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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 11:23

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

All of the threads in the Birds and other mobile features in the garden series prior to 2012 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery. For 2012, see
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #1,
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #2,
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #3,
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5 and
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #6.


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It's the day after Thanksgiving.

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Yes, it's safe to come out now!

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At least the rose hips seem to be ripe now, according to the squirrels.

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Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, May 27, 13 at 17:28

All of the threads in the Birds and other mobile features in the garden series prior to 2012 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery. For 2012, see
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #1,
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #2,
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #3,
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #5 and
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #6.


...................................................................... ...................................................................... ...................

It's the day after Thanksgiving.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Yes, it's safe to come out now!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

At least the rose hips seem to be ripe now, according to the squirrels.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Is it likely that this is the same family that had 6 poults this past spring? I know they don't have GPS collars, but have you noticed whether they use the same paths or do they seem more nomadic in behavior?

Should have looked this up before, but now that I have, for those who follow Claire's 'pets', here's a link for wild turkey facts. Also, this week's Nature program on PBS will have the story, "My Life as a Turkey".

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: PBS, Wild Turkey Fact Sheet


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 23, 12 at 18:23

Jane: This probably is the same family I've been watching grow up. I'll sometimes see 3 or 4 turkeys, and once a flock of 12 or 14, but the most common flock in my yard is the group of seven - one matriarch and six youngsters. At some point they should split up as the males join the local boy's club and the females stay with Mom, but it hasn't happened yet. The matriarch seems to be a very strong leader; keeping the kids together (and safe).

They're not here every day; turkeys seem to go on periodic walkabouts where they'll disappear for a week or two checking out the territory for whatever it is that turkeys look for. Most likely different food. Sometimes I'll see turkeys in the neighborhood when I'm walking or driving but I don't really recognize them. Not a turkey in sight for my first two Project FeederWatch counts, and then they appeared without an explanation (Where WERE you?).

The backyards here are mostly continuous along the coastal bank and the turkeys tend to walk up and down the green freeway, stopping off at the various houses if there's food available or a nice spot to rest. They also like to hang out in my neighbor's driveway by his garage while he's at work. Quiet and sheltered from the wind. This seems to be a site for males fighting also - I'll hear them next door.

They roost across the street in the undeveloped woods and have a few regular road crossing points where the terrain is favorable. They get upset if something (a UPS truck, a car, a person) is blocking their crossing.

I have the DVD of "My Life as a Turkey" and it's a remarkable and touching story.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Thanks for the explanation. Plymouth coastal bank turkeys are definitely living the good life. It isn't the clearest picture for sure, but in the near 4 years of photographing birds through my window, this is the first time I've been able to capture two BC Chickadees in the same frame. They are so quick. There has been a pair living and nesting here since I created an island garden with chokeberries, the bitula nigra, and assorted shrubs. Those little feet seem happy to have little branches to grasp.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 27, 12 at 18:02

Spiffy little birds, and the exfoliating bark is a fine foil for them. Nice photo.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Wish I had my camera with me today!

As I was walking our new puppy down the street, a bunch of squirrels was tussling in a neighbor's yard. They spotted us and scampered up the nearest tree. One of them had the craziest tail --- it was bushy and grey like all the rest, but then halfway down it turned to pure white all the way to the tip. I guess it was an albino mutation? I couldn't find anything like it on Google images. I've seen squirrels before with white at the tips. Usually those are fluffy white at the tip and then filter out white into grey as it goes up the tail. But this squirrel looked like its tail had been cut in half. Actually the color was more white/yellow than pure white. All the rest of him was common squirrel-grey. He/she sure was a busy little critter!

I'll have to pack my pocket camera with me tomorrow and see if I spot this little guy again. We have many large oaks planted along the edge of our street and there are squirrels' nests galore in our neighborhood. Hope he/she is a resident and not a visitor.

Molie


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Molie: New puppy??? Can we see? Sometimes I'm tempted...

Maybe you have one of the runaway "I want to be blonde" L'Oreal test squirrels from New York?(just kidding)

This little junco wasn't too busy sitting in the cherry tree. Reminded me that tree dwellers can't sit too long in one spot.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 16:57

Molie: Walking with a puppy is a great way to look at the world and see new and wonderful things! Just so long as you don't have a set route and have to get somewhere on time...

I'd never heard of a white tail on a squirrel so I did some Googling. I found a lot of images, most of them of completely white tails, but a few were partially white.

Half white tail

White-tailed Squirrel

Black and White Squirrel

I hope you see it again and get a picture.

Jane: I don't usually see juncos perching quietly in trees - they're usually on the ground slurping up the nyjer seed. Pretty picture.

Lately a fairly large flock of Mourning Doves, 10 to 15 maybe, has been roosting in my yard.

First they gather in the trees
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and then they fly in furtively as it gets dark and some of them gather on the birdbath to drink and sit, and sit, and sit. Some will eat the nyjer on the ground for a snack before they go to bed for the night. I don't see where they roost but I think it's on the ground under the osmanthus and winterberry and thereabouts.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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Early in the morning they come out for a drink and get very upset when the birdbath is iced up. I moved the heated birdbath close by but doves seem to have problems making changes - many of them will still gather and sit on the icy birdbath, although a few more each day find the heated birdbath.

They don't stay long before they fly off. I'll sometimes see a few during the day but the main flock is gone until nightfall. This will probably continue until the hawks notice, then no more doves roosting here (I've seen this before).

Claire

Note: I really need to set that birdbath upright again. Having squirrels and crows jumping on it doesn't help.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Lots of Woodpecker activity on the suet. I've always had tons of Downy Woodpeckers. But the Hairy Woodpecker and Red Bellied Woodpecker are recent additions to the suet.

Here a Red Bellied and a Hairy share the suet.
Hairy and Red Belly

This photo shows the pecking order - Downy must wait for Red Bellied to finish eating.
Patient Downy


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 2, 12 at 10:50

That's a good illustration of the hierarchy of woodpeckers, pixie_lou. I wonder where a Northern Flicker would fit in - maybe you'll get one this winter.

Is that a stretched out Slinky on the pole? Does it stop the squirrels from climbing up?

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire - I have lots of Northern Flickers in the yard. Never seen one on the suet before.

It is a stretched out slinky. It worked perfectly to keep the squirrels away. Until I placed a bench on the patio right near the feeder - and the squirrel was able to get on the slinky and stretch it out. Now I just keep suet on that hook and the squirrels leave it alone. I leave the slinky there because the woodpeckers do like to land on it and bounce around. (And I've been too lazy to go out and remove it!)


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 2, 12 at 14:07

pixie_lou: I've seen flickers eating suet here, but more in the depths of winter - I haven't seen any yet this year. I use suet cakes, not the pure stuff, but that probably doesn't make a difference.

I like the idea of a slinky but my squirrels would probably manage to stretch it out quickly. I do like the idea of woodpeckers bouncing on it though.

I was out spreading compost today (warm!) and I saw a ladybug on a pieris.

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The ladybug didn't move while I went to get my camera and puttered around and aimed the lens right at it. I'm not even sure it was alive after the cold of the last few days; it was in a spot where I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't been messing with the compost.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire: Thanks for the links to the squirrel photos. Our white-tailed squirrel looks mostly like the one in the first link. And, after reading all about them (loved the heroic patriot "White Tail"), I guess these dual-colored tails are pretty common.

Today I went out for our walk with my camera and spotted him very near to the same tree. So I'm guessing he/she does live someplace along our road. Brody ignores the squirrels, but I'm sure they noticed us long before I spotted them. The little white tail was too fast for me --- scampered up a pine tree before I could even focus.

Sad to see that frozen ladybug on the pieris. She does look as if she has a ice shell covering.

Pixie Lou: great shots of the wood peckers, especially against the white snow! It was too warm today for snow here along the CT coast, but we'll get ours soon enough. I really do like that stretched out slinky. What a great idea. Worth a try if it keeps the squirrels off our feeders. My DH throws seeds on the ground and also sets out trays so that the squirrels can feed, too. You would think that's enough!

Jane: here's our puppy Brody. He's a real love but lots of work. Potty training is something I never thought I'd ever have to worry about again, lol!
Brody actually was kind of an impulse purchase. We lost our miniature poodle two years ago and had been "talking" about "some day" getting another dog.

And here he is on my son's lap at Thanksgiving.

Molie


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Oh, Molie, he's just perfect. Absolutely perfect! What a cutie. It's the potty training, going out in all kinds of weather for duty calls and living on a street that has, regretfully, increased traffic and, age (mine) that keeps me from going into a shelter to look. But I have no difficulty understanding your impulse to add him to your family. I think you all got lucky! My Siamese is 11 years and follows me around as a dog would, and when she brings me her ribbon to play, she has no problem when I say,"good dog". And, she gardens with me. Best wishes and many happy and dry floor years. Good name, too. Thanks for showing him to us.
Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 3, 12 at 10:23

That is one very cute puppy, Molie, you should post a picture of him when he meets his first snow.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire, the doves are just perfect, aren't they? I once thought they were my favorites, then every other bird entered my view, and now they'll all special just for being what they are. Below is a snap of a mourning dove preening; looks like Japanese art to me.

Sort of OT, but...I just home from attending the funeral of a very special person whom I met 56 years ago..she was 92. One day, when she could still walk and still lived in her own house, she said, 'Come here - look at this dove in my crabapple tree. She's been there for two days and hasn't moved. Do you think she's alright?' Just as I began to answer 'Yes', the dove stretched her wings, stood up, and flew away. A few weeks later my friend remarked that the dove had not come back. She told me that there had been a pair,a nest, babies,from her window she had watched the fledglings take flight, then suddenly there was just the one dove in the crabapple tree. The dove waited the time she needed to mourn then flew on to a new life. My friend was from Latvia and the forest played a huge role in her life. Aren't we all lucky to have and appreciate winged life...

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

@Jane--- First of all, I loved the last photo of the preening dove (and that story of your former neighbor). My DH is a painter and some of his favorite subjects are birds --- I'll definitely show him that picture. Yes, I also see the Japanese imagery, especially in the linear movement and curves.

Well, folks, regarding our darling puppy --- the potty training is almost doing us in. Been a long time since either of us had a "baby" around, especially one that doesn't wear diapers! I would caution anyone thinking about getting a puppy to really think about it. Are you ready?!? Luckily for little Brody, we care more about him and his needs than sparkling floors, although it is kind of funny. This fall when I was gone for a month visiting my daughter, my DH decided to refinish our wooden floors. HA!

Today Brody and I went out for our usual morning walk around the neighborhood, this time I was packing my camera. And again I saw that White-tailed squirrel. Took a bunch of photos--- it was hard with a active puppy pulling on the leash and most of them are out of focus. Still, you can get the idea. I'm not a squirrel expert, but I think this is a very busy youngster.

Tail-up shot

He/she senses us

Like lightning, up the nearest tree

Getting ready to jump

And he made it!I love watching them scamper, tree to tree, then along the telephone lines.

Molie


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 3, 12 at 14:41

Lovely dove picture, Jane. The colors are wonderful, muted but still with contrast.

Molie: I'm just amazed at the white tails on other people's squirrels. I imagine it brings unwanted attention from predators, so the squirrel really needs to be alert. There's nothing anything like that here (that I've seen, anyway).

I once happened to walk under the telephone lines and heard anxious growls and grunts and squeaks. I looked up and saw a young squirrel apparently take its first walk on the line, starting from a big spruce. It wobbled like a tightrope walker but made it safely across to the pole, and another little one followed carefully. I breathed a sigh of relief.

I wonder how mother squirrels potty-train their kids...

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Molie, Your puppy is adorable! Is he a shih tzu? He is a creature who I'm sure ventures into your garden, and as such he deserves to be seen here! My recent addition was a challenge to housebreak as well, and for the first time in 36+ years and 6 puppies and dogs I resorted to crate training. Once she got the concept though, it was like a light flashed! That could work for you. Now if Mabel will outgrow chewing on everything in sight, we'll be set!

Here are my newcomers this past summer, Brynn our rescue mix on left, and Mabel the sheltie pup on right.

I had a Siamese cat for many years when I was a kid, and they certainly are the most dog-like of any cat. I think you've posted photos of your kitty before, Jane, and she is beautiful! My 19 year old calico kitty was born to a Siamese mix mother with colored points, but she does not act or look anything like a Siamese.

The photos of "your" white tailed squirrel are great, Molie! I had no idea such a thing existed. I wonder if it is a form of leucism, or result of an injury, or just a mutation of some sort.

Claire and Jane, I enjoyed the photos of mourning doves. I love the cooing sounds they make. Ever since we were adopted by a lost domestic pigeon a decade ago, I've taken a special interest in all dove species. They are very much creatures of habit, so it's not surprising that they took their time about discovering the heated birdbath, Claire. How nice was that, for you to provide them with a heated bath!? Your photo does very much resemble the composition of a Japanese painting or photo, Jane.

One of these critter threads just wouldn't be complete without your turkey family, Claire! I had a co-worker who used to hunt turkeys every year, and he told me they move around a lot, following the food sources, so yours may be somewhat nomadic, despite the food you provide. According to that fact sheet, they can really move! 25 mph running and 55 mph flying is pretty speedy!


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Sped, Brody is a Cavapoo, a cross between a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel and a miniature Poodle. Well, actually, in dog lingo, he's a mutt and we love him!

Your Mabel and Brynn are adorable; it's nice that they have each other. Sometimes when Brody's desire to run & play & chase & chew gets to be a bit much for these old bones, we wonder about a companion for him. But we don't have the yard or house size for an additional dog, plus we also have an elderly cat who is not too happy about this noisy, active "thing" in her midst. Right now we keep them separated with a gate that the cat can jump over.

Claire, for years we've had a turkey family visit us in the late fall and winter. Wonder if the smells left behind by our puppy will discourage them? The puppy doesn't seem to bother the ducks that visit our bird feeders every day. Here they are eating right underneath the feeder where we also tie Brody while working in the yard.

Molie


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 4, 12 at 10:59

Those are very relaxed, happy dogs, sped - their lives must be good. For most of my adult life I had two cats so they had company during the day when no one was home (no human, that is).

Molie: My next door neighbors have two dogs. The older one used to roam my yard without bothering the turkeys, but she's gotten too old to walk much farther than she has to now. The puppy (and my neighbor's granddaughter) used to chase the turkeys, but the birds just got out of the way and came back when it was safe. The chasing has stopped now.

Your turkeys should be fine. Nice ducks!

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 13:48

Following pixie_lou's pecking order pics, yesterday I saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch watching a Downy Woodpecker eat on my new peanut/nugget feeder. The nuthatch apparently decided it was OK to eat with the downy (after all, they look alike) and it flew up.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The downy let it stay there, even though it won't let titmice and chickadees eat with it.

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is sort of the Jack Russell terrier of the bird world - it doesn't know it's not huge.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 20:42


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire, great shots of those two "friends" dining together. I really like that new feeder. What can you tell us about it--- what variety of birds visit this feeder and what brand is it?

I love the little Nuthatch!

Molie


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 7:28

Molie: It's a Droll Yankee peanut feeder. I bought it because the dish of peanuts, etc. on the deck was getting overrun with squirrels and jays. I still wanted to attract the little birds that like peanuts and I wanted to see them on that side of the house where it's quieter. The bird mobs are mostly on the other, front side of the house where I have lots of feeders.

I hung it from the deck railing hook that sports a hummingbird feeder in the summer.

I'm still working out the contents - I'm now using a mix of shelled peanuts and suet dough nuggets (peanut flavored). Sunflower seed suet dough nuggets weren't appreciated.

The Downy Woodpeckers came first and seem fine with the nuggets. They seem to prefer the hanging feeder to the dish on the deck.

Chickadees, titmice, wrens and nuthatches would rather grab a peanut from the dish and fly off, but they'll visit the hanging feeder if it's the only way to get their peanuts. The good thing is that they can't remove the peanuts so they have to eat in place where I can see them. Other birds may come later in the season and now that I'm not sitting out on the deck. The Droll Yankees website says

"Birds that use this feeder:

Cardinals, Chickadees, Finches, Flickers, Goldfinches, Grackles, Grosbeaks, Jays, Juncos, Kinglets, Nuthatches, Redpolls, Siskins, Sparrows, Starlings, Titmice, Towhees, Woodpeckers and Wrens"

Squirrels have been trying to eat from the feeder, which is one reason I got a Droll Yankee feeder - they have a lifetime warranty against squirrel damage and the construction is tough.

White-breasted and Red-breasted Nuthatches
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Chickadee, nuthatch and downy
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Two Carolina Wrens and a titmouse
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I'll try to get a picture of a squirrel hanging there.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 11:16

More on the peanut feeder:

Titmouse feeding as the sun tried to get through the clouds:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and later a squirrel found the feeder:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

uh oh, she sees me!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Will she chase me off?
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

She's letting me stay!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And then she chased me off. Bummer!

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Ah ha, Claire! I was wondering if that feeder was a Droll Yankee -- it has the same construction design as many of their others. I know that they are tough feeders. We'll have to look for it the next time we go to Agway for more birdseed. Agway carries a large selection of Droll Yankee products.

My DH has decided not to hang the tray feeders from our deck this year and we were looking for a "peanut" alternative. After reading about this particular feeder, I wonder how difficult --- or easy --- it is for the squirrels to pull out the peanuts? They are crafty devils, clever, determined and fun to watch. They'll climb on the feeders and shake them to make the seeds to drop. This, the ducks love. We have swarms of ducks underneath our feeders, morning and afternoon. The ducks don't both me, but the squirrels--- well, they are absolute pigs and will clean out a feeder as quickly as we can fill it.

Molie


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Molie: Thanks, never seen a white tailed squirrel before. And, thanks to you and Sped for the reminders on puppy duty. I thought it was tough bending over a few hundred times picking up branches after Hurricane Sandy. The thought of doing that too often inside my house makes me love my cat even more.

Sped: They are lovely pups and definitely appear contented. I had a tri-colored collie years ago; dumb as a brick and a kleptomaniac. We ended up with 13 left mittens one year and a pair of jockey shorts off somebody's clothes line. She never grew up and was always happy. Maybe there's something to that, lol.

Claire: Other than electrifying the deck, how does one not feed the squirrels with that setup? Maybe bobble heads on each side of the base? Anyway, it's neat and I have not seen a red breasted nuthatch here, only the white. This morning I bought the seed mixture I gave up last September, in the effort to disperse the sparrows, because a few other species had also left which I missed seeing, like blue jays. We'll see. Hope more sparrows don't show up-have a dozen already.

This morning about 7, I saw the broad wings approach a tree out back that is in direct line with the feeders. Here he is, sharp shinned or cooper's, he's a pretty tame looking hawk. Based on the heavy breast markings, I'd say sharp shinned, but I'm usually wrong. Whatever he is, he left hungry. I think my Canon shots did him in.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 16:02

Cute hawk, Jane (I never thought I'd say that about a hawk). I don't know which hawk it is so I won't even guess.

Molie: I don't know yet how easy it is to pull out a peanut but the mesh is small and when I've shaken the feeder to mix the peanuts and the nuggets, nothing but a few crumbs come out.

Jane: I knew the feeder would be accessible to the squirrels but I'm hoping that it won't be worth the trouble for them to constantly attack it. Right now I'm just chasing them when I see them. They may be trying to get me to put peanuts on the dish for them. I'm phasing that out so the feeder will be the only source.

It can't be easy to get peanut pieces with your teeth through that mesh - much easier for a bird's bill. Maybe the squirrels can push the peanuts out with a toe, I don't know.

The squirrels are funny when they climb onto the rail and then see me watching. At least one of them suddenly starts scratching itself and gazing off into space (I just happened to be up here with an itch) and then it jumps down and goes away without my having to open the door.

I'm guessing that squirrel traffic will be low, but I could be wrong. It's not as if they're deprived; there's plenty of food for them on the ground in front of the house.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Jane, the comments about your try-colored collie made me laugh out loud. That dog must have been a real character! Don't you wonder sometimes what goes through a pet's mind? Like, what was the attraction in the neighbor's laundry? I can see a dog liking the familiar scent of a family member's glove, but a neighbor's shorts!?!

Great shot of the hawk. I love the intensity in his eyes --- a real stare down. I always admire your bird photographs and how you seem to capture a bird in a way that shows their personality.

Claire, I keep looking back at your peanut/nugget feeder and then thinking, hmmmm, where could I hang that so the squirrels can't get at it? Although, from what you said, it seems they'd have more success at knocking it down than in getting into those tiny spaces. Luckily squirrels are more competitive than cooperative. (Imagine a bunch of them cooking up a scheme to carry it off!)

Still no turkeys! We usually see them by November-December. I know we have the right conditions with lots of nut and oaks trees in the area and clumps of small hardwood forests here and there along the river. Though we live in small city, there are many open fields, tree-covered areas, lakes and streams nearby. Sped reported earlier that turkeys are nomadic as they follow the food sources, so maybe they've already cleaned up all the acorns and nuts in our neighborhood and have moved on.

Molie


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Molie, thanks, glad you like the photos. It is largely because of this thread that Claire started in 2008 (I think) that ignited a more serious interest for me in photographing, gardening, and designing gardens for birds. This is one of my favorite threads and I'm still thankful that Claire keeps it going.

By taking a closer look at the species that frequent my yard, I've noticed from my photo files that I seem to shoot more hawks, woodpeckers, and doves. Might know,lol, I didn't have to do any gardening for them; just hang a full feeder of seed, keep larger trees standing and voila, feathered friends. The people who have participated on this thread over the past 4 years all seemingly share a true value in the interconnectedness of what we do: Garden!

This red-bellied woodpecker preens in a maple most mornings after his first suet breakfast.

Jane (who still has pond, brook,lake, river, bay, ocean envy)


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Oh--- Wow! That's all to say after looking at the last photo, Jane!


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Despite the squirrel guard being covered with bird poop and suet remnants, this Carolina Wren repeatedly slid down the shield, grabbed flecks of suet, flew off, and did it again - 5 times that I saw. See the position of his feet? There was plenty of suet cake left, he does perch and eat it, but I swear it looked as though he was just having fun surfing the shield.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 11:58

Jane: It's hard to look dignified when you're grooming yourself but the result is worth it (if you're a woodpecker, anyway), and the wren does look like it's having fun. Very nice pics!

I had a atartling turkey event this morning. I heard a ruckus outside and looked out to see two young male turkeys battling by the steps to my porch! They appeared to have their bills locked and they were thrashing around while an older tom watched. I think I need to start using the video capabilities of my camera - I have 12 consecutive photos to post (of course I could just post a few but that wouldn't show the drama of it all - at least it was very dramatic to me).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

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The turkey (jake) that started out on the right appears to have won the arm/bill wrestling contest.

There were about a dozen turkeys here, both males and females. I think this may be the beginning of the split up when the hens and toms form separate flocks for the winter. I guess the toms are working out their pecking order.

Claire


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RE:: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 12:07

And you might ask, where were the hens while this was going on? At least one of them very sensibly flew up to the shed roof and gazed into the window, maybe asking me to stop the fighting.

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The problem is, I don't know which side to take.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

"I guess the toms are working out their pecking order." Couldn't help yourself, could you? You have swashbuckling turkeys! They actually dueled it out ascending the stairway? How dramatic! That photo sequence is really good. Good thing your front door was shut.

"The problem is, I don't know which side to take." From my vantage point, you took the correct side: In back of your Canon. Well done!

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 8, 12 at 16:15

"They actually dueled it out ascending the stairway?"

You reminded me of the old movie "Scaramouche" with Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer dueling on the staircase! and everywhere else in the theater! A wonderful scene!

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad." - Rafael Sabatini

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Dec 9, 12 at 15:16


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 9, 12 at 15:28

Yesterday was a good day for birds in my yard. Not only were there turkeys galore, but I saw the first Northern Flicker of the season, a male, on a suet cage.

Here he seems to be using his tail to prop himself up as he feeds.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and his foot has a firm grasp on the cage.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Back in April 2009 I saw how a flicker deals with the situation where it can't prop itself. Sure doesn't look comfortable.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Good shots, Claire. All the woodies seem to be able to eat in any position. They hang upside down and seem happy, so I've abandoned any guilt about the lack of tail supports at my bird diner.

This little House Finch sat on the edge of the heated bath for quite a while. Heaven help me, he seemed reflective. I could almost hear him saying, "Who's a pretty boy?" He is cute.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

I had to look up the term leucism, which Spedigrees used with regard to Molie's white-tailed squirrel. Here's a link for anyone else who is curious.

I haven't put out feeders since we started having black bears which would limit my feeders to only 3 months, but I do appreciate the photos of the critters that enjoy all of your gardens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leucism in Wikipedia


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 11:04

Very sweet shot, Jane. Probably a teen-aged finch monopolizing the mirror.

Thanks for the link, nhbabs. I didn't know that there was such a difference in the mechanism of leucism and albinism; leucism being caused by a defect in various pigment cell movement or differentiation during development, while albinism is a defect in melanin, and only melanin production.

The picture of the leucistic Indian peafowl is startling. A white peacock!

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

I have to admit that I still have a bit of trouble identifying Hairy vs Downy Woodpeckers. I have tons of downies on my suet, but am starting to get more hairies. When you read the guide books - it tells you that size matters. The Hairies are bigger, including their peckers! All I know is that when a hairy arrives at the feeder, it just looks different to me.

Hairy is first. Downy is second.
Hairy Downy


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

As I continue my studies into the pecking order of woodpeckers - once again, Downy waits patiently for Red Bellie to feed.
RBandD 1

Starting to get impatient. Come on man. You've been feeding long enough.
RBandD 2

Finally - it's my turn!
RBAndD 3

And poor Mrs. Downy has to eat the suet dregs on the ground!
RBandD 4


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Hi Pixie - wonderful activity on your suet bag. Curious to know how many times you've had to fill it since you posted on the 2nd? I forgot to check plain suet at the market and the price of the suet cakes is way up here: $1.59 each cake at the farm store and garden center. Onion bag and a chat with the butcher is on my list.

Claire - did the toms draw blood? I watched the video 'My Life as a Turkey', stunning and remarkable. Glad he dispelled that lore about their IQ.

nhbabs: Any black bears close enough to photograph? Now that would be a first on this thread! (I think)

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 13, 12 at 17:59

pixie_lou: Project FeederWatch has a series of Tricky Bird ID pages and the Hairy and Downy ID dilemma is a good one. My reaction is like yours - when a hairy shows up it looks different - bigger, more robust, markings somehow stronger than the usual "dainty" downy (with apologies to the woodpeckers which are not a dainty species).

Tricky Bird IDs: Woodpecker Photo Gallery

more photos from PFW site

Jane: I didn't see any blood. The encounter had more of the feeling of a wrestling match and not a vicious attack.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Wow, the turkey ruckus photos are amazing. Our turkeys never get that close to the house. The feeders are across the driveway. Right now they are visiting in the early morning when the light is poor.
The northern flicker is beautiful. Love the coloring. Now I'll cross my fingers to see if one ever visits us.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Jane - since it is only suet in the bag, it lasts a long time. Even though there is a bird feeding almost very time I look out the window. I put this bag out around Haloween. It will probably last another month or so. Since it is do cold out, the suet doesn't go rancid and I easily get 2-3 months out of a bag in winter. In the summer I put smaller pieces in and change it monthly.

The squirrels don't touch it. I get mostly woodpeckers, but also nuthatches and chickadees. Though I've also had titmice, catbirds and Carolina wrens. I have a thistle ball that attracts the finches. I'd love to put up a sunflower seed feeder to attractors birds, but have yet found a successful squirrel proof feeder.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

I've been so enjoying the bird photos from everyone! The woodpecker interactions are fun to see, and the turkey duel series, well that's something you don't see everyday! Great photos!

Years ago we used to feed the birds year round, but like nhbabs, bears have become a concern. It's illegal here in Vermont now to feed birds during the early spring months for that reason, and I would hate to have to remove a food source that our birds had become accustomed to mid-way through the "foodless" season. I'm not sure that my hummingbird feeders are strictly legal, but I think May is a cutoff month when one can resume bird feeding. Not sure, but I hope so. Anyways, without feeding the birds myself, I can enjoy seeing birds at the feeder vicariously through all the photos on here of everyone else's feeders!

I know we have bears in the woods behind our house. We've seen one up there, and notice their tracks where they venture into the bramble thickets to eat the blackberries, and hear them calling in the spring. I like that they are there, but don't wish to lure them down to the house!

Molie, no wonder your puppy is cute! We considered a cavalier king charles spaniel, but ultimately went with the familiar, aka another sheltie. But I have a place in my heart for the cavaliers. They are such friendly, cheerful little beings.

And, Jane, I got a kick out of hearing about your tri-colored collie! My first two collies were tri-colors, but it was one of my sables later on that was a klepto like yours. He used to collect odd abandoned gloves on our walks and carry them home. I returned the first couple mittens to the general area where I think he swiped them, but a few weeks later when no one had claimed them, he snatched them up again and I gave up trying to return them to their anonymous rightful owners. We ended up with quite a collection too, some of which almost matched (or matched some of my lawfully purchased mittens) and I occasionally wore them! He never came in possession of underware, but he might well have, had he been able to escape from his yard to peruse neighboring clotheslines! Your collie must have been a soul sister to my Thistledown!

I remember when they first introduced the wild turkeys here back in the early 70s, and how they thrived, exceeding expectations of the wildlife dept. When they opened the first tentative turkey season, hunters found them to be a difficult quarry, not at all like capturing/killing a domestic turkey. Some (unsuccessful) hunters (using the term loosely!) suggested that the wild turkeys should be bred with domestic turkeys to create a stupider version of wild turkey that would be easier to bag. Of course this suggestion was met with contempt by the more sportsmanlike hunters and game management alike. LOL Wild turkeys are definitely no dummies!

Jane, in regard to your pond/brook/lake envy, I once had breakfast at a diner and happened to sit next to an avid bird watcher. He was joking about the "loche" in his back yard, which was apparently a sort of garden hose-fed hole he had dug in his back yard to attract birds. He told me that water of any kind will attract birds, more so than any feeder. Our brook varies from a trickle to a full-blown swamp during heavy rains in spring and fall, and it is a treasure. We only seldom had to haul water buckets to our horses during serious droughts or 30F below weather, and it has always been a bird and wildlife magnet. But I imagine bird baths kept filled will provide the same need or attraction.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 15, 12 at 14:21

spedigrees: I'm very glad I don't have to worry about black bears (although they're beginning to move into the area - one young male traveled around the Cape for a while last year and another was seen a few miles from here a couple of years ago).

Re pixie_lou's woodpecker hierarchy: I'm at the computer window now and I had been glancing out and seeing a downy feeding on the suet cage. Suddenly a flicker flew down and kicked the downy off the suet. He's still feasting right now. Oops, just flew off. Downy is back on the suet.

Re peanut/nugget feeder: Yesterday I saw two squirrels on the railing and I was getting ready to open the door and snarl at them if they got too close to the feeder. But one of the squirrels jumped on the other, seeming to try to pull it back. The other squirrel shook off the jumper and went closer to the feeder. The first squirrel tried again to pull away the other squirrel. Finally the other squirrel climbed on the feeder; at which point I opened the door and snarled.

The squirrel fled, and I'm betting the first squirrel was saying "I told you so, I told you so!" At least some squirrels take me seriously.

I'm not seeing much squirrel activity on this feeder - I hope this lasts.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire - I finally looked at that PFW site. I need to start looking at tail feathers and neck commas. Thanks for the link.

I haven't had a northern flicker around in a while. I had tons this summer feeding in the grass. Up to a dozen at a time. I can see the diet from Hugh the kitchen and living room so I'm looking a lot v


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 15, 12 at 15:40

pixie_lou: Are you sure they were Northern Flickers? They don't usually hang around together in large numbers. There's a thread on the Bird Watching Forum about a flock of flickers (I like saying 'flock of flickers') and most people think they were actually starlings, which look similar with the spots.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Dec 15, 12 at 15:41


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

A flock of flickers is definitely fun. Maybe a fun, frolicking flock of flickers? oh, well. I have seen as many as 4-5 here at once in the summer combing the lawn for larvae or whatever the August plate du jour is. Today, however, is the first time I could capture a M&F pair together, and it's a count day. The other day there were 30 mourning doves here at once - not a count day, of course. This photo, though not super clear, at least shows his moustache and her clear face.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Okay, posting twice in a row is showing my laziness to upload pictures. But, this morning the bravest squirrel that lives here (also the one with a very stout attitude) managed to swing from the underside of the squirrel guard to the bottom of the feeder and latched on for dear life. Hanging upside down and feasting in that incomprehensible anti-gravity mode, I searched and found what I hope will be a deterrent based on Pixie's Slinky. It is a metal coil that I use on poles to grow string beans. Stretched it out and fitted it under the guard. He did not return today, but we all know rodents do not lack fortitude.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 15, 12 at 17:35

Well, depending on the type of vegetation you could have a flock of flickers on the phlox and eating flecks of flax...

Or you could have two handsome flickers nicely photographed on a birch tree.

I'm a little skeptical of that spiral staircase on the pole. I can see a squirrel climbing up the middle using the spiral as a handrail. Let us know how it works.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

I think we have come to an agreement with the squirrels that they can have what's on the ground but can't touch the feeders. My husband is home enough to chase off the naughty ones. At the Blue Seal store in Bow NH, they have a video playing behind the counter of a feeder they sell that is supposed to be squirrel proof. When a squirrel tries to jump on the rail, it starts spinning like a merry-go-round and the squirrel is flung off. Sorry, I didn't get the name or price.

After saying our turkeys don't come close to the house, two came within a few feet yesterday. I think one was after the last of the cotoneaster berries. We have red polls again this winter. Most of them seem to prefer ground feeding.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire - I know they are flickers because of the red on the back of the head and the black bib on front. Late this summer I was concerned since I wasn't seeing the dominant red on the head, and after consulting with someone at Audobon I found out that the juveniles can be late to develop the red markings. As I looked closer I saw the head patch was yellowish.

I have seen many flickers in my yard at a time, but I wouldn't say that they were together in a flock. It was more like a dozen random birds showed up to eat whatever it is they dig out of my grass. They were all acting independently.

I just got home a while ago when I was thrilled to see a flicker eating in the grass. A few minutes later a bunch of starling stormed my suet feeder, kicking poor downie off and out. Mr Flicker just continued to peck the grass not bothered at all by the commotion. I've never seen starlings on my suet before.

Starlings 1

Starlings 2

Starlings 3

Starlings 4

My apologies for the blurry pictures. I guess I should really clean my windows.


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Naughty Jose

Whenever my daughter starts acting up, we ordered her to stand in first position. She's a budding ballerina, and that is the basic position for ballet - in ballet you stand in first position unless instructed otherwise, just like in the military you stand at attention until instructed otherwise. So I had to laugh when I saw our fat little squirrel, Jose, standing in first position on the bench under the suet feeder. I just wonder what type of mischief he's been up to.

Naughty Jose


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 16, 12 at 16:08

pixie_lou: I'm glad that you really had a flock of flickers, although not really a flock, more of a chance meeting. I felt I should raise the question since it had come up recently on the Bird Watching Forum, and I, personally have never seen many flickers at one time. My experience, though, is limited by my area.

A 'storm of starlings' is a good phrase.

Jose does look a little chastened.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Jose in 1st position is funny, PL. He is a chubbykins - you run a good diner too!
Well, Mr. Toughy did not get to the feeder today. The wire is very springy and when touched (even by squirrel hands) it quivers, so maybe it'll work for awhile. He's thinking.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 16, 12 at 20:56

Round one to Jane, but I wouldn't rule out the power of a squirrel concentrating on food. Mr. Toughy is a worthy opponent.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Hate to say it Jane, but if I were a betting woman, my money would be on Mr. Toughy.

Today's episode in The Pecking Order of Woodpeckers - Red Bellie versus the Starlings.

Mr. Red Bellie enjoying a morning munch, completely ignoring the storm of starlings.
RBvS1

Hey - who said you could come on here. Don't you see I'm eating.
RBvS2

I don't care if you are bringing in reinforcements. Go away. It's my suet.
RBvS3

I meant both of you go away. Now.
RBvS4

That is not away. Off my pole.
RBvS5

Finally, I can eat in peace again.
RBvS6


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 16:47

Very funny, pixie_lou, and it illustrates the admirable personality of woodpeckers. I've been thinking that if I came back as a bird I'd like to be a woodpecker - maybe like Mr. Red Bellie or maybe a flicker.

Indomitable but not really aggressive (except maybe to other woodpeckers).

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Jane - Only once has a bear been close enough to take a photo. On the few occasions I actually see them, mostly at best I see the south end of a north facing bear rapidly disappearing into the puckerbrush as I am driving, either on the road or a tractor in the woods. I also see lots of droppings and some tracks in the corn field next door some years, and one year I found a good-sized den excavation which had been abandoned, probably because s/he decided that he was too close to DH's shop. The one bear I did see close enough to photograph, it was probably too dark, though at the time it didn't even occur to me to grab the camera. It was probably between 4:30 and 5 one April morning, and I saw what I initially thought was a blop of manure a few feet from a truckload of manure that had been dumped the day previously. Then it moved and I realized that it was a bear lying on the ground so that he could easily graze on the the sprouts of winter wheat that had been planted the previous fall as a green manure crop. This was perhaps a couple hundred feet from the kitchen window, and so I just stood sipping my coffee and watching until the early morning commuters driving by in front of the house alarmed the bear and s/he retreated to the woods. Amazing!


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Thank you, nhbabs, for that account, and I hope they don't come any closer to you. I'm OT here a bit in that it was not my back yard,(forgive me, Claire) but I was about 10' away from a cub that was standing erect on the edge of a woods and that encounter taught me that I will, by nature, never be a screamer. Totally unaware that the cub was there, suddenly I caught him/her looking directly into my eyes. The person with whom I was with had her back to the cub and when I barely was able to whisper,'bear', she, without moving an inch said, 'where', to which I barely breathed, 'there'. We walked away slowly, in silence, and darn if the little guy didn't follow us like a pet dog. The worry was, where was his mother? The little fella wanted food - he had already broken into a building for caramel corn the night before. Really cute, but those eyes...

Last week at around 2P.M. on a sunny day, a coyote was trotting through a neighbor's yard and I've had to stop gardening in my own yard for fear the red fox that was staring at me some 20' away might not fear me. Times continue to change as we encroach on open space more and more.
Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 22, 12 at 7:07

Jane: Anything that might have been in your yard, or was in the yard next door or in the neighborhood, or someone else's yard or neighborhood somewhere, is an appropriate topic for this thread. And that can be stretched too.

Bears are something we should know more about. Hopefully just black bears that are supposed to be reasonably good neighbors (not grizzlies).

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Wow I finally feel like I got my money shot. Hairy feeding on the suet while Downy patiently waits. You can really see the size difference in this shot.

Hairy and Downy


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 22, 12 at 9:43

Excellent, pixie_lou! That is one huge hairy beast on the suet (at least from the viewpoint of a little downy).

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

You did get the right shot, PL, it perfectly shows the size difference. Timing is everything, good job.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Merry Christmas,everyone!

Jane :)


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 23, 12 at 13:10

and I second what Jane said,

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

I don't know if this is appropriate, as it's not a photograph and not in the garden (unless the Christmas tree counts) but I wanted to add my greetings. It does include critters at least!


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Very appropriate, Sped, and best wishes to the artist/gardener. Looks loving and kind, nicely done!
Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

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

spedigrees: Christmas trees count as 'garden', of course, and your critters are always welcome. Very pretty scene.

Claire


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RE RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 24, 12 at 10:42

Image and video hosting by TinyPic


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RE RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 24, 12 at 10:48

(Christmas lights are mobile features in the garden too....)

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Well, isn't this a great thread?! I have not been able to keep up with the birds this year and have been an infrequent visitor to the forums, but I did look over this thread today and I see I've been missing some great animal fun. Glad this group of bird and animal enthusiasts keeps the forum moving. Imagine Jane saw a bear! Glad I don't have to think about seeing any here, but they are very cute and surprising when you do see them. Spedigrees, very cute dogs that are now at your house. They already look like they are happy to be there and together. And Molie's new puppy is adorable of course. Who doesn't love a puppy? Claire, I always forget how close you are to the water until the leaves fall.

Cannot believe that Christmas is tomorrow! Hope you all enjoy the holidays and look forward to more garden and critter talk in the New Year.

Merry Christmas!

:-)

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Tue, Dec 25, 12 at 6:50


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

It's all about birds. It is not adoration.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 26, 12 at 13:17

I suppose to a cat, like Ivy, angels are birds too - after all, they do have wings and they perch on trees. Maybe she's thinking they might taste like chicken?

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Boy, it's busy in the birch tree today! There were a dozen each of House Finches and American Goldfinches among nearly a throng of assorted other little guys, and one Song Sparrow - quite sure. Amazing how they disappeared in a nanosecond when the Cooper's Hawk flapped in way out back, and the moment he left, they returned en masse. Last week the hawk had a sparrow brunch under my window, but not today.

It's time to plant some lettuce under lights. Nice to harvest a couple of crops indoors before the Goldfinches sport their spring color.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

What a beautiful composition, Jane. This looks like the purrfect Christmas card to me! I love Ivy!


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 27, 12 at 17:07

A nice winter scene, Jane, with the finches and the birch bark and the snow in the background. Here we just had wind and rain and rain and wind and wind and rain with temperatures near 50 degrees. Lots of birds, though, taking advantage of the warm water to bathe in the baths.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Dec 28, 12 at 12:23

The temperature finally dropped down to seasonal levels last night, and there was ice on the birdbaths this morning, including the heated birdbath! I think I've loaded too many Christmas lights with an automatic timer on the same circuit and it tripped sometime during the night. Same thing yesterday, so I took one set of lights off.

I broke the ice on these birdbaths an hour or so before I took these pics, and a skin of new ice is forming on the new water. I didn't get all of the old ice out of the first birdbath - there was a rim around the ice and the rock. Eventually this bath will freeze solid and I'll abandon it until the next thaw because it's just too hard to empty when it's frozen. There will still be two shallow birdbaths open for the spa.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 29, 12 at 14:00

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker just discovered the peanut/nugget feeder and I've seen him several times today.

Not great pics on a gray day waiting for a storm, but I was surprised to see what looks like a scar on the breast. Maybe a healed wound? It appears on several photos.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Also, to push the Christmas decoration connection, here's a spider with a bird or two and a few eggs:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Lovely tree, Claire, with nice ornaments.
The spot on the RB Woodpecker looks like a spot that Ivy has between her shoulder blades. Tiny dot, no hair, from an quick clobbering she took as a kitten from a sister. My guess, like yours, a wound mark.

There will be no Cedar Waxwings here this year. This morning the Robins wiped out every berry within a few minutes.

I know this is long, but it's close to the end of this thread for this year probably and I really like this one sequence:

Just one more berry...

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 29, 12 at 20:32

That's a terrific series of robin photos, Jane. Nicely silhouetted against the snow (or processed, I can't tell, but it's very effective).

Earlier this week a pack of robins came by and stared at the winterberry (empty!) and flew off without even touching it. This is the earliest the winterberry has been stripped - last year they feasted at the end of December, this year they've been nibbling since some time in November. We did have a cold spell then so the berries may have ripened then.

My Christmas tree isn't real, it's not even green. It's a bare "ornament tree" that I overload each year. Hard to call it "garden" but this is a fantasy season in some ways so I take liberties (one of the advantages of starting a thread - you can set the rules however you want so long as GW doesn't get upset).

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

The Robin pictures are both snow and a little post-production definition. We had several inches the other day which stayed and the forecast for 5" of snow yesterday miraculously became 12" by this morning--joy. The neighbors are in California and I'm behind the snow blower for 2 driveways; what's wrong with this picture? Anyway, as seen below, other than flattening my pink scotch broom to the ground, fresh snow does let me know exactly where the deer have been. Seven of them.

Jane (who today must trade Canon for Toro. Oy)


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 30, 12 at 10:41

Deer tracks look so innocent, Jane, if only they just walked through without stopping to eat.

I'm going to post a few pics on the landscape thread, but these are some bird-related ones.

The peanut/nugget feeder is a smashing success - even when outstaged by the view.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There was a Red-winged Blackbird on the feeder this morning!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And a Red-breasted Nuthatch waiting its turn:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This does seem to be the year of the Red-bellied Woodpecker on this forum.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A flock of starlings appeared, checking out all possible food sources. Looking cute here on the suet.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Dec 30, 12 at 10:44


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire, I am not sure I've ever heard the term cute associated with starlings . . . ;>)

Jane, that series of robin photos is absolutely stunning. I am always interested in the content of photos, but this month there have been a bunch of really lovely photos as far as composition and clarity.

I'll submit some photos which are a bit more basic than artistic. I'm not sure how Claire gets such stunning turkey photos. Ours are very wily, and if I open a window or door to take a photo, they jog off in the opposite direction to the nearest shelter. So mine are taken from inside the house, and often through a combination of screen and glass. During the recent snowstorm, our local flock scooted across the road and down into the cornfield. I managed to catch a couple of photos before they disappeared into the evergreens to find shelter. They were moving much faster than usual; definitely looked unhappy about the weather.
Arriving down the access drive into the field:

From Turkeys in the snow December 27, 2012

And halfway across, scuttling rapidly towards shelter:

From Turkeys in the snow December 27, 2012


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 1, 13 at 11:32

nhbabs: Nice photos of wild turkeys in the real world of winter, with snow and wind and cold and danger.

The turkeys in my neighborhood are semi-domesticated - they've been watching me put seed on the ground for all of their lives, and they don't get scared if I keep a certain distance. If I get close (like I walk down the path where they're gathered) they'll move to the side looking a little worried but not panicked. Some of the neighbors also feed them - one woman gets them to take bread from her hand.

Almost all of my photos are taken through a window. I've just dedicated a few windows to photos and I don't put screens on these (I don't open them during mosquito season). I have other screened windows to open in good weather.

The turkeys here don't seem to like bad weather at all. They stay away until it clears up, or they hang around looking miserable.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Claire: good that you have a pair of RBs visiting. I did here and then last year they brought their baby to the suet and the seed feeder (the one with cashews). Hope that happens for you. And yes, Cape Cod Bay can out stage most things. Maybe I should try a nugget feeder to lure the Blue Jays back.

nhbabs: What wonderful open space you have! Fully agree, hydrangeas and conifers complement each other very well. I miss the turkey trotting that used to happen here.

Today, a new visitor for this season: I think she's a Common Redpoll. Usually in multiples, but I only saw her. Other finches were here at the same time, so maybe it was meeting of cousins?
Common Redpoll, female (I think)

Mr. and Mrs. House Finch

Nice to see the red and grey birds against the snow
Mr. H. Finch

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 1, 13 at 16:17

Jane, you're really becoming a fine photographer - first the robins and now the House Finches.

Sure looks like a redpoll to me, although I haven't seen any this year.

The Blue Jays occasionally visit the peanut/nugget feeder but they're not all that interested. It may be too difficult for them to cling to. The best thing I've found is to toss some peanuts on the ground. In fact, when I walk out in the morning carrying the peanut jar I hear the yelling "She's finally out! The peanuts are here!" They also like the wildlife/critter mix on the ground.

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Thank you, Claire, I enjoy it so much as you do.

The Blue Jays immediately left after I changed to only BOSS and safflower to discourage the sparrows. I have a new variety that includes nuts, so I hope they'll return when I change to the new seed mixture.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

Jane - I love the way the deep red buds on the tree in photo 3 of Mr. & Mrs. Finch echo their red feathers.


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

It is nice to have color against the starkness of snow and this afternoon in the birch tree, I saw a flash of blue in the light of the early setting sun. He's the first Blue Bird I've seen since early last summer. Introduced new food today, so I hope he becomes a steady diner here.

And because the sun was highlighting gold, this European Starling looked like art to me. Then again, lots of things do.

Jane


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 4, 13 at 9:51

Very, very lovely, Jane. The bluebird perfectly complements the peeling bark on the birch, and the starling looks more like a shiny beetle than a bird (meant as a compliment to the bird, beetles can be amazingly beautiful).

Claire


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RE: RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 5, 13 at 12:55

I just posted the first 2013 thread. I'll try to move all of the 2012 threads to the Gallery soon.

Claire


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