Sunday, December 12, 2010

Birds at Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary

Yesterday I was at Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, one of several preserves operated by New Jersey Audubon. The woods were mostly quiet, as I expected on a winter day, but there were patches of bird activity. One patch was along a trail that loops around a grassy field. There were a lot of sparrows busy in one of the hedgerows. Dark-eyed Juncos, White-throated Sparrows, Song Sparrows, and Field Sparrows all darted in and out of the bushes. Other small birds such as Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice was also active in the same spot. The reason for such a concentration of activity was apparent on the other side of the hedgerow, where a small stream was flowing. Birds were darting from the bushes down to the stream to drink or bathe. I photographed the junco below during its second dip into the stream.

Another concentration of activity was around the nature center's birdfeeders. Their feeders attracted the usual suspects: chickadees, titmice, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Downy Woodpeckers. In addition, some other birds like American Goldfinches and Blue Jays seemed to be attracted by the activity but did not actually come down from the trees around the center to the feeders. A few Eastern Bluebirds were sitting in a holly tree nearby.

The Black-capped Chickadees really liked one particular feeder that was shaped like a snowman. I am not sure why they favored this one so much, but they visited this feeder much more than the other feeders, and other birds mostly stayed away from it.

This Downy Woodpecker made use of the suet feeder.