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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 13, 10 at 16:41

And now to 2010 #6. FYI, Project FeederWatch starts today and runs through April 8 if anyone wants to participate in that worthy citizen science program.

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:

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

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #5

I have some new photos but I'll post them in a follow-up post (this is getting a little unwieldy with all the back-up links).

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 13, 10 at 18:04

Today was a nice warm sunny day and many birds were taking their Saturday baths. I don't think I've ever seen a Common Grackle in a birdbath, but today there were two males dueling over the copper birdbath. I've never seen grackles this late in the season either.

There was a lot of chest thumping and harrumphing, with a House Sparrow looking on (or maybe refereeing?):
Image and video hosting by TinyPic


but one of them gave up the fight
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and flew off.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

He didn't seem particularly upset by the fracas - he just found and jumped into another birdbath.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

ignoring the two Red-winged Blackbirds sauntering by.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Don't recall ever seeing Crackles bathe either - good catch, Claire.

Opened a new bag of seed this morning and it was as if the town crier screamed the news: What a crowd!
Don't know if this look is indignant or incredulous, but she's cute. Or he's cute - I'm not good at this!

But I caught the BBs and House Finch checking everything twice.

I think this is Mr&Mrs Bluebird or maybe one juvi and adult male?


And saw the C.Wrens together for the first time...sans camera. next time.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 18, 10 at 18:06

I know what you mean about opening a bag of seed and the town crier screaming the news.

Today I was spreading compost in a bed near a ground feeding area and I heard excited turkeys purring behind me. They kept running around looking for food - after all, what else would I be doing but throwing out seed for them. They didn't approve of the compost at all, so I finished up and got out the bucket of seed.

They've got me trained all right.

Claire (who will defer to terrene re bluebird identification)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

wow, BLUEbirds! how wonderful!
mindy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Hi guys - been busy and slowly paying more attention to the birds. I've seen some "lifers" in the yard this fall (which isn't saying much, since I haven't been bird-watching that long). Will post some photos later sometime.

Corunum, how nice the Bluebirds are hanging around. It looks like your first pic is a female; 2nd is male; 3rd is a male and female; and 4th is 2 males.

I haven't been filling the feeders everyday, but I see the Bluebirds here eating suet nugget about 1x per week. Don't know if they will be hanging around this winter. Unfortunately, the Bluebird snag where they nested the past 2 years blew over on Wednesday night when we had those gusty winds. It didn't break, but pulled right up out of the ground and toppled backwards, because the root system was entirely rotted. Next year I might put up a nest box and see if the Blues are interested in nesting there.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Hi terrene, nice to 'see' you. Thanks for the telltale info. I sometimes get it right, but as long as they know,lol.

Last fall when the chokeberry was in its autumn dress, I tried my darndest to catch the Blackcapped Chickadee resting among the red berries. A year later, this morning I got up from my desk at the right time. He is my favorite.

Very glad I planted aronia, betula nigra heritage, kwanzan cherry, purple sandcherry,et al --all things bird-friendly safely close to the house.

Jane - (a lucky duck)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 21, 10 at 20:02

The chickadee looks very peaceful there, not like the usual busy, busy attitude. Nice shot!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

I'm really enjoying these photos! That chickadee with the red berries is a winner for sure.

My back yard birds are "the usual suspects" for our area, but, I notice variations in their numbers from year to year. There was a time when I would rarely see white throated sparrows. Now they are a constant. Last year, I had no wintering goldfinches--and now I see some daily. My numbers of tufted titmice are down, though. Go figure. I wish the numbers of house sparrows would go down...to about zero.

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

No, Emily, please... please don't say...gulp...zero


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 23, 10 at 16:48

Now look what you've done, Emily! You made the House Sparrow cry!

Claire (picturing a flock of thirty tearful birds...)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

LOL! Now Jane, you actually made a house sparrow look cute. OK, ok, I won't say zero. You can maintain your superfluous numbers -- as long as you stop bullying the other birds! Hmmmm?

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

You two are not going to believe this! Right after I read your post, Emily, I saw a flurry of activity outside and despite the resident group of about 23 house sparrows, look at this small gathering:


The woody pushed both the bluebird and sparrow off, so they went to the feeder...together:

Low on seed, they really want the suet and go back...together:

And guess who won the staring contest?

That little vignette was photographed within 3 minutes this morning: 11:47a.m.-11:50a.m. Usually the woody wins over all of them. Peace.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 24, 10 at 15:16

That IS unusual, Jane; I usually place my money on woodpeckers to win. I like the indignant looks the bluebird and sparrow are aiming at the camera - how dare you let the seed get this low!

Suet is definitely in demand now; hanging the suet from the hummingbird feeder's pole was not a great idea (no baffle yet).
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Today the flock is gathering for Thanksgiving.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

They're snacking on nyjer seed.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I thought everything was peaceful in my turkey wildlife refuge, but a little while after I took those turkey photos, a distraught turkey raced into my view, looked at me through the window, and raced back out of view. I heard agitated turkey sounds and ran outside. There were about ten turkeys there and some adult toms were fighting furiously!

I grabbed my rake and yelled at them, but they were totally engrossed in the battle. They did move the fight over to the neighbor's yard where it somehow got resolved out of sight. The other turkeys were just trying to stay out of the way.

Ironically, a few hours earlier I had disconnected the long hose and put it away, figuring I should do that before it gets too cold to coil it (It's very useful for cleaning and filling the birdbaths. I've been letting it drain every night just in case it gets below freezing). I would have turned the hose on the turkey fight just to keep them wary of humans.

Oh, and a Happy Thanksgiving back at you all.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

That squirrel looks like he's on a suet opiate - that's one happy fella!

Not having seen turkeys squabble,(intended) I Googled and found pretty good pictures that may be similiar to what you may have seen. Would they be fighting for their woman now? Maybe you should show them your collection of stuffing recipes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wild Turkey Fight


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

So I'm talking on the phone while watching my very busy feeders this morning, when all of a sudden, all the birdies disappeared. And this guy/gal swooped down. The look on the face says, "hey, where did everybody go?"

Now, I exclaimed to my phone conversation person, "holy smokes! (or something like that) A Sharp Shinned Hawk just landed on my feeder!" (This is a first, as far as yard birds, for me...not a common sighting) After consulting my birding guide, I realized it could be a Coopers, and of course the tail tip is obliterated in my only photo.

Any expert opinions here as to which one it is? I tried darkening the breast feathers up with my photo software, for more detail, but it was too exposed.

Photobucket

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 28, 10 at 16:11

An expert I am not, far from it, but I think it's a Cooper's Hawk. The head is relatively big and the legs relatively thick (that "relatively" always kills me). Eyes closer to the front. The striping on the breast looks like it's an adult.

I keep looking at this page on Tricky Bird IDs: Sharp-shinned Hawk and Cooper's Hawk from the Project FeederWatch site. I'm never completely sure of a hawk ID - why can't they be easy to identify like Blue Jays or Wild Turkeys?

I get lots of hawks but each appearance is always exciting for me. A hawk!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

You know, Claire, I think you're right. That very helpful link provided a lot more pointers than my Peterson's guide. One thing I know for sure, it was an adult--my photo doesn't show it, but, the coloring was definitely the rufous striping on the chest with grey on the back. One of the definitive points, for me anyway, is the comparison in size to that of a crow. That was the size of this hawk.

Time to add it to my "yard" list!

Thanks, Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

A shot of color, amidst the ever-present English Sparrows...this Red-Bellied is a welcome visitor. I've seen him/her before, but, that scarlet cap always adds some pizazz to the day!

Photobucket

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 5, 10 at 16:57

Very nice, Emily! I love the way the Red-bellies hang rather than perch. I didn't see any Red-bellies last year and this year there's just a phantom in the trees. I hope winter will bring them closer to my windows.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Wow, Emily! That's some banquet feeder you have there! Very nice. The RBs come to mine and literally sift through everything for the peanuts. Meanwhile, the mourning doves below are celebrating the seed shower from above. It all gives new meaning to 'Natural Selection', lol.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

I believe that that bird is a Northern Flicker, a member of the Woodpecker family. They will sometimes also eat grubs from the lawn.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 6, 10 at 13:28

Hi, steve_mass. That's a Red-bellied Woodpecker all right. The Northern Flicker has a spotted belly instead of the pale belly seen on the red-belly.

This is a Northern Flicker I saw in April, 2009.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm seeing at least three nuthatches now, a White-breasted and a Red-breasted today. There have been both male and female Red-breasted here. You'd think I could get one decent photo, but no. I'll keep trying.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 7, 10 at 14:58

Finally got my camera and the Red-breasted Nuthatch together at the same time.

Suspicious little fellow -"You looking at me?"
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Picky too, it keeps checking portals to see what it can find.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ah, down near the bottom!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The nuthatch got a peanut!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Claire,

Thanks for the correction. That means I had a red bellied Woodpecker in the front yard today!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

and a fine bird indeed to have in your front yard!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

That peanut is better than the prize in Cracker Jacks! What a good time he had - and you with the camera! Good shooting. Don't believe I've seen a red breasted nuthatch, but will now be on the lookout.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Love the head-on shot of the RB Nuthatch! What a great angle!

I had one in my yard years and years ago, but haven't seen one for a long time. I love the eyeliner on them!

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

claire, watch out now; I'm going to start asking you bird questions!! how very exciting to see your flicker,(and em's hawk)>> 2 of my fav birds. i've never seen a flicker and how i've alw loved them.

so, questions:
a juv cardinal male was born outside my study window and he's hanging around. will he travel/move to find a mate? will a mate come here looking for him? is he likely to settle here? (his parents have been here a few yrs we think.)

and claire, thnx so much for that link/i.d. pg; really interesting shots. (photographer from grand junction, colo.; now i HAVE been there! on my 1978 solo-with-hitchhikers 10,000 mile 'cross country camping trip, i bought my $25 orange pup tent in an army and navy store in grand junction!!)

best,
mindy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Mindy: I'm no expert, so I did a little searching on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's websites All About Birds and the Birds of North America Online (you have to be a member).

My understanding is that cardinals don't migrate but they will inhabit a territory over several square miles, particularly in the winter when they may join flocks to visit different feeding stations. The young leave the area where they were born but don't go too far.

My own experience is that you probably have more cardinals around than you know. Usually I'll see only a few at one time during the daytime, but if I check the feeding area as the sun goes down, when it's getting dark suddenly there's a gang over there. A few days ago (during my Project FeederWatch count days) I counted 8 cardinals at once. There's only a short window when the flock is together there and I often miss it. This is the same time that I see more White-throated Sparrows. They hang around with cardinals.

Bottom line is that your youngster will probably have no trouble finding a mate in the 'hood, although they may not nest close by.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Northern Flickers were here in the spring with an offspring, but this chap held court yesterday morning - first appearance at the feeder in quite awhile.
I think this is one healthy-looking bird!

And, for you Emily, the RB woody did dastardly things to the sparrows. Look at that menacing look, lol. Let's just say the sparrows soon found a need to leave.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

That is certainly a healthy looking flicker. And immaculately dressed - they always look stylish to me and easy-going (I have no idea if that's true).

The red-belly, on the other hand, definitely doesn't seem willing to share. I'm glad I'm much bigger than the woodpeckers.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Hooray for the Red Bellied! Ooops, I mean, poor little house sparrows...;)
Love your pictures of the Flicker--what handsome markings.

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Thanks, it's the Canon more than it is me. I agree with you both about the flicker's markings. If he had spats on, his outfit would be so art deco, 1930s perfect, lol. He reminds me of Hercule Poirot. Are flickers Belgian?

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

The 4 stages of nut gathering: Spy, See, Speculate, Snatch.




Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Well, GW finally let me log in again - they've been having login problems and it got me too.

You can actually see the red belly on your Red-belly, Jane. Usually it's invisible and people wonder why the name.

I'm still seeing a Red-belly lurking in the distance maybe once a week. No flickers since last winter. Saw 11 cardinals last night though, too dark for a photo.

Claire


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claire, jane , terrene et al

i wish my scanner worked because i saw a great cartoon for youall today. It's on pg. 20 of today's Parade magazine, 12/12/10!!
it's not web available i guess , so plse tell me if you look at it. it's the top cartoon, duhhhh!

best,
mindy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

I don't get the Parade magazine so I didn't see it. I don't have a scanner but I've had good luck using my digital camera to photograph a sheet of paper and then posting it. It depends of course if your camera can handle reasonably close objects.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

I don't get Parade either - The Hartford Courant cheaped out!
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

i'll work on web access or camera!
best,
mindy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

I can only assume it is the same hawk in my backyard. Can't decide if it's a Sharp-shinned or Cooper's, but I named him Henry and it appeared that he caught cold. (not really) The succession of movements sure looks like a sneeze to me.

The prickling in the back of the beak

The forceful 'it's gonna happen' twinge (note one raised leg)

Ah-Choo - (knee-jerk reaction)

Must be a Kleenex in here somewhere

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

And a heartfelt Gesundheit to Henry! Very funny series of photos - I don't often get to equate "funny" with hawks.

Thanks,
Claire


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Jane!

you are hysterical! a real thrill for us (My Love has an absolute THING for hawks, from watching them everyday on rt 93 while in transit.)
thanks so much,
mindy


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

great capture again, Jane! Do you have a zoom lens? The clarity is wonderful...and, I know you aren't in the tree with that bird!

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Shot this afternoon around the corner from my house - they were part of a group of 13 turkey vultures.
Turkey vultures visually help ask my biggest question of Mother Nature: What were you thinking?

They probably looked down upon me and thought - "Only a mother could love that".

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Marvelous photos! I don't know, there's something almost endearing about those very strange looking birds. Although I must admit they look better when they're very high up, soaring gracefully (and you can't really see the head).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

did youall see this hawk on fine gardening photo of the day?
best,
mindy

Here is a link that might be useful: photo of hawk


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

I subscribe to the photo of the day so I also saw the photos; if you click on the smaller ones, there are two different hawks there. An adult Sharp-shinned Hawk and a juvenile Cooper's Hawk (their ID).

Thanks for the link,
Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Don't catch them together and still at the same time very often. Christmas morning they were.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

They look like Black-capped Pussywillow buds! Can you imagine what the buds would open into?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

I'll start a new thread in 2011, but here is today's unexpected sighting - an American Woodcock in my yard!

The woodcock was digging into the snow/leaf litter in one of the areas where I spread birdseed.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A turkey noticed the woodcock and got very upset - apparently turkeys hate woodcocks. Who knew? The turkey ran around and then entered a staring contest with the woodcock. After a short time the woodcock blinked and got chased away.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The woodcock soon reappeared in a different, turkey-free area.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

more fine gardening photo of the day bird shots- from ca.
best,
mindy

Here is a link that might be useful: bird photos on fgpod


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Have never seen a woodcock before. Sibley's says it is "Uncommon and inconspicuous...".Interesting bird. Excellent, Claire, thank you.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

That's a great view of a hawk eating, mindy.

Jane: I'd never seen a woodcock before either, but this one doesn't seem particularly shy - it's been trotting around as if it lives here. And maybe it does; just usually out of sight. This sighting occurred during my Project FeederWatch count days, so I get to enter it into the data system!

I still would have reported the woodcock on an off day, just by using their online comment form. I also emailed the photos to the FeederWatch people. They love seeing photos and are very helpful in identifying birds.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Love the pictures of the Woodcock. I've never seen one, and vow to myself to make a pilgrimage every year to a field where they are known to be doing their mating dance/song. Not yet!

Well, the Cooper's Hawk returned today. I happened to be walking past my kitchen window at the very moment it swooped into the arbor vitae hedge, and emerged with an English Sparrow. Sorry Jane. ;)

Here he/she is, perched in a different shrub, after the kill, with the hapless sparrow in it's clutches.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Emily


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal M (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 9, 11 at 20:21

Nice hawk pictures, Emily! I wonder why it was looking around, maybe it thought another hawk was going to try to rob it of dinner?

Here the House/English Sparrows have taken to lurking in the depths of an old berberis, and the Cooper's Hawk has learned to strike at the shrub to scare them out. I don't think the hawk can get inside, the branches are thorny and dense, but the sparrows panic and burst out and the hawk chases them. I haven't seen a kill yet but it could happen just out of sight if the hawk is fast enough.

I once saw a hawk keep running around a euonymus shrub trying to get into the center. It even used its claws to reach inside. Whatever was inside survived, unless it died of terror.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

Good shooting, Emily! Looks as though he's in jail. Several times a hawk (Henry, I presume)dove into the yew that covers a corner of my house and nearly took out one of my office windows. Inasmuch as that happens roughly 4 ft. from where I am sitting, I still root for the sparrows...and Anderson, my window. Nice job, Emily. (No, not going to discuss his dinner...sigh)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2010 #6

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 10, 11 at 12:56

I'm going to start a new, 2011#1, thread to ease loading. You're welcome to continue discussion here if you want.

Claire


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