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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Thu, Oct 21, 10 at 13:14

And now to 2010 #5.

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

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #3

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #4

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Some turkeys have come back after a long time away. Their summer vacation?

Anyway, this flock is three toms - II usually don't see toms unless it's mating season. The beard is very pronounced. These may be youngsters (jakes) from this spring's broods. I like the way the red on their necks accents the roses (Rosa Carefree Beauty).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This tom looks rather nice with the sedums and a Phlox paniculata.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It's good to see turkeys again!

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

love the pink stockings, too! Everything is color-coordinated...
Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Turkeys and roses sure look like a perfect abundance of harvest time beauty to me. My KO roses that the deer browsed look horrible and at a lecture yesterday, a rosarian stated that deer saliva can kill the rose plant...as if eating the blooms and leaves wasn't enough. Heard about Ping Lim's Easy Elegance Roses-interesting.

Delighted to see the turkeys back on the camera stage. So far, Dark-eyed Juncos have returned and about 300 starlings cleaned the bird feeder, drained the bird bath, and combed the back lawn in less than 4 minutes. They are efficient.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 24, 10 at 11:12

That is a fine looking Common Grackle there, Jane! Did you have 300 of these, or starlings? I mixed up grackles and starlings for years (as a kid I thought something speckled should be called grackle - I still have to remind myself).

I've had a small flock of grackles for a few days here, but this morning a massive visitation occurred - as big as the spring migration. Mostly grackles but with a few starlings mixed in. One grackle spent the summer here and I'm hoping it leaves with the big flock before it gets too cold for it.

I credit the grackles and their ilk for my lack of Japanese beetles and the minimal defoliation of trees due to caterpillars.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

No, I screwed up - they were grackles. Like you, the brain triggers speckles with grackles and smooth, dark and shiny with starling - like star. Typical merd wix up. Sad part is, sure as shootin', I'll screw it up again!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 24, 10 at 12:28

In my case, I probably asked my mother what those birds were out there because I remember her saying "starlings and grackles". I guess I didn't ask which is which and just assumed the names as I thought they should be.

Childhood beliefs are hard to shake. Maybe we should petition the ornithologists for a name change?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Last night, I had my first "yard" junco return for the season. During the day, I notice that the feeders seem to be mobbed with English Sparrows, but, come late afternoon/evening the "cool" birds take over. Chickadees, titmice, WT sparrows, song sparrows, cardinals, and now the juncos.

Last week, I had a grackle who had just perched on the feeder, hunched up against the rain and intense winds, looking just as cross as can be. I think that light eye gives that expression--Jane's photograph captures it beautifully!

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

First of the juncos appeared at the feeder last week in front of a curious audience. Not one to stay put for long, this chickadee sat staring at the 'new guy' in the grey suit in the kousa for the longest time. They really checked each other out for a few minutes.

Yesterday morning, down the road, instead of starlings and grackles combing a lawn, it was a dozen turkey vultures. So, misnamed or not, I'll take the ones I get, lol. Petition is a nice thought - I'm right in back of you, Claire.

Why would juncos be here in central Connecticut before zone 5 in MA? Or is this something else I haven't got right? Thought they went North for the summer.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 24, 10 at 20:38

Emily: That yellow eye does give the grackle a cross look - a shame because they're really beautiful when the sun hits the iridescent feathers. I love seeing them parade around with their beaks pointed straight up in the air. I read somewhere that it's a male trait, a threat to other males, and then they puff up their feathers (me big strong grackle, don't mess with me). I've never seen a male seriously attack another male though, just the usual elbowing each other off the feeder.

Jane: That's funny that the chickadee and junco were checking each other out. I saw the first junco of the year on the 18th, a week ago, but I haven't seen it since. Seems awfully early for them to migrating south for the winter. Maybe there's a shortage of food up north?

I did find an interesting website Fun Facts About Juncos.

You've got big flocks of turkey vultures in your neighborhood? I usually only see one at a time, soaring high overhead.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Last night I saw this film, 'A Murder of Crows" on "Nature" and it is now available for online viewing - it's free. Impressive study at the Univ. of Washington.

We have fed 'our' crows all meat scraps and bread for the past 35 years and have a large-enough Japanese water font in which they sometimes bathe. I listen when crows get loud and usually, there is a good reason - like a fox or coyote approaching, or a raccoon climbing up to a nest. So maybe they aren't eye candy for birders, but they sure are smart and this film is a breakthrough study to teach humans. It's an hour long, so get a cuppa when you can watch it.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: PBS/Nature/Murder of Crows


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Jane: My zone, if you are referring to me with the juncos, is zone 6, actually pretty close to Central CT. I'm enjoying your photography--love the pic of the chickadee with the junco! Thanks too for the PBS link. I will check it out when I have some free time to sit in front of the computer.

I recently read Sy Montgomery's "Birdology," which had a chapter on crows, among other birds. She's a very entertaining writer, as she informs. I've always enjoyed watching crows, and have long heard about their intelligence.

Claire: I love that image of the puffed up, bad boy grackle. I'll have to pay attention to them more closely.

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Buds, blossoms, and falling maples somehow don't seem like typical Halloween pictures, but this is today, Oct.31st. The bumble is in his usual costume.

Thanks, Emily, I've added 'Birdology' to my amazon wish list (my way of saving titles) and yes, Claire, there are a dozen to fifteen permanent turkey vultures that cover at least a 4 mile area around my house daily. Lots of woodlands and open fields, so it's prime vulture land - which unfortunately includes political robo calls, a strange bird indeed. Turkey Vultures landed in our backyard once - a winter crow feeding of chicken skin attracted them. Was funny to watch the crows poke at the vultures tail feathers as the vultures ate the crows' lunch. Naturally, size won.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 17:17

Rhododendrons in bloom? on Halloween? Strange...

I have a few strange mobile features in my yard too:

This one seems to be looking for someone, or something;
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Maybe these are its friends:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Waiting for trick-or-treaters to arrive:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Of course the Blue Jay had to join in:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Happy Halloween!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 31, 10 at 20:33

Ah, Jane, I too saw a bumble bee today. She hopped up onto my porch, said "Trick or Treat", then insisted on taking off her warm jacket so I could see her costume (it's cold and windy out there!).

She was very appreciative of the ghost and spider and pumpkins and scary masks and all of the other stuff I put out there, but was particularly drawn to the bag of decorative rocks shoved out of the way on a bottom shelf.

Go figure. Sort of like the kid playing with the box the fancy Christmas gift came in.

Claire (who, as usual, has lots of left-over Halloween candy to eat)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Very good pumpkin carving! Pies in your future or compost pile? Compost. Trick or Treaters= 0. Last year we had 2. Have learned not to stock much, but stock what I like, lol.

The bumble on rhody in autumn came last year too. I think that rhody is "Scintillation" and read that some rhodys only need a short period of cold to bloom again. Oddly, only some of the buds will bloom now and the remainder will pop open in the spring.

Saw this crow using a 'crook' in a swamp maple to store bread he had just picked up in the yard. It's maybe 25' up, too high for me to examine the tree for damage. Anybody speak Crow?

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 1, 10 at 13:01

I don't speak Crow, but I bet it knows you saw the stash. Probably figures you can't climb all that well to steal the bread.

Ice on the bird baths this morning, but no plant damage yet. Birds are diligently bathing in the refilled water as if it's their last chance to get clean. I need to put out the heated bird bath soon.

The pumpkins will go into the compost; they're already sagging a little. The pumpkin guts are already in the compost.

I have one rhododendron, Percy Wiseman, that has covered itself with fat buds each fall for the last three years. And each winter the squirrels have eaten the buds, one at a time. Critter Ridder slowed them down, but it just took longer to finish off the buds.

This year I decided to fence the rhododendron in, and included two adjacent rhodies for logistical reasons. If this works and I get great spring blooms I'll try to fashion something a little more attractive (and easier) next year.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Looks like a good fencing job to me - complete with brandi-new poles! It'll work. I do similar with deer netting - did 100' of it last week.

Well, you have gutless pumpkins and this morning I got a headless hawk. Crashed into the side of my house in pursuit of a sparrow brunch. Guy really lost his head, lol.

After regaining his composure, a little tail spreading to appear nonchalant, I guess, or maybe it's hawk yoga.

But with no mid-morning snack, he flew away faster than I could focus and steady the camera.

Last year this same guy-aka pg.97 in Sibley's, either Sharp-shinned or Cooper's - lounged in the heated bird bath on the deck railing. Had just put the heated bath out yesterday, so it appears that crashing at the 'spa' is again in hawk vogue. How lucky can a girl get? This guy nearly takes out the window in my office with each dive and successfully scares the bejeebers out of me every time. You can see how much he cares.

Good job, Claire.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 2, 10 at 16:47

A headless hawk is very appropriate for Halloween - do you live in Sleepy Hollow?

I wish I could have used deer netting, but I envisioned the squirrels jumping off the adjacent pussy willow, bouncing off the top of the rhodie cage and breaking in. Hence the chicken wire.

If I could have reasonably included the pussy willow I would have, but it's much too big. For the last few years the squirrels have pruned off the tips of the budding branches, dropping them on to the ground. Like this:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

By the time they're finished there's almost no flowers to be seen. I miss those yellow flowers.

Five (5) young trick or treaters this year, plus some accompanying adults and one watchful car. I guess dark dead-end streets with few houses aren't high on the top Halloween sites list. At least the road is paved now.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

That squirrel's cousin ate all the red berries off my Kousa in the same upsidedown position last month.

Infrequent visitor here, Eastern Towhee...I think.

Under the 'whatever' category of this thread, yesterday while digging more holes to plant fall bargain shrubs and trees, I found a 17oz. piece of rose quartz - the round dull ball. Years ago, while clearing land on rental property, I dug up the multifaceted piece which is 5 inches long. Rose quartz purportedly holds heart-healing properties. Works for me.

Anybody else ever dig up New England gems while gardening?

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Wow, Jane, I'll certainly pay more attention to the "rocks" I may unearth. Those quartz pieces are really pretty.

I also really enjoyed the photo of the headless hawk! Good capture!

Emily


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Pine Siskins

I don't ever remember Pine Siskins coming to my feeder this early, but there are two out there right now chowing down. Wondering if this is a sign of a harsh winter.

Lisa


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 5, 10 at 13:34

Jane: I've never seen rose quartz here (beautiful pieces!) but this is white quartz territory. Small quartz all over the place. I was hoping for a big piece of quartz when they excavated for my addition, but all I got was sand.

Lisa: Pine Siskins! I've only seen them one year (last) and I don't think it was this early. I have had one junco for a few weeks. I sure hope it's not a sign of a harsh winter - I prefer the usual dank, hover around freezing, not much snow cover (and minimal shoveling) type of winter we usually get.

Claire


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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 5, 10 at 17:17

Hey Lisa, I was just out refilling the bird feeders when a small bird landed on a tube feeder right next to me. Out of the corner of my eye it looked like a chickadee, the only bird that usually does that. But when I turned the eyes full on, I realized it was a Red-breasted Nuthatch!

I've only seen them here a few times and it was in mid-winter (I get White-breasted Nuthatches all year round).

Right now the nyjer feeders are not in clear view, too many leaves around - I have to set up a few socks closer to the windows so I can see if there are Pine Siskins among the goldfinches.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Wow a Red-breasted Nuthatch...that's even more of an indicator than Pine Siskins of an irruption year. We might really be in for it!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 7, 10 at 20:43

I did a little googling and found a few references on bird irruptions this winter.

Wild Birds Unlimited: What is a Bird Irruption?

Ron Pittaway's Winter Finch Forecast 2010-2011 at eBird

The gist is that some cone crops are scarce in the north and the birds that prefer those seeds are heading south. The most likely ones to be seen here are Purple Finches, Common Redpolls and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Pine Siskins are not on the list, but I guess they don't have internet access.

Hopefully that just means that the birds will come south for food, not that winter will be particularly harsh. I haven't seen the nuthatch again but it could still be here and obscured by all the leaves that are still up.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

I'll chip in to help get the Pine Siskins online.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Had a feeling when the juncos showed up early. This is this morning's visitor/resident.

NOAA has stated that New England has a 50/50 chance of a hard or easy winter. uh-huh. We'll see, but the juncos have been here for at least 2 weeks and the cardinals have been testing the chokeberries, but the berries had not frozen twice. Today, they can eat the berries.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 8, 10 at 12:40

Looks cold and wintry there, Jane! All we've had so far is a little light frost one day and some ice in the birdbaths. There was a male Red-winged Blackbird on a tube feeder this morning. For heaven's sake, bird, fly south!

Correction - I just looked out and there are two RW blackbirds out there.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

At least I haven't seen the grackle lately that stayed here all summer. Hopefully it left with the gang that stopped by a few weeks ago.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

DH insisted he saw a Carolina wren this morning sitting near the window. I've been away but in late October our bluebird family was feasting on cotoneaster berries around 7am each morning.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Hi defrost - DH was probably correct. Looked it up and discovered that "Carolina Wrens are southern birds that do not migrate. Yet, some younger birds travel northward for unknown reasons and set up residence.

As long as winters are mild, these young birds will build resident populations. If winter becomes severe they will perish instead of moving south. This northward cycle is then repeated." Ref: wild-bird-watching.com

This chap was here this morning along with the bluebird.

And despite the 1" of snow the other day, this fellow still likes our diner.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Bird Watching


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Okay, risking overkill on the above subject, I needed more: "Some birds, such as the Carolina Wren, have drastically altered their migration, and are now more common in the northeastern United States than they are in the Carolinas (the very area they were named after). Birdwatchers in the Carolinas have noted that the Carolina Wren is now rarely spotted in the area, while they appear to be plentiful in Maine and throughout New England."- Authored by Jon Mercer in Environment,Published on 02-15-2009
The Carolina Wrens are now Yankees and last week I planted my first crape myrtle tree. Global warming affects every bit of land and garden - and the bird feeders.
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Edubook

Here is a link that might be useful: Edubook


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 10, 10 at 16:43

Cute Yankee Wren there, Jane. And the bluebird as always. Someday I'll see a bluebird....

I saw a C. Wren a few weeks ago here - they stay all winter and go for the suet feeder. I just realized that I've never seen one on the tube feeders (which don't have a saucer underneath.) Does yours feed from the perches or just the saucer?

I think there are about 5 Red-winged Blackbirds here. They're very secretive, but early this morning I saw a flash of black birds flying into the leafy shrubs and at least one showed red on the wings.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Claire, the C.Wren feeds from every place on the feeder, but favours a flat surface. He literally chases all other diners away - including 4 to 5 sparrows at time. He doesn't want any other bird on the feeder when he's there - period! On the ground, he runs after mourning doves, so size is not an issue. Actually, the little rebel turncoat is a bully and this is the 2nd year they have used a fence post to raise 3 broods. Peeps like mad when I'm nearby, but still likes the fare served up daily, lol.

And yes, I live in Sleepy Hollow. Can't be just my yard.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 10, 10 at 20:44

hmmm..... I'm waiting for the inevitable result of all of this losing their heads - a photo of a dove's head on a hawk's body - and/or the reverse; a hawk's head on the dove. Photoshop anyone?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

Hahaha - no, no Photoshop. Good heavens one could end up with a nearly extinct Turkey Dove.

The Carolina Wren has taken over. This morning I was listening to Der Rosenkavalier in my office while doing email and this little guy was outside my window singing up a storm. His song got me up and out the window with the camera. He's been singing now for more than a half-hour. Very good tenor. Cute little bully with a great voice!



So glad I plant Kwanzan Cherry and Aronia near the house. The small branches are big draw for song birds.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 12, 10 at 11:31

Lovely shots; that's how I felt this morning when the sun finally came out after at least a week of rain and strong winds!

The Carolina Wren is the Ethel Merman of songbirds, at least where volume is concerned.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 13, 10 at 16:23

I'm going to start a new thread, Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6, because this is getting long and because Project FeederWatch is starting. I have absolutely no problem if people want to continue the discussion here.

Unless someone wants to start a separate thread, I thought I'd just keep this one going through the PFW season. That way people don't feel they have to participate in PFW to post.

Claire


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