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Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
Thu, May 8, 08 at 13:34

I started this thread to give 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.

Two mobile features here - a Mourning Dove taking shelter from the rain under my favorite garden cart. I sprinkle thistleseed on the bluestone path and the doves love it.

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Two Gray Catbirds showed up this morning; the first I've seen this year. I set up a suet feeder in the wisteria pseudo-standard.

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The Baltimore Orioles (now renamed Northern Orioles) also like the suet. I only see one or two at a time now.

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Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Catbirds! I stood and listened to one singing a few days ago, and I couldn't figure out what kind of bird it was. Bold little thing. Thanks for the ID!

"mobile features" indeed! :D


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Claire, how cool that the Orioles come to your suet! I have never seen them at any of the feeders, but they do like to hang around in the canopy of the Silver maples.

I just love to be out in the gardens, puttering around, with the birdies flitting around. There are lots of them in the yard, in the trees, in the brush piles and thicket areas, picking for bugs in the gardens, back and forth to the feeders, at the bird baths.

They are definitely using the feeders less in the Spring, especially on nice days. I only see the Bluebirds on cloudy cool days now, on nice days I guess they have plenty of insects to eat.

It's nice not to have to fill the feeders so often!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

I saw Baltimore Orioles in my yard this week too. My daughter's in college in that area so I think they came up to say "Hi" from her!
This morning, I took our new puppy out and surprised a pair Canada geese in our back yard. They took off for our small pond /wetlands area, and I saw four goslings! I know they can be pests, but I was excited!The puppy was was a little awed. We usually get a mallard family, but they stay on the other side of the pond, and I rarely get to see the babies.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Sat, May 10, 08 at 9:53

stoloniferous: Last year I had a pokeweed growing and fruiting right by my kitchen window. A catbird loved the fruit, but would get indignant and stomp off whenever it saw me looking out the window.

terrene: If the orioles are hanging around your silver maples, maybe they're eating caterpillars! I have an unwritten agreement with the grackles, I give them a hearty breakfast, and then, in payment, they're directed to go forth and decimate the caterpillar population.

Spring is so slow here that more and more suet is being eaten, and all of the feeders are being emptied daily (due to the grackles and red-wings mostly).

The orioles are trying to work around the grackle flood at the suet - if you look hard you can see an oriole on the upper right waiting for a turn.

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This is the first time I've seen an oriole and a grackle together (didn't last very long). I put orange slices in a suet cage for an oriole dessert. Grackles don't touch the orange.

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The suet is hung on my wisteria pseudo-standard. It has buds! I'm looking forward to seeing birds among wisteria flowers.

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Claire


I'm


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Sat, May 10, 08 at 10:02

pondlily: It's true Canada Geese can be pests, but they're very impressive birds. Your puppy is right to be awed - I once had one threaten me so I put my bike between us. It struck at the wheel.

It's definitely getting into bird family season.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Hi Kids,

It seems that Spring has arrived...even on the Cape. The garden tools are out and hanging pots of color are in place and ready to grow.

I heard Vern Laux on the radio this morning. He was talking about the sudden arrival of birds to the Cape and Islands last week. So many of us here had been waiting for the return of the Hummingbirds and Orioles for what seemed like several, very long weeks. We wondered what could be holding up their progress as they make their way north. Warmer temps? Food?...all of the normal/natural survival issues for birds. After hearing Vern this morning, we need to add storms and wind to the mix. Migratiory birds...Hummingbirds and Orioles...depend on favorable winds, winds out of the south, to help them as they make their way back up north.

So...we need a weatherman/woman here at the forum to keep a watch on the wind direction every fall and spring. Any volunteers?

Enjoy this beautiful day in your gardens. I'll be draging out all those pots from the garage this week but it occurs to me...the birds are going to be really mad when I replace their hanging suet feeders with pots of plants. Hummm...how can I make it up to them?

sooey


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Wed, May 14, 08 at 20:45

sooey: Spring is sneaking in here too, but the fierce northeast winds were relentless for almost a week. Of course they started right after I put some of the houseplants out on the deck, which faces east. I didn't want to bring them back into the dark warm, so I did my best to give them shelter. They're looking very relieved now that the wind has died down, and the sun come out.

The hummingbirds and a few orioles have settled in; adjusting to the bird mobs. The American Tree Sparrows have all morphed into Chipping Sparrows; grackles and red-wings abound. And hawks, of course. I was working outside today, and heard an unusual bird call, followed by two Sharp-shinned Hawks flying close overhead. I'm glad I'm not a small bird.

If you suddenly stop the suet, I suggest you be careful where you park your car - there will be disgruntled birds soaring around! (I speak as one who hoses off the car every few days, and I give the birds vast quantities of food.)

I'll continue the suet, probably until the grackle babies fledge. Last year there were constant grackle airlifts of suet taking off as the nestlings got more and more demanding. The orioles and downies still feed at the suet, too.

I doubt if your birds will appreciate the hanging plants. Except maybe the wrens, who might nest in them?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Rats...I forgot about the 'bird car bombs'... I guess I'll have to put up a few more brackets on the house. The birds have been after the suet constantly. Lots of activity.

Yes, that wind was really something. It hit everyday for the better part of a week. The birds really had to hold on tight while they were at the feeders.

The guys are here this week installing the new patio so I'll be able to get my plants out of the house and into the fresh air by Friday. The inside of the house always looks so different, almost empty when the plants are off at camp. Just over 6 months in the house and just less than 6 months outside. I think life must be good if you are a plant.

sooey
who will have to look very hard for those hanging brackets she got a Job Lot last year...


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Thu, May 15, 08 at 13:00

I forgot to mention that you might want to leave at least one suet feeder up for the insectivorous birds. It's been a late spring, and the bug population is probably not up to speed yet. I think the main suet appeal is to the insectivores.

Once the night temperatures get to around 50 degrees I'll put out the cane begonias and ferns. By the end of a long winter they drop a lot of leaves, and when I start opening windows and doors, the leaves blow around. I almost feel like I should be raking inside the house. I'd bring in the leaf vacuum, but that would really freak out the cat.

Most of my houseplants are not hanging types - they sit around on tables on the deck or porch looking statuesque. Others get plopped in the garden with like-minded outdoor plants. Some committed tropical plants will stay inside until June.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Fri, May 16, 08 at 12:49

The grackles are definitely feeling spring fever. I think this is a pair of male and female grackles, the female on the suet and the male checking her out.
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The males really suck in the belly and puff those chest feathers out. Hey, look at me Babe!
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And then there are the squirrels inspecting the plants still in pots ....
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and monitoring the faded daffodils.
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Claire


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I found this racoon enjoying one of my compost piles...

and we released the orphaned baby mice that we fed every 2 hours for the last few weeks.....


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Oh My Goodness, sunshineboy...you have a very good heart! I don't think I would have fed baby mice. I hope you released them far, far away from your house.

That Raccoon looks happy.

Our birds have changed a lot from the winter feedings. I see a few Chickadees about and even fewer Titmouse. Lots Orioles and tons of Goldfinch, which are just beautiful! The early morning bird songs have started and are wonderful to hear. Great way to greet the day.

Our Pollen has started but so far it is only a very little dusting. We have another week before we get into the 'who spilled the green paint on the driveway' stage of it. Those are the days that I have to stay inside... :(

sooey


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Mon, May 19, 08 at 17:42

sunshineboy: Your raccoon reminded me to go turn my compost pile. The mice are adorable, but every two hours for a few weeks is really a chore! A very good experience for kids though.

I saw an opossum under a bird feeder early this morning - the first I've seen here, and only the second in my life (the other one was wandering out of a park in Queens in NYC).
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It was calmly munching away until a truck drove by and scared it. I was surprised how fast it could run.
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And a Rufous-sided Towhee paraded around looking gorgeous. Usually they're very secretive and hide under a shrub. This one seemed to be showing off.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Claire
Love the pictures! What is that feeder that looks like an orange? Do the Orioles use it or hummingbirds?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Mon, May 19, 08 at 20:25

grow now - The orange-type feeder was $3 at Ocean State Job Lot and labeled as a hummingbird feeder. The orioles occasionally use it, but the hummers go to the standard flying saucer-type feeder. Or they use to. I haven't seen any hummingbirds for about a week and I'm afraid they moved on inland where there are a lot more flowers and insects. I hope they'll be back when the garden wakes up some more.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Tue, May 20, 08 at 11:02

I spoke too soon! This morning two hummingbirds showed up, at least one of which is a female. Maybe the females come later.

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Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

Claire and Sooey,
I followed your hummingbird posts jealously over the last weeks. I'm in northern Litchfield so I figured they were taking thier time. My poor bereft feeder was full but unvisited. Then when I got to my house on Friday evening and was doing my weekly plant inspection -- vroom vroom, I heard my first hummingbird. The ruby-throated gorgeous male came by and flashed his colors on Saturday when I was out gardening. They're here! Thry're here! My heart sings.


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Oh Silvergirl...I'm so happy for you! They have returned to Litchfield after all! They are such fun to watch. I don't see them very often and never more than one at a time, but just knowing they are about makes me feel that Spring now has a firm grasp. Enjoy!

sooey


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I think of hummers as summer birds here inn Lexington. When the monarda raspberry wine blooms they love to visit.


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  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 12:03

silvergirl, that's great! I'm wondering if the males always come back first, or if it's just chance. Let us know when you see a female.

I've noticed this spring that the female red-winged blackbirds arrived later than the males, and I think that may be true for the grackles as well. I saw male hummingbirds long before the female(s).

This is the first year I've been looking closely - like idabean, I remember them mostly from monarda/hosta/phlox season.

The grackles must have nestlings - the suet airlifts have begun. A grackle (probably a female) picks up as much suet as it can cram into its beak and either flies directly off, or dips it in a birdbath first before flying off (with great determination).

Claire


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Wow, Claire...great observations! I just filled my tree suet feeder with suet from shaws. The Orioles love the stuff. I'll watch for any Grackles making air lifts.

I love the picture of the Rufous-sided Towhee. I have never seen one. Beautiful bird!

sooey


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Wed, May 21, 08 at 17:36

sooey: I was in an Agway yesterday buying suet by the 12-pack. The salesperson said that there's a great demand now for suet, and people have told her that it's because of the nesting season. High-energy food for the kids (and parents).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

This is the second summer I've been in this house. The hummingbirds came last summer when the monarda bloomed, and that's when I put up the hummingbird feeders. This year I put them up in April (wishful thinking) hoping they would remember the sweet treats and come earlier than the flowers. And they did! So this year they'll have both. Off to the garden center to get annuals pentas (which they love)and to see if I can find any salvia black and blue, which they are REPUTED to love. Haven't seen any around here for sale. The motto for those who think they only come to the flowers, with a nod to FIELD OF DREAMS: If you hang it/ they will come
lucia


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  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Thu, May 22, 08 at 17:26

Last year at least one hummingbird was around every day when the hostas and phlox were blooming. I have hostas that bloom all summer (different ones), and the phlox was cherished. I had a few monarda, and I'll have more this year.

Suet is still a big deal here - usually the grackles monopolize the suet feeders and elbow aside any other bird that dares to approach (the other birds wait until the grackles leave).

I was startled the other day to see a dispute between a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a grackle where the red-belly didn't back down.

The two were on the feeder at the same. There's suet behind the oranges.
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The grackle did whatever trash talking grackles do,
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but the red-belly leaned over and gave it back!
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There was a truce for a while, and the red-belly was the last bird standing (or perching). I'd always thought of the red-bellies as gentle birds, since they quietly come and go, but they're much tougher than I thought.

Claire


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Great Shots, Claire! I love the Red-belly. I have seen them around more these past few weeks. Very interested in both the tube feeder with the boss and the suet feeders. I like your suet feeder...is that a double? Great that you can load it with both suet and oranges.

sooey


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  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Fri, May 23, 08 at 12:42

That is a double suet feeder I bought at one of the local Agways - I think it was made by Droll Yankee, but I'm not sure.

It's good because you can fill it with oranges and suet or put two suet blocks in at once. It also solves the problem of how to refill a suet feeder when the first block has shriveled down to 1/3 the size, but is still taking up space. With a single feeder you have to either throw the remainder on the ground (which pleases the ground-feeders), or try to cram a new block in with the leftover. With the double feeder you can just add a new block to the top and it slides down as it gets whittled away.

One of my suet feeders is invisible from indoors now that the rose leaves have filled out. In the winter I could see birds through the canes.
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The suet feeder is hanging from the top of the arch.
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I'm hoping the little birds like downies and wrens can lurk in there and wait for the grackles (and Blue Jays) to leave.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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Gosh, your rose bush has filled out beautifully! Great location for a suet feeder. I'm sure the small birds love the cover. Great shed in the background!

My brother was here bright and early this morning to get our new outdoor shower hooked up and relocate our dryer vent. Both jobs completed in one morning...both jobs well done. With the new patio and shower finished I have more room for planting AND, room for more bird feeders. I now have a good sized area that will get full sun just about all day long. I need a plan.

Our weekend will be spent outside, getting the pots and planters out of the garage, furniture on the deck and at least one trip to Agway in Orleans. At long last...it's time to get our hands dirty!

The Red-belly woodpecker has been around, eating out of the tube feeders and making a lot of noise. Much more agressive than I have seen before...showing some attitude.

sooey


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  • Posted by claire z6b MA Coastal (My Page) on
    Tue, May 27, 08 at 19:04

Yesterday I checked the peony buds (yet again) trying to will them to open, and I saw two mobile features sitting on a bud. I was expecting ants, but the ladybug was a nice surprise. I did have to reassure myself that it was indeed a ladybug and not a lily leaf beetle. The ant is lurking on the bottom of the bud.

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Claire


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I'm kind of bummed out about the birds in my back yard.A very large nesting pair of Red Tail Hawks are living in a tree about 25 feet from my feeders.They regularly pick off Morning Doves and squirrels.However,the other birds have caught on and don't visit my feeders anymore.I have several chipmunk families that have also deserted the back yard,and will not come out from under cover.The hawks are amazingly skilled predators,but I wish my birds would come back.I only have a few wood peckers chicadees and nut hatches left,they seem to be the bravest!


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 11, 10 at 16:24

Red-tails are serious hawks. I can understand your feeder birds taking off for safer territory. Here the crows mob them and they don't stay around too long.

I have more problems with Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Lately I've been seeing a lot of piles of feathers on the ground, and I haven't seen a chipmunk in a while. The birds I do have are very skittish but they still come for the food. There's a hummingbird right outside my window now.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 29, 11 at 14:06

I'm going to try to bump this thread to keep it from sliding into the GW limbo (unless it's there already).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden

I'll try and see how good I do in uploading a picture of my Cardinals who feed from my window bird feeder.
/Users/richardholub/Pictures/iPhoto Library/Masters/2011/01/14/20110114-125651/IMG_0475.JPG


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