October 3, 2017 – Common Chaffinch or Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
Found in Europe, western and central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and some north Atlantic islands, these finches have also been introduced to South Africa and New Zealand. They eat mostly seeds, along with some invertebrates in the summer, foraging mostly on the ground and sometimes catching insects in the air. Females build the nests from grasses and other materials, hidden by lichen and moss often in the forks of trees, and incubate the eggs alone. Both parents feed invertebrates to the chicks. Chaffinches have been recorded living as long as 14 years.
September 29, 2017 – Varied Sittella, Australian Nuthatch, Orange-winged Sittella, or Barkpecker (Daphoenositta chrysoptera)
Found in woodlands throughout much of Australia, there are five subspecies of these birds which vary quite a bit in their patterning. They eat insects, searching for prey as they move down tree trunks or along branches. Their deep cup-shaped nests are built from bark and spiderweb in the forks of branches. Often breeding cooperatively, pairs may have several helpers, though only breeding females incubate the eggs and brood the chicks.
September 25, 2017 – Northern Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium gnoma)
These tiny owls are found in parts of western North America, through Mexico and into parts of northern Central America. Mostly hunting during the day, they eat small birds and mammals, along with some insects and reptiles. Despite their small size, they sometimes take prey much larger than themselves, like California Quails or Northern Flickers. Pairs nest in tree cavities, which they don’t excavate themselves, reusing those made by woodpeckers or rot, but occasionally adding feathers, moss, or other materials as lining. Females incubate the eggs, while males hunt, bringing food to their mates and chicks.
September 21, 2017 – Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi)
These thrushes are found throughout much of western North America from parts of Alaska through Mexico. They eat insects and spiders during the breeding season and fruit, particularly juniper berries, during the winter. Often hunting their insect prey from a perch, they fly out to capture it in the air or drop onto it on the ground. Pairs search for suitable nest sites together, but females build the nests in small depressions on the ground. The nests are cup-shaped and constructed from pine needles, grasses, and bark. Males and females sing at all times of year, though females sing more softly than males.
September 17, 2017 – Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus)
Found in much of the eastern United States and in parts of the Caribbean and Canada, these birds are one of the only wood warbler species to regularly visit bird feeders. Their diet includes caterpillars and other invertebrates, along with fruits and seeds, especially from pines. During the winter they may forage in mixed-species flocks and are often found searching for food in pine trees throughout the year. Females gather most of the nest materials, including grass, bark, pine needles, spider silk, and feathers, along with other materials. Often accompanied by their mates, they do most of the construction of their cup-shaped nests, usually building them in pine trees. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the chicks, sometimes using broken-wing displays to distract predators from their nests.
September 13, 2017 – Red-breasted Chat (Granatellus venustus)
Found in western Mexico, these birds were recently classified as warblers, but are now considered part of the cardinal family. Though little is known about the specifics of their diet, they probably eat insects and other arthropods, picking them from foliage while foraging alone or in pairs. They build open cup nests from Spanish moss, other fibers, and spiderweb. Females incubate the eggs alone, but both parents feed the chicks.
September 9, 2017 – Eurasian Siskin, European Siskin, Common Siskin, or Spruce Siskin (Carduelis spinus, Spinus notatus, or Spinus spinus)
These small finches are found in two separate populations, one in Europe and another in eastern Asia. They mostly eat seeds, especially those from conifers, alders, and birches, along with fruits and berries in winter and some insects. Monogamous pairs often raise two broods of chicks a year, but if food is scarce they may raise only one. Females build the nests and incubate the eggs. Both parents feed the chicks.