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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 8, 10 at 17:38

And it's on to thread #3 for 2010.

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 five 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

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #2

I was out in the yard starting to deadhead the Phlox maculata when I rounded the corner and saw the turkeys sitting on my Adirondack chairs. They do seem to be getting comfortable around here. There are still five poults (getting bigger!) and the mother hen has picked up two more hens who seem to be acting as an extended family. Two of the poults were out of view.

I ran inside to get my camera and take photos from the deck.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

They seemed to be getting disturbed by the photography so I stopped and went back inside, but they moved next door anyway, no doubt complaining about the paparazzi.

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Those are all prize winning photos, Claire, or they certainly could be. I'm glad you didn't discard any of the pictures. I love the way the birds blend with the weathered wood on your Adironack chairs.

It's amazing how well turkeys are doing since being re-introduced back into the wild in the 1970s. We have large flocks of them, but they are more wary here with all the hunting seasons open on them.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

I love your pics! Those babies are so cute. Last winter we had a group of adults trek through our yard for a few days. I was blown away they could actually fly. Such large creatures!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

That third shot looks like there is a "headless poult," standing on the left arm of the ADK chair. Great photos, as always, Claire!

I keep my camera handy, waiting for a mobile feature in my garden, but, nothing so interesting, so far...

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by deenoel 6- MetroWest Boston (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 12, 10 at 19:21

Saw this big eyed guy just yesterday. I couldn't believe he gave me time to let me run in and get the camera!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 12, 10 at 20:35

Great shot, deenoel! The lighting was perfect to accentuate the insect and the buds. Do you know what it is (the bug)?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by deenoel 6- MetroWest Boston (My Page) on
    Fri, Jul 16, 10 at 13:48

Thanks, Claire. I'm pretty sure that it's a dragonfly, and not a damselfly -- not sure what type though. I was just hoping he'd stay and eat some aphids for lunch!

Deanna


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

I have a mystery that I wondered if anyone would have any idea about. Yesterday, after it rained we had the windows open and I noticed the sound of the wind chime. I looked up to see if the wind was picking up and it was perfectly still outside. Then I heard the wind chime again and I wondered if an animal was climbing on the screenhouse, where the wind chime hangs on the corner. I went to look out the window. I didn't see anything at first so I stood there for a couple of minutes. It was dusk so it was getting difficult to see. A pair of birds appeared and began flitting around the roof of the screenhouse. It has a fabric roof and all the screens were open. One bird I barely saw as he flew under the roof and inside. The other seemed to be investigating something stuck on the roof near the edge of the corner, then he flew and hovered a little in front of the wind chime and he flew into it, which started them chiming. It seemed like he was trying to get at something in the middle between the gongs. I was so surprised...lol. He did that about four more times and then disappeared.

Later I went outside and checked out the wind chime, thinking maybe there was a spider web or an insect or something. But I couldn't see anything there, just the piece of the wind chime that hits against the gongs. It was a colored piece of glass with a wire around it. I am still scratching my head, trying to figure that bird out. They certainly surprise you sometimes. I'm not sure what kind of bird it is. I'm pretty sure it is a 'mystery' bird I've seen before just a couple of times. I keep thinking it is a wren of some kind.

Any way, anyone else ever have a bird that liked to play the wind chimes? [g]


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Cute baby turkeys Claire. PM2, sounds like Carolina Wrens. They are just the cutest inquisitive little birds and notorious for getting into garages and sheds and nesting in odd places.

I have been feeling pretty sluggish about gardening this summer, but there are plenty of mobile features nonetheless:

- Good news about the Bluebirds - around June 20th the nestlings and female Bluebird from the 2nd brood disappeared. I suspected it was a raccoon that had gotten up the snag and raided the nest at night and the female abandoned the nest. However, the male has been around since then, singing and trying to attract another mate. Well, he finally did attract another female and they are nesting again! They are being very discreet and the male is guarding the nest quite diligently. I have also staked the snag to keep it from toppling and baffled it with sheet metal to keep predators from climbing up. This makes the snag safer, but there are still plenty of threats to the nest that fly (House sparrows, House wrens, Blue jays, etc.)

- Hummers are visiting constantly during the day. There are at least 3 that compete for their favorite plants in the hummingbird garden. Monarda, Lobelia cardinalis, and zinnias are the favorites at the moment.

- Sadly, no Monarchs in the gardens as yet, but I am raising Black Swallowtail butterflies. A female has been laying eggs on the parsley and dill. There are 4 caterpillars getting ready to pupate right now and a couple other cats in smaller stages.

The new baffle on the snag where the Bluebirds are nesting - you can also see one of the wires that will hopefully keep decrepit old dead tree from falling over.

A hummer drinking nectar out of red Zinnias -

Black Swallowtail caterpillars being raised indoors - these guys have just finished molting and you can see the old skin in the bottom left. The caterpillars eat this then continue to munch away on the sprigs of Dill.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Thanks terrene, that is exactly what my bird pair is! They are the cutest little bird! I love the way they keep their tails almost vertical a lot of the time. I'm pretty sure that is the bird song I was trying to identify too. Very loud. I'm not sure where they are nesting, but I'm going to keep my eye out.

The weather has been so hot and sticky and downright oppressive it's not a surprise that you're feeling sluggish about gardening. [g]

Great news about your bluebirds! They have to be one of my favorite birds. I hope they manage to raise their young safely. It must be hard to watch them struggle.

Still no hummingbirds here, but in 30 years I've only seen one, one time, for about 20 seconds as he checked out my Butterfly Bush and off he went. I don't have any Mondarda, only one Lobelia Cardinalis came back for me this year, and no zinnia this year either. I didn't realize they liked those.

I haven't seen any Monarchs either, just Swallowtails. I had a pretty black one earlier. I have some small pairs of butterflies but I haven't IDed them yet. That's really going the extra mile to raise Swallowtails! I assume you bought them somewhere? You have to provide somewhere for them to build their cocoons? How long a process is it? Will they stick around your garden or move away when they emerge?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 24, 10 at 20:54

PM2: Carolina Wrens are great little birds - I usually only see them in the winter at the suet feeder, but a few times lately one has stopped by on my deck and porch railings. Loud they are indeed.

I only saw one male hummingbird for about a month, but a female is now at the feeder too. Interestingly the male sips while hovering but the female sits on the perch (never at the same time). I noticed that last year too. I have no idea what it means.

terrene: Is that baffle a slippery band of metal? Is it nailed on the snag?

I don't see many butterflies here and they seem very wary. Probably too many insect-eating birds around. I have orioles and catbirds every day at the jelly feeder. I think they're also keeping an eye on the blackberries and pokeberries that aren't ripe yet.

The only times I've noticed monarchs have been on the asters later in the season. Those caterpillars are pretty things.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

That's quite a setup you made with the dead log for the bluebirds, terrene. I hope they raise their babies successfully.

Black swallowtails are my very favorite of all the butterflies. It must be great fun to raise them from caterpillars.

I've seen several monarchs this year, not nearly as many as in past years, and tiger swallowtails. The wild milkweed has finished blooming and now the swamp milkweed is in full bloom so there is plenty of butterfly food.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 25, 10 at 12:54

I spoke too soon! This morning I looked out the kitchen window and saw this Tiger Swallowtail (I think) on a Tiger lily. Tiger on tiger. I keep one window closed without a screen so I can photograph easily.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Well, I'm really bummed out today. House wrens were hanging around the snag this morning and the Bluebirds were conspicuously absent. Set up an 8 ft step ladder and could see the eggs were gone...and I found broken eggshells on the ground. Apparently the House wrens vandalized the Bluebird nest by piercing the eggs and throwing them out of the nest. This is typical House wren behavior and there are a lot of them in the back of my lot where it is shrubby and overgrown. (Carolina wrens don't do this). House wrens along with the House sparrows are the source of a lot of grief for bluebirds and other native cavity nesters. This really sux, after 4 successful broods in the back yard, the Bluebirds have had 2 failed broods. They have understandably given up and left the yard and I miss them. :(

This nature thing requires a thick skin sometimes!!

PM2, I happened to see a female Black swallowtail laying eggs on the Dill and parsley in the garden on a couple occasions and collected 4 eggs. Also found a couple of small caterpillars on the dill. Then brought them inside to raise them in salad boxes. Finally put them into a 10 gallon fish tank with some sticks to pupate. The first 2 caterpillars pupated today, a pretty amazing process. In about 2 weeks, they will hopefully eclose into gorgeous butterflies. We'll see! I would love to raise more but the eggs and small cats aren't easy to find and they have many predators out there in the "wild". There are successes and failures in butterfly-raising too.

Claire, the baffle used two 14 inch pieces of very slick metal flashing, with light guage wire wrapped tightly around the metal and tree. Works great for climbing predators, no good for House wrens. Your pic is an Eastern tiger swallowtail.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jul 25, 10 at 20:52

Oh, terrene, that's horrible! The bluebirds were such a joy to you the last few years (I enjoyed your posts and photos).

It's interesting that the House Wren, a native species, has similar behavior to the House Sparrow which is introduced.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Claire, I haven't put out suet very often. I'm going to have to try it. I was excited to read that the Carolina Wrens often come back to the same place from year to year and that they eat a lot of bugs! I saw some of the 'gong' pieces of a wind chime on the ground today. I realized that is the third one I've found on the ground and I looked at the poor wind chime and it only has 2 'gong' pieces left. [g] Now I am wondering if it is the bird that is doing it. Great photo of the Swallowtail too, Claire. That's a good idea to keep the screen up and the window closed to get the shot more quickly and easily. My Tiger lilies are about past.

Terrene, that is so upsetting! I wish we could come up with some idea that would protect the bluebirds from the wrens. If the birds were different sizes, maybe someone could design a nest with a cage around it like they do with feeders. I'm glad to know the Carolina Wrens don't do that. I'm going to have to look up a photo of the House Wren so I can be on the lookout for them. I worry about the chickadees in my neighborhood. They tried to nest in my one and only birdhouse and I think the sparrows drove them out. The chickadees do seem to manage and I figure they can figure out the best place to nest better than I can. The bluebird is in such low numbers they really do need the help though, isn't that right?

I was thinking about that the other day, how you do tend to develop a thicker skin. I used to really feel unhappy even to hand pick bugs and I seem to be thicker skinned about it lately, although the other night, I found myself struggling with it and had to stop and go in the house. I've stopped putting up bird houses, because I just don't want to go through what's happening in your yard now.

Oh, so the Swallowtails are laying eggs in your yard, that's a very good sign that your efforts are working. I've tried dill but it hasn't grown for me the last two times. I don't know if my 6 hrs of sun are the problem. I do have parsley that flowers and a little bit of Asclepias. I had a ton of Bronze Fennel but it was getting out of hand and I pulled it all out. I miss it though. I think next winter I'm going to winter sow it again and try the dill again. How fun to be watching them for 2 weeks. I hope you can get some good photos! I don't even think to look for the cats and eggs. I'll have to remember to do that. Especially with all the insect eating birds around. Maybe I could lend a hand to keeping them from being gobbled up.


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Finally!

The past couple of days I have been lucky with capturing a couple of mobile features! I so enjoy looking at other's pictures and descriptions in this thread, and now I can contribute.
This first shot was very lucky--this hummer hovered for just long enough so my shot wasn't blurry...feeding on a Gartenmeister Fuschia on my deck...

Hummingbird

And, this honeybee is almost covered with pollen--blending in with the sunflower. Glorious summer days in the garden!

Pollen and Honeybee

Emily
Western MA


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jul 27, 10 at 16:31

Beautiful photos, Emily! I particularly enjoy the motionless hummer, after taking about 15 blurry shots of a clear-wing moth at a lily yesterday. None of them were usable.

That honeybee reminds me of a wet dog that rolled in sand on a beach.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Great photos!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 28, 10 at 20:30

I don't know if my lawn dragon really qualifies as a mobile feature, but it did move from my deck to a spot under the birdbath where I needed something to hold back a pushy rose. The turkeys don't seem to be afraid of it. Those babies are getting big! Still five of them.

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 #3

He may not be mobile, Claire, but your lawn dragon is totally cool! I love it! Certainly the family of turkeys are quite mobile. What fun to watch them growing and thriving! Thanks for posting such great photos. My sister works next to the Science Museum and there is a mom turkey with little ones strolling about the grounds below her office window.

I also love your shot of the tiger swallowtail on the tiger lily. However have you managed to protect your tiger lilies from the evil red lily beetles? Only two blooms emerged from a single stalk of my once profuse and beautiful tiger lily plants and they are so raggedy from serving as lunch to the nasty red bugs that I can't bear to look at them.

I'm so sorry Terrene for the loss of the bluebird babies. I feel for your loss and frustration. No house wrens here, but we had a population explosion of house sparrows a few years ago that all my trapping and killing (a gruesome business) could not completely eradicate. I finally gave up and blocked the openings to our birdhouse, home to past generations of bluebirds and tree swallows.

Remarkable that you captured the caterpillars and black swallowtail eggs yourself. I hope the butterflies emerge and find their wings in fine shape. Your project has made me think about ordering some cats and/or eggs next summer and trying my luck at raising a flock of these dark winged lovelies. We have plenty of food on our acres for the adult butterflies (as well as the caterpillars, aka queen anne's lace) to feed on. It would be nice to see more black swallowtails around. Do you know if they come back to lay eggs in the same area where they emerged as butterfiles?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

I love the lawn dragon, too! You certainly have a good eye for capturing a shot, Claire. In the first shot, it looks like the "mother" turkey is staring at the dragon, trying to figure it out...in the second one, the adolescent on the left seems to be doing the same...
I have the same question as spedigrees--do butterflies return to the same spot to lay eggs? I planted a bunch of milkweed this year, trying to entice them, and I've not seen one Monarch in my yard, and only a smattering of Yellow Swallowtails...


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 29, 10 at 17:45

spedigrees: I used to use the Bayer Rose and Flower Spray every few months on all of the lilies and that protected them , but the last few years there have been very few red lily leaf beetles and I've only had to attack a few individuals. This year there were a few beetles on that tiger lily, but I now also have Casa Blancas and Arabesques in full bloom with little foliage damage. I'm assuming that the parasitic wasps that were released on the Cape have made it over the bridge to Plymouth. It's possible of course that I decimated the population in previous years and no new ones have found their way here in my rural area, but the wasps are a likely solution. I've read that the beetle populations are way down on the Cape.

I don't like to spray pesticides if I don't have to, and I only sprayed that tiger lily (I either squished or drowned a few beetles on it).

Claire


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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 29, 10 at 17:55

Emily: I'll leave butterfly questions to others (such as terrene) to answer. I know very little about them.

There's an adult hen that seems a little addled - she sometimes squawks for no obvious reason - and she was very wary approaching the water bowl by the dragon, sort of sneaking up on it and taking quick, nervous sips.

The turkeys are used to that water bowl in that location so they're not too upset by the addition.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Another one who loves the dragon. Someone was recently getting rid of one on Craigslist. Unfortunately I responded too late. We have a huge skating pond out in the back yard. And I thought it would be really cool to some how rig up the dragon on the edge of the pond!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jul 29, 10 at 20:22

The dragon is very versatile and probably would look great by the skating pond, but I'm not sure if it can handle winter exposure. I've been meaning to contact the seller to find out. If not, it will do just fine in my house under a houseplant table.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

I filled the tube feeder with seed and it was gone in roughly 2.5 hours. My mistake for cheaping out and buying the kind with too much millet in it -but the Mourning Doves and squirrels are happy cleaning the ground. Turns out, the expensive kind of seed with peanuts and cashews lasts longer despite multiple Red Bellied Woodpeckers swinging on the feeder at once and spilling the stuff out to the lucky crowd below.

The other morning when the two suet cages and the seed tube were empty again barely 24 hours after filling, my thrifty side kicked in and said "Enough": They're not in the budget and they're going through everything too fast. Bah-humbug, back into the house and I swear the waiting crowd perched in the nearby trees sighed a collective "Oh, no...". Maybe two hours later, outside my office window, where one empty suet feeder had hung, a Downy clung to the window sash and hammered on the glass. I said to self, "You've got to be kidding"; no, not kidding. The suet cage had been undone from its double-wrapped chain and was on the ground surrounded by three Downies who looked like they would lick it if they could. Cute trick. I caved in, naturally. Two mornings later, at 5:38a.m., unlike Criseyde in her lofty birdy dreams, a Downy Woodpecker was clinging to the screen of my bedroom window and as I lie there quietly peering at him, he began squeaking directly at me. No bugs, no ants, - no suet - this little guy was staring in at me and squeaking. (Yes, I filled the suet cage before having coffee.)

I counted the varieties of birds that frequent the feeders and was surprised to see 21 steady varieties who have become accustomed to the fare because I started feeding them and photographing them because of reading this thread two years ago. This is who comes to our yard to eat: Cardinal, American Goldfinch, House Finch, Downy Woodpecker, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, Mourning Dove, Catbird, Sparrow, Carolina Wren, House Wren, Titmouse, Nuthatch, Cowbird, Blue Bird, Crackle, Crow, Starling, Rose-breasted Grosbeak (sometimes), Robin, plus Hummers, and occasionally, hawks and turkey vultures. I have photographed each one from the comfort of my house. How lucky is that?

So I had a lapse in common sense, but I've returned to this thread to say, "They're in the budget". A new 40 lb. bag of the good stuff is here and 24 new suet cakes (on sale) and not too early because everybody is now bringing the second brood babies. I know they can survive well without me. But I'm not as happy without them. And that's the bottom line.


Kindly,
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by pabrocb 9b Sarasota/7 Cape C (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 31, 10 at 14:44

corunum, We were late getting back to the Cape this spring. I thought I was "imagining things". The birds seemed to be waiting for us to fill the feeders. Our daughter said that she would sit out on the deck and the birds would "yell" at her. We filled the feeders as soon as we got here and the birds went to them immediately. In the past it might have taken a few days to attract them.
I'll get some suet.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Jane, love your story about the birds pecking at the window. You have a very pleasant writing style that I enjoy. It really gave me a smile. :-) I'm glad to hear that we are not the only one getting cleaned out every day. We've skipped a few days of filling and as soon as the feeder is filled again they are swooping down on it. We've been going through ours in a couple of hours too lately.

We now have one solitary chipmunk in the garden and he has discovered he can climb up into the squirrel proof feeder and fill up. DH and I saw him this afternoon and just looked at each other and sighed. We just bought another 40 pound bag of safflower. That seems to go the slowest for us, and the squirrels aren't fond of it.

The turkeys are getting big, Claire!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Claire... (are you in there:>? ) I'd like to know if your dragon is the Dragon of Prosperity and if so, has it has worked yet?

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Dragon of Prosperity


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 1, 10 at 13:34

Jane: Those birds learn fast, don't they (hee-hee). And they're worth every penny, so long as you have that penny. That indeed is my dragon. As far as prosperity is concerned, I'm skirting on the edge of prosperity, but not near the chasm of financial doom, so maybe the dragon is working. It was a splurge that brings me great pleasure.

PM2: A few days ago I saw a chipmunk try to chase a squirrel away from the peanuts. The chipmunk actually ran at the squirrel and jumped up and hit it, then ran away. The squirrel wasn't impressed so they both ate peanuts together (at a safe distance).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by pabrocb 9b Sarasota/7 Cape C (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 1, 10 at 17:39

corunum, We were late getting back to the Cape this spring. I thought I was "imagining things". The birds seemed to be waiting for us to fill the feeders. Our daughter said that she would sit out on the deck and the birds would "yell" at her. We filled the feeders as soon as we got here and the birds went to them immediately. In the past it might have taken a few days to attract them.
I'll get some suet.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Claire, I saw it the other way around, the squirrel making moves on the chipmunk. I only see the one chipmunk at this point but I wonder if I should be worried that there will be more.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 10 at 15:52

Oh, I know the squirrel is dominant here - I was just amazed that this little fool-hardy chipmunk dared to challenge a squirrel (and survived).

I once saw two chipmunks at the same time, but usually only one is visible. I figure it's like the chickadees - I only see one or two at a time, but there may be fifty out there taking turns flying in.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Well, that's a scary thought. I wonder if I have more than one thinking I am seeing the same one but they all look alike. I really don't want to be overrun.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 10 at 17:51

Of course it could really be only one.....

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Hmmm....well, I'll just have to keep a better watch. I have actually had a few confusing thoughts about where it has it's home, so a second chipmunk would certainly explain that. It would be great if I could put some marker on it so I could tell which one I was looking at. [g] So, if there is more than one, they never are seen together? Even chickadees wait for each other and travel in pairs. I'll get back to you on that one. Thanks, Claire.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Okay, I thought window-tapping woodpeckers were a little 'out there', but now I'm envisioning PM2 knitting a little red chipmunk ID scarf or investigating a miniature paint ball gun to use whilst wearing her nigthtime head lamp. Elusive chicadees too? No fair - you two are a scaring me.

Jane, a Downy Goddess


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

LOL, Jane...I was thinking about how I could just get a dollop of nail polish on his back, but catching him would be the trick. I suppose that's where the headlamp would come in. I do like your idea of the paint gun though. Oops, I just thought of another problem, he'd probably start licking it off, so I'd have to blow dry it for him before I let him go. :-)

I do have some experience in that department though. We bought the kids hamsters when they were small, no correction, ONE hamster. Little did we know it was pregnant at the time. Oh the adventures that followed the surprise of 12 baby hamsters one morning, but the incident I am reminded of now, was when our furnace had a problem and started filling up the house with smoke. The fire department had to come in the middle of the night and they asked us to leave the house for a couple of hours so they could exhaust the smoke with their very large fans. We took our two kids in their pjs to the local 24 hour donut shop in the middle of the night. Rushing out, somehow, the hamster cage ended up on the table next to the fish tank. When we got back, there was the hamster doing the dog paddle with barely his nose above water. I scooped him out and the poor thing just collapsed in my hands, spread eagle, barely breathing. I sat there blow drying him until he recovered enough to move. I don't know how much longer he could have kept up the dog paddle if we had been any later. lol It was a memorable evening.

I suppose I've had some training fishing out hamsters from all kinds of places too, now that I think about it. :-)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 10 at 20:29

TWELVE baby hamsters from ONE pregnant female? No wonder there are so many hamsters in the pet stores. And how did it get into the fish tank? And what other places did you fish them out of? This is getting very interesting.....

Claire


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RE: Hamsters and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 10 at 20:32

And how did you give away 12 baby hamsters? Or did you wrap them up in little blankets and leave them on people's doorsteps?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

We figured out that one of the kids was supposed to put the hamster in the cage and latch it and he didn't latch it well enough, that's how the hamster got in the fish bowl.

As for the 12 babies, we begged all the parents of the kids in our daughter's class, relatives, friends. We ended up keeping four and then they had another littler...lol. Our daughter let them all lose one day and we found a few in the insulation in the attic space, a few more up in a radiator. Good thing it was summer. [g] You definitely have to have a sense of humor when your kids are little, don't you?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 2, 10 at 21:11

A sense of humor helps when the kids grow up too. Great story!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

I love all of the pix... Claire, those turkeys are a riot. LOVE the dragon. We were eagerly watching some small wrens that hatched in our garden when a neighbor's cat did the nasty. Broke our hearts. Love this thread. I need to figure out how to include pix in a post.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 9, 10 at 20:59

INSTRUCTIONS FOR POSTING PHOTOS

For an overview of the process, see the FAQ in the New England Gardening Forum: How do I use HTML Code to change fonts and insert stuff in posts?
---------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------
To simplify:

You don't have to set up an account at a hosting site if you use TinyPic.com.

The photo files on your computer must be in a format such as jpeg or jpg.

Using Tiny Pic, you hit the "Choose File" button and it searches your computer desktop. Choose one then select a size ("Resize" button), and then UPLOAD NOW.

When the file is uploaded, copy the HTML tag, not the IMG tag.

Paste the HTML tag in your post.

This is the easiest way I know.
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If that was too simple, then a while ago, prairiemoon2 posted excellent
"Step by step directions for using tinypic.com

1. On their website, click on choose file, which brings up your files on your 
computer, find and highlight the photo you want, click choose.

2. click on the 'resize' drop down menu and choose Message Board size.


3. click Upload now

4. when it is finished creating the photo to post, you see a page titled 'Share This Image', right underneath that title are boxes with codes in them. highlight all the letters and symbols in the box titled 'HTML for Websites' then copy that and paste it to the body of the message you are trying to post. 


5. Hit 'preview message' on GW and you should see the photo you are trying to post in the body of the email. Then if it is the size you want you can 
submit your message and voila! If you want a different size, you can go 
back and do it again, choosing a different size."


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Oh gosh, you are so sweet to write that out for me! (I am so technically disinclined.) I'll go try it and make it worth your while! [smile]

Thanks!! Cathy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Good directions, Claire! By George, it works!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Here is a picture of our baby sparrows from last summer, taken the day after they hatched. A mom sparrow with a broken wing built a nest in my patch of cranesbill and we protected it from our little pups by encircling it with a puppy pen to keep them away from the little babes. Just before they were ready to leave the nest, the neighbor's cat attacked them. We were so crushed!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

LOVE the hamster story, btw. ;)

Cathy (MA)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 10, 10 at 16:07

Great photo of the nest! You're a fast learner. I know how you feel about the cat getting the nestlings - I still feel bad about the baby towhee that succumbed to a hawk a few years ago.

The instructions are a cut and paste product. The question of how to post photos keeps coming up and I just went back to previous posts. I now have this set saved in my GW Clippings file.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Milkweed seeds waiting to take flight. Every year when I see these magically uniformed soldiers of prolification lined up on their own tarmac, I'm amazed (again/still) by nature's design. To me, the larger question is that of "intention" and how the wind is provided at the right time to lift them out of the pod and float each one toward its destiny.

Most afternoons of late, this mourning dove couple have a siesta in dappled shade.

Kindly,
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 12, 10 at 16:06

Beautiful photos, Jane. Those doves really radiate peace.

The milkweed seeds radiate anticipation.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Glad you could post your photo Cathy, very sorry about the cat! It sounds like you did the best you could by them. Great shot. It's about impossible to protect against cats. We used to get a couple of different cats in the yard, but I haven't seen them this year. Haven't seen or smelled a skunk this year. Haven't seen a rabbit this year. I'm very curious why, but I guess I'll never know. Oh, I just thought of something. We have a new neighbor one house over with a dog! I wonder if that is keeping them away from our yard? I know the rabbit used to come through their yard to ours.

If it weren't for Claire and others who posted directions in the past, I wouldn't be posting photos either. :-)

Jane, nice shots, too. I love your very thoughtful take on the Milkweed seed. I love to see the Doves relaxing. It always makes me smile to look up and see them just sitting comfortably in the lawn near the feeder. It makes me feel like I'm helping to give them a place they feel safe.

Has anyone read 'Suburban Safari' : a year on the lawn. by Hannah Holmes? I just put a request in at the library for it. Holmes is a science writer who spent a year camped out in her backyard investigating everything from squirrels to earthworms. I guess she also invited botanists, entomologists and ecologists over and reports their observations too. Sounds like she takes it a couple of steps beyond what we're all doing. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Speaking of hamsters... [g]......the chipmunk stepped over the line and I watched him run back and forth to the feeder, climb into the 'squirrel' proof cage and stuff his little face until there was no more seed. DH heard me threatening to stop filling the feeder and he went out and rubbed the pole with canola oil to see if that would keep him out. Then he emailed me...lol. I was upstairs he was down and I get this email about the chipmunk. He was watching him out the window sliding down the pole and then sitting on the grass looking up thinking about it. I thought that was pretty creative of him. So, that seems to be working. We do have to keep going back out and applying it again. Since the feeders don't really last more than a day lately, if we put the oil on when we fill the feeder it needs it again when we fill it again. Small price to pay. He must have enough sunflower seed hoarded in his little burrow to last him two winters already!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

I've heard not to use oil since it mats down the animals fur, and the fur will loose it's insulating properties. Probably not a problem in this heat we are having, but would be a problem in the winter.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Pixie, thanks for that information. I did a google search to see if I could find any further information on it and I came up with a couple of links where the oil on the pole was suggested as a remedy for squirrels. The chipmunk did get off the pole and sat there cleaning it off his feet. I was hoping he would dislike it enough to stop trying to get up the pole. I might fill that feeder with safflower instead, since the squirrels don't eat it, I wonder if the chipmunk would turn their nose up at it too.

I was amazed at some of the different suggestions for deterring squirrels. Red hot pepper spray, which I'd heard of before, peppermint oil sprayed where you don't want them. In the South, I see people post 'recipes' for squirrel chowder. I guess they hunt them in some places. Awful.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

PM2: Thank you, glad you like the little stories and I'm glad not to have had hamsters - but I did lose a turtle under a washing machine in 1953...RIP.

I had the same problem with hungry and curious climbers a few years ago and applied mineral oil to the pole which did create a slippery slope of comedy for two days. Then I felt horrible thinking that if mineral oil does that laxative business to humans (Oh, dear) so I stopped greasing the pole so as not to grease the little guys'..., well, you get the idea. After making several totally ineffective homemade devices to thwart the clever little tykes, I went to the hardware store and bought the Audobon deflector (recommended by Claire) which, two years later, has not been conquered. Pure and simple, it works.

With or without a squirrel deflector, all the ground feeders - Republicans, Democrats, Independents alike -benefit from the big wingers swinging and squabbling over everything. Seed ends up on the ground anyway. Let there be peace.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Ace - Audobon deflector


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Jane, that looks like an easy solution. I haven't tried a baffle yet and if it has worked for you for 2 years, I'm going to have to try it. Thanks for the link too!

We had put canola oil on the pole, so at least it should have been palatable. [g] The feeder that the chipmunk likes to get in, is a squirrel proof one that is a feeder in a cage arrangement. It keeps everyone else out, the squirrels, the larger birds. The chipmunk has no trouble climbing right in and sitting there carefree just stuffing himself. What I need is a 'bouncer' at the door to check IDs and keep out the chipmunk and the sparrows and then it would be perfect. :-) There should be plenty on the ground for them, since the larger birds do swing them, as you said.

I rarely see Blue Jays any more, I wonder why? I found a recipe for some home made suet that Carolina Wrens are supposed to like and I'm going to try it this winter.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 14, 10 at 18:07

Jane: A flicker, a grackle and a jay on one feeder! You need more feeders to prevent gridlock!

I act proactively and throw seed on the ground under the feeders. It saves time and pleases anything that has trouble getting up in the air and clinging on an awkward structure.

PM2: The Blue Jays here have been tending babies. For weeks now I've been hearing the strange wheedling sounds of the fledglings as the parents lure them to the feeders. They're the same size as the adults so I can't tell them apart until the youngsters flap their wings and gape.

A good way to see if Blue Jays are around is to throw peanuts in the shell on the ground. The jays materialize here almost instantly even if I haven't seen them in a while. I glanced out once and saw a fledgling with the wings flapping and a peanut in his beak. Another jay (probably a parent) then flew off and the kid followed. i'm betting the adult shoved the peanut in the kid's beak to teach it the "gather and hide food" routine.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Speaking of Blue Jays - this juvenile chap (chapess?)came directly from the Japanese font bath out back to the feeder area in the sun and let himself go. First time I've seen a Jay fully spread (oh, the temptation to write eagle)

He got up and flew off within 2 seconds after I clicked this.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Great shot, Jane! I've never seen that either. He looks so clean and you can see the downy white underside. wow.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

If I hadn't seen the intensity in his face, I might have missed this hunt for 4 drops of water. He is no more than 1.75 inches long in squatting position. I had just watered the mini greenhouse - the grey wall is the bottom of the greenhouse with the droplets slowly running down. Watch Tony the Toad (affectionately dubbed Triple T)hunt for one lick of water.
The First Sighting

Moving in - eyes on the target - first droplet rolling down

Moving in for the kill - all lined up on 4 drops of water

Direct Hit! Notice the splat on the wall and droplets gone

Somewhere on the net a while back, I read that garden toads (Latin name lost in my brain) can live for 30 years. I put a little bowl upside down in the garden as a toad house and it isn't far from where I see him, so it might be working. Little spots for water help.

Tony's grandfather hangs out in the garage with Molly. Cat knows instinctively not to touch the toad and this is not an uncommon sight here.

Kindly,
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 15, 10 at 11:37

What a great Blue Jay shot, Jane! Just gorgeous birds. And the toad sequence is wonderful - I was always afraid to get a toad house because of the snakes. There've been a few baby toads hopping recently, so toads are still in the garden.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

You have a lot of 'mobile features' in your garden Jane! I love toads. We had one about 15 years ago and haven't seen one since. I am so surprised that the cat doesn't bother the toad. Very funny! I used to read that book series, Frog & Toad, to the kids when they were little. Ever read them?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 15, 10 at 18:01

I'm starting a new thread because this is getting long - feel free to continue this discussion on this thread if you want, or move to the next.

Claire


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