Sparrows and nuthatches

One of the things I like about our townhouse is that it has more different kinds of birds than our old house. I hung a bird feeder and the birds have finally discovered it. Today there was a large flock of sparrows, a rustling carpet of them with certain brave souls staking out the feeder itself. When the sparrows flew away, a couple of nuthatches would swoop in, take one seed, and swoop away again.

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Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia warbler by Harold Stiver

I saw a small bird with a yellow breast boldly striped with black, busily gleaning something from a fruit tree–insects, I suppose. It was quite striking. It was a magnolia warbler, which might have been passing through to northern forests or staying for the summer. We get quite a few unusual birds passing through in the spring.

Yellow bird

An unusual bird showed up in our cherry tree early this morning. I’m not sure what it was.

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It might be a pine warbler.

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What do you think?

Wanted: licensed bird bander

The research station at Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park, AKA the Leslie Street Spit, are hiring a licensed Bird Bander.

Hermit thrushes

The cats have brought in three birds in the last week, which I think are hermit thrushes on migration. Out of their territory, the shy birds are easy prey.

You can see field marks for various spotted thrushes here.

The birds might also have been white-breasted nuthatches.

Cloud caught a robin

I was alerted by a chorus of bird alarms this morning. Cloud, one of my grey cats, had caught a just-fledged robin, still with some spots on its breast. He was teasing it in the back yard. First I took him away from it, which made him struggle; then I took it away from him, which made him search frantically. I carried it out to the back lane, looking for a good high place to put it. Unfortunately, it leaped out of my arms and fluttered down to the ground. Rather than chase it, I walked back to the yard.

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more funny cat pictures

Cloud was still looking for his prey. Eventually he exhausted the potential of the back yard and ran out into the lane. The alarmed chorus renewed and he was soon back with the robin. This time I let him keep it. He shortly killed it and started nibbling. The next time I looked out, Cloud was sitting and his brother Fog was eating.

They ate part of the robin and I dropped the rest into the compost.

remains of fledgling robin

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Leslie Street Spit: “Toronto’s accidental treasure”

Tommy Thompson Park on Leslie Street Spit, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaOr so says Christopher Hume, writing in the Toronto Star: “Toronto’s accidental treasure

I love the Spit: it’s a bird sanctuary, wilder than most city parks, looks a bit like Scotland with its hills and fjords, I mean lochs. It’s a good place for a walk or a bike ride. Who cares that the park exists only on weekends or that it’s built out of landfill?