This month’s bird is the Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens). Downy Woodpeckers are from a class of birds who use their beaks to peck holes in trees, usually to find insects inside the trees bark to eat or to make a hole to store food for later. Downy Woodpeckers are small, only about 7 inches tall.
Downy Woodpeckers can be recognized by their shrill cheep-like call or by rapid tapping they make when pecking a tree. The tapping sound is referred to as drumming.
A great way to encourage Downy Woodpeckers to visit your backyard is to put up a suet feeder, a preferred food for the bird. Downy Woodpeckers are often seen climbing trees, therefore they are occasionally observed in Rancho San Rafael Park, Davis Creek Park and Oxbow Nature Center.
Click Here to learn more about Downy Woodpeckers or to hear their call.
Information retrieved from Audubon and Allaboutbirds.org.
In celebration of Nevada Day, we are featuring an honorary bird of the month: our State bird the Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides). Mountain bluebirds are a member of the thrush family. The male birds are a brilliant powder blue, while the females are ash gray.
You may have seen Mountain Bluebirds perched on fence posts or telephone wires where they are hunting for insects to eat. A perfect way to bring a Mountain Bluebird to your backyard is to put up a nest box in your yard. Mountain Bluebirds love using nest boxes, and can have several broods of chicks each Spring. Click here for more information about nesting boxes.
Mountain Bluebirds are a less common bird and enjoy areas with high elevation. They are sometimes seen at Galena Creek County Park and occasionally seen by the sides of rural roads through the Sierras.
Click here for more information about Mountain Bluebirds and to hear their call.
Information retrieved from Audubon and AllAboutBirds.org.
Our bird of the month for October is the Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus). Killdeer are a species of plover, which are a type of shorebird. Shorebirds are birds known for spending time near bodies of water foraging for food. Killdeer do not limit themselves to lakes and streams and can be found at many locations, such as gardens, athletic fields and golf courses.
Killdeer get their name from their shrill peep-like calls. When they feel threatened, especially if you are approaching their nest, they will prance around calling wildly to distract predators. They also perform the broken-wing act (photo on right), encouraging you to chase them before flying off in a clean getaway.
Currently, Killdeer may be found in Rancho San Rafael Park and at the shores of Virginia Lake.
Information from All About Birds and Audubon
Our September Bird of the Month is the Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli). Mountain Chickadees are commonly found at higher elevations, especially within evergreen forests. They are often seen in pine trees, plucking seeds from the cones for a snack. Listen for their “chicka-dee-dee-dee” calls year round.They are also sometimes called the “cheeseburger” bird because their song is easily remembered as a repetitious “cheeseburger, cheeseburger.”
What distinguishes a Mountain Chickadee from their Black-Capped cousins is the Mountain’s signature black eye stripe within their white eye stripe.
Mountain Chickadees can be a common backyard bird and are easily attracted if you put up a bird feeder. They love seeds, especially sunflower seeds, because they can easily store them in a cache among the trees and bushes nearby as food for the winter.
If you do not have a bird feeder, Mountain Chickadees are found usually on mountain trails in the Sierras. Because of Reno’s high elevation (4,500 ft), they sometimes visit our local parks such as Idlewild or Rancho San Rafael.
Information from All About Birds.