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Cornell Lab FeederWatch

Location: Ithaca, NY

Camera Host: Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods

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July 27, 2015

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak Visits Feeders

These chunky birds use their stout bills to eat seeds, fruit, and insects. They are also frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders, where they eat sunflower seeds with abandon. Females and immatures are streaked brown and white with a bold face pattern and enormous bill. Look for these birds in forest edges and woodlands. Listen, too, for their distinctive voices. They sound like American Robins, but listen for an extra sweetness, as if the bird had operatic training; they also make a sharp chink like the squeak of a sneaker. 

July 16, 2015

Juvenile Blue Jays

Here we see the young Blue Jays begging for food from their parents. They may have fledged in the last week. Parents feed offspring for at least 1, sometimes up to 2. Juveniles may stay together into groups in mid- to late summer, but little evidence exists. It is also unknown whether the parents chase juveniles from the family group after nutritional independence. More study is needed. 

July 14, 2015

Juvenile Red-bellied and Hairy Woodpeckers

A juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker is identifiable by the yellowish coloring of the nape and around base of the bill and black and white striping across the wings. A young Hairy Woodpecker is recognizable by its slightly scruffy appearance and darker white feathers on the head. 

July 27, 2015

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak Visits Feeders

These chunky birds use their stout bills to eat seeds, fruit, and insects. They are also frequent visitors to backyard bird feeders, where they eat sunflower seeds with abandon. Females and immatures are streaked brown and white with a bold face pattern and enormous bill. Look for these birds in forest edges and woodlands. Listen, too, for their distinctive voices. They sound like American Robins, but listen for an extra sweetness, as if the bird had operatic training; they also make a sharp chink like the squeak of a sneaker. 

July 16, 2015

Juvenile Blue Jays

Here we see the young Blue Jays begging for food from their parents. They may have fledged in the last week. Parents feed offspring for at least 1, sometimes up to 2. Juveniles may stay together into groups in mid- to late summer, but little evidence exists. It is also unknown whether the parents chase juveniles from the family group after nutritional independence. More study is needed. 

July 14, 2015

Juvenile Red-bellied and Hairy Woodpeckers

A juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker is identifiable by the yellowish coloring of the nape and around base of the bill and black and white striping across the wings. A young Hairy Woodpecker is recognizable by its slightly scruffy appearance and darker white feathers on the head. 

May 07

Catbirds Arrive

If you’re convinced you’ll never be able to learn bird calls, start with the Gray Catbird. Once you’ve heard its catty mew you won’t forget it. Follow the sound into thickets and vine tangles and you’ll be rewarded by a somber gray bird with a black cap and bright rusty feathers under the tail. Gray Catbirds are relatives of mockingbirds and thrashers, and they share that group’s vocal abilities, copying the sounds of other species and stringing them together to make their own song. More...

May 01

Baltimore Oriole Arrives

The rich, whistling song of the Baltimore Oriole, echoing from treetops near homes and parks, is a sweet herald of spring in eastern North America. Look way up to find these singers: the male’s brilliant orange plumage blazes from high branches like a torch. Nearby, you might spot the female weaving her remarkable hanging nest from slender fibers. Fond of fruit and nectar as well as insects, Baltimore Orioles are easily lured to backyard feeders. More...

Commonly Seen Species

American Goldfinch

This handsome little finch is welcome and common at feeders, where it takes primarily sunflower and nyjer. Spring males are brilliant yellow and shiny black with a bit of white. Females and all winter birds are more dull but identifiable by their conical bill; pointed, notched tail; wingbars; and lack of streaking. During molts they can look bizarrely patchy. More

Red-winged Blackbird

Red-winged Blackbirds are one of the most abundant birds across North America. Male Red-winged Blackbirds are hard to mistake: glossy black with red-and-yellow shoulder badges. Females are crisply streaked and dark brownish overall, paler on the breast and often show a whitish eyebrow. More

Black-capped Chickadee

A bird almost universally considered “cute” thanks to its oversized round head, tiny body, and curiosity about everything, including humans. The chickadee’s black cap and bib; white cheeks; gray back, wings, and tail; and whitish underside with buffy sides are distinctive. More

Tufted Titmouse

The Tufted Titmouse is common in eastern deciduous forests and a frequent visitor to feeders. The large black eyes, small, round bill, and brushy crest gives these birds a quiet but eager expression that matches the way they flit through canopies, hang from twig-ends, and drop in to bird feeders. More

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatches are active little birds often seen foraging upside down. They are gray-blue on the back, with a frosty white face and underparts and a dark cap and neck that frame the face and make it look like this bird is wearing a hood. The lower belly and under the tail are often chestnut. More

Mourning Dove

A graceful, slender-tailed, small-headed dove that’s common across the continent. Plump-bodied and long-tailed, with short legs, small bill, and a head that looks particularly small in comparison to the body. They’re delicate brown to buffy-tan overall, with black spots on the wings and black-bordered white tips to the tail feathers. More

Hairy Woodpecker

A medium-sized black and white woodpecker with a fairly square head, a long, straight, chisel-like bill, and stiff, long tail feathers to lean against on tree trunks. The bill is nearly the same length as the head, and males have a flash of red on the back of the head. More

Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpeckers are small black and white versions of the classic woodpecker body plan. They have a straight, chisel-like bill, blocky head, wide shoulders, and straight-backed posture as they lean away from tree limbs and onto their tail feathers. The bill tends to look smaller for the bird’s size than in other woodpeckers. More

Blue Jay

This common, large songbird is familiar to many people, with its perky crest; blue, white, and black plumage; and noisy calls. Stuffs food items in throat pouch to cache elsewhere; when eating, holds a seed or nut in feet and pecks it open. More

House Finch

House Finches are small-bodied finches with fairly large beaks. Adult males are rosy red around the face, upper breast, and rump, with a streaky brown back, belly and tail. Adult females are plain grayish-brown with thick, blurry streaks and an indistinctly marked face. More

About the Site

This FeederWatch cam is located in the Treman Bird Feeding Garden at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Perched on the edge of both Sapsucker Woods and its 10-acre pond, these feeders attract both forest species like chickadees and woodpeckers as well as some species that prefer open environments near water like Red-winged Blackbirds.

About the Hosts

The Wild Birds Unlimited store at Sapsucker Woods has been a part of the visitor experience in the Cornell Lab’s Visitor Center ever since the new building opened in 2003. They are the preferred vendor of official Cornell Lab merchandise and offer a dizzying number of feeders, binoculars, and birdwatching-related gear and gifts to make any bird enthusiast happy. WBU has also pledged support for many of the Cornell Lab’s local efforts, including providing the bird feeders and food for this FeederWatch Cam.

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