watching_birds-photo Watching, Attracting and Feeding Birds in New York
with Sam Crowe

Attract more birds with these small additions to your birdbath!

Water is known as the Magic Attractant.  You can enhance the effectiveness of a birdbath by adding features such as misters, drippers and waterfall rocks.

layered waterfall rock

Waterfall rocks are small, artificial rocks with an internal pump.  The pump recirculates the water inside a birdbath, creating a constantly flowing waterfall. The sound of the moving water attracts the birds.

Pumps require electricity.  If using electricity be sure to use a ground fault interrupter for safety.  Some styles are solar powered and safer to use.

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Unusual White Feathers

Leucistic birds are more common than you think.

Each month we receive one or two images of birds with an unusual feather color pattern.  The pattern can be symmetric or asymmetric.

The condition is called Leucisim and is not limited to birds.  It is a condition in which there is partial loss of pigmentation in an animal resulting in white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticle, but not the eyes.  Unlike albinism, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.

We have seen birds with spotted areas of white to those that are pure white.  The cause is not always clear, it could be from a genetic problem to damage to feathers as they are growing.

The next time you see a bird with a unusual white feathers, or an unusual white animal, tell your friends it is a leucistic color pattern (albino animals generally have pink eyes, leucistic usually have their normal eye color.)

albino turkey vulture

A Turkey Vulture is typically all black with a red head.  The pink eyes of this TV may indicate it is an albino.

 

leucistic grackle

Image of a leucistic grackle sent to us by Bernice.

Birding Quick Hits

The Cape May Warbler is the only warbler to have a tube-like tongue.  This allows them to feed at hummingbird feeders.  They can also pierce fruit to suck out the juice.

Learn about the Belted Kingfisher.
belted kingfisher

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I continue to feed birds in the summer?

In short, yes, you can continue to feed birds in the summer if you wish to do so. How much your feeders will be used will be affected by local conditions, such as the abundance of natural food supplies.  We feed safflower all year and have a steady stream of cardinals and Mourning Doves to out platform feeder.

Hopper feeders are easy for many bird species to use. If you are having problems attracting birds during the summer, try a hopper feeder.

hopper-feeder
Birds are often very busy in the summer months--defending their territory and raising young require most of their time. A ready food supply can reduce the strain on the adult birds.  

Offering water in the summer months may be a bigger benefit to the birds. Birdbaths provide a ready source of water for drinking, bathing, and just cooling off. Birdbaths should be cleaned on a regular basis, every 3 days or so often works well. Just rinse and refill the bath with your garden hose.

Bird identification

Learning to identify the birds you see is a fun and rewarding experience.  If you are a novice at identifying birds we have several options for you.

50 common New York birdsNifty Fifty Guides:  Our Nifty Fifty Guide to the Birds of New York is available on-line and in print.   It contains 25 common backyard birds and 25 additional common birds found in New York.  Purchase the print version.

The online version is shown below. Click on a corner to turn the page.

Birdzilla.com has multiple resources for identifying a bird you have seen as well as information on improving your identification skills.   You can also send us an image on the NameThatBird.com web site and we will try to identify it for you.