Goodbye Englewood, hello Ringwood: a tribute to my yard

I began birding 10 years ago in Englewood, NJ. I discovered the Great Backyard Bird Count online and walked down my street trying to count birds, only to discover I literally could not even ID a House Sparrow. For some reason that I still cannot explain or describe, I became hooked on birds, and I have never looked back. So I can actually say that a House Sparrow got me into bird watching!

We just moved to Ringwood, NJ, which is so wonderful already, and I’m thrilled. But I leave my Englewood yard with a very heavy heart and much sadness for all my “regular” yard birds, like Mr. and Mrs. Led-belly (who just recently had another successful nest this year, producing a probable female baby), Boyd and Betty the Robins, the Downy Woodpeckers, the 15 or so Blue Jays, the Cardinals, Grackles, Red-winged Blackbirds, ¬†and so many more. My yard has produced 85 species over the past 10 years that I am aware of. Who knows what else has flown through when I was not there? 85 species is pretty amazing for a small plot of land (50 feet by 150 feet) in a very suburban neighborhood directly across from Route 4. Some of the more unusual/exciting birds I’ve seen there are Monk Parakeet, Common Nighthawk, Bald Eagle, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Common Raven, Winter Wren, Golden- and Ruby-crowned Kinglets (both were life birds on the same day!), Hermit Thrush, Brown Thrasher, Clay-colored Sparrow, Field Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Indigo Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Pine Siskin, Purple Finch, and warblers of the following flavors: Tennessee, Blackpoll, Black-throated Green, Black & White, Pine, Palm, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Redstart, and Common Yellowthroat.

Three of four Monk Parakeets in the yard on June 4, 2011Pine Siskin 2/14/09 for the Great Backyard Bird Count

Below is a list complied from eBird (which I started using over 10 years ago from the day I began bird watching) of my complete yard list, including breeding birds and life birds in my yard. So far the Ringwood yard has been exceptional, producing my most-wanted yard bird – Pileated Woodpecker – just this morning, and we have other birds here I’ve never seen in Englewood, like Red-eyed Vireo and Great-crested Flycatcher. But there will always be a special place in my heart for my little beautiful yard in Englewood. My list is here:

YARD LIST (compiled from eBird)

Asterisk (*) at end of entry = yard or close surrounding area breeder.

Date at end of entry in bold = life bird.

Row #,Species,Count,Location,S/P,Date

1,Canada Goose,22,YARD LIST,US-NJ,24 Feb 2004

2,Mallard,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,29 May 2006

3,Wild Turkey,6,YARD LIST,US-NJ,08 Aug 2010*

4,Great Blue Heron,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,15 Mar 2010

5,Great Egret,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,18 May 2005,

6,Black-crowned Night-Heron,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,16 Jul 2006

7,Black Vulture,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,31 Dec 2013

8,Turkey Vulture,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,10 Dec 2006

9,Osprey,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,08 Apr 2014

10,Sharp-shinned Hawk,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,17 Apr 2004

11,Cooper’s Hawk,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,31 Dec 2004

12,Bald Eagle,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Nov 2008

13,Broad-winged Hawk,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,15 Sep 2010

14,Red-tailed Hawk,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,14 Nov 2004

15,Ring-billed Gull,20,YARD LIST,US-NJ,27 Feb 2004

16,Herring Gull,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,19 Mar 2011

17,Rock Pigeon,23,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Feb 2004

18,Mourning Dove,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,26 Feb 2004*

19,Common Nighthawk,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,30 Aug 2013

20,Chimney Swift,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,17 Aug 2005

21,Belted Kingfisher,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,26 Oct 2010

22,Red-headed Woodpecker,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,27 Feb 2004

23,Red-bellied Woodpecker,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,08 Mar 2004*

24,Yellow-bellied Sapsucker,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,02 Oct 2005

25,Downy Woodpecker,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,25 Apr 2004*

26,Hairy Woodpecker,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,15 Jan 2005*

27,Northern Flicker,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,24 Apr 2004*

28,Monk Parakeet,10,YARD LIST,US-NJ,27 Oct 2008

29,Eastern Phoebe,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,21 Oct 2006

30,Blue Jay,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,25 Feb 2004*

31,American Crow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,26 Feb 2004

32,Fish Crow,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,09 Apr 2011

33,Common Raven,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,25 Apr 2013

34,Tree Swallow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,21 May 2005

35,Barn Swallow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,14 Jun 2009

36,Black-capped Chickadee,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Feb 2004

37,Tufted Titmouse,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,08 Mar 2004

38,Red-breasted Nuthatch,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,27 Oct 2007

39,White-breasted Nuthatch,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Feb 2004

40,Brown Creeper,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,06 Nov 2011

41,House Wren,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,16 Jun 2007

42,Winter Wren,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,15 Oct 2009

43,Carolina Wren,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,01 Oct 2006*

44,Golden-crowned Kinglet,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Oct 2005

45,Ruby-crowned Kinglet,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Oct 2005 (NOTE: both Kinglets as life birds on same day!)

46,Hermit Thrush,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,05 Nov 2006

47,American Robin,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,01 Mar 2004*

48,Gray Catbird,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,01 May 2004*

49,Brown Thrasher,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,25 Sep 2007

50,Northern Mockingbird,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,10 Apr 2004

51,European Starling,7,YARD LIST,US-NJ,18 Feb 2004*

52,Cedar Waxwing,8,YARD LIST,US-NJ,10 Jun 2010

53,Black-and-white Warbler,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 May 2004

54,Tennessee Warbler,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,07 Oct 2011

55,Common Yellowthroat,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,29 Sep 2006

56,American Redstart,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,04 May 2010

57,Yellow Warbler,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,01 May 2012

58,Blackpoll Warbler,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,17 May 2012

59,Palm Warbler,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,05 Nov 2005

60,Pine Warbler,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,28 Mar 2010

61,Yellow-rumped Warbler,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,21 Oct 2006

62,Black-throated Green Warbler,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,04 Oct 2009

63,Eastern Towhee,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Apr 2004

64,American Tree Sparrow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,01 Jan 2011

65,Chipping Sparrow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,09 Apr 2004

66,Clay-colored Sparrow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,21 Oct 2012

67,Field Sparrow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,16 Oct 2012

68,Fox Sparrow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,12 Nov 2005

69,Song Sparrow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Feb 2004

70,White-throated Sparrow,5,YARD LIST,US-NJ,21 Feb 2004

71,White-crowned Sparrow,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,30 Oct 2010

72,Dark-eyed Junco,20,YARD LIST,US-NJ,21 Feb 2004

73,Northern Cardinal,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,18 Feb 2004*

74,Rose-breasted Grosbeak,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,23 Apr 2009

75,Indigo Bunting,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,06 Nov 2010

76,Red-winged Blackbird,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,29 Apr 2004*

77,Rusty Blackbird,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,26 Feb 2010

78,Common Grackle,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,17 Apr 2004*

79,Brown-headed Cowbird,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,29 Apr 2004*

80,Baltimore Oriole,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,04 Aug 2005*

81,House Finch,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,18 Jul 2004*

82,Purple Finch,1,YARD LIST,US-NJ,23 Nov 2007

83,Pine Siskin,3,YARD LIST,US-NJ,18 Jan 2009

84,American Goldfinch,2,YARD LIST,US-NJ,11 Dec 2004*

85,House Sparrow,15,YARD LIST,US-NJ,22 Feb 2004*

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Catbird nest, and new yard babies

Bob and I discovered the location of the Gray Catbird nest in the yard today! Bob noticed one of the birds grab a little twig and saw it fly into a large shrub. I scouted the shrub with my binoculars and finally was able to see the nest well camouflaged. I thought it might be located here because I could hear the bird singing in the morning from around this area, but it was hard to verify (click on each photo to enlarge and for explanatory caption):

Gray Catbird nest - closeup but zoomed in at 18X, so I was approximately 25 feet away from nest. The nest was actually quite deep/long, like a "V" shape.Zoomed out a bit to show perspective in shrubs - notice the red balloon and red string to see where nest is. We discovered where the nest was located when we saw one of the birds take a twig and fly to this shrub.Fully zoomed out. The nest is in top left of large shrub behind our pear treeZoomed all the way back in for another photo

We also have a new baby Robin and a baby Groundhog in the yard:

New baby Robin in the yard! May 31, 2014

New little Baby Jesus the Groundhog, May 31, 2014

Click on each photo above to see photos of and interactions with their parents. More baby photos to come shortly!

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Injured Black Vulture in yard, and Snowy the albino House Sparrow

This morning when I went out to fill the water bowls with warm water for the birds, I startled a HUGE vulture sitting on the ground in my neighbor’s yard. Thanks to some input and ID help from the JerseyBirds list, it’s confirmed as a BLACK VULTURE. It looks like a big chunk of its tail and/or wing feathers is missing from its rear. I tried to slowly approach to see if it would let me capture it to take it somewhere for help, but it definitely can fly low to the ground for short distances and wouldn’t let me near. Poor thing. Click this to see all 4 photos:

Injured Vulture (young Turkey Vulture?) in yard Dec. 31, 2013

On a lighter note, we have had a partially albino House Sparrow in the yard for a few months now. We named it Snowy and it looks kind of like a Snow Bunting. Click this photo for more pics:

Snowy the albino House Sparrow

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Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the yard on November 28!

I am SO glad I just happened to look out my window, because I noticed quick little movement in my evergreen tree next to my window. The bird was moving like a Kinglet, but I didn’t think I would see one at this late a date. I grabbed my binoculars and immediately saw the bright ruby crown flashing through the evergreen needles. I couldn’t believe it. The bird foraged in the interior of the tree and was not easy to see, but I decided to grab my camera and try for photos. The only shots I could get were these 2 horrible pictures, but hopefully they at least document the bird:

Blob of a Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the yard on November 28, 2013RC Kinglet in yard

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Baby Flickers and Turkeys in the yard!

This afternoon, Bob and I looked out the window, and he spotted something “different” – turned out we had 3 baby boy NORTHERN FLICKERS in the yard with their dad!!! I have never seen baby Flickers, let alone in our yard, so this was very exciting. Bob and I both snapped photos. Click the ones below to take you to the full album:

Four Northern Flickers in the yard - dad with THREE babies! July 20, 2013Daddy feeding a babyIMG_6749.JPGP1110316.JPG

About 2 weeks ago, we had a mamma Turkey in the yard with 7 babies. They were eating under our feeders and chasing the Pigeons away. Two days ago, they all came back for another breakfast! Click on photo for full album:

Also, we had a mom Turkey with SEVEN babies in the yard a couple weeks ago...Then 2 days ago on the 18th, they were back. Here are 5 of the 7 babies with the mom

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Acadia Birding Festival, May 30-June 2, 2013; Maine

We had such a special time at this festival and we met so many wonderful people: birders, trip leaders, and festival organizers alike. You can view our large photo album (all taken by Bob) by starting here at the beginning – just click this photo. Below this photo are special highlights from the trip, which you will see within the album too:

View from our hotel balcony of Frenchman's Bay at the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel, Bar Harbor

Here are some special highlights:

Stunning Blackburnian Warbler - RIGHT ABOVE OUR CAR in the parking lot!"Was it singing?" you ask. Yes, it was

LIFER! This is Bruce Deuce the Spruce GrouseIMG_5588.jpgAmazing Puffin in flightRazorbills. BOOM!...and we saw these stunning beauties up closeAwesome Red-breasted Nuthatch that Marshall called inAwesomely cooperative Alder FlycatcherThen he came in directly over Marshall and posed for a while

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Green Heron hunting at Crystal Lake

I asked Bob to drive the car slowly past Crystal Lake in Englewood today to see what I could spot. Well, my NON-BIRDING husband gets a prize for pointing out the GREEN HERON fishing on the bank of the lake! He was able to snap a wonderful photo. I wonder if they will be nesting here….I have never seen one at this lake before:

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Roxie the Red-tailed Hawk with Pigeon entree

Roxie was lunching directly under my window today. Click on any photo to bring you to the whole gruesome album:

Roxie the Red-tailed Hawk eating a Pigeon right under the window. April 24, 2013.P1110228.jpgP1110232.jpg

On a lighter note, Mary the Groundhog has been seen in my yard nearly every day for the past week or so. Again, click on any photo to bring you to the entire album:

Mary the Groundhog in the yard, April 21, 2013What a face!P1110217.jpg

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Minus one Starling

Our immature Cooper’s Hawk, Lindsay, is at it again. Lindsay dove straight into the top of some shrubs and came out the bottom with this unfortunate Starling. After a few minutes of crushing it to death, Lindsay flew off with it:Killing machine Lindsay the Cooper's Hawk with an unfortunate Starling. In the yard, 4/14/13.P1110204.jpg

Also, we have an Opossum in our yard! Click on this photo for all 4 Opossum photos in the album:

Oh, and we also have THIS in our yard. Opossum!

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Saw-whet Owl life bird, Central Park, 4/1/13

I saw the cutest owl ever today, a Northern Saw-whet Owl, in Central Park. This was one of my most wanted life birds. I had a good spot standing on a bench peering through a gap in the tree about 30 to 35 feet away. I zoomed all the way in, but still these are cropped and maybe just a tad blurry. Click on ANY photo to take you to the full album – more photos than are shown here:

Lifer NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL, 4/1/13, Central ParkIt has apparently been in Central Park for some months nowHello there

I went to the front of the path to snap a few quick ones, but didn’t want to stay and bother it:

P1110174

Then I went back to my original spot:

Back in my original spot. A bit blurry because my camera kept wanting to focus on the branches, but not bad...

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