nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘birds

winter wren and the morning bird chorus

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This morning, just after sunrise, I listened to the song of the Winter Wren. This little wren and its tiny tail shiver as he sings.  I call his song a scribble-song. Its powerful trills and whistles last for several syllables. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology website All About Birds describes it as “a rich cascade of bubbly notes.” To me it celebrates the busy joyfulness of our Grey Woods in spring. To hear the song of the Winter Wren, go to https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Winter_Wren/overview

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'winter wren'.jpg

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I have listened to the morning bird chorus every day for the last week. This morning I heard:

Black-capped Chick-a-dee

Northern Parula

Winter Wren

Eastern Phoebe

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I often include elements of the morning bird chorus in my poetry.  This poem, written about the Salmon River Covered Bridge, is in my poetry book in the shelter of the covered bridge (Chapel Street Editions, 2017). To obtain a copy of the book, go to Chapel Street Editions or contact me through the comments.

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The Salmon River Bridge, near Sussex, Kings County, was built across the Kennebecasis River in 1908. Today it is used as a rest area. In the absence of traffic, wild life has occupied the bridge. Virginia creeper covers one corner of the roof and rose bushes crowd the edges of the road. In mid-May, when we were there, birds were busy in and around the bridge, preferring to be left to their own springtime activities.

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scribble

Salmon Bridge

Kennebecasis #7.5

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The robin, chary. Her beak drips

with wet meadow grass and chickweed.

She clucks, longs to add another strand

to her nest in the rafters,

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woven with the trill of a scribble bird,

a winter wren delirious. And downy

woodpeckers, wing-flare and scrabble,

flirt in the willows, weeping.

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A warbler (yellow blur-bird)

and a red-wing, toweeeee.

Pink roses, meadowsweet

chip, chip, chip, so-wary-we

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and beneath the bridge

in soft mud beside pulled grass

the bleary track of a black bear

claws and pads

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Published, in the shelter of the covered bridge, Chapel Street Editions, 2017

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All my best,

Jane

natural treasures – gems from a day in early spring

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After a wet spring, we were not certain when we would be able to reach our camp this year. Although the snow is gone, we don’t want to risk getting stuck or damaging our lane.

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just a week ago there was still snow on the road and the ruts we could see were very spongy

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We were so happy when we were able to drive all the way to our cabin door. We did a bit of tidying, put markers at the base of the little cedars we lost in the tall grass last fall and my husband did some clipping of trees over-growing the road.

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I did a small display of two of the treasures we found last year, a big pine cone and a chunk of pinkish stone.  But I can’t display the best treasures of the day:

  • the back and forth banter of two Barred Owls. This is the big owl who calls ‘Who cooks for you?’
  • the tremolo of a Common Loon on the lake. The tremolo is one of at least four distinctive vocalisations from this bird. The vibrating ‘who-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo’ is usually a call to warn of intruders or to announce arrival at a lake.
  • the ‘I love dear Canada, Canada, Canada’ of the White-throated Sparrow or the nasal ‘fee-bee’ of the Eastern Phoebe.

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I love our trips to our cabin and the treasures offered to us by nature every time we visit.

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Hope you are enjoying the spring season.

All my best,

Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by jane tims

May 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

puddle ducks

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This time of year the St. John River is at flood levels and backwaters are good places to see many species of duck.

Last weekend, when the water still had a few shallow grassy places for dabbling, we saw these fellows along the old Trans Canada between Oromocto and Jemseg:

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Wood Duck … notice the long crest at the back of the head …

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American Widgeon … a rosy breast and a white cap on his head …

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Mallards … notice the white ring around his neck and his yellow beak …

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Ring-necked Duck … a terrible photo … note the grey beak with a white ring, vertical white before wing and black back …

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There were also lots of Canada geese and a Blue Heron we scared up from a roadside pond …

 

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I am not a good photographer but that cannot take away from the thrill of seeing these birds every spring!

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Happy bird watching!

Jane 

 

 

Written by jane tims

April 30, 2018 at 7:00 am

Pileated Woodpecker excavations

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The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a common visitor in our yard. The size of the woodpecker and its triangular red crest are impossible to miss. The male also has a red stripe on the side of its face.

There is a big spruce tree in our grey woods where the Pileated Woodpecker loves to visit. The hole in the tree and the pile of woodchips below the hole say this woodpecker has been very busy.  The woodpeckers drill these holes to get insects.

On a drive to see the Smyth Covered Bridge near Hoyt, New Brunswick, we found a roadside tree with evidence of the Pileated Woodpecker’s industry.  The holes are almost a foot in length and deep enough to hide a hand.

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To humans, the best forests may seem to be woods with healthy trees. To provide good habitat for the Pileated Woodpecker, a forest should have lots of dead and fallen trees, to provide food and nesting sites.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

April 27, 2018 at 7:06 am

a new bird feeder #2

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I have given up manufacturing. In the last month I built two bird feeders: one from a two liter Coke bottle and one from coconut shells. The squirrels bounced on the bottle feeder and broke it, bad squirrels. And the snow filled up the coconut shells, bad snow. So we went to Co-op and bought a new feeder. Metal, very fancy, a simulated lantern. No anti-squirrel technology (our squirrels puzzle out every one).

The birds are delighted. A day after our big snow storm, they are here by the dozens: goldfinches, chickadees, nuthatches, lots of blur-birds (my photography is not stellar).

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chickadee at the new feeder (sunflower seeds)

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chickadee and goldfinch at the new feeder

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

March 16, 2018 at 7:01 am

Posted in bird song

Tagged with , , , ,

bird feeder visitors – personalities

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I put my feeders up late this year, but the birds have found them. So far the diversity is low, but the numbers are high. We have chickadees, goldfinches and nuthatches. I know from my bird diary of other years, redpolls, purple finches and blue jays will come later.

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I spend a little time each day watching the birds. And, as in other years, I am amazed at how different are the  personalities of these birds.

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Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) – sings ‘chick-a-dee-dee-dee’ or ‘fee-bee’ 

  •  the chickadee hoards food, storing food in times of plenty under bits of bark or a patch of lichen. Canada’s Hinterland Who’s Who says a chickadee can remember where it has stored its food up to 28 days.
  • the chickadee is a grab and go kind of feeder. They zoom in on a sunflower seed, pick it and leave.
  • chickadees hang out in flocks, and have a hierarchy and a ‘pecking order’. The birds are very aggressive with other birds, chasing away other chickadees, nuthatches and goldfinches.

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Red-breasted-Nuthatch (Sitta Canadensis) – sings a nasal ‘yank-yank-yank’ over and over

  • the nuthatch walks head-downward after it lands and in Newfoundland is called the ‘upside-down bird’.
  • nuthatches are very solitary at the feeder and are easily chased away by chickadees.
  • they get-their-food-and-get-going, not hanging around even for a second.
  • nuthatches also hoard and hide food.
  • Hinterland Who’s Who says these birds carry tree pitch to build their nests!

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American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)  – sings ‘perchickoree’ and flies in a series of hanging loops, potato chip, potato chip.

  • at this time of year goldfinches are dull olive-yellow.
  • they hang out at bird feeders, staying put until they are chased away. They arrive at feeders in flocks and feed quite happily side by side.
  • although they eat sunflower seeds, they seem to prefer thistle seed.
  • Hinterland Who’s Who says goldfinches go into feeding frenzies before snowstorms, putting on significant weight before times when seeds are scarce.

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Do you feed the birds and what kinds of birds come to your feeders? Do they have distinct personalities?

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Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 20, 2018 at 7:00 am

feeding the birds

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I am late this year with putting out bird feeders. Two reasons: the reported difficulty with disease in bird feeders last year and my general lack of time.

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This morning I made a bird feeder from a coke bottle (my son and I used to do this when he was little) and filled three of our feeders. The old sunflower seed feeders, difficult to clean and too expensive to toss out every few days, are in the trash.

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Presenting my new home-made feeder for sunflower seeds! I may add a simple roof to keep the snow out. I can replace it at intervals to keep it clean.

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The finch-feeder with nyjer (thistle) seed:

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A pile of seeds in our frozen bird-bath, for the squirrels and deer:

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As I came in from outside, I heard a chickadee in the larch tree, so I am hoping they will find the feeders soon.

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one of the illustrations in my book ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ (Chapel Street Editions 2017)

 

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

Written by jane tims

February 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

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