculars

5 November 2014

Inside Birding host Jessie Barry describes how to set up binoculars for a better birding experience. Includes adjusting the eyecups and diopter as well as how to spot and scan for birds.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA adds:

Migrants are migrating, days are cooling down, and winter birds are getting ready to flock around your feeders. Now’s the time to make sure your binoculars are giving you the best possible view. For some fast tips on setting up your binoculars (including the mysterious “diopter”), and how to find and focus on birds, watch this video.

More Ways to Get the Most From Binoculars:

From motmots to tomtits: discover the world’s best birdwatching: here.

Cornell great blue herons in 2014


This video from the USA says about itself:

Cornell Herons Highlights 2014

3 October 2014

‘Dad’ Great Blue Heron with his missing toe has been nesting on Sapsucker Woods Pond raising a family each year since 2009. Unfortunately, the nest was blown down during high winds in 2014. That did not stop ‘Dad’ from visiting the pond regularly and continuing to claim it as his own. We also believe he may have raised a family successfully nearby as he was seen with juvenile herons over the summer. Fingers crossed that he decides to return next year to construct a new nest.