New Jersey Backyard Birds

We became birders when we moved to New Jersey. At first it was the red-bellied woodpecker, a somewhat common bird, that intrigued us with its brilliant red-head (and just a little red on the belly). They come to the suet feeders frequently but also eat jelly, oranges, peanuts and other bird seed. The goldfinches, the state bird of New Jersey, are brilliant yellow in the spring and summer. They are easily attracted with nyjer feeders.  After a while, we saw some less common birds, including ovenbirds and catbirds, some of Chris' favorites. Mike likes the tufted titmice because of their "eye makeup" and he developed a relationship with them by feeding them peanuts on the deck railing.
It was always fun to see the migrating birds as well-- the warblers in the spring and the junco all winter. We always looked forward to the orioles returning in the spring.
We moved to New Jersey in 2006 and moved backed to California in 2012. This blog chronicles our becoming amateur birders after moving to a house on a lake in Piscataway, NJ.
If you like this blog, you can follow our California birding at .
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Tufted Titmouse American Goldfinch Tufted Titmouse American Goldfinch, The New Jersey State Bird Dark-eyed Junco Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco Chickadee Northern Cardinal at the bird bath White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal White-breasted Nuthatch Downy Woodpecker Blue Jay
Downy Woodpecker Blue Jay Robin Gray Catbird
Robin Gray Catbird Cedar Waxwing Baltimore Oriole
Cedar Waxwing Baltimore Oriole Ovenbird in the garden Black and White Warbler
Oven Bird Black and White Warbler Northern Flicker Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Northern Flicker Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Lake Nelson Birds

Lake Nelson is a small manmade lake in Piscataway, NJ that is home to some mallards, Canada geese, cormorants, herons, and swallows. The migratory birds are amazing, with the male common merganser being our favorite (and the reason we bought better binoculars).
Hooded Merganser
Male Hooded Merganser
Female Common Merganser Belted Kingfisher Female Common Merganser Belted Kingfisher Watch it. You're crowding me. Egret Double-crested cormorants Egret Wood Duck Whitey and a Canada Goose
Wood Duck Whitey and a Canada Goose Black Crowned Night Heron Great Blue Heron
Black Crowned Night Heron Great Blue Heron Cliff Swallow Osprey
Cliff Swallow Osprey

Our Favorite Birding Spots in New Jersey

We started out as backyard birders, just feeding, observing and then photographing the birds that came to our house on Lake Nelson. After a while, we started venturing out more, aided by the JerseyBirds email list and ebird to see a wider variety of birds.
Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird:

Birds from around the world

We took two trips internationally for wildlife viewing. Trinidad and Tobago was solely for birding. We went to South Africa more for the "Big 5" mammals but we found guides who also knew the local birds. We went to the Caribbean almost every winter to escape the NJ winters and would enjoy the birds that came to us.
African Hoopoe
African Hoopoe: Londolozi Game Reserve
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Paradise flycatcher Lilac-breasted Roller Paradise flycatcher: South Africa Lilac-breasted Roller: South Africa Secretary Bird  Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill Secretary Bird: South Africa Southern Yellow-billed Hornbill: South Africa Pin-tailed Whydah White-backed Vulture Pin-tailed Whydah: South Africa White-backed Vulture: South Africa Bananaquit Man-of-War aka Frigate Bananaquit: Palm Island Frigate: Jamaica Antillean Crested Hummingbird Great Kiskadee Antillean Crested Hummingbird: Grenada Great Kiskadee: Bermuda Brown Booby from Guana Island Yellow-faced Grassquit Jamaica March 2009 Brown Booby: Guana Island Yellow-faced Grassquit: Jamaica Great Blue Heron West Indian Whistling Duck Heron: Belize West Indian Whistling Duck: Antigua White Wagtail Northern Parula White Wagtail: China Northern Parula: Pink Sands, Harbour Island, Bahamas Pied Cormorant Scarlet Ibis Pied Cormorant: Monkey Mia, Australia Scarlet Ibis: Trinidad White-bearded Manikan Purple Honeycreeper (male ) White-bearded Manikan: Trinidad Purple Honeycreeper: Trinidad Tufted Coquette Blue-crowned Motmot Tufted Coquette
Asa Wright Nature Centre, Trinidad Blue-crowned Motmot: Tobago

Birding in the USA

When we travel, we often bring along the birding gear and will squeeze in some birding when we aren't visiting family, attending conferences, or visiting a beach to escape the New Jersey Winters. We only took one trip in the US solely for birding, to Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama.
Roseatte Spoonbill
Roseatte Spoonbill: Ding Darling NWR Sanibel Island, Florida
Male Painted Bunting Burrowing Owl Painted Bunting
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Collier County, FL Burrowing Owl
Brian Piccolo Park, Pembroke Pines, Florida Prothonotary Warbler Summer Tanager Prothonotary Warbler
Indian Shell Mound Park
Dauphin Island, Alabama Summer Tanager
Indian Shell Mound Park
Dauphin Island, Alabama Scissor-tailed flycatcher Common Loon with Chick Scissor-tailed flycatcher
Airport Fence in Little Rock, Arkansas Common Loon
Lake Waukewan, New Hampshire Reddish Egret: Bolsa Chica Wetlands Snowy Egret Reddish Egret
Bolsa Chica Wetlands, Huntington Beach, California Snowy Egret
Baylands Nature Preserve - Palo Alto, California Vermilion Flycatcher Gila Woodpecker Agua Caliente Park
Tucson, Arizona Gila Woodpecker: Tuscon, AZ Cedar Waxwing Hummingbird in the vineyard Cedar Waxwing: Lacy Park, Pasadena, CA Hummingbird, Temecula, California Pileated Woodpecker: Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary American Oystercatchers in flight Pileated Woodpecker
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Collier County, FL American Oystercatchers: Cape Cod, Massachusetts Hummingbird White Hawk (Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk) Hummingbird: Cape Code, Mass Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk: Piscataway, NJ
Stripe-headed Tanager California Clapper Rail Stripe-headed Tanager: Puerto Rico California Clapper Rail
Baylands Nature Preserve - Palo Alto, California

Baby Birds


Mute Swan and Cygnets
Mute Swan and Cygnets     
Mother and Baby Ducks Incredibly Cute Baby Wood Ducks
Mother and Baby Mallards Mother and Baby Wood Ducks Three Baby Wrens Baby Turkey
Baby House Wrens Baby Turkeys Baby Blue Jay Baby Goose (Canada Gosling)
Baby Blue Jay Baby Goose (Canada Gosling) More Baby Woodpecker Feeding Baby Barn Swallows
Baby Woodpecker Feeding Baby Barn Swallows Baby Baltimore Oriole Black-crowned Night Heron Chicks
Baby Baltimore Oriole Black-crowned Night Heron Chicks Robin Nest Baby Robin
Robin Nest Baby Robin Babies in Flicker Nest
House Wrens Fledging
Flickers in Nest House Wrens Fledging Baby Ducks on a log

Other Animals from Lake Nelson


Chipmunk eating blueberries
Chipmunk Groundhog Three Turtles on a floating island Groundhog Turtles Muskrat Bullfrog Muskrat Bullfrog Beaver Deer Beaver Deer Fox Water Snake Fox Water Snake
A variety of other wildlife visited our home on Lake Nelson. The beavers were the most interesting but the chipmunk is cute and it was fun to see the fox.

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