Featured Sanctuary Bird

Featured Sanctuary Bird: Northern cardinal

This week's featured bird is the familiar and colorful Northern Cardinal. Because cardinals do not migrate, nor do they shed their bright plumage, they are brilliant in the snowy winter months. 

Around February 9, cardinals start singing their "What cheer" song - A nice sign of spring ahead! Keep your eyes out for this beautiful bird.

Though these birds are common, there is nothing like wandering Faville Grove Sanctuary, where Aldo Leopold did some of his early work, and spotting a cardinal perched on a snowy, native oak tree. To plan a visit to Faville Grove, try our Faville Google Map, or contact faville@madisonaudubon.org.

Featured Sanctuary Bird: American goldfinch

In honor of the upcoming Great Backyard Birdcount, we asked Mark and Sue, our Goose Pond Sanctuary resident managers, to feature a bird from thier backyard bird feeders:

American goldfinches are one of the latest nesting birds and young fledge in late summer when there is an abundance of seeds. At Goose Pond Sanctuary, hundreds of goldfinches cleaned our sunflowers food plots of seed and then switched to sawtooth sunflowers and prairie dock seed from the prairies. Sometimes it is a race to collect the prairie dock seed before the goldfinches devourer it.

There is a flock of about 30 goldfinches feeding heavily at the Goose Pond feeders at the residence (see photos). In winter, goldfinches depend on bird feeders while they are still in their drab winter colors.  Often, all 18 of Goose Pond bird feeder perches are topped with goldfinches with only an occasional house finch.

Photo by Phil Brown, Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Phil Brown, Flickr Creative Commons

We are feeding finches medium chipped sunflower seeds and we have found these are better than niger seed. Sunflower seed is produced in this country while niger is imported.  Each tiny niger seed must be hulled by the birds while sunflower chips are already hulled. Thanks to customers from Mounds Petfood Warehouse stores that have provided bird seed for our feeders through their “Buy a bag of birdseed for Goose Pond Sanctuary” program.

We are looking forward to the Great Backyard Bird Count (http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc) being held from February 14-17 and the counting of the goldfinches!

-Mark Martin and Sue Foote-Martin, goosep@madisonaudubon.org
Goose Pond Sanctuary
W7503 Kampen Road, Arlington, WI

Featured Sanctuary Bird: Horned Lark

Horned Lark by David Inman, Flickr Creative Commons

Horned Lark by David Inman, Flickr Creative Commons

Our Friday feature is the only true native lark in North America - the Horned Lark. It is a common, widespread bird of open country, and is a frequent winter visitor at our Faville Grove Sanctuary. Though they feed insects to their young, adult Horned Larks eat primarily grass and weed seeds.

To catch a glimpse of this lark, keep your eyes trained to the ground. Their woven nests are usually nestled in a cavity or depression in the land, and they forage on the ground for food.

Come see these lovely larks in action at our sanctuary! They are active in big flocks, especially along County Road G north of the sanctuary. Plan your own visit using our Google Map, or contact faville@madisonaudubon.org for more information.

Featured Sanctuary Bird: Bald Eagle

Juvenile bald eagle photo by Arlene Koziol

Juvenile bald eagle photo by Arlene Koziol

This winter, thousands of bald eagles can be found fishing around dams in open water along the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. Many of these eagles are from northern Wisconsin, Minnesota or Canada. However, some bald eagles in southern Wisconsin are sticking aroud - setting up territories and nests.

At Goose Pond Sanctuary, a pair of bald eagles took over a red-tailed hawk nest located on top of a spruce tree in the yard of Roland and Lynn Manthe, 100 yards north of Goose Pond (see map). The eagles have been adding sticks to the nest and are frequently seen in the area.

Though Bald Eagles were once endangered by hunting and pesticides, they now are flourishing under protection. They are often soaring in solitude, chasing other birds for their food.

Bird watchers and photographers are welcome to visit the pair near Goose Pond, but we ask that a few guidelines be followed to keep the eagles comfortable: Please do not park near the nesting area - A small pull-off can be found on the east side of Goose Pond Road where the road intersects the pond.  Please use your car as a blind as walking up to the nest will likely result in the eagles abandoning the nest. Your cooperation is appreciated!

Please contact Goose Pond Sanctuary resident managers, Mark and Sue Foote-Martin with questions: goosep@madisonaudubon.org, 608-635-4160.

Can't get enough of eagles? Swing by our booth at Eagle Watching Days on Saturday, Jan. 18, or join us in Spring Green for our Eagle Roost Count on Sunday, Jan. 26! Learn more about the birds of Madison Audubon Sanctuaries in our featured archive.

Featured Sanctuary Bird: American Kestrel

Photo by Arlene Koziol; banner photo by Joshua Mayer

Photo by Arlene Koziol; banner photo by Joshua Mayer

North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel is our Friday Feathered Feature. This colorful, acrobatic bird is exciting to watch in action - Kestrels are often found perching on wires or power lines, watching for prey. You can see one for yourself on North Shore road at ourFaville Grove Sanctuary near Lake Mills. 

Kestrels are experiencing long-term population decline. To support their habitat, we have added four Kestrel Nest Boxes at Faville Grove. For more on American Kestrels and information on building your own nest box, visit http://kestrel.peregrinefund.org/

To learn more about birds at Faville Grove, email faville@madisonaudubon.org, or plan your own visit using our Google Map