Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #2

claireplymouth z6b coastal MAFebruary 8, 2013

This thread is intended to give people a place to post photos and/or talk about birds, critters, wildlife, fish, whatever - topics you might not want to start a whole thread on, but are still garden-related. You can see the range of possible topics in the previous threads:

All of the threads in the Birds and other mobile features in the garden series prior to 2012 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery. For 2012, see the links posted in Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. I'll try to have these threads moved to the Gallery soon.

And for 2013:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #1

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You think it's easy for a big hulking turkey to eat little bitty nyjer seeds? On the contrary, it seems to take the help of some friends and a lot of up-close concentration. I can almost see a pair of pince-nez glasses on the turkey in front.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, May 27, 13 at 17:37

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pixie_lou

Nothing like a snowy day to take the time to go thru my photos and post.

Let's start with cardinals. They love to hang out in the top of my apple tree. By using DH's camera which weighs about 5 lbs, but has a decent zoom, I can actually photograph these birds from the luxury of my kitchen window.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:33PM
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pixie_lou

I took these photos about a month ago. I had a few days when the starlings were storming around. Red Belly can't keep the starlings off the suet. But downy waits her turn patiently!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:38PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Those are great. I wonder how much nyjer it would take to fill a turkey? (notice I didn't say stuff) Any guess as to whether or not these hens could be some of the poults from last year and, have you discerned over the years that the young follow the trails of their parents? Thinking of the new Budweiser commercial, and with the turkeys it probably is all about the food, but I wonder if they recognize you as the familiar lady from their youth.

Today, the community of Mourning Doves is a group of 1. Going from branch to ground, eating well, but this little chap remains alone. A little unusual. Hope he finds the clan before the blizzard hits.
Jane

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:44PM
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pixie_lou

I bought a new seed feeder. The birds *finally* found it and have started feasting. It hangs on my clothesline. Titmouse first found the clothesline.

Then found the feeder.

Then chickadee found the feeder.

This was a lucky shot!

Not only did White Belly Nuthatch find the feeder,

he actually found the seed!

Then, since I ran out of suet, Downy decided he would try eating some seed.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:45PM
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pixie_lou

OK - Last post here. Henry, our pet squirrel, found something interesting on the pond. I'm not sure what, but he was having lots of fun scampering around.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:46PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Very pretty cardinal shots, pixie_lou. Photographing from a kitchen window is the best. Maybe your DH could be convinced to store his camera in the kitchen?

A few days ago I saw a very surprising woodpecker hierarchy event. I was watching a female hairy on the peanut feeder and suddenly a female downy burst onto the scene and the hairy left! I think the same thing happened today - the female hairy disappeared and a downy took her place. Either I have a very fierce downy in residence, or the hairy is totally lacking in confidence. Or both.

I wonder if you can get little skates for squirrels...
And how long will it take for Henry to learn to tightrope walk that clothes line...

Jane: Lovely dove pic with the complementary leaves.

There were very few turkey poults this year but I expect that most of these turkeys visiting are from previous years' broods and they recognize me. It's not as if they go off to college and don't come back for a few years - there's a continuity where the flocks come and go but, except for breeding season, they're here every week or two. The hens mostly are the constant visitors and are friendliest, there's one little hen that seems to come looking for me. The toms are more wary and I don't quite trust them (not that I completely trust any wild animal).

Claire

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:05PM
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defrost49

Pixie Lou, the cardinals are gorgeous. Claire, great photos of the turkeys. It's still snowing here, saturday morning, and haven't seen any birds yet. My husband thinks it's been awhile since the red polls were around. We didn't seem to have much action at the bird feeders before the storm although the woodpeckers were around. Best sight all day was the low flying flock of turkeys late in the day. As they went past the window, a couple veered off to roost in the big pine behind the house.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:54AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

No breakfast for ground feeders today. 2 ft. of snow.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:04AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Now that I'm in my office and can see the feeder, I have to take back the 7:04am post. The 'ground' rose to meet the diners.
Jane - who is SO grateful to have power

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 7:35AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

defrost: Turkeys flying is a great sight!

Jane: It looks like you have a junco that's learned to land on top of the suet feeder. None of mine have figured that out. Your other juncos were probably cheering for another foot or two of snow to raise them up to the suet level.

Power is back on now (report on other thread). I spent a lot of time shoveling out the bird feeding areas as they kept getting covered (bonus - shoveling warms you up when you have no heat).

I also spread seed on the ground in the alley on the south side of the house. I couldn't see the birds there from the windows but it was protected from the wind so I decided it was fair. Winds always being a problem I took the peanut/nugget feeder down and lashed it to the trellis, to the great joy of the squirrels.

The heated birdbath stopped working (no power) so I had to refill the big black rubber tub several times per day. Just when the doves had finally started using the heated birdbath it froze up - puzzled doves staring at the new water source that failed them.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 9:01PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Claire - glad you're alright and that the temp is rising. In your arsenal of emergency supplies, do you have any 'Hot Hands"? If not, Google it, these packets work. After the Halloween storm and being without power for 10 days, my niece sent me a variety size package for hands, feet, base of spine, neck of Hot Hands and they sure do work - non-toxic. The problem with no heat for too long is that I was unaware of just how cold we really were and here, no power also means no water, so no sparrow swimming hole.

We ended up with 33" this time and I paid someone to snow blow a path for me (and the oilman) so as of this afternoon, the birds have their customary diner back. The doves will eat well in the morning - lots on the real ground for them now. Did your oak remain upright? Stay warm.
Jane

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 10:38PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: I knew about hand warmers, but not the great variety of sizes. I'll keep it in mind for next time.

The water stays on here when the power goes off - the street pressure stays high for some reason - maybe it's just a high pressure from the town well or an elevation difference. Whatever the reason is I'm not complaining even if the tap water gets colder and colder.

I'd just refilled the rubber birdbath Saturday with fresh house temperature water, and I looked out and saw a robin standing by the birdbath checking out the surroundings.

It then moved down to the edge of the birdbath, either drinking or warming its feet, maybe both, while other birds swarmed around. That's the robin at the lower right of the bath, peering out of the depression.

First redpoll of the season today!

And a Song Sparrow with no tail. Maybe a hawk or a cat got it. It seems to fly OK.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:55AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Poor little Song Sparrow. Doesn't that make him/her a bit rudderless? Nice shot of the Redpoll, Claire. I'm delighted to have Blue Jays back this morning. They've been absent since I changed the food months ago to discourage sparrows. Yes, new food, more of a mixture including some millet and peanuts and I'm one of few bird nuts in the neighborhood who carves a path in deep snow for the birds to ground feed. The BJs disappeared when I went solely with safflower and BOSS. So, I will return to the high octane/cashew mix. I sorely missed their antics.


Jane

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:40PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm glad you got your Blue Jays back, a yard without jays is sorely lacking.

I sent off the photos of the Song Sparrow to PFW to see what they say about it (along with some pictures of another tail deformity).

Claire

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 3:36PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It's been raining all day and some are not taking that too well. This wet House Sparrow (I think this is a House Sparrow) huddled under the roof eave looking very disconsolate. You can almost hear it say "I asked for warmer weather and this is the best they could do?"

Claire

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:41PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

At least Sparrows are smart enough to seek shelter. They must be the official bird of Home Depot.

Apparently, for a hawk, having tail feathers askew is not as bad as a human with twisted shorts or the like. This hawk's knickers may have been in a twist because he didn't get a happy meal here today. Wish I had captured him better in flight...next time.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:43PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Interesting that the hawk's tail feathers are still twisted in flight (such powerful flight). I like the view of the underparts and wings.

I wonder if your hawk had an accident - I have trouble thinking of Cooper's Hawks being victims of predators, but I've read that owls regularly kill Sharp-shinned Hawks. Cooper's seem more likely to hit something, like a branch, when pursuing some terrified little bird.

Project FeederWatch says that my Song Sparrow was probably a survivor of an attack by a predator. The tail feathers should grow out but this is not normal molt time so they could come in white, to be replaced at the normal time.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:48PM
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pixie_lou

Love your blue jays Jane. I just love the bright blue this time of year!

I haven't seen Red Belly in a while. But he stopped by for a bit yesterday. Just landed in the maple tree for a few seconds before flying off. Didn't even look at the suet.

Speaking of suet - I went to replace mine last week and found I had no more suet in the freezer. And I had just missed the monthly farmers market. So I had to buy supermarket suet. Normally I get organic, grass fed beef suet. But this supermarket suet was not organic, I'm sure it's corn fed, and loaded with hormones. I'm noticing a different pecking order at the suet feeder. I'm still trying to figure it out, but the woodies are no longer dominating. Maybe they just have a more refined pallet?

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 2:27PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Maybe the woodpeckers are using the other birds (like starlings) as tasters to see if the new suet is OK to eat? (if the starlings don't keel over maybe it's safe to eat that supermarket stuff....)

Claire

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 6:13PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Is anyone else finding that Claire's photos aren't loading well starting just recently? They aren't loading on the first try and not all of them load even on the second or third reload. I am not sure if it's a function of the browser I am using (Safari, though it hasn't been a problem in the past) or if there's some conflict between the new format and tinypic.com or what the issue is.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:49AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Thanks, nhbabs, that's worrisome. Maybe it's an issue of the size of the photo, which I can adjust, or maybe an incompatibility with tinypic.com. If necessary, I can switch to Flickr (I have an account) but I've never bothered to organize that Photostream.

A quick test here:

Two Carolina Wrens on a suet feeder
tinypic.com, usual size (640 x 480) Message Board size

Flickr medium 500 (500 x 375)

Is there any difference in loading?

I can see a difference in the shape of the two pics as posted on GW, the tinypic photo is true to the original but the flickr medium size photo is distorted.

smaller size on Flickr (320 x 240)

TinyPic email size (320 x 240)

Maybe the new GW format is adding an extra step to reduce the larger photos and that's affecting some browsers. I don't see a difference in loading using Firefox but there is a difference in display.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:40AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

It isn't Claire's - it's all the pictures and on other forums as well. They're smaller than yesterday, the writing extends beyond the margin on some entries, etc. I use Firefox and sometimes when the GW page first loads, the background is a light tan - which actually looks better to me, then it immediately goes to white. Looks like the webmaster is still tweaking. Here is what it looks like to me this morning - which is maybe 25% smaller than yesterday: Jane

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:05AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Claire -

Your photos that weren't loading yesterday and early today are now, but of the 4 you just posted, the first didn't load, the second did but is warped and the last two are fine, but medium small, not an optimum size.

I did notice on another forum yesterday that one of the photos that had looked fine when I embedded it about a week ago now looks warped like Claire's above.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:00PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

and now just the second and third in the post today are visible. Almost all others are just the dreaded blue "?"
Few if any other photos are having difficulties loading.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:47PM
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pixie_lou

I'm not having any problems with photos. I normally read on my iPhone. But out of curiosity pulled out my laptop - I run Firefox on a Dell. Photos are fine on both. All showing up as smaller versions, but all photos are visible and there is no warping of size.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 3:31PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I have no idea what's going on, but I don't like it. Part of the problem nhbabs mentioned at 13:47 could be a problem with TinyPic since only Flickr photos were visible.

I really want to be able to post photos the same width as the text column.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 5:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm going to try posting from Flickr at 640 x 480 size. No good, all three were warped as if they were stretched to the full width. Changed to TinyPic at 640 x 480, correct shape but they are all reduced in total size.
Note: The photo sizing problem has now been corrected by GW.

This is for all those poor souls who believe robins are a sign of spring.

During this latest snow storm (no power outage, at least not yet) four robins were attracted to the birdbaths. Three gathered around the heated water hole.

and another robin found a hole in the slush/ice in the copper water bath and lounged there slowly sipping away.

A cardinal didn't seem particularly interested in the robin, he was more occupied with watching over his buddies on the ground.

Sign of spring.....Ha!

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Feb 23, 13 at 18:10

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:41PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

One more test for now, using GW upload feature to see what size it uses.

I previewed the image, and checked the image info after GW got its hands on it. It says

640px ÃÂ 480px (scaled to 400px ÃÂ 300px)

so GW is taking my 640 x 480 pic and scaling it to a smaller image. This is with the TinyPic image.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:50PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Now I want to see what they did to the Flickr image to warp it.

Image info:
640px ÃÂ 480px (scaled to 550px ÃÂ 300px)

I don't like this.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 21:00

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:57PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

OMGosh, is that the largest image that can be posted on GW now? I find that size totally inadequate. And the warped version of your photos Claire, is not worth viewing, really. I also detect a loss of quality of the images, that I'm not sure is simply due to the change in size.

From my screen view, there are now the two light green bands on the sides of two white columns. I assume the second blank column for me, is where advertisements are now taking up space. And the first white column is the only space provided for both text and photos. So two thirds the screen is taken up with advertisements and blank borders, (unless there are ads there too, that are not showing up on my screen) and only one third of the available space is designated for text and photos?

If this is their final version of their new software changes, I'm not sure I'm going to find it acceptable at all. One of the most enjoyable aspects of garden web used to be the large, clear, accurate photos that were posted. This would be a HUGE step backwards.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:43PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Ugh! The photo situation is awful.

Yesterday I posted a question (with pictures) on the Cacti & Succulents forum using my normal route through PICASSA. Last night the photos were displayed in the size I wanted, but today when I checked for responses, the size of the photos was smaller and more rectangular. So something has changed with GW.

This is definitely a disadvantage for viewing birds, wildlife, gardens, flowers, etc. I agree that this change does not improve upon the reason for using GW in the first place --- sharing of ideas and providing clarity with photographic examples.

Another forum I like to visit is Landscape Design. I'll check that next. I'm sure that a reduction of "problem" photos and of the drawings or designs that readers offer will impact the use of that Forum. What's going on?

Molie

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:52PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I sent an email to GW using the 'Contact Us' link on the bottom of the page. I called it a 'Technical Issue'. I'm waiting for a response. This is what I said:

"On the whole I like the new format, but I don't like what it's doing to the photos I post that are embedded in my messages.

1. I want the pics to be about the same width as the text column but the new format is reducing them too much.

2. Not only is it reducing them, but it's scaling them improperly. The TinyPic photos that I post as 640 x 280 end up posted as "Image info: 640px ÃÂ 480px (scaled to 400px ÃÂ 300px)"

This is at least the same ratio as the original, but the same size photo stored on Flickr ends up posted as "Image info:
640px ÃÂ 480px (scaled to 550px ÃÂ 300px)" which is not true to the original shape. The pic is stretched out to column width but reduced in height so it looks distorted.

Please make it possible for me to post pics larger and true to their original configuration, no matter where the pic is stored.

Thanks,
Claire

See discussion on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, in this thread.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/neweng/msg0210100214703.html?29";

Claire

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 3:16PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I just checked the Landscape Design forum and the latest photos mostly are large enough to fit in the text column, but the ratios are not correct so that the photos are distorted.

Two recent photos (Landscaping Ideas for Backyard thread) were originally 1600 x 1200, which is a ratio of 1.33 width/height, but they were scaled to 500 x 300, which is a ratio of 1.67 (I'm looking at the image info you get when you control-click on the pic and choose View Image Info).

I wonder if anyone there has noticed yet. That's a high strung bunch and likely to complain loudly. I sure hope so.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 3:39PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Don't know if this will work, but I uploaded an image of a checkerboard (originally from copyright Rob Wood but can be copied for non-commercial purposes ) to my Flickr account and now I'll try to embed it here to see if it is distorted.

This is originally a square image (75 x 75).

"Dimensions: 330px ÃÂ 329px (scaled to 330px ÃÂ 300px)"

The image is slightly distorted, wider than high, but not really noticeable. On my screen it's about 3 inches wide and 2 3/4 inches high. Probably need a different image that doesn't look OK if distorted.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 16:24

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:08PM
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molie(z6 CT)

No kidding, Claire, about the "high strung bunch" on the landscape forum. Many of those folks are professional landscapers or actively involved in some form of design. Frequent comments on that forum are "please post a photo so we can see what you mean" or "post a larger picture from farther away so we can see the whole yard." And many of the regulars are very good about editing a poster's picture with design suggestions. So I would not be surprised to note annoyance from some of the regulars.

The new setup does allow for pictures that fit "in the lines" but the pictures themselves are too small now. Yes, you can control-click on the pic and get a larger view, but you won't see the text that accompanies the larger picture or any other comments within that thread. Switching back and forth between text view and the larger view destroys continuity, and that's a very important requirement in the design forum as posters bounce ideas off one another.

I think an equally annoying problem is the distortion that you noted. GW is destroying visual imagery as they try to fit pictures into their new formatting constraints.

I'm glad wrote to them. Let us know what you hear.

Molie

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:24PM
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spedigrees z4VT

It sounds to me like GW has installed new software to downsize any photos posted that are over a certain size, but the program was not initially smart enough to keep the correct aspect ratio (relationship of height to length of an image) resulting in "warped" pictures. None of the photos look "warped" to me, so perhaps this has been corrected. I doubt this has anything to do with the servers that photos are stored on, but with what GW does with the images when we upload them to GW forums.

I notice that photobucket and other servers now only offer smaller sized images for posting on other forums, but each photo will open into a larger picture if clicked on. At least we can still still share larger images if the viewer wants to take time to open them, but gone are the lovely series of 600 x 800 pixel photos of before. Commercialism has sucked the life out of many things: much of music, art, movies, and the web, including now the NE Gardening Forum.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:32PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Molie: You posted while I was fussing with the checkerboard. It's true that you can often click on a pic and get directed to the web-hosting site for a larger pic, but that's not true with TinyPic. Click on a TinyPic image and all you get is the tinypic.com home page, no larger image.

I like TinyPic because it's the fastest way to get a photo online - no intermediate uploading to a site (although the latest security protocol can be annoying).

I'm stuck with two inferior choices - use TinyPic and get the photo with the right configuration but too small, or use Flickr and get a larger photo but warped. I don't want to use GW's upload feature because you can only do one at a time and can't edit after you choose the Image file or you have to reenter it.

I don't like this.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:39PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I wouldn't doubt that GW has also taken it upon themselves to "dumb down" our photos, aka lowering resolution. I'm thinking that I will instead be posting direct links/urls to my photos, using ftp space on my email's server, so that my pictures can be seen full sized and at their original resolution. Since we have to click on the photos anyways to see them, might as well post a link to the original photo and dispense altogether with the alloted sized pics that are little more than thumbnails now. It's a pity that GW was sold to iVillage. It's been all downhill since then.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:47PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I don't know why birds and critters in my yard like to balance things on their head, but they do.

Trying this picture specifically because it has not been cropped, and compared to the screen shot I posted above, it displays significantly smaller. I certainly am in agreement with the dissatisfaction stated above and hope that this site is not considered completed by the webmaster. The 'clickable' photo enlargement ability simply doesn't cut it with me. Furthermore,(not that they care) I don't understand the spacial opportunity rationale of this new format over the old. I'm failing to understand any cost reduction of this redesign opportunity, if, indeed, it is an economically motivated change. ???
Jane

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 5:23PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

A dove trying out Easter bonnets! Spring is coming!

I saw another sign of Spring early this morning when I looked out the window and saw a turkey tom displaying. I just went to Flickr and changed the sizes back to original 640 x 480.

This hen doesn't look at all impressed.

How can she resist my magnificence?

She noticed me!

The old magic still works....

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Feb 22, 13 at 18:47

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:32AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Those are impressive photos, Claire. I don't believe I've ever seen a photo of a wild turkey doing a mating display. I would think any hen would be impressed by Mr. Magnificence! Spring must be on the way!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:25PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Great turkey shots, Claire! The colors are magnificent and you really captured the turkeys' "personalities"â¦.. the female is playing the field for sure. (Of course, I had to go on Flicker to realize all of that.)

Jane, your shot of the dove is really indicative of what's wrong with this new GW photo formatting. The size of the image makes it hard to tell exactly what is on that bird's head? However, the enlarged shot I saw when I "clicked" made perfect sense of the text. I don't think it is too much to ask of GardenWeb NOT to make communicating difficult among users!

Molie

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:12PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Amazing, Claire. I don't think I have ever seen a Tom displaying this early around us.

I do hope that GW works out this image issue. These small images just don't cut it.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:15PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

The turkeys are splendid! The pictures are great and very clear, Claire. I'm resisting so many lines about males being early...but I'm glad this chap was. Does seem early in the year to be strutting his stuff, but yesterday when I was outside, suddenly I heard a bird song that was noticeably different. I knew it was a Spring song! No mistake about it - I think it was an Am. Goldfinch. Funny, it was as startling as hearing a fire alarm, but definitely it was a pleasant awakening.

Also, Mr. Eastern Blue Bird was checking out the bluebird house.

And, this is the first time this winter that I've seen a Mockingbird. Had trouble discerning if it might be a White Eyed Vireo, but, it is probably a regular Mockingbird.

Sure hope GW reverts back to previous photo size. Did they answer you Claire?

Jane

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:29AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Probably a mockingbird, Jane. I saw one last weekend on the side of the road as I was driving by and I reported it to GBBC (I made a lot of reports to GBBC).

GW hasn't responded yet. It particularly annoys me that I can't even use a medium size pic to link to Flickr. GW warps the medium size so I have to go to small.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:00AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Now I have half a page that is pale green and the photos are not clickable. Webmaster at work maybe.

Bigger news: Claire's boy turkey's timing is probably right. Two days ago I noticed that there were 14 Juncos feeding in one area under the feeder, but they were acting a tad quirky. This morning they are chasing each other and the males appear to be in pursuit. I think I detected a faint scent of Spring this morning. You know how suddenly one day around this time of year your nose suddenly gets whacked awake with a whiff of a new freshness, a kindness in the air that has been absent for so long? Well, there was a misting of hope this morning - and the Juncos are still jumping.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 11:01AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I did not know that plants have a negative charge. Found this article interesting, perhaps someone else will too.

Here is a link that might be useful: ChristianScienceMonitor.com

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 2:34PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It's definitely been feeling Springy lately, but I figure it's a trap. Mother Nature has a few more gobsmacks to come.

The first real horde of Red-winged Blackbirds showed up today (fifty-plus) and were making an awful lot of noise up in the trees. Two Common Grackles a few days ago and I think the White-throated Sparrows are beginning to head north. At least I saw a sudden increase in white-throats, up to more than 20 one day, and then the number dropped way down so I suspect that might have been a migrating flock. There's still a few around though (one of my favorite sparrows).

I'm not surprised that plants have a negative charge, but it's interesting that they vary the charge to attract or repel insects. Now if we could just use a charge to repel mosquitoes.... a human bug zapper!

Claire

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:06PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

GW enlarged the photos! And the medium size Flickr photos aren't warped! Thanks, GW!

The only photos that stayed small are the ones I posted at Flickr small size to avoid warping, and I just went in and edited those to link to the original size.

Yee-haw!

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Feb 22, 13 at 18:55

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 6:36PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

YES!!!! Soooo much better. Thank you web person. :)

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 7:55PM
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pixie_lou

My fat little squirrel, Henry, found the Indian Corn that I hung on the clothesline a few months back. How many ways can a squirrel eat corn?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:53PM
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pixie_lou

A titmouse also found the corn.

A blue jay can't be bothered!

And a pair of cardinals are enjoying the kernels that dropped to the ground.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 9:55PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I love seeing squirrels hanging nonchalantly from their toes and showing such admirable flexibility. Squirrel yoga?

No wonder Henry is so 'well-fed'.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 8:59AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Pixie - did you cover the post with netting to make Henry's life easier? How kind! He is one lucky squirrel.

I was driving home this morning on a semi-rural road and perched on a sturdy branch over the road was one fully dressed, mature, perfect bald eagle. White head stood right out -- and I had no camera. Lesson learned; small camera with zoom now in purse. This at least confirms what I thought I saw last summer - an eagle flying over my house. Today's sighting was only about 2 miles from my house. Next time...
Jane
P.S. - just curious, does everyone else have 1/2 a white page on this thread?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 3:39PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

A mature bald eagle on the drive, now that's impressive. All I saw, or rather heard on today's drive were two fish crows on utility poles. Nice to be able to distinguish them from American crows, but somehow doesn't have the cachet of an eagle.

My page (besides the small greenish borders) is 2/3 white with text on the left and 1/3 white with nothing on the right. Although if I added in the small white borders in the text column it would be a bit more. Visually, the text column is much larger than the empty ad column.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 5:46PM
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pixie_lou

Jane - how wonderful - an eagle. I *think* I saw one fly overhead a few years back. And I have been told that there is a pair that nests on a pond in the northern part of town.

The netting is there for morning glories to cling to in the summer. But yes, Henry is very grateful. In fact he thanks me by eating all my corn and bird seed.

Even though dh's camera weighs 100 lbs, I was thrilled to actually be able to photograph the gold finches on the thistle feeder a couple hundred feet away, down by the pond. I was surprised to see a cardinal on the ground on the backside of the pond when I was looking at the photos. (it's the red blob behind the shepherds hook) I definitely cannot see either with the naked eye.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 8:30PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Claire, I should have been more specific and said horizontally, half way down the thread, the page becomes 1/2 white, 1/2 margin color. The text is easier to read on the margin color for me, so I'm not complaining.
Jane

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:01PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Nope, my page stays white all the way to the bottom.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 10:09AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Claire - Noticed on the momentarily resurrected 2012 thread, that one of your male turkeys was perky Feb. 1st, 2012. So the initial strutting time is in keeping with last year's. You caught him on Feb. 8th this year. So if one is gathering sights of Spring now, e.g., crocii, snowdrops, et al, seems that your turkey is a far better prognosticator of Spring than Philadelphia Phil. But I wouldn't tell the press.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:57PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That was fast! This morning I reported advertising to GW on the Birds and other mobile features 2012 #1 thread and they deleted that post (and my post saying it was reported). Thanks, GW!

A media event starring a turkey as Spring prognosticator.... now that would be exciting and very unpredictable. The usual show features a cute furry critter being held by a newsperson and looking rather unhappy. I don't envy the person who tries to hold a randy tom turkey facing the camera. Hee-hee.

Claire

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 5:52PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Looks like the Am. Goldfinches have begun their Spring sartorial swap, and naturally, there's one that is way ahead. There were maybe a dozen of them this morning noshing nyjer, and one little fellow just popped out of the crowd:

These two look like 1st year babes

The crowd is still dull:

And then there is Mr. Early:

Jane

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 10:50AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: Nothing like that here, the goldfinches are still wearing their drab winter coats - when I see them. I haven't seen many goldfinches lately - I figure that the snow melted and exposed all sorts of other food (I can't stand to eat another beakful of yucky nyjer this year..."

Claire

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:18PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I may not have showy goldfinches, but the grackles in the sun are magnificent! They're just starting to appear here, some with a big flock of redwings and some alone. Interestingly, the big flock of starlings has disappeared, which is good news for my peanut/suet feeder.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 12:53PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

The fact that you have sun is showing off. A shadow is very rare and short lived these days. But I agree, their iridescence is beautiful.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2013 at 1:47PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Another grey day. This is a color shot at 8:16am of about the only mobile beings in view. I think we had a partially sunny day once...so long ago now, I forgot when it was. The brightest thing in the garden lately was that little Goldfinch that jumped the gun. It can't be just me who needs a trip to a greenhouse today.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:42AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Finally, a sunny afternoon and this Tufted Titmouse seems quite shocked.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 3:42PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Titmice and birches go well together - nice sunny shot - and the geese-in-grey have their own charm.

The titmouse needn't worry, the sun was fleeting and should be gone for a few more days while the grey returns with a vengeance.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:59PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I saw a large Blue Jay on Monday morning, and this morning a hawk was dining on a Blue Jay under the holly tree. I'm guessing it might be the same Jay. Hawk left after nearly an hour dining, and all that's left is a pile of blue feathers. Nature taking its course.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 11:56AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

About a week ago I saw a Cooper's Hawk flying off with a Blue Jay it had just caught. I cringed because I really like the jays, but I always tell myself not to take sides - the hawk has no choice, it has to eat.

The neighbor's cats, on the other hand, are very well fed and hunt for the fun of it, so I yell at them and chase them if they stalk birds in my yard.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:56PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Update: The victim's feathers appeared blue through the window in early morning light. However, upon walking out to the scene of the crime later, it appears that it was a mockingbird that met its demise by the holly.

And, yes, I know the hawk isn't being bad, just being a hawk. It's nature's way.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 3:37PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Speaking of hawks, I got up a moment too late this afternoon to capture him in flight, but he stayed perched out back long enough to capture him and maybe tell the difference in the species. I had been thinking that I was seeing a pair of Broad-wing hawks and that this one was that. But now I wonder if he's a Red-shouldered Hawk. He looks young. Any guesses?


Jane

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

All I can say is that it certainly doesn't look like an accipiter (Cooper's or Sharp-shinned) but I don't know enough to identify it otherwise.

I suggest you post the pictures on the Bird Watching Forum. There are some raptor experts there who really love hawks and will happily give you a clear identification.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 5:44PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I just checked the Bird Watching Forum and I see you got your ID of a Red-shouldered Hawk. I figured TMFF would jump in quickly with good tips.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:30AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I just got a new bird guide, The Crossley ID Guide of Eastern Birds, which I really like. The birds are shown in context so they look like real birds, not a beautiful stuffed creature. The guide also show different stages of the bird all in one habitat.

This is the page for Red-shouldered Hawk:

It's a big book so not something you'd carry in the field, but it's fine sitting next to the computer.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 12:04PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Yes, thank you, I did get back to TMFF.

What a beautiful book, Claire. I looked at it on amazon and it is a beauty-- I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I hope to photograph some of those Eastern Shore birds mid-March on the coast of Charleston and Savannah. Spent the day booking hotels and designing my self-directed Gardens, Birds & Food trip. Have to find out how many photos will fit on a class 10, 16GB SD card...might need another back up.

Funny, as I was booking a Charleston hotel, this little Carolina Wren was outside my window singing up his own storm in the snow storm.

Jane

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:15PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That's a very inspiring picture of an indomitable little bird!

Carolina Wrens are amazing - I also heard a bird song out on the porch today, although not as enthusiastic as usual, and looked out at a wren. It was raining, though, as the snow hasn't been able to get a good grip in the air (she says as she looks out and sees a few solid white raindrops flying by).

March is a fine time to go south, Jane. Maybe you'll even intercept a hummingbird or two on their way north.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Mar 7, 13 at 16:30

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:28PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

the sun came (happy dance)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 8:01AM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hi guys, cute pics on this thread. Still feeding but not watching the birds too much this winter.

About a half dozen Bluebirds have been hanging around this winter. Yesterday I didn't feel like forging through the snow to give the Bluebirds (and other birds) their nuggets, so I just put the container out on the deck.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 12:30PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Excellent, terrene! Which one uses the spoon?
Jane :)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 1:20PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

First they use snow shovels, then they eat with a spoon.... soon the Bluebirds will be calling for delivery and knocking on your door.

Demanding little birds, they are, and very very beautiful.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 3:39PM
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terrene(5b MA)

LOL! Yes the pretty Bluebirds do seem to have us humans wrapped around their little toes (talented enough to use a snow shovel and spoon!).

    Bookmark   March 9, 2013 at 8:43PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Yesterday I was getting lunch for myself and glancing out the kitchen window at the Red-winged Blackbirds having their lunch, when a Sharp-shinned Hawk pounced on one of the red-wings. I guess it was lunchtime for everyone.

I felt very sorry for the red-wing, but you can see from the hawk's posture that this catch was very important for it. It seemed to be looking around to see if another predator would take the bird away. The hawk soon flew off with the red-wing. I was glad not to have to see the meal.

I took twelve photos out my windows before the hawk flew away (I was kind of hoping the red-wing would escape but it didn't). Here are some of the photos, the rest are in my Flickr account - I have a Hawks set now.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 11:27AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I so enjoy these threads. The quality of many of the photos is amazing. Thanks to all of you who add your images.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2013 at 7:03PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I just noticed there are 83 follow-ups on this thread, which is too many to load easily. I also just happen to have some new turkey pics so I'll start a new thread. As always, people can still post on this thread if they want.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:07PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I'll just post a short message to say those photos are extraordinary, Claire, of the hawk with the fallen red wing blackbird. That will be one red-wing that won't be showing up in the wetland area of our land this summer. Sigh... my favorite bird, but their species is far from endangered and the hawk had to eat.

Also your new bird guide has lovely illustrations. That book is a treasure.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 6:48PM
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