FEEDER BIRDS AT THE DELPHI CLUB, ABACO
The compilation of The Delphi Club Guide to THE BIRDS OF ABACO involved making a few rules and sticking to them. For example, the avian images in the book – and there are a great many – had to be of birds actually photographed on Abaco or in Abaco waters. Gorgeous pictures from Grand Bahama or New Providence were ruthlessly excluded, however painful it was to do. Some wonderful spoonbill photos taken in Nassau stayed in the ‘Not Use’ folder. The temptation to slip in an non-Abaco whimbrel to fill a whimbrel-shaped space among the shorebirds had to be resisted – even though at the time the last recorded sighting of one on Abaco (no photo) was in 2000…
Another important restriction was the stipulation that we would only use birds that had been photographed in their natural surroundings, defined as being a place where a particular species might naturally be found. Coppice and shoreline, obviously, but this included utility wires, posts and docks etc for species that habitually use them to perch on or hunt from. However, the rule meant a complete embargo on feeder photos, however winsome a hummingbird might look as it sips sugar water. We extended the principle to include a ban on luring birds into camera-shot with seed or corn trails; and similar ruses beyond the simple whistles and pishes that anyone might use to tempt a bird out of deep cover.
Cuban Emerald coming in to land… and feeding
The Delphi club is the perfect location for an enviably varied number of species. Its remoteness down a one-mile drive from the Highway, with pine forest giving way to luxuriant coppice, ensures minimal disturbance for the birds including a number of rarer species.
The one-mile white sand curve of the beach sees many shorebirds and seabirds in all seasons. The gardens attract both the usual suspects and less common birds. The building, too, has its resident West Indian Woodpeckers in two nesting boxes under the eaves, thoughtfully provided to discourage the Club’s woodwork from exploratory drilling.
Mr and Mrs Black-faced Grassquit
There are a number of seed and sugar water feeders around the place, and bird baths too. It’s a long time since I featured a collection of ‘tame’ birds. This post shows a few of the species that have made Delphi their home.
Mr and Mrs Greater Antillean Bullfinch
Mr and Mrs Painted Bunting
Bananaquit: the curved beak makes it easy to use the hummer feeder (see above)
A Gray Catbird takes a drink… and a bath
Adaptive behaviour from a W I Woodpecker – that long tongue is perfect for the job
The turkey vulture takes priority over all smaller birds…
A red-legged thrush enjoys picking up the seed shrapnel off the ground…
As do rose-breasted grosbeaks and indigo buntings
Meanwhile, a yellow-crowned night heron takes a drink from the pool
Credits: all photos RH except aerial shot of Delphi, Peter Brown; the hummers, Peter Mantle; and the buntings / grosbeaks, PM and Caroline Stahala…