Thursday, February 27, 2014

Raymondale Birds and How To Feed Them

The Fedorko Family on Brad Street is participating in the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's feeder count. This count of birds that visit our yard from November until April is recorded 2 days in a row on a weekly basis. We submit our data (counts) to Cornell each week and their lab uses it and data from hundreds of other USA households to explore shifts in birds numbers, possible diseases, and migratory strays. In Raymondale we have mature trees and are bordered by open land (the field behind the Leis Center) and woodland with a stream (Luria Park and Homes Run Stream). This is ideal for so many species of birds native and migratory.

In the mature trees behind our Brad Street home, we spotted a male Pileated Woodpecker drilling a home high up in the crook of oak branches.

The female Pileated Woodpecker has not been a stranger to our suet feeder. She lingers on the underside of our squirrel and starling proof suet feeder taking in a long feed.
This cage style suet feeder is ideal in keeping pesky and aggressive European Starlings from gobbling down the suet. They do not like to feed upside down like the woodpeckers and smaller birds like this White Breasted Nuthatch. Smaller birds can go inside to feed.
The suet of choice in our feeder is the hot pepper suet which doesn't bother the birds but the squirrels hate it. They'll give it a taste but won't return.

Another squirrel deterrent is this tube feeder with a "bouncing" feeder ring that closes the feeder/seed ports when a squirrel puts his weight on it.  We spotted a Red Winged Blackbird who is not a common feeder bird but we think he was lost and hanging out with a flock of Grackles that came by. His weight didn't close the seed ports but the heavier Grackles closed them.

The squirrels and large birds will try and try to eat the seed form this feeder and will eventually give up. Enough seed does fall to the ground to please their appetite and to feed birds that are more comfortable feeding on the ground such as the Mourning Dove which is quite puffed up in this chilly weather.
We also offer the birds a heated birdbath which in this frigid weather is enjoyed by many. The American Robin doesn't feed from the feeders but he will take a drink form the heated birdbath.
During the winter there are a few backyard birds that we see only during this time of the year. These birds spend the warm weather months in northern states and Canada. Frequent winter visitors are the Dark-Eyed Juncos, like this female, who enjoy the thistle seed feeder hanging from our deck.
Backyard birding is a lot of fun. All you need is a feeder, seed or suet, and a pair of binoculars. A good guidebook helps too, we like Sibley's Guide to Eastern Birds of North America. If you are interested in participating in the Cornell feeder count please visit

As winter still holds Raymondale in its grasp it is important to provide food and shelter for the birds. They need the energy food provides to protect them in the cold weather. Shelter, man made or natural, protects them too. This Carolina Chickadee enjoys one of our birdhouses and we look forward to seeing the chicks come spring!
 And this House Sparrow thinks he might stay awhile in this house. Can you see him there?
Thanks for taking our backyard bird tour! Please share your photos too!  This Barred Owl lives in the woods behind the houses on Add Drive. They feed primarily on the crayfish in the Holmes Run Stream as well as small mammals. If you see him or any other birds you would like to share please contact Beth Fedorko at THANKS!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Luria Park Bridge Delivered!

Well, the new bridge for Luria Park is in the park. Now it just needs to be put in place over Holmes Run Creek. Exciting!

Thanks to Sarah McGowan for taking this nice photo!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Near Raymondale: A Fun Outdoor Space at Westlawn Elementary

Raymondale Boy Scouts helped create a wonderful new outdoor space at Westlawn Elementary School:

A new “storytelling chair,” developed as part of an Eagle Scout project, is used for outdoor reading lessons, as well as a setting students to listen to stories told by teachers and classmates, says teacher Carol Hunt.

An obstacle course in the outdoor discovery area was used for  teaching students positional words, like “around,” “through,” “across,” and “over.” Students also built a “squirrels’ nest” for creative play.

Teachers and students will plant a garden when it warms up, and Hunt is planning to install an outdoor loom for weaving with natural materials. Another project on the school’s “to do” list is  a storage area for organizing “building supplies”—such as small branches, pieces of wood, and PVC pipe—in milk crates. Students use the materials in the “small parts building area.”