Species #23 to #29
Dates: 22 March and 1-7 March 2020
These were the “Lifeforms of the Day” for the past week … they originally appeared on this Facebook page. If you would like to follow that page you will get a new species to enjoy and learn about each day until some embuggerment or another prevents me posting.
The images can be clicked on to view them at full size.
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscala)
One of the birds that everyone loves to hate because they make a lot of noise and drop fecal sacs produced by the nestlings in your garden pool. But, for a couple of weeks around tins time of year they will sit on your bird feeders, glossy heads shining in the early spring sunshine, fix their yellow-rimmed beady eyes at you and tell you how smart they are.
Often nest in groups (mini-colonies) choosing pines or dense shrubs. The collective noun is, I have learned, a “plague”. One of those interesting birds that go in for “anting” by rubbing insects on its feathers possibly to apply liquids such as formic acid secreted by the insects and help keep parasites away.
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)
A small and stocky bird that is surprisingly common in local gardens and especially nearby in the arboretum where they are almost more numerous than Chickadees.
They forage for insects on trunks and branches and often move head-first downwards. Seeds form a substantial part of their winter diet, as do various nuts stored in the fall. Old-growth woodland is preferred for breeding. They nest in holes in trees. Easily located by their very characteristic call that sounds like a nasally squeaky plastic toy.