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Sunday, September 27, 2020
Click on the headline above to access the archive for Don Reimer’s “Birding with Don Reimer” column.
  • Tales of a Tardy Author—
    For many people, opening a book leads to realms of fantasy, discovery or insight. That was the case for me in my youth. But there was one interruption to book openings during my freshman year of high school. On the initial day of classes ...
  • Feather Trades—
    A bird’s plumage is our primary means of identify- ing it. But, depending on the season of year and the age of a bird, we may notice shifts in each species’ general appearance. This is due to natural processes of feather ...
  • Merely Merlins—
    Stepping from my vehicle, I heard shrill chatters coming from an immense oak tree at a wood’s edge. These were four merlin chicks that had fledged from somewhere nearby but were still too young to hunt independently....
  • Familiar Faces in Familiar Places —
    Generally speaking, birds are ephemeral creatures that often bypass our notice, leaving scant opportunities to make their full acquaintance. There are exceptions, of course, such as Troppy, a red-billed tropicbird that has spent summers ...
  • Nesters—
    In a state the size of Maine, the bird nesting season is somewhat protracted, due to distances across regions and to the calendar timings of each given species. Locally, we see a continuum of birds engaged in various stages of actions....
  • Songs from the Woods—
    My regular readers know that I’m a thorough advocate of observing bird behavior. After all, birds are not static or immobile creatures. Each species has somewhat predictable traits for relating to its environment and for managing ...
  • A Visit to the Rookery—
    As we approach late June, you may notice that the volume of morning birdsong has diminished to some extent. But certain of the habitual singers, like treetop-dwelling red-eyed vireos, never seem to get the memo, as they broadcast ...
  • Gifts in Colorful Wrappers—
    My childhood Christmas mornings held a note of special anticipation, as they do for many youngsters. By 3 a.m., I might get the urge to poke my way down the stairs for a reassuring peek under the tree. But the creaking stairway ...
  • Orioles—
    My wife bought me a May birthday gift — a bright-orange oriole feeder. While I already own a slew of feeders of divers designs, this man who has everything was somewhat lacking in the oriole department. Years back, I’d fashioned ...
  • The Woodpecker Tree—
    In past columns, I’ve referenced a maple in my front yard as being the woodpecker tree. This large tree is essentially sound, with some developing black fungus on the bark surfaces that attracts gangs of brown creepers, titmice ...
  • Wings and Water—
    As many birders wait expect- antly for streams of May warblers, other migratory trends are currently in progress. April is an active month for waterfowl, with comings and goings galore. Overwintering species, like long-tailed ducks, scoters ...
  • Pigeons in Love —
    Who would have predicted the dramatic and widespread life changes resulting from the surging coronavirus? Previously routine activities, such as food shopping and socializing in groups, are temporarily altered in major ways. Extended ...
  • Matters of Resilience —
    Given the world’s current viral calamities, most folks are staying at home these days, when possible. For me, this has meant some additional time watching bird activity outside my big front window. In a single afternoon, I witnessed ...
  • A Page-Turner—
    Recently I visited Bowdoin College’s Special Collec- tions Library to participate in their monthly page-turner event. Bowdoin is fortunate to possess a copy of John James Audubon’s “The Birds of America,” which is on permanent display ...
  • Field Trips—
    Through the years, I’ve led or partici- pated in scores of birding field trips. As a result, I’ve seen a wide variety of birds and met some very nice folks in the process. No two field trips are the same though, and the perception of success ...
  • Skepticisms —
    A spirit of optimism can be useful when aiming to identify birds. After all, without some optimistic prospect of success, who would ever have the courage to begin? I recall a field trip where a non-birding spouse accompanied his birder ...
  • Birds at Feeders —
    Late last fall, folks who feed wild birds began noting a general lull in feeder activity. The same holds true for my home feeders. For the past month, neighborhood chickadees, goldfinches, mourning doves, jays, nuthatches ...
  • Caching In On Winter—
    Of the several bird feeders in my yard, a hanging peanut feeder attracts steady lines of customers. Flitting parades of chickadees and fidgety bunches of titmice, nuthatches and woodpeckers all take turns, maneuvering their bills between ...
  • Counting the Birds—
    Begun in 1900 as an alternative to the then-popular holiday “side-hunts,” where hunters shot as many birds and animals as possible in a single day, annual Christmas Bird Counts are now held across the western hemisphere ...
  • Making a List: Checking It Twice—
    Since humans are the only species with list-keeping skills, this phenomenon is undoubtedly a distinct capacity of the human brain. The classic “to-do” list serves as a daily reminder of things needing to get done. Lists can also give ...
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