September 22, 2010
- Common Birds to Watch in Fall and Winter
- Family Fun
- Upcoming DEC Events
Birds can be found almost anywhere-from forests and fields to city parks and suburban neighborhoods. People who take time to see and enjoy birds are called bird-watchers. Becoming a bird-watcher is free, easy and a quickly growing pastime. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that more than 70 million people in this country watch birds for enjoyment.
Chickadees are very social birds, traveling in little bands that include other types of birds. They are curious about people and may fly into an outstretched hand to feed. A year-round resident of New York State, this small ball of gray and buff feathers has a bright black bib and skullcap and white cheeks. Chickadees nest in the soft, rotting cavity of a tree, lining it with wool, hair, fur, moss and feathers.
The bold, noisy blue jay can often be found at backyard feeders, particularly if sunflower seeds are available. Blue jays live in open woods, parks, farmlands, yards and gardens. They can be recognized by the bright blue above paler underparts, a blue crest, black around their neck, and white bars on their wings and tail. Nests are well hidden in the crotch or outer branches of a tree and are usually constructed of thorny twigs, bark, mosses, string and leaves.
The male northern cardinal is unmistakable with its brilliant red body and crested head. The female has an olive-gray back, dull reddish wings and crest, soft brown underparts and a red bill. Northern cardinals prefer dense thickets, woodland edges, briar tangles, parks and gardens with thick shrubbery.
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Feed the Birds
If you want to attract birds to your yard, put out some bird feeders with various types of seed (seed preferences vary from species to species), or simply scatter some seed on the ground. If you live in an area where bears are a problem, make sure to remove the bird seed in the spring so that you don't attract these unwanted visitors.
There are many types of bird feeders, as well as many types of bird feed. Hanging feeders are placed in the branches of a tree and allow only a certain amount of feed out at a time. They come equipped with perches where birds can sit while they eat. Ground feeders attract blue jays, cardinals and red-winged blackbirds, to name a few. Window feeders attach to a window by suction cup, making it great fun to sit and get a close look at the birds feeding.
When you watch the birds that come to your backyard feast, look for the following things:
-What shape is the bird? Is it plump or slender? How big is it?
-Are its wings pointed or rounded when it is in flight?
-Is it alone or in a flock?
-Is its beak small and fine or short and stout?
-What color is the bird? Does it have specific markings like stripes or patterns (called field marks)?
Keep a list of the birds you see and the days and times you see them. Note their characteristics, and take photos of them if you have a camera available. Binoculars (if you have them) and a field guide (you can borrow one from the library) are great tools to help you identify the species of birds.
Read Conservationist for Kids for more information and activities!
Nature Discovery After-School Program
Thursday, September 23 and 30 from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
For school-aged children and their caregivers.
Watchable Wildlife along the Sierra Trail (Hudson River Ramble Series)
Saturday, September 25 at 10:00 AM
Saturday, October 2 from Noon to 5:00 PM
Saturday, September 25 from Noon to 4:00 PM
Predators of the Night
Friday, October 1 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, October 2 at 10:00 AM
Saturday, October 2 at 2:00 PM
Brilliant and Bristly Buckmoths
Saturday, September 25 from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Call 518-456-0655 to register. Cost: $2.00/person, $5.00/family, children under 5 free.
Advance registration is required. Call 607-674-4017.
Full Moon Walk
Thursday, September 23 at 7:30 PM
Watchable Wildlife: Squirrels
Saturday, September 25 at 11:00 AM
Children's Program: Leaf Art e
Saturday, October 2 at 11:00 AM
For children ages 4 to 12.
Changing Colors of Fall
Saturday, October 2 at 1:30 PM
Advance registration is required. Call 716-683-5959.
Thursdays, September 23 and 30 at 4:30 PM
For children in grades K-5.
Full Harvest Moon Walk
Thursday, September 23 at 7:00 PM
Saturday, September 25 at 10:30 AM
Cost: $4.00 per starter kit; FORNP members, $2.00 per starter kit.
Sunday, September 26 at 2:00 PM
Saturday, October 2 at 10:30 AM