The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 2, Chapter 11: Meet the Song Sparrow and Friends

Dear Wood Folk, The song sparrow (melospiza melodia) is the sparrow I most often spot and especially hear around Haliburton. But I’ve seen 8 species of sparrows, listed here in order of my own frequency: our feature song sparrow, white-throated (zonotrichia albicollis), chipping (spizella passerina), dark-eyed junco (junco hyemalis), fox sparrow (passerella iliaca), American tree …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 2, Chapter 10: Meet the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

Dear Wood Folk, There are many species of hummingbirds in the world, but here in Haliburton county there’s just one: the ruby-throated hummingbird. Only the males have the “ruby throat”, which in low light appears black or rusty. All sorts of folks put out hummingbird feeders here come end of May and bring them back …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 2, Chapter 9: Meet the Pileated Woodpecker and Friends

Dear Wood Folk, If I wasn’t including a local woodpecker checklist (hence “and friends”) I would have titled this Architect of the Birds, or maybe Landlord if landlords weren’t so often loathed. Pileateds are kind of the bird version of beavers. The rectangular holes of various sizes that pileated woodpeckers make are utilized for food …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 2, Chapter 8: Meet the Chestnut-Sided Warblers and Friends

Dear Wood Folk, Last year most of my May mornings started with a whistling “pleased, pleased, pleased to MEECHYA” from a chestnut-sided warbler I uncreatively called Chessy. Finding a mate seemed to take a while, but eventually he found a partner and had one fledgling. Well, it probably only appeared to take a while because these …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 2, Chapter 7: Meet the Waxwings, Bouquet Givers

Dear Wood Folk, The name “waxwing” comes from a waxy red secretion found on the tips of the secondary feathers of some cedar waxwings. In the 1960s, orange became all the rage, which was a great mystery at first. It turns out the color change came from waxwings eating the berries of a non-native species …

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The Wood Folk Diaries: Volume 2, Chapter 6: Meet the Northern Flicker, Matisse of the Woods

Dear Wood Folk, It was enthrallment at first sight when I saw a northern flicker (colaptes auratus) pecking my yard for ants. My first thought was that Matisse painted these birds with their contrasting swaths of black and varied taupes, red or black spots and streaks that look as if they were applied directly from …

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