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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 26, 10 at 21:04

Back by popular demand.... oh, OK, one or two people requested it....

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 three threads:

Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Birds and other mobile features in the garden #2

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2009

To start it off, I'll show a few photos of a squirrel determined to chew off all of the pussy willow buds on a very big pussy willow tree. This may well be the same squirrel that ate most of the buds on my Rhododendron Percy Wiseman two years in a row, and that ate some of my wisteria flower buds last year. Photos were taken on April 6, 2010.

I'll admit the thought of a BB gun instead of a camera crossed my mind, but I managed to stay civilized. For now. It is cute, though, and CritterRidder sort of repels it.

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Just a few more left out there:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Yes, popular demand is correct.

Spraying those catkins with Deer Away or Liquid Fence would probably do the trick. Not cheaper than BB's, but aiming the bottle's nozzle is easier than trying to be Annie Oakley at dawn. Then again, I could send Ivy over to you inasmuch as I found two departed squirrels Saturday in a garage corner under the riding lawn mower. Ah, the joy of Siamese palace cleaning.

Creative thread you've made here - it's all part of gardening. Thank you.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 27, 10 at 11:11

Jane: That pussy willow tree is about 20 feet tall, so spraying is not on the agenda for me. This is a new situation - I think last year was the first time I found many chewed off shoots littering the ground around the tree. Luckily the desecration was limited to flower buds; the leaf buds are opening now.

The rhododendron may get a cage next winter; CritterRidder kept buds on it for a while, but eventually all but one was eaten. Probably one at a time (Yuk, this one tastes terrible - I'll try again tomorrow- yuk, this one tastes terrible - I'll try again tomorrow - yuk....)

I'll consider Deer Away or Liquid Fence for the wisteria, although taking the suet feeder off was the best move. I keep the feeder there during the winter because it's right outside my window and all sorts of birds visit it. I took the feeder off when something started ripping it down every night and I got tired of searching for it and having to buy a new one. About the same time I started spraying the pods and flower buds with CritterRidder and so far the squirrels are staying away.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

These two House Sparrows are never far apart. They eat together, chose the center bird house out back for their home, they gather nest materials from the gardens, and they rest together in the birches and serviceberry trees. This morning Mr. Red Cardinal came to the feeder, carefully chose a special seed then flew over to Mrs. Red Cardinal and fed her. Then he repeated the process! Mrs. House Sparrow in the birch clump saw this and looked directly at Mr. Sparrow. Mr. Sparrow almost immediately flew to the feeder, picked up a special seed and flew back to stand right next to Mrs. Sparrow where he ate the seed himself.
There is no printable moral to the story. But- these two are definitely a couple as of this morning in the Serviceberry and I have learned that a Canon SX10 can provide way too much detail (that photo withheld).


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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 27, 10 at 11:48

Mr. Sparrow could learn a lot from Mr. Cardinal. There's a great thread in the Bird Watching forum concerning a pair of cardinals nesting next to a pair of Carolina Wrens (no egg was stolen).

Female cardinal stole Carolina wren egg from nest?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Yech, hou*se sparrows!! I fought a war against them. For years we watched generations of bluebirds and tree swallows fledge from our birdhouse. Then the invaders showed up.

I decimated the sparrow population by tenacious trapping efforts, but finally just plugged up the holes on the birdhouse. Even with the population down to a couple sparrows, they managed to hold the birdhouse hostage from the bluebirds and tree swallows.

Electric fencing around my gardens seems to keep the deer from snack*ing on my perennials, and thankfully the squirrels don't venture onto open land here to eat the buds from our pussywillow bushes. Mostly I select plants for the lack of predators who would like to feast on them.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 27, 10 at 17:54

For some reason there have been fewer House Sparrows this year and I don't keep birdhouses anyway so that's not a problem. There's so much woods around that birds don't seem to nest in the yard. I've never seen bluebirds or tree swallows here either. I suspect the native birds learn to nest far enough from the house that the house sparrows don't bother them. They just make the fledglings fly a little farther for their first fast food visit.

Deer don't usually get up here on the hill, although they've been seen on the beach by the salt marsh. I did have a hosta by the road chomped on one time, but the neighborhood dogs probably discourage them, as well as the hill. Squirrels are my nemesis.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Woodpeckers make the bird feeder a real 'swinging' place lately. Their pattern has changed now that spring sprung. A suet cake is a foot away from the feeder, but within the past 2 weeks, both the Northern Flicker, who really rocks the feeder, and the RB have developed a taste for seeds and nuts in addition to cleaning the maple bark and the lawn. Haven't caught the Flicker photo yet, only the RB. All winter long, they did not partake of the seed, but house building and marriage sure has changed their eating habit - here anyway. No easy feat to fly in and grab that slippery edge- this guy is good!

Jane


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 29, 10 at 12:13

Nice shots of a male Red-bellied Woodpecker! I didn't see any last winter and I missed them. In the past I've seen both male and female red-bellies on the tube feeder - hanging onto the opening with their toes, not perching on the little perches. That tail makes a great support prop.

Claire


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, May 2, 10 at 17:35

Yesterday, May Day, I saw my first hummingbird of the year! Photo is on the Hummingbird Migration thread. I only saw him once, he may have moved on.

This morning I saw the first Baltimore Oriole - these arrive about the same time as the hummers. I took a fast photo through a window screen and a window decal and the photo is awful so I won't post it.

A good day; the first Northern Catbird has been eating oranges all day and visiting the birdbath. It hasn't figured out yet how to get jelly out of the jelly feeder, or to eat the oranges in camera view - It's eating the old half-eaten oranges on the ground behind some plants.
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A little later I saw what I at first thought was a chipmunk on a nyjer feeder, then I realized it was too big for a chipmunk and had a long tail. Like a gray squirrel but smaller and redder. I just got one shot of it. I've only seen a red squirrel here once, years ago, before I moved back up. Cute thing but I hope it doesn't eat buds like the gray squirrel. That's my wisteria pseudostandard it's sitting on - I was about to go out and chase it off when it saw me and panicked. There is some CritterRidder on the wisteria trunk.
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And I've been seeing Eastern Towhees for about a week without being able to get good photos. Today a female towhee kept bouncing and scratching around in different spots, almost posing for the camera. She's not quite as flashy as the red, black and white male, but is still very pretty.
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I hope the towhees nest nearby.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

I definitely enjoy these threads...it's always interesting (to me) to see what is happening in others' gardens.

I have witnessed the "feeding" behavior in the courting Cardinals. Very endearing! That photograph of the English Sparrows looked to me like the female was giving her
mate a "glare," like "why don't you feed ME seeds??"

I've got more of the House Sparrows this year, for some reason. I have nesting boxes, but, the entrance holes are smaller, in order to accommodate only chickadees and wrens. I saw a pair of chickadees checking out one box, but, that was the extent of it. No hummers yet, my feeder is out, but, I'm only feeding ants. Oh, well...!


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No hummingbirds yet (unless they've visited and I missed them.) But yesterday our barn swallows returned. Now it really seems like summer, with the snow melted and the swallows flitting over the meadow. One pair has already laid claim to last year's nest on our front porch while another pair were checking out the old nest in the barn. These pictures are from 2 summers ago.

Photobucket

Photobucket


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Very nice photos! I enjoy them too. Those swallows are the cutest things! Towhee is pretty and nice to see a catbird. I used to have them every year, but I took out a weed tree that had berries on it every year and I don't really see them any more. Great woodpecker photo, Jane!

I haven't been taking photos lately. I haven't really had anything special in the garden. I did wake up to the sound of a woodpecker yesterday. And the garden has been hopping with birds.

Two pigeons seem to have decided we are h*ome I guess. This is the third season the same two pigeons have come back. They eat a TON. They camp out on the feeder in the back and eat thistle and safflower, just stuffing themselves.

There are a lot of robins this year. I don't have fruit, but they seem to be looking for worms a lot. They take baths more than the other birds, and longer ones too.

I saw a Flicker yesterday and instead of pecking at the lawn for bugs, I saw him investigate our r*aised b*ed with a rock edge. He went down the line, poking his beak in all the crevices around the rocks.

A squirrel has been biting the heads off my t*ulips. I have just one pot of t*ulips with 10 bulbs in it. First there was one missing, lying on the ground next to the pot. Then I noticed there are 4 missing and none to be seen around the pot. That's the only mischief they've been getting into lately.

There are a pair of sparrows making a nest in the arbor with a Honeysuckle vine. I tried to keep them out of the garden. Like mskee, I bought a bird*h*ouse that had a hole that was the right size for a chickadee and they started nesting in it initially about 4 years ago. But then they disappeared and I was observing the h*ouse every day, naturally, but I never saw any problem w sparrows when they left. Anyway, now it's been sparrows every year. They first built a nest in an air vent by the bathroom and we plugged that up w wire so they couldn't come back but then they took over the bird*h*ouse. I see chickadees more in the winter now then the summer.

I can't chase the pigeons out of the yard, I can't chase the sparrows away. So I try to look at it that if they are nesting here every year, then they are not taking over the nests that are in the wooded area. I haven't seen any chicks for some reason. I did see some kind of sparrow war the other day. There was about 10 sparrows fighting with each other and squawking to beat the band for about 10 minutes one day. They were actually physically grabbing each other. It was loud. There have been fewer sparrows in the yard since then.

That's it. Nothing so fascinating going on here, but I do enjoy the birds in the garden.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Not a bird, but a rather larger mobile feature that arrived a couple of weeks ago . . .

From Untitled Album


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, May 3, 10 at 11:19

mskee: I haven't seen the hummer again so he was probably just grabbing a quick bite for the journey north. The regulars will come! I do believe.

spedigrees: Those photos of the baby swallows are classics! In the first photo they look like they have velcro holding the beaks together - those mouths are huge!

pm2: That sparrow war is interesting - were they all house sparrows or maybe house sparrows and their victims?

nhbabs: A moose! That could do some serious trampling/devouring of plants - and I'm complaining about squirrels?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Wow, now that is an impressive photo for sure nhbabs! He may not be a bird, but he's a feature and looks mobile too. Do you get many moose crossing your property, or was this an unusual sighting? We get deer around our house but no moose at least that I've seen.

As to the sparrow vs bluebird habitat: Bluebirds and tree swallows typically nest in cavities on the edge of wooded areas where woods meet open land, so nesting deep in the woods is not an option for them. Basically their nesting grounds have been usurped by the spreading sparrow population. It makes me sad to think about it after being "landlords" for years to fam*ilies of bluebirds and tree swallows. At least our barn swallows seem unaffected by the influx of these foreign pests.

I too am enjoying all the photos of wildlife in this thread, both welcome and not so much. Some of my favorite mobile features are our, and our neighbors' domestic critters, aka cats, our two dogs and pony. So far no pics posted of garden cats or other domestic la*wn orn*aments.


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This is definitely one of my favourite threads. The Barn Swallows are wonderful - great pictures - and a moose in my backyard would make me happy unless he brought the whole family for dinner. From Towhees and squirrels to those *&^% sparrows, this is a great thread. Aren't we lucky to have these things in our presence every day!?! Yup. However, some things do not raise my sunshiny (?) nature to the happy level and that's where my garden assistant comes in handy.

Now before anybody unloads on me about the usefulness of garter snakes, (it makes me shiver to even type the s word) I get it about why they exist. But this guy held me hostage (not my own fear) whilst he spent much of the day last summer wrapped up in my garden hose. (Who can explain love?..or a snake that needs an optometrist) I spent much of last July and August quickening my pace each time I walked past my embracing hose and only when the thought of parched plants erased my Western fear, did I kick the stone wall and grab the hose with a strange and victorious authority. Alas, come the end of August, my garden pal, Ivy, finally caught the hose hugger and a friend escorted it across the street to a grassy field. There's so much codependency in gardening!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, May 3, 10 at 17:01

Actually, it looks like the snake caught Ivy - or at least totally exhausted the poor cat.

I'll bet this was a well-thought out ploy by the snake to get across the street - it's dangerous with those cars out there! The trickster snake managed to lure Ivy into carrying it to the patio, where it was then picked up by a human who transported it safely into the field on the other side of the road. You need ingenuity when you have to slither rather than walk.

Claire


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Sounds like a final chapter Agatha Christie maneuver, hahahaha. Cute.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Love the photos! Those barn swallow shots are great--I think moose are thrilling to see, and I love the story about Ivy the fearless Siamese. I hope the snake has more success with it's love life in the field across the street...


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Claire, they really looked like all sparrows. They were all the same size and brown. They were moving fast at the time, but I am sure there were no chickadees or larger birds. I suppose it could have been purple finches if they are a similar size, but I had seen about 10 sparrows in the yard earlier that morning.

Great moose photo! I think I would rather see them off in the wild or from a distance, then on my property though! [g] Can only imagine how much they eat!

Cute photo of Ivy with the snake. I haven't seen a snake for years. I guess they are great to have around especially if you have rodents but I really find it uncomfortable having one around. I keep all my grass short and I'm very careful with the compost in an effort to keep them at bay.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 4, 10 at 17:33

PM2: You have entered the Twilight Zone of small brown birds. Not all small brown birds are house sparrows, and in fact, house sparrows are not sparrows - they're weaver finches: they just look like our native sparrows so someone called them House Sparrows AKA English Sparrows.

Anyway, they've been known to attack Song Sparrow nests, or anything else within their self-defined territory, which is why I wondered whether some native sparrows were fighting back.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Well, gee I wish I could distinguish different sparrows. I sometimes look at them with the binoculars but the differences are sometimes so minute. I guess I haven't had a detailed book that shows all the different sparrows either. Any way that day, I was out in the garden without the binoculars. Oh well. I'll have to pay more attention with the binoculars.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 4, 10 at 21:17

PM2: Small brown birds will drive you crazy if you want to identify them. Not only are there different sparrows that look similar, there are other small brown birds that look like nothing else but other small brown birds.

You probably were correct when you thought you saw house sparrows - they travel in gangs and move very quickly. I was just curious as to why they were fighting. Maybe it's because it's breeding season. All winter my house sparrows were cheerful and sociable. Come to think of it, I've only seen a few at one time lately and maybe the rest are off fighting somewhere.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

"Well, gee I wish I could distinguish different sparrows." When I worked in a nature center, we called them LBJs for little brown jobs . . . I'm not much of a birder, but I did learn to look for eye stripes, bars going across tails and wings or along tail edges, and chest streaks and center dots. Usually if I have long enough to see a bird from all angles and a good bird b ook, I can figure out what it is, though not always.

I actually wasn't worried by the moose at all, though if I'd met him in the woods it would have been different. We watched him quietly from the back patio and peaking around the end of the ho use since when he could hear us he got nervous and wanted to leave. This is only the second moose we've seen in the 13 years in this house. (We've had more black bear sightings!) Moose actually eat twigs, so he wasn't a thread to the gar den - we have lots of woody browse for him where he need not come near us, and he didn't seem to do any damage to the gar dens around the wood shop a bit down the road from the house. The deer rarely eat much in the gar den either, since there's so much else for them without getting near humans. Now the woodchucks are another matter - they cause major damage!


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Claire, a pair had already claimed the arbor for nesting before this group of sparrows arrived, so I wonder if it was territorial?

Babs, sounds like you get up close and personal with nature there at your house. Sounds like fun. I always had the impression Moose were gentle and non aggressive? I wonder how an animal that large can live on twigs? [g]


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Good thing trumpet vines are indestructible...one of my kitties thought he'd say hi to the neighbors. ;-)

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Those look like prime tree climbing vines for a cat. Lots of gnarly spots to dig in one's claws.

I have a large colony of garter snakes in and around our barn. I like to watch them. Except for spiders and hornets, anything that eats bugs is welcome here. Unlike Ivy, my cat has no interest in hunting snakes, although she's brought ho*me a wide variety of critters in her day, from bats to bunnies and even a weasel. She's getting too old to hunt much now and prefers sleeping on the porch in the sun when she's outdoors.

I used to have to identify (true) sparrows to release them when I was trapping hou*se sparrows, but it is difficult. I've lost the eye for it now. I think you sort of need to look at lots of small brown birds on a regular basis to distinguish one from the other. I can't even remember the names of the native sparrows anymore. It never ceases to amaze me how non-native species of animals and plants can become such pe*sts, when they are not so pervasive or destructive in their native countries. Hou*se sparrows are out of control in this country, that's for sure.

It's most likely that the English sparrows were killing or severely injuring other birds who were nesting in the birdhouse as Claire suggested, but I've also seen them fight among themselves, so you never know.


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I spent an hour with the b*inoculars this afternoon. It was such a pleasant day to sit by an open window. I have been curious since our discussion about sparrows to see what they were up to. They seem to be still building a nest. I saw one find a feather near one of the v*egetable beds and flew up to the top of the arbor with it. When he got up there, he took awhile trying to figure out how to get in under the foliage with it still in his mouth. It was a blue jay feather and it was long. Pretty funny.

Then I saw an interesting exchange between a robin and a grackle. A grackle flew into the yard and landed on the edge of the birdbath that had just been cleaned and refilled. All of a sudden a robin came out from under a nearby bush. It seemed like he heard the grackle land in the b*ath and start splashing around. The robin ran toward the bath and hopped up on the edge while the grackle was taking a b*ath. The robin held on to the side of the bath and started opening his beak and pushing his head forward toward the grackle. The grackle turned toward the robin doing the same thing. It was like a mexican showdown...lol. The grackle went back to his bath and the robin jumped into the bath, seemlingly annoyed that he was being ignored and the grackle turned around and moved toward the robin and he leapt out of the b*ath. Then the grackle finished his bath and flew off, at which point the robin went back to the bath and walked around the entire edge of the bath taking sips of water from different angles. Like he was re-establishing that it was his birdbath. It was really comical. They had all this subtle body language going on throughout the whole thing.

I also saw a flash of a Baltimore Oriole in the yard today. Not long enough to enjoy it but boy they're hard to miss. I hope he will be back.


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Boy, oh, boy, it's all in the timing. Got lucky this morning (perhaps I should rephrase that?) Anyway, this is the FIRST time I have ever seen a bunting. I think it's a Blue vs. Indigo based on its stockiness. Not the clearest of photos, but I had to be quick and shot it through my office window. He did go to the feeder and bounced around a bit before flying away. What do you think (backyard pros)is this fellow an Indigo or a Blue?

Kindly,
Jane
P.S. Claire - beautiful tulips on other thread


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Indigo Bunting according to the Cornell website.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, May 8, 10 at 11:31

PM2: That's funny about the robin and the grackle - there's a lot of theater in the bird world.

Jane: Gorgeous Indigo Bunting! I've only seen them a few times here but it's always a treat.

Sorry I haven't been responding but I've been a little distracted - internet access issues (good, I'm finally getting broadband, but the process is not easy, and I still haven't completely sorted out the email aspect).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

kp, wonderful shot of your cat climbing the trumpet vine. I bet you enjoy hummers with all those vines. Does the cat climb the vines after the birds?

Claire, sympathies for computer issues. :-)

Amazingly beautiful Indigo Bunting, Jane. It looks so fluffy and that blue is so startling!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, May 15, 10 at 11:41

Yesterday I saw an Indigo Bunting feeding on the ground near a male cardinal. I tried to will the birds to get closer together for a red-blue photo, but they just ignored me. Ingrates, after all I've fed them.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Today though, a pair of cardinals were feeding in the same area when the male fed the female several times. I felt almost like a voyeur, it was so tender.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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Glad a Bunting came by - the inclusion of a white dove would have been so patriotic. The Cardinals must be the marriage counselors of smaller backyard birds. Each morning I see the pairs coming to my seedy diner, and it's only the Cardinals that appear loving by feeding each other.

During breakfast, my diner couples usually look as though they are discussing the day - or, maybe the other couple.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown-headed Cowbird

Mr. and Mrs. Red Cardinal

Jane


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Such cute cardinals. I barely catch a glimpse of my cardinals together. I'll have to keep my eye out. I thought I saw a brown cow bird the other day but he hopped over the fence to the next yard. I just love those Buntings!! Keep posting photos, I love them!

I was very excited this morning to see a trio of Baltimore Orioles in the garden! There were 2 females and 1 male. Usually I see a blur as they fly through, but this morning I was looking out the window without my glasses on and saw this deep orange color hopping up and down in a vegetable bed. I was so happy when they were still there after retrieving my eyeglasses. [g] The male seemed to be very interested in my vegetable bed. It has a cover crop growing in it but as far as I know hasn't started blooming. Maybe it was a bug he was after. One female flew off into a tree that was out of my line of vision and the other sat on the edge of the other vegetable bed. They seemed relaxed for a change and hopped over to the rock edge of the perennial bed before flying off again.

According to Wikepedia, they eat caterpillars, fruit, insects, spiders and nectar. We have plenty of caterpillars this year! I see they use hair to build nests with. I'll have to remember that next spring. lol

Does anyone put out oranges for the Orioles?


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, May 16, 10 at 16:06

My young wisteria pseudo-standard is having its best year yet.

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Usually the flowers are mostly hidden by leaves, but as the vines get older they seem to leaf out later (those are younger vines on the top). To answer PM2's question, you can see the jam feeder and the orange feeder on the right behind the wisteria. I haven't seen many orioles this year - I think they nest down the hill by the pond and I'm hoping that when the fledglings get old enough to be taken out for a treat the parents will bring them here for oranges.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

When I was admiring the wisteria blossoms today I noticed a small flying feature buzzing around one of them. A bee I guess, although I suppose it could be a wasp.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I haven't seen the hummers at the wisteria, but I'm hoping they like it too.

Claire


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Kitty would LOVE to get the birds...there is a robin's nest in those vines, I now know - with three babies in it. It's a little too high and on the wrong side for kitty to be able to get to them - but when the birds start to fledge I'm going to have to really keep an eye out. I don't let the kitties out unless I'm there to watch them (we live in a tight neighborhood and I don't want them leaving the garden)

STILL no hummers! Once the vines start flowering I do see them occasionally - so I know there are in the area.


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, May 16, 10 at 20:49

Sill no hummers? How discouraging - just think how you'd feel if Kitty came home with a hummer. I thought of that because I've seen a catbird apparently lunge at a hummingbird several times recently. The catbird suddenly flew out of nowhere aiming at the hummer, which flew away, very quickly.

I did some googling and the Birds of North America online site says the catbird eats beetles and moths and caterpillars and "feeds heavily on abundant moths using flush-chase technique". Maybe this is a near-sighted catbird? I guess a hummer could be confused with a big moth, particularly one of the clearwings (AKA hummingbird moths).

Claire


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Thanks Claire for that photo...nice Wisteria btw! I wonder if the oranges attract yellow jackets?

I finally got to the store and bought a hummingbird feeder. I wonder if it is too late to put one out this year?


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Claire, can you get (and post) a photo of the Oriole? I hear one all day but it's elusive to see. No hummers here yet, either. They tend to show up when the deep-shaped blooms show up. So far, near the ocean, we have rugosa roses, 1 aquilegia, not even iris yet. Hummers show up when the honeysuckle blooms.

Carol


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, May 17, 10 at 13:24

PM2: I don't think it's too late to put out a hummingbird feeder. If they're around anyway, they'll find it. Last fall I had bald-faced hornets in my jelly feeder after all the birds had left. I kept it up until frost (I like bald-faced hornets). I tried to photograph the hornets last year, but it's tricky to get photos of nervous hornets who think they're trapped inside since I had my camera aimed in the mouth of the jelly jar.

Carol: This is my favorite oriole photo from a few years ago.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And this is a male and female from last year; male on the left:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

You may have Orchard Orioles also - I've never seen one but I've read that we have them here.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Wow, those Orioles are spectacular!! Great shots, Claire!

I guess I may as well try the hummingbird feeder and see what happens then.

Thanks!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

I was just looking up how to make nectar and notice they recommend putting the feeder in the shade. I hadn't thought of that. Do you put your feeder in full shade? My full shade is out of sight of the windows. Anyone solve that problem?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 18, 10 at 17:30

I checked a few references and they didn't say anything about putting the feeder in the shade. Where did you find that recommendation? My feeder is in morning shade, afternoon sun and it's fine.

Maybe the solution would get contaminated a little faster in the sun, but I've been changing it about every other day just to be safe. There's a hummer there now, and a catbird at the jam jar. Oops, both gone.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

I googled it and it was the first link....E How... I think I saw it somewhere else too. Well, I'll look for the shadiest place in viewing range. Thanks... lucky you, hummers already! :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: E HOW


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Saw him last evening zipping around while I was in the garden, but today at 2:21p.m., I saw him feed and he stayed long enough for me to get the camera, etc., so the syrup blend must be okay. (I don't make the syrup) Certainly hope he puts us on his circuit.

Those are good Orioles shots - we do not have them here - lucky to get the hummer! Thought we had been overlooked.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 18, 10 at 20:53

PM2: I had checked the hummingbird.net site and I read the directions that came with my Droll Yankees feeder. Neither of them mentioned shade. The EHOW site says shade is better, which makes sense to slow down the spoiling of the nectar solution.

So the bottom line is probably hang it wherever you can see it easily and just change the solution sooner if it's in the sun. It's early in the season so I'm obsessing over whether the solution is getting cloudy and I just change it to stop my worrying.

Jane: Congratulations! That hummer looks like it may be a female, which is a good sign. Here anyway, once the females show up they stay.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, May 20, 10 at 17:08

Well, speaking of orioles, I think the fledglings are out and about. Today I saw an adult oriole on the jelly jar and what I think was a fledgling parked on the top of the hook.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The adult slurped up the jelly
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

while the kid waited, looking bored.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Eventually they both flew off.

The new orange feeder doesn't seem very attractive to anything but squirrels, so I'm going back to the old one (an empty nectar feeder with an orange slice on top).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Thanks for looking that up about the feeder for me. I haven't got it up yet, maybe this weekend. Are those adolescent Orioles? They look so big.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 7, 10 at 14:36

I haven't seen turkeys for a few months, ever since the mating season when they disappeared into the woods, presumably to nest. This morning the first turkey returned, no babies in tow. I figure it's a juvenile hen with no particular family ties.

The turkey ate on the ground then it appeared on the top of my car (yes, there seems to be a deposit left there, I haven't looked yet).
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

After standing on top for a while, the bird carefully walked down the windshield
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and then appeared to be auditioning as a new VW hood ornament.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm hoping that a family or two will wander in soon.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Claire, what a fun series with that female turkey! She definitely looks like she's posing to be a hood ornament...
Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

VW might like to see these pictures. The company certainly has a penchant for naming cars after beings and features of nature, e.g., Beetle, Sirocco, Golf, Passat, Rabbit, etc., now you can tell them about your Turkey Trot.

For your sake, and that of the car's paint, I also hope this hen falls in love (or at least falls in tow) with a southerly breeze and gently trots off.

Good shots, Claire.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 12, 10 at 13:29

This morning I saw a result of the cardinals' courting behavior - a fledgling. Besides the juvenile cuteness, the dark colored bill was striking. The bright red color hasn't developed yet (I wonder if it colors up in streaks or just an overall blushing). I hope I see it again. A male cardinal was hanging around, maybe being protective.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Very funny turkey photos...lol. I think my DH might have a heart attack if a turkey started walking around on the top of the car. He's already wondering why it is that the birds choose the branches right above the car to sit and make their deposits. [g]

I've had my hummingbird feeder out for a couple of weeks with no visitors. I saw the Oriole in the yard a couple of times, so I decided to add a half an orange to the top of it. That's not working either. Yesterday I saw an Oriole fly right over the orange without so much as a glance. [g]

Not that we don't have a pile of birds out there. Grackles and Starlings seem to have made us home base. I've seen a couple of them being followed by adolescents squawking for some food. All the usual cast of characters and a few pigeons have decided to drop in since last year. We're not putting out any cracked corn, just safflower and black sunflower. I was wondering the other day if you can have too many birds. They're fighting over the two birdbaths, so I added a third and still the robins and the starlings are competing for top bird position. Somedays I need to clean and refill the birdbaths twice a day. I've been seeing lots of bird droppings on the fences and along the rock edging of the perennial beds. Lately, DH fills the feeders and in a few hours, they empty one and are halfway through another.

Anyone else think they might have too many birdy visitors? [g]


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 13, 10 at 14:40

Whenever I get annoyed at how much birdseed I'm buying and how often I have to clean the birdbaths, I remind myself that I've had almost no tree defoliation this year. In fact I've had fewer grackles than in past years. The usual horde showed up but most of them moved on - maybe to more caterpillar-filled neighborhoods. Plenty of them stayed though, and are eating their fill.

Besides grackles I'm seeing cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, titmice, cowbirds, red-wings, catbirds, orioles, hummingbirds, doves, house sparrows and the first turkey poults of the season!

I'll start a new thread with photos of today's turkey poults (this thread is getting slow to load).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 21, 12 at 11:31

Bump to slow the slide to oblivion.

Claire


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