Tuesday, July 7, 2015

South Burlington birds: Beautiful Nature (litter) Free

Originally published in Watching Backyard Birds magazine, April 2015. 

Litter with a story to tell is a blog of short stories, and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green & Clean & Community. My postings range from local folklore to personal experiences-stories that capture both heart and mind. Photos of birds, flowers, and fall foliage exemplify a shared earth worth keeping clean of littered trash.

Rightfully we should urge legislatures and businesses to protect our land and water from such calamities as oil spills. However closer to home and within our own abilities (to clean up), is a problem no less detrimental to birds and other wildlife-litter. I believe, if we do not observe and pick up litter and dispose of it properly-we are all culpable.

One of my strategies is to highlight the beauty of litter free nature. Participating in neighborhood Green Up Day and shoreline clean up events helps me feel instant gratification by removing debris from our picturesque natural world.

Observation is one of the keys to capturing the most from bird watching. I relish the ease at which I can watch backyard birds from our kitchen window. The antics, behavior, and creativity of songbirds around feeders may not be as diverse as in woodlands, fields and waterways. However, the show and tell continues almost none stop, coffee or hot chocolate are always at hand, and even the simplest point and shoot camera can capture the moment.

Feeding black-oil sunflower seeds, white proso-millet, and homemade suet as a mainstay, I add peanuts and not just for their nutritional value. The peanut feeder I use requires birds to reach into a small hole to pull out a peanut. Last year I witnessed a nuthatch pull out a peanut, drop it, and then fly down and catch it before it hit the ground- Astonishing! 

The glass front and back creates the “eye candy” effect.

 Sometimes a newbie will tap on the glass, perhaps expecting a peanut to roll out of the dispenser.

Plantings of local varieties is another key to bringing birds into our backyard attracted by the summer flowers, winter seeds, as well as resting and nesting bird habitat. See my backyard flower postings to view the many flowers, trees, bird boxes, and even (Jewel and other) weeds that draw birds to our backyard-even some such as the shy Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Occasionally in a flash arrival and as quick a departure, a large flock of Waxwings devours our overwintering pea size crabapples. It looks like a party-the activity is intense leaving behind red stained snow-like goblets of spilled red wine. 

Irruptive species such as redpolls, which visited us in great numbers in the winter of 2013, are welcomed visitors. Occasionally we are not the only ones watching the songbirds at our feeders. Hawks and owls offer a majestic full screen bird watching experience when they are but a few yards from your window seat. Throughout March and April of 2013, a Hermit Thrush gave me a reason to bird watch even on dreary days as I recorded with photos each of the daily thrush mealtime visits.

Nature is beautiful and free for viewing if we take the time to stop, look, and listen. Please help keep your community green and clean-litter free.


each of the series of 15 bird species I photographed in my South Burlington, VT backyard, click here and page down to Backyard Birding, then select a bird posting. (Hundreds of bird photos)

Bernie publishes short stories and photos reflecting Vermont values of Green and Clean and Community. He urges us all to pick up litter in order to protect our water, wildlife, and human health. 
Bernie resides in South Burlington, Vermont 

Blue JayBackyard birding series, Issue #1.
Black-capped ChicadeesBackyard birding series Issue #2.
NuthatchBackyard birding series, Issue #3.
TitmouseBackyard birding series, Issue #4.
American Tree SparrowBackyard birding seriesIssue #5.
White-throated SparrowBackyard birding series, Issue #6.
American Goldfinch Backyard birding series, Issue #7.
Dark-eyed Junco Backyard birding series, Issue #8.
Snow-birdsBackyard birding series, Issue #9.
CardinalBackyard birding series, Issue #10.
Downy & Hairy WoodpeckerBackyard Birding Issue Issue #11.
Carolina WrenBackyard Birding Issue Issue #12.
House Finch Backyard Birding Issue Issue #13.

Mourning Dove Backyard Birding Issue Issue #14.
Red-bellied WoodpeckerBackyard Birding Issue Issue #15.