Monday, 12 June 2017

Chipping sparrow & spruce budworms

UPDATE: I first posted this June 9th. I finally clued in. It's eating Spruce budworms.
Our two spruces are covered in these worms, with little silky nests at the end of each branch. There have to be millions. I took a stick and held the bowl under. I cannot believe it! I knew it, once I thought about it, puttering in the garden.

It's not a large tree...



Apparently, "they cause little damage at endemic levels!" (NRC infovideo). The tree looks pretty sad!
During a major outbreak, tens of millions of hectares of trees can be severely defoliated by the insect. An outbreak may last several years, and cumulative defoliation can cause significant levels of mortality and growth loss in mature softwood forests. More info here.
So, short answer: don't panic, and hope our little chipping sparrows can do a job on them.

spruce bud worm from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

This chipping sparrow has been eating spruce budworms off the spruce tree!
First clip, it's been singing lustily in the  catalpa tree, which doesn't have leaves yet. You can hear the goldfish pond bubbling in the background.

The second part is the caterpillar bashing! I was inside, in my arm chair, taking the video through the window.

chipping sparrow from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.

19 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello, cute shot of the Chipping Sparrow. They make sweet sounds. Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

Christine said...

They are quite noisy in the mornings aren't they? It's a happy sound though.

Out To Pasture said...

Now that's my kind of pest control!

Olga Hebert said...

He's doing his job. Surprising how easy the pickings are in that tree.

Anvilcloud said...

The tent caterpillars are nuts hereabouts. The birds can have their fill.

Powell River Books said...

I've found a ton of root weevils in the float garden. They don't fly so they came in on something I bought and planted, or some of the potting mix I used. I need a bird to come take a liking to them. Finding and hand picking is quite a chore. I want to catch as many as I can before they lay their eggs and a larger group arrives next year. - Margy

William Kendall said...

They are loud when they want to be!

Nancy J said...

Lovely song, and then the breakfast, He/she finds a meal so easily, to my eyes, but how hard is it to perch, find the insect or caterpillar, and wrench it from the leaves? Great videos.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
It has to be said... what a little cutie!!! YAM xx

Red said...

It's amazing how many caterpillars chippies can put away. When they have young they become automatic caterpillar harvesters. Enjoy watching them.

eileeninmd said...

Hello, back again to say thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. BTW, I do not mind seeing snakes.


Happy Saturday! Wishing you a happy weekend!

carol l mckenna said...

What a cutie and great photo ~ informative video ~ ^_^

Rajesh said...

Lovely sparrows.

Gordon said...

That is one bird I have never seen when ever I've been in the US, maybe one day,
All the best , Gordon.

NatureFootstep said...

I hate this kind of worms and sickness. Is it a larva from butterflies?

Jenn Jilks said...

It's from a moth, @NatureFootstep!

Christine said...

mystery solved!

Powell River Books said...

Several years back we had a tent worm invasion. It has taken trees a long time to recover, and some didn't make it. - Margy

Kay said...

We're having a photo with our ohia trees on the Big Island. I'm glad you've got birds to help with the worm problem.