Q: You talked about oranges, minimize in half, attracting orioles, perhaps final 12 months. I’ve one coming sometimes and likewise one other hen of comparable dimension, however of various however comparable colours and with out the blackhead. Might or not it’s a misfit?
— Sidney, Pittsfield
A:I don’t know a lot about misfit orioles, suggesting it’s both an immature or extra doubtless a feminine Baltimore oriole.
Q: You at all times point out monarch butterflies and milkweed. Now we have an odd one as a result of it has not gone to any of the milkweeds we’ve got, however are visiting a number of different flowers. The milkweed is budded, and perhaps once they open, it can change its thoughts and go to them.
— Alice, Adams
A: I typically join monarch with milkweed as a result of it’s a life-and-death connection. It isn’t the milkweed flower that’s as vital as are its leaves. Milkweed leaves present meals for its caterpillars, and with out the leaves, the caterpillars would starve, therefore no offspring. Like different pollinators, the monarch will feast on the flower’s nectar. Many flowers entice this and different butterflies together with cone flowers, marigolds, sunflowers, daisies, asters, coreopsis, verbenas and lots of others. One other thought is that the monarch is a male!
Q: There’s a hen just like woodpeckers, however as a substitute of drumming on timber is drilling holes in a straight line round a tree in our yard. I don’t know what the tree is, but when it retains up it would kill it. Proper? What can I do?
— Alfred, Nice Barrington
A: There isn’t a doubt about it, the hen is a yellow-bellied sapsucker.
Sapsuckers are the woodpeckers that drill even rows of holes, generally as many as 30, across the trunks and branches of timber. That is achieved to gather sap, which the birds lap with a specialised tongue ending in bristles. Typically the sap ferments and the birds drink it and change into intoxicated and may be noticed not flying very effectively. Or, as I noticed, unable to land correctly.
Possibly extra importantly, the sap attracts bugs that get caught within the ever-so-slightly sticky liquid. The birds return steadily to reap the captured bugs or catch these bugs which are feeding on the liquid.
The yellow-bellied sapsucker as soon as was primarily thought-about a migrant on this area, as famous in Ralph Hoffmann’s 1908 “Birds of New England and New York,” “Within the Canadian Zone, the sapsucker is a standard summer season resident; elsewhere in New England and New York it’s a migrant, passing north in April, and returning in late September and early October.” In recent times, it has change into a extra acquainted nesting species. Within the 1994 and 1999 editions of Bartlett Hendricks’ “Birds of Berkshire County,” we learn, “Sapsuckers are almost certainly to be seen in April, and in September and October, however have been discovered with younger on Mount Greylock, in North Adams, Hancock and Sheffield.” At the moment, they nest within the valleys, in addition to mountains, and are thought-about common breeders in addition to migrants
Many people hear a gradual tap-tap-tap and acknowledge it because the tapping of a woodpecker. The yellow-bellied sapsucker (a form of woodpecker) faucets, however not steadily; it faucets out its message of affection and availability in code like vogue. The grownup male is a good-looking hen with a crimson crown and throat, edged with black, wings and again are black speckled with white with a broad white stripe from shoulder alongside fringe of wing. The higher breast is black, and sure, the stomach is yellowish. The feminine is analogous, however has a white throat.
And sure, they may destroy favored timber, similar to a mountain ash in our yard once we lived in Dalton. I’ve seen some sapsucker drilling in our crab apple tree right here in Pittsfield, however have by no means caught it within the act.
On July 6, I noticed a monarch butterfly within the Pittsfield State Forest, within the overgrown subject close to the nook of Hancock Highway and Churchill Road. There are some milkweed crops there. I could have extra milkweed crops in my yard, however haven’t seen any monarchs right here. Throughout June, there was a Baltimore oriole consuming from the hummingbird feeder steadily. He was going by virtually half a cup of sugar water a day, rather more than the hummingbirds.
— Tim I., Pittsfield