Friday, September 04, 2015
About the Photographer


Marty Jones has been interested in bird photography ever since his first visit in 2004 to see the magnificent flocks of Sandhill Cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA.  Marty enjoys the challenges and rewards of taking a good bird photograph and meeting other people who share an interest in birding and bird photography.

Marty is a Regulatory Compliance Consultant for the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives and lives near Terre Haute with his daughter Addison. Visit Marty L. Jone's Bird Photography Website. You'll see over 260 different Indiana bird species represented in the site including several rarities.

Bird of the Month Archives

Past Featured Birds of the Month

House Sparrow, July 16, 2015

Tufted Titmouse, July 15, 2015

White-Throated Sparrow, July 14, 2015

Red-Bellied Woodpecker, July 13, 2015

Red-Winged Blackbird, July 12, 2015

Pine Siskin, July 11, 2015

Mourning Dove, July 10, 2015

Hairy Woodpecker, July 8, 2015

Eastern Bluebird, July 7, 2015

Downy Woodpecker, July 6, 2015

Dark-Eyed Junco, July 5, 2015 

Chipping Sparrow, July 4, 2015

Purple Finch, July 3, 2015

House Finch, July 2, 2015

Black-Capped and Carolina Chickadees, June 29, 2015

Baltimore Oriole, June 26, 2015

American Goldfinch, June 24, 2015

American Tree Sparrow, June 22, 2015

Bird of the Month? Week? Day?

Peregrine Falcon, June 2015

Chestnut-Sided Warbler, May 2015

Kirtland's Warbler, April 2015

Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker, March 2015

Pied-Billed Grebe, February 2015

Snow Bunting, January 2015

Northern Cardinal, December 2014

Winter Wren, November 2014

Northern Saw-Whet Owl, October 2014

American Bittern, September 2014

Chimney Swift, August 2014

Summer Tanager, July 2014

Canada Warbler, June 2014

Magnolia Warbler, May 2014

American Woodcock, April 2014

American Robin, March 2014

Great-horned Owl, October 2012

Bald Eagle, September, 2012

American Kestrel, June, 2012

American Robin, February, 2012

American Crow, January, 2012

Calliope Hummingbird, December, 2011

White-tailed Hawk, November, 2011

Long-tailed Jaeger, October, 2011

Warbling VIreo, August, 2011

Black-billed Cuckoo, June, 2011

Summer Tanager, May, 2011

Fox Sparrow, April, 2011

American White Pelican, March, 2011

Hooded Merganser, February, 2011

Backyard Birds of Indiana

Common Feeder Birds

Feeding backyard birds is often a lot of fun, but have you ever wondered what kind of bird is at your feeder? We're here to help! Thanks to the photographic efforts of Marty Jones, this page will help you learn the most common birds that visit our Indiana feeders.

Thanks for visiting and THANK YOU for feeding our feathered friends!

 Northern Cardinal  White-breasted Nuthatch
Northern Cardinal 
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
White-breasted Nuthatch
 Dark-eyed Junko  Brown-headed Cowbird Carolina Chickadee
Dark-eyed Junco
Brown-headed Cowbird
Carolina Chickadee
 American Robin  Downie Woodpecker European Starling
American Robin
Downy Woodpecker
European Starling
Mourning Dove Song Sparrow
House Sparrow
Mourning Dove
Song Sparrow

Bird of the Month

Scarlet Tanager

by Alex Forsythe

Last Mother's Day, my mom had one request: find her a Scarlet Tanager close enough that she could see it. That's a tall order! They are typically found high in the treetops in forest interiors, and we live in an area in which field corn is usually the tallest plant around! We drove to the next county and found not one, but four male Scarlet Tanagers and 2 females, all down low and easy to see and photograph! It was quite a memorable Mother's Day! Since then we've managed to attract them to our yard. They dine from a mealworm feeder that I set out for Bluebirds. I've also noticed that when I take my mom with me on a birding hike, we now find Scarlet Tanagers more often than not. I think they know she loves them and they appreciate the attention!

My mom loves the Scarlet Tanager primarily for its color. The male is a beautiful crimson with black wings and tail, while the female is equally gorgeous with a yellow-green body and dark wings. Both the male and female sing, but the female's song is quieter and less harsh than the male's song. 

Gene Stratton-Porter loved Tanagers, too. She raised and released a Scarlet Tanager while she was writing "Friends in Feathers", and she included the experience near the beginning of that book. The Tanager's nest had been destroyed by a storm and the bird was in danger of either drowning or being trampled by cattle. She took the chick home and dutifully fed it every 15 minutes for ten days. Then she gradually and patiently taught the bird to be self-supporting. She released it in her orchard, feeding and watering it for a while after it fledged, then she slowly reduced the bird's dependence on her. She was sad to see it go, but she knew it was the right thing to do.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology conducted extensive studies on the Scarlet Tanager in the 1990's resulting in a comprehensive report: "A Land Manager's Guide to Improving Habitat for Scarlet Tanagers and other Forest-interior Birds". It was Cornell's first publication in a series of habitat management guidelines. From 1993 to 1996 over 1,000 volunteers studied Scarlet Tanagers at over 2,000 study sites across North America. At the time, it was one of the largest datasets ever collected on forest fragmentation and birds.

The study found that forest fragmentation negatively affected Scarlet Tanagers, but surprisingly the importance of forest-patch size and isolation of the patches depended largely on the region. In the Midwest, including Indiana, Tanagers are far more affected by fragmentation and require larger tracts of forest in order to survive. According to the study, "roughly 66 acres are required to achieve High Suitability [for Tanager habitat in the Midwest]. As the amount of forest in the surrounding block decreases, the minimum area required by tanagers increases sharply, roughly doubling for every 10% reduction in surrounding forest. Note that in sparsely forested landscapes, the minimum areas required for high and moderate suitability are sometimes impossible to achieve." The study recommends protecting existing forests, reclaiming forest areas, and establishing forested corridors to reconnect isolated forest patches.

Another cause of concern is the Brown-headed Cowbird. If a Cowbird discovers a Tanager's nest near the forest edge, it may lay its egg in the nest, securing the survival of its chick at the expense of the Tanager's chick. Historically, the Brown-headed Cowbird followed the buffalo herds across the plains. As a nomadic species, it could not remain in one location long enough to build a nest and raise its brood. Instead, it was forced to rely on other bird species to raise its young, depositing its eggs in another bird's nest in what is known as "brood parasitism". The Cornell Tanager study points out that the expansion of the Cowbird's range was and is caused solely by humans. With the destruction of the buffalo herds, introduction of cattle and ranches, deforestation of the land, and the ever-increasing agricultural lands, the Cowbirds moved into territories of birds that had no mechanisms for rejecting Cowbird eggs. In addition, the study found that many species require forested areas that are at least 330 feet from a a forest edge; the edge causes an increase in the rate of nest predation and parasitism. The larger the forest patch, the less likely it is for a Cowbird to find a Tanager nest. 

Hopefully land owners will adopt the recommendations in Cornell's study. With proper forest management, Scarlet Tanagers could be available on Mother's Day for many years to come, making beautiful memories for moms like mine.
Common Indiana Birds

50 Most Common Backyard Birds of Indiana

1.   Eastern Bluebird 
2.   Indigo Bunting
3.   Northern Cardinal 
4.   Carolina Chickadee
5.   Black-Capped Chickadee
6.   Brown-Headed Cowbird
7.   American Crow
8.   Mourning Dove
9.   House Finch
10. Purple Finch
11. Northern Flicker
12. American Goldfinch
13. Common Grackle
14. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
15. Cooper’S Hawk
16. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
17. Blue Jay
18. Dark-Eyed Junco
19. Northern Mockingbird
20. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
21. White-Breasted Nuthatch
22. Baltimore Oriole
23. Barred Owl
24. Eastern Screech Owl
25. Great Horned Owl
26. Eastern Phoebe
27. American Robin
28. Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker
29. Pine Siskin
30. American Tree Sparrow
31. Chipping Sparrow
32. Fox Sparrow
33. House Sparrow
34. Song Sparrow
35. White-Crowned Sparrow
36. White-Throated Sparrow
37. Eupopean Starling
38. Brown Thrasher
39. Tufted Titmouse
40. Eastern Towhee
41. Cedar Waxwing
42. Downey Woodpecker
43. Hairy Woodpecker
44. Pileated Woodpecker
45. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
46. Red-Headed Woodpecker
47. Carolina Wren
48. House Wren
49. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
50. Summer Tanager