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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Wed, Jan 1, 14 at 9:05

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 2013 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 the links posted in Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. These threads have been moved to the Gallery but there may be problems with some of the links. I've corrected those I can edit and I made an Index for threads from 2008 to 2011.

And for 2013 (I'll move these to the Gallery at some point, but not just yet):
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #2
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #6
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #7
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #8
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #10
...................................................................... ...................................................................... ..........
Seen from my deck (lens full out) this morning at sunrise. Happy New Year!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Many visitors today at the bird feeders, in preparation for tonight's blizzard, I'm sure. Looks like we'll have to fill them up twice today -- plus lots of peanuts on the ground for the blue jays and hungry squirrels.

Stay warm, everyone!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 14:53

Not much snow here yet, just about an inch, but the wind is picking up. I've swept/shoveled out the groundfeeding areas several times already. The temperatures are just below freezing so the birdbaths are OK for now (I refilled them this morning).

Had a few human visitors here looking for birds today. It's Christmas Bird Count time and one of the teams from the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences stops at my yard every year while they're checking the local area. I know when a car parks across the street and people get out wearing binoculars that it's CBC time.

I always invite them to come into the yard and they found birds I didn't even know were here. One of the team had his grandson along and the kid saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet which was verified! In my yard or maybe next door! And I've never seen one! They also saw a bluebird down by the marsh so I know now where to look for one.

They also saw some shorebirds I've never noticed.

That's the difference between being an expert and being an enthusiastic amateur.

Blizzard conditions followed by fierce wind chills Friday morning - I'm just hoping the power stays on and the car starts.

Shoveling snow is good exercise, right?

And staying warm is a fine idea!

Claire (who keeps checking the forecast to see if they've changed their minds...)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 17:08

First things first, the sunrise color in the duck's wake is just perfect. It almost looks like they were churning up cranberries. What a great place to live for a bunch of lucky ducks.

The Southerner I'm related to always wants pictures of snow as she describes writing her snow request while wearing a tee shirt. uh-huh. So a few birds from today went south and here:

He's always so striking

The snowbird (Dark Eyed Junco) I hope he's happy!

This Tufted Titmouse's colors blended so well in the environment- couldn't resist

Jane
(We have about 3" as of now - 8-12" is forecast.)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 17:52

Jane: Your birds mostly look patient (and this too shall pass....).

Does your Southerner ever send pictures of warmth north?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 18:35

Yes, the best exchange is when she picks fruits and veggies in Feb. and March when we're still shoveling.

This post was edited by corunum on Thu, Jan 2, 14 at 20:24


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Jane, that cardinal is the such a bright red! More red than any cardinal I've seen. I'm sure the snow, the birch and the orangey leaves are helping to make him just stand right out too. Great photo! Juncos are the cutest little things too. I look forward to them every year.


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 17:17

PM2, he was brilliant red - more so than usual.

Okay, just learned that Mourning Doves DO have a harder time in the winter than most other birds here. (article linked below) These two pictured below sat for more than a half hour on the edge of the heated bird bath. My uneducated concern was that their feet and tail feathers would ice as soon as leaving because their tails were in water that's about 37 degrees which they had also walked into.

That heated bird bath is just the best!

Answer from Cornell about birds and frostbite.
Jane
P.S. - the bath rim and railing will be cleared in the morning along with the whole deck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Birds and Frostbite


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 17:53

Jane: Nice link about the Birds and Frostbite, but now I'm worried about the doves tonight too. Hopefully they'll find a nice warm communal roost.

Birds may be able to deal with heated bird baths well but squirrels sometimes have problems.

Back in January, 2009, I saw a squirrel frantically biting at its feet and I watched and saw this sequence.

Squirrel stands in the heated bird bath:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Squirrel gets out onto the cold grassy area and seems to have grass frozen to its feet, and tries to pull it off.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Squirrel gets back into heated bird bath to clean/warm its feet:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I didn't see the resolution of this problem - I hope it didn't affect the squirrels ability to climb the tree.

I guess the take-home message is that you shouldn't stand barefoot in a heated bath outdoors in the winter, unless you're a bird, or have a heated towel ready.

Claire


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 3, 14 at 21:27

Heated towels would be most thoughtful. Training them to use the towels would be impossible. I think we're doing the best we can in our limited human form. No need to worry, it all goes on.


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 13:38

The doves made it and were fed a whole lot more than the usual amount I spread on the ground this morning.

The robins are still waiting for the chokeberries and crabapples. After last night, I can't imagine how much more freezing the fruit requires, but they're not touching them.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Jane - I can see some healthy toes there, so the doves seem to be doing all right so far.

As far as the frozen fruit, in my previous garden there was a crab in easy sight of a large downstairs window, and one of our February-March delights was watching the grouse trying to balance on the rather spindly branches to gobble up the thawing fruit on warm days. Usually, the cedar waxwings would eventually arrive in a large flock, and similarly to Claire's robins in the winterberries, polish off the rest of the fruit in a short time some warm March afternoon. So for us anyway, the fruit needed freezing and thawing before the birds polished it off, but once thawed it was a much appreciated food source.

Although I didn't see our visitor, I think it was a fox who wandered around the back field, from woods through the veggie garden to the river bank and then across under the large spruce to the old stone barn foundation by the house, and from there along the line of hemlocks into the corn field. Hopefully, he found some voles to munch on and he will return for more!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 4, 14 at 17:58

Glad your doves made it through the frigid night, Jane. I put out a lot more food for the birds and critters today, too.

I also put out twenty apple cores (from a big batch of apple sauce) and I'm curious to see if they get eaten. Usually I just throw them in the brush and don't follow up on them, but today I put cores in two different locations just to see what happens. They're frozen now but should thaw out tomorrow.

From what nhbabs says, it sounds like you've got a while to wait for your crabapples and chokeberries to be eaten. Unless this week's thaw is enough.

nhbabs: When you look at that fox trail across an open field it seems like a very long distance that animal has to travel to find food, and to be so exposed en route. I wonder if it takes the same route every day. It's a lovely picture with the sun going down over a mostly pristine landscape.

Claire


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 14:41

nhbabs, seriously...you have to make a calendar of these field shots. Beautiful.

If you animal/life lovers haven't seen this video of a fox hunting, you have to.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: MSN, Fox hunting


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 5, 14 at 15:43

That is an astounding video, Jane, of the fox diving headfirst into the snow! I almost expected it to make a swan dive before entering. And it's amazing that it seems to orient to the magnetic field to find the mouse.

This morning as I was feeding and watering the birds and squirrels, I noticed my network of shoveled trails throughout the yard, and I thought that it looked a little like the vole trails that PM2 posted. The trails visit and connect all of the food and water locations (as well as the car and mail box). Maybe I'm not as sophisticated as I thought - I just have better tools.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Lovely video, Jane. It's particularly fun, since I had taken photos of the evidence left by my visitor doing something similar.

It was close to freezing today, warm enough to venture out after the extreme cold of the last several days, so I slapped on my skis and went out to check out the tracks in the field. Looking at the size and staggered pattern of the tracks, I think our visitor was actually a coyote, not a fox.
In this photo, s/he trotted along the fence line in the foreground, but in midphoto was in a full-out gallop going the other way, with about 3' between each of the landings.

From January 5, 2014

Further along, the coyote's track passed near the track of a small critter who popped up out of the snow, perhaps a chipmunk since there was no tail drag and it was too large for a mouse-sized critter.

From January 5, 2014

And then I came across a couple of places where s/he did a bit of pouncing, in this photo entering at a trot from the right back of the photo, pausing, and then jumping, leaving a divot with a vole hole at the bottom, and afterwards curling out and continuing to trot further along the field edge.

From January 5, 2014

Claire - As so often, you make me laugh!


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 6, 14 at 10:13

Fascinating series of photos, nhbabs! I wonder what made the coyote run in the first pic - maybe ran into another coyote hunting by the fence?

And the prospective chipmunk. I thought they hibernated so I just googled and this site says they wake up every few weeks and eat from their cache. Possibly the chipmunk already finished its cache (like Halloween candy) and was out looking for more.

You seem to know a lot about critter tracks - I would never have thought about tail drag.

It's great to be able to interpret the tracks to infer the animal's behavior. I wonder what your ski tracks say.....

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

At the very least, my ski tracks say I am easily distracted . . .

It looked like one coyote, looping around in a continuous track, so I am not sure what startled him into running. That end of the field is visible from the road, so perhaps a car came by, or one of us opened the sticky and therefore loud side door. Occasionally at night we hear them between the house and the river yipping and howling, but we've only rarely seen them, usually on nights during the full moon as lighter shadows flowing along the trees at the top of the river bank. At our previous house we were watching a deer right at the edge of the lawn one afternoon when suddenly it leapt into the air and bounded away, shortly followed by a coyote that emerged from the trees at a dead run. I don't think the coyote had a possibility of catching the deer, however.

I try to go out skiing or snowshoeing whenever possible in the winter, and often see lots of tracks. Many years ago friends gave me a wonderful book called The Wild Mammals of Missouri (Schwartz) which has incredible black and white drawings of the animals, their skulls, track patterns, dens, etc as well as an amazing amount of other information. That's my go-to guide for tracks and general information about any mammal that occurs in both MO and NH. Sometimes I supplement it with more local information since local races of some species (coyotes come to mind as one) vary quite a bit, but I'd highly recommend it if you want a general mammal guide.

I'm adding a link to the version I have, but there's a second edition as well.

In a few areas the coyote's weight wasn't enough to cause it to sink through the wind-packed drifts. The lighting made the photo look as though the prints are raised, but they weren't. Tracks were perhaps 2" long.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Wild Mammals of Missouri (Schwartz)


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The birds looked pitiful today. On Saturday when it was about 17 degrees, they were all fluffed up. today it was in the high 30s/low 40s and they were wet. We aren't seeing many goldfinches but might be looking out the window at the wrong time. We have about 8 bluebirds. I'm surprised they weren't shivering.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 6, 14 at 17:41

Thanks, nhbabs, for the book reference. I just ordered a used first edition (second edition is a bit pricey). While I don't have the variety of wildlife you do, I'd like to know more about what I have. Of course, this means that we won't get any more snow this winter so I won't be able to see the tracks.

defrost49: This bouncing around of temperatures must be really hard on the birds. We've gone from a night low below zero degrees a few days ago to a high today of 55 degrees and they're forecasting temperatures back below freezing for at least the next three days. I did see a few birds taking baths today, though.

When I refill the bird baths I use house temperature water - the watering cans sit filled up in the kitchen ready for the next trip out. I thought the birds would appreciate a warm drink but I remember one cold day a bird (I think a dove) took a drink, looked shocked, and left. Maybe their metabolism gets adapted to cold and that water felt too hot to them.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Another good ID book with tracks is The Mammal Guide by Ralph Palmer. I bought this new in 1957 (published 1954) and still find it useful.
You can get this book from abebooks for less than $4.00 with free shipping.
Several years ago while out snowshoeing I came across large wing prints (probably an owl) in the snow near a hole in the snow made by a weasel. I walked a little further and saw more wing prints. The field was covered with wing marking and gave up counting after about 50. I never seen anything like this before or since.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 10:55

Thanks for the added reference, squirejohn. I just went looking for videos of owls hunting and found this BBC video.

Maybe your owl was trying to catch a vole running through tunnels under the snow and kept missing. An inexperienced juvenile?

Claire


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Very cool video, Claire. Thank you!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 18:00

BBC owl video - that's the best owl hunting video and the best explanation of an owl's biologic architecture enabling it to hunt using sonar that I've ever seen. Glad you found it and posted it --BBC is excellent -- thank you.

In reference to the dove and room temp water, I don't know if room temp would have been extreme for them considering the rapid cool-off rate. Based on their behavior in a heated birdbath which maintains 37 degrees when air temp is below 37 and obviously goes higher when solar heated. It was about 6 above this morning when the dove walked into and drank from the heated bath. They do the same behavior I've noticed as the temps vary. I've read little about the seasonal metabolic changes of which birds are capable. Article listed may/may not be of interest. I liked it.

Jane (who will be searching for the Snowy as soon as the temps rise)

Here is a link that might be useful: Stanford. edu - Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye, 1988:Temperature Regulation and Behavior


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 18:03

Tracks are fascinating. Did not know mice have 5 'digits' on the hind feet and 4 in the front. All this time I thought he was going, when, in fact, he was coming.

Jane


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 7, 14 at 18:29

Good link, Jane, on temperature regulation in birds. Mother Nature is very clever in evolving different mechanisms for dealing with adversity - we humans with our sophisticated technology just add outer layers (with cues taken from birds and other critters, e.g. down, leather,...)

Claire


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 8, 14 at 16:42

I have no idea what he was going on about, but his gums look nice and healthy.

Jane
(do birds even have gums?)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 8, 14 at 17:25

No gums - you have to have teeth to have gums and modern birds don't have teeth (at least according to google).

Your junco has a nice healthy looking tongue though, and a pretty pink bill, but it does look like it's in a bit of a snit.

Claire


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Before 8 this morning, I drove down a street of houses built around 1900, and atop about 5 houses in a row were turkey vultures perched atop the chimneys. No camera, but it reminded me of the storks in Holland. First time I've seen them, temp was about 10, I think. Neat.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 9, 14 at 11:52

Sort of like this?

Picture taken in March 2009 of Turkey Vulture landing on the neighbor's chimney.
Turkey Vulture2 3:18:09

Claire


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 9, 14 at 11:56

Since we've had a run on raptors and predators lately, I thought I'd post this video that Cornell Lab of Ornithology sent in an email today.

Golden Eagle Flying Through Snow

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Jan 9, 14 at 11:57


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Always something interesting going on here. That is a really great video on that eagle, Claire! And I see they have a whole series of videos from Cornell, that I'm going to have to spend some time looking at. My son would love to see these too, he's an animal lover, so I'm going to send him the link. Thanks.

And who knew there were Turkey vultures around? lol Red tail hawks are as exotic as we get in my area.

Jane, that junco sure looks mad about something. I don't know how you get these shots, but that is a funny one. I find Juncos to be quite entertaining. I like when they fly around how you can see flashes of the white showing through. And they're quite acrobatic. We have a Gray Dogwood shrub that had a lot of white berries on it going into the Fall. At some point, the robins showed up and ate a lot of them, but they didn't seem able to strip it because the branches get rather delicate toward the tips and some of the berries hang off the very tip of the branches. I haven't seen any bird trying to get the rest of the berries that are left on it, until yesterday, I saw the juncos cleaning up the rest of them. They had a special technique of getting to those last berries. Some of them would fly from a standstill on the ground, under the branches, straight up and snatch the berry and fly back down to the ground. Others would fly in from the side and get them mid flight it seemed. They made it look easy. lol

It occurs to me that there was a purpose of design going on there, so big and small birds got a chance at some of the berries.


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 9, 14 at 13:49

Yup, that's the look and perched, all tucked in and absorbing polluted heat exhaust. They follow a straight pathway of about 7 miles long and maybe 2 miles wide that puts my street in the middle of their swath. Every day the vultures can be see around noontime soaring and they camp in trees, a flock of about 15, and hang out literally in a row against a fence with cows soaking up sunlight. Someday I'll remember (?) to put a little camera in my pocketbook so I can get these snaps.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Interesting owl story, Squirejohn; the wing prints must have been beautiful. Thanks for the track book reference.

One thing I would add to the info in the BBC video that Claire posted is that the owl's ears aren't at the same level from side to side. One is lower than the other to help the owl triangulate its prey's location, and the bobbing of its head helps as well by giving data from a slightly different perspective.

I think Jane's junco needs a caption . . . but I am fresh out of inspiration.

Fascinating about the TVs warming their toes on the chimney tops. I've never lived somewhere that it was warm enough for them to stay in the winter. When I lived in OH, there was one town (Hinckley) that made a big deal of the TVs returning to town on March 15. Here it's a bit later in the season.

My only recent interesting bird sighting was a bald eagle flying over I-93 just north of Concord, NH earlier in the week. Because the road follows the Merrimack River, I see eagles a couple times a year while I am driving.


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Claire - maybe you need to start a new recurring thread - footprints in the garden?

Squirrel. Not sure if it was Henry or Jose. Though they have had quite a few friends over lately. Not sure how he got here. This is the only footprint I see.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 17:47

pixie_lou: "Footprints in the garden" - interesting thought for a thread. I'm not sure if we in New England have enough critters for a recurring thread though.

I'm still trying to get my head around squirrels making tracks with the hind feet in front of the front feet. I did find one reference that said squirrels land with the hind feet forward - I'll have to look closer when the squirrels gallop up and down the path caching peanuts-in-the-shell.

I found this nice Track Identification Guide from Purdue. It even has snapping turtle tracks.

Claire


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 17:57

OK, I just found a video on YouTube of a Red Squirrel Running that has a slow motion segment that seems to show those hind legs overlapping the front legs.

Claire


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 18:28

This is just the best thread. All inclusive critters. Good tracks chart and video. Just learned the other day that there is a big difference between red fox and gray fox tracks. Pixie, did you see any small parachutes lying about?

Yesterday the crabapples were deemed acceptable by just about everybody and for more than 2 hours, robins, cedar waxwings and starlings (have spots) cleaned the trees.

Many pictures to go through, but I really like this one. Looks more like spring than winter to me. My estimate is 250-300 birds filled the yard and trees. I'm glad the cars were in the garage.

Jane
68 days until spring
Edited with hope of getting starlings and grackles straight...but it's not looking good.

This post was edited by corunum on Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 21:38


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 10, 14 at 20:36

250-300 birds, Jane! I wonder how they passed the word around (hey, everybody, the crabapples are ready!)

Very pretty picture of stuffed robins and a starling (stuffed as in ate-too-much, not stuffed as in taxidermy).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 11, 14 at 10:16

Maybe this will work for me - it has to make letter sense.

grACKles are blACK

STARlings have STARs

Wouldn't you think that people who can remember some Latin plant names and the dates of the Hundred Years War could get this straight? We'll see how it goes.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 11, 14 at 10:26

I like it! I've been trying to think of a grackle memory aid for the last few months and haven't been able to find one.

This will work! I just clipped it in case I forget.

Thanks,
Claire


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jan 11, 14 at 18:01

They were here and cleaned the prairie fire crabapple and ornamental pear trees - not the chokeberries. Cedar Waxwings not only look impeccably neat and clean, but they appear to look like paintings. Their feathers are so smooth. When the ear-full of waxwings (really--I had to look that up) swooped in after the robins broke the news of fruit readiness, even a mockingbird showed up. Have not uploaded photos yet, but here are 3 waxwings - that only come here once a year to clean the trees.

Jane
(the waxwing group can also be called a 'museum', but the irony of ear-full on wax would be lost)

Here is a link that might be useful: What do you call a group of cedar waxwings


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 9:01

With no intention of turning this thread into a dung review, this is too good not to share. (article below) Apparently, we are all missing extraordinary opportunities.

Here is a link that might be useful: London pigeon droppings inspire brooch-maker


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

What a beautiful cedar waxwing photo Jane.

This isn't a cool youtube video, but I caught Henry mid stride. You can see how his hind legs will land in front of his front legs. If you use your imagination.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 10:47

Jane: Cedar Waxwings look a little bit like penguins - sleek and plump and unruffled, although I can't imagine penguins eating crabapples in trees (but penguins have never been given the opportunity, so who knows).

RE pigeon droppings as inspiration for jewelry: I'm reminded of the day in NYC when I was on my way to work and I walked under the overhead no. 7 train platform. A pigeon got me right on the top of my head and I had to walk a long stretch across a parking lot, feeling the glop drying up. I managed to wash it off in the ladies room, but I'm not sure I want a beanie in the shape of a pigeon dropping, no matter how beautiful.

Although, thinking about it, it might be rather charming if done well....

pixie_lou: That picture of Henry exactly illustrates how the foot landing works. Thanks!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

The starlings have been storming the yard lately. I've noticed that when they all storm off, every other bird in the yard takes shelter in the trees.
starlings photo starlings_zpse422f0f5.jpg

Have also seen a few robins around. Looking a bit chubby for the dead of winter. Though they are probably saying the same thing about me!
robin photo robin_zps0fd723bb.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 17:34

pixie_lou: it's interesting that both you and Jane get large flocks of starlings in your yard. I only get a few at a time, although I've seen large flocks in the area. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that both of you have big expanses of lawn for the starlings to land on. My lawn is severely limited (and getting more so each year).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 17:46

Pixie - Good mid-air catch on Henry, and yes, perfect example of those back feet making quite an impression. An aside, I don't think Claire will clobber me from afar, in ref. to a remark you made in another thread about being younger than some other NE members, I say, Good! Personally, I'm delighted that you participate and post otter pics, etc. I joined 6 years ago during a stressful pine tree moment in my yard and I thought, OMG, they all know the Latin names. Well, meet my friend Google and a bunch of books. So forget the age thing...but I still want your pond.

Went looking for an Arctic Snowy Owl today and came home with a Canada Goose. Didn't Gertrude Stein say, 'a bird, is a bird, is a bird'...Maybe the next time.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 17:59

But it's a great goose shot, Jane! So powerful and confident.

Didn't somebody say "A bird in the camera is worth two in the news..." or something like that?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 18:38

hahahahaha, yup, I think that's right. Chokeberries are still not ripe enough, but they're trying. Reminds of my first time with chopsticks.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 12:31

Very funny - and in the same vein of birds/critters dangling upside down from a branch to eat :

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The squirrel matched the wisteria pods nicely - it almost looked like cannibalism.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 18:11

A Yellow-rumped Warbler, AKA Butter Butt, appeared at my bird bath late this afternoon.

Yellow-rumped Warbler1R 1:13:14

I used to see them every day in the winter when I hung the suet cage from the wisteria (the same wisteria the squirrel is hanging from in the previous post). The birds loved the suet there, it was easy to access and the butter butt could guard it. I had to move the suet cage though, because the squirrels would climb up for the suet and stay and nosh on the wisteria flower buds in the spring. I guess the butter butts decided the exposed cage was just not worth guarding and didn't stay.

I miss the butter butts - it was great to see one today.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 16:14

Well, maybe the warblers liked the shielded effect better; don't know. Only saw one here once and nothing is shielded, so may be you're right. They are cute.

I'm trying to clean out photos I really don't need to keep which will make my computer's HD happier and today I found a reason to be grateful for having green outside, not white as it was 2 years ago today:

When, at that time, the poor blue bird probably thought, "It's a beak... not a Sawzall".

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 16:55

Lots of snow there, Jane - good of you to shovel all that for the birds. That doesn't look like a happy bluebird to me.

I don't know about two years ago here, but a year ago yesterday the yard looked pretty much like it does today.

January 16, 2013
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

However, a few months later, on March 22, 2013, we had snow too (which didn't seem to faze this tom turkey).
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I have a sinking feeling that once this January thaw is over, February and March are going to be brutal....

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

We haven't seen any turkeys for about two weeks, since we got a lot of snow that then froze when it rained. I think it has made any open ground fairly inhospitable for foraging.

I went out for a walk this morning since on snowy weekends the road is quiet, and down by the stream it was clear that sometime between the last snow and this one the otters had been playing along the bank, sliding down into the water. Unfortunately, unlike Pixie Lou, I can't see the water from my windows, so I didn't get to see them, but I do love knowing that they are around.

From January 19, 2014


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 17:26

aahhhh, another year and my envy of the bay, river, pond, brook owners grows. Otter tracks. Be still my foolish heart. So nice.

nhbabs - are you using your iPhone to take these outdoor scenes or did you get another camera? I'm asking because everything in your pictures is in focus, not just a narrow subject. You're making winter look nice even as I think of fields of lilies in Bermuda.

Jane
59 days until spring


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 17:53

Beautiful scene, nhbabs, and I'm imagining the otters gamboling around making those tracks sliding into the water. They must really crush the serenity that the picture shows - like raucous laughter in a library.

I'm not seeing turkeys very often now either, but I think it's because the neighbors up the street are putting out a superior buffet for them. They were here a few days ago so I think I'm still on the schedule, just not so often.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Jane, yes it's my iphone5. Getting a good camera with more flexibility is still on my list, but the iphone is fairly good for this type of shot. It can't focus if it gets too close to things, and it doesn't have a functional zoom so anything small at a distance is out of range, and it doesn't always focus on what I'd like it to, but for things starting at about 6' up to wide landscapes it does surprisingly well.

In more than 30 years, I've only seen otters once, happily at a time when I could stop and watch them popping in and out of holes in the ice of a frozen pond, but I do occasionally see their slides in the snow. In warm weather it's mostly too buggy to hang out near water unless I am in it.

This post was edited by nhbabs on Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 9:11


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Beautiful shots and such interesting facts about birds, other winter friends and their tracks, everyone! I haven't been here in a while. I showed the photos on this thread to my DH who loves to paint birds and winter scenery. (Hope I can easily copy and send them to his computer down in his art room. If not, I may be asking for some to be sent to me via email.)

We've watched the river for weeks --- looking for the Hooded Mergansers. They're such speedy little motorboats on the river --- it's hard to capture them with my camera. I usually end up with just their wake and back ends in my shots. But today my DH spotted a pair around the dock. So I went out onto the deck and steadied my camera against a post. I've included all the photos that were taken in just a minute or so. The Mergansers are the cutest of our "river folk" ---- we wait for them every winter.

Here's the male... on a tear. All the photos are in order as he rounded the bend and disappeared into the reeds.

Racing a friend... he won, of course

The only clear one of him with his little lady

Almost out of view. I love his little brown belly!

Back view --- he's kind of saying, "Eat my dust!"

The final shot --- a mirrored image


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 14:37

ENVY Glad you have that Canon, Molie. I haven't seen one of these fellows yet. Have to keep traveling. Good going!

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Nice photos; I love the colors. In those first two photos he is kicking up quite a bow wave! I haven't seen any here yet, but I spend less time near the river when there's snow & ice on the ground as our bank is quite steep. Today I was out skiing and there's currently lots of open water, but didn't see any water birds (or anything else living other than a few snowmobilers on the other side of the river.) Often I first see the mergansers during the Great Backyard Bird Count in February, though they may be around earlier.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 17:39

Great pictures of the Hooded Merganser, Molie! Such a cute little bird - I think that's an American Black Duck he left in the dust.

I see the mergansers every once in a while at the local marsh, usually when I don't have a camera with me, and it's always exciting .

Claire

edit note: I saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers a few weeks ago at the marsh as I was driving by. I'm glad nhbabs brought up the GBBC - it's coming up on Feb. 14 - 17, 2014. I reported two Hooded Mergansers on GBBC 2010.

So Molie, you have a new Canon camera?

This post was edited by claire on Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 17:45


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Yes, it's a new camera and I'm slowing becoming better at using it, though there's still more I need to learn. I often take photos off our back deck rather than try to go down to the water's edge. We have strong winds on that side of the house --- steadying the camera is a skill I've not yet developed.

We're getting another snowstorm today. The birds are very busy at the feeders and on the ground --- the blue jays were here very early today for their peanuts.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 22, 14 at 16:17

You're doing a great job already, Molie! It's so nice to be able to take a long distance photo without scaring the birds (or going into the woods).

The snowstorm is finally over here - the last band of ocean effect snow hung over us for hours this afternoon before sliding offshore.

I was out in the middle of the storm shoveling to feed the birds and critters, but the fresh water was appreciated just as much if not more than the food. My copper birdbath freezes up and I can't empty it so I put a shallow saucer on top for the birds that prefer their water up in the air.

Here some Mourning Doves settled onto the birdbath and seemed to almost go to sleep.
Mourning Doves2 1:22:14

A female cardinal looked wistful but apparently decided not to try to join them. There were more birdbaths available, this one just happens to be a cardinal and dove favorite.
Mourning Doves and Cardinal2 1:22:14

And a little later on a bunch of robins came in for the water.
Robins1 1:22:14

While the heated birdbath is always on, I try to refill the other birdbaths first thing in the morning and then again in the afternoon when the birds are going to roost and need a drink.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Wonderful shots of the communal bath/drinking fountain, Claire. How much snow did you get? I understand the MA shore got socked! Hope you were spared the deep snows I heard about on tonight's news.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 22, 14 at 18:32

It's hard to say how much snow, Molie, since the strong winds shoved it all over the place with drifts several feet deep - probably an average of 10 to 14 inches. That's quite a change considering there was absolutely no snow on the ground here on Tuesday morning.

It's supposed to be really cold through Friday then suddenly a burst of temperatures in the mid-30's on Saturday and then below freezing again. I'm visualizing an icy crust on everything.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

No otter slides here. No Mergansers. And no heated bird baths. But there has been tons of bird activity at the feeders. I took these pictures earlier in the week. In about 10 minutes I noted the following species on the bird feeder or in the yard (didn't get photos of all of them).
Cardinal (male and female)
Junco
Chickadee
White Thraotes Sparrow
Goldfinch
Rufted Titmouse
Downy Woodpecker (male)
White Breasted Nuthatch
House Finch (male and female)
Starling
Blue Jay
Crow
Robin
Mockingbird
Mourning Dove

As for photos
A crow and a squirrel were having a showdown in the compost heap. Not sure what treasures they were after.
 photo compost_zps94cfebdc.jpg

A titmouse on the feeder, seed in mouth
 photo IMG_9964_zps76e25153.jpg

a pair of House Finches and a Titmouse share the feeder
 photo IMG_9952_zpscc6a2837.jpg

White Throated Sparrow, Cardinal and Juncos foraging under the feeder
 photo IMG_0003_zps55abdb09.jpg

Female house finch sitting on the patio bench
 photo IMG_9812_zps5ec7c82b.jpg

Male house finch on the clotheline post, seed in beak
 photo IMG_9966_zpsafbce900.jpg

Chickadee on the clotheline
 photo IMG_9976_zps3150df87.jpg

A pair of juncos
 photo IMG_9986_zps85783748.jpg

Lastly - in the tree are 6 male cardinals, 2 females, and one male house finch.
 photo IMG_0030_zps17de5614.jpg

Close up of 4 cardinals
 photo IMG_0008_zps5cdab990.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 15:53

Holy cow, Pixie! 6 cardinals at once. You lucky duck! What a great picture. - All of them of neat - even without otters.

Claire, what's not to love about a peaceful crowd around the watering hole? So nice.

New background on GW? Nice.

Well, I don't have any 'visible' critters to show, but by George, yesterday after the snow, the backyard was a pristine rectangle of white powder. But after last night's traffic, I think I should get an outdoor night camera. This is only 1/2 of the tracks.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 16:40

pixie_lou: No wonder the crow and the squirrel were vying for the compost - it looks like a giant carrot cake. I'd want a slice myself.

What a nice selection of birds in your yard - all of the usual suspects for New England and a good selection of cardinals to boot. It's like seeing a reunion of old friends.

Jane: You definitely should get some sort of trail camera or whatever is the appropriate type to monitor your yard. There's a lot going on out there at night that you're missing. Without the snow you wouldn't even know any critter had been there!

Maybe some of them are foxes, like this one I saw today drinking out of the heated birdbath. It didn't look very healthy and it was favoring its left hind leg.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The fox looked around a bit and then ran to the neighbor's yard. It apparently had no luck finding dinner there and came back, looking pretty dejected. It drank from the heated birdbath again and then left.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The snow and the extra cold nights must be hard on it.

Heated birdbaths are great but I learned this morning that when the power goes out for a few hours overnight and the birdbath freezes solid, the heater isn't powerful enough to melt that ice when the power comes back on. Once I knocked the ice out and refilled it, it kept the water liquid as usual. Another really cold night forecast for tonight and hopefully no power outage. It wasn't storm related, just some sort of problem with the NSTAR high voltage equipment.

Claire

edit note: I just noticed the new GW background. I was wondering the other day how the southern forums, like Florida, felt about the snowflakes.

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 16:43


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

corunum - If you buy a trail camera make sure it's one that will work in below freezing temperatures, many do not.

Although it's hard to tell from your photo those tracks look as though they may have been made by a house (or feral) house cat.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 11:41

Claire, it's the Disney disease - my heart would want to take the fox in and give him a warm bath and a good brushing along with a large pot roast dinner, alas... good pictures. Your feeding area is marked.
The other day there was squirrel in the nearby cherry tree wedged in a branch fork with an obvious spinal chord injury because from mid-body down, nothing moved. I watched him leave the tree and drag himself away. The hips and legs had no power. Again, human restriction.

Squirejohn, hello, and thank you for the tip. I'm not a zone pusher in any avenue, and being the caretaker here of all things winter, below freezing worthiness for anything is on my mind. Like apples left on the porch, lol. (saved them) You're right about a cat track, but there are tracks of 7 deer, and what may be coyote; 4 toes with nails and about the right 'dog' size. We don't have anything unusual going through at night that I know of but a trail cam sure would be entertaining. I frequently find scats from various nocturnal depositors and grow enough things to eat on my property, so I may have a look at Canada proven trail cams.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 15:22

Berries and birds. Now I'm wondering if it's a matter of preserving food or, a 'squishability' factor. Funny that the chokeberries didn't disappear when the crabapples went, but they're still here. The robins test them once in a while, but that's it. The berries have been frozen many times over, so that's not it. The berries seem somewhat 'squishable' according to this fellow's grasp on the situation. Beats me.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 24, 14 at 16:51

Jane: It hurt to see the fox like that - It's probably a youngster facing its first winter without good hunting skills. The leg injury probably doesn't help in a hunt.

I thought about what I have in the house to feed it, but I don't want a fox relying on me for food, coming around every day and snacking on the birds and squirrels I'm committed to feed. If it was lying on the ground in the yard I'd probably give it food and water to give it a chance and then hope it would move on to better feeding grounds.

I'm sorry about the squirrel - it will probably end up killed by a predator that it can't escape.

That's a great pic of the robin berry-tester. I don't understand when berries are deemed edible by the birds. Squishability seems like a reasonable factor but maybe chokeberries just don't taste good and they're a last resort.

The berries on my American hollies (Ilex opaca 'Goldie') are mostly eaten now but a few are left. There are also a few winterberries uneaten. Late ripening?

I was wrong about my heated birdbath. I don't know whether the ice kept the thermostat on for too long trying to reach a temperature above freezing or whether another cold night was the last straw, but it was solid ice again this morning.

I've had it for about three years which is the average life expectancy of a heated birdbath in my yard, and I already bought the replacement on sale earlier this year. The new one is now in place and a House Sparrow took the christening bath. I'll probably cut the cord off the old one and use it as an unheated saucer bath.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 17:41

I think my heated birdbath is 3 or 4 and still maintains its 37 degrees, thankfully. Some day it won't but until then...

It was almost as if I could here them in unison saying, "Places everyone, places...


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jan 26, 14 at 19:24

I'm imagining squirrels breaking out into a song and dance, ending in a chorus line.....

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 27, 14 at 10:57

The Yellow-rumped Warbler (AKA butter butt) has apparently decided he owns the double suet cage feeder which he can guard from the nearby pine. It's not as good an arrangement as when the suet cage was embedded in the wisteria, but it's workable.

He's not very much afraid of me - I can get quite close before he flies away (sort of like a downie). These pics were taken from a distance, though.

Yellow-rumped Warbler1 1:24:14

Yellow-rumped Warbler2 1:24:14

Yellow-rumped Warbler3 1:24:14

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 12:03

The yellow warbler is cute. Imagine having all that suet to yourself? The fat lottery!

Well, the current residents keep trying the chokeberries, but...

Hmm, these look interesting:

A little taste:

Think lemons:

And he flew away.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 15:08

The name "chokeberry" seems to be really apt. I guess when the birds are really desperate in late winter they'll hold their noses/beaks and swallow the fruit.

I've been seeing a Fox Sparrow for the last week lurking at the edge of the brush. I don't see them often but they're around every year.
Fox Sparrow1 1:28:14

And the Northern Flickers come for the water - here a male.
Northern Flicker1 1:28:14

Northern Flicker2 1:28:14

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 20:47

Flickers are nicely marked birds. Good capture with the Poirot mustache. I see you have ice, that's not good.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 10:20

Jane: The ice is just where I dumped the birdbaths when I refilled them. I've been trying to distribute the ice chunks so when the next melt comes it will go to shrubs that will appreciate it.

I've been very careful to keep the paths non-slippery and so far it's worked.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 11:50

Apparently, aronia brilliantissima can be bitter. Even Buster the Bouncer walked away this morning after trying one berry. This year I may try black chokeberries (yes, the choke should be a given to the distastefulness). I did find a blog article about them, so I guess whenever the birds or Buster gets desperate enough, the berries will go. In previous years, the robins flocked the bush and devoured the fruit, but not this year.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: landscapeofmeaning.blog


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 12:06

A nice picture of Buster looking disgusted at the taste of the berries.

I'm reminded of the excellent folks who render suet and add their own ingredients to make homemade suet cakes (I'm not one of them). Perhaps, Jane, you'd consider picking the chokeberries and making a nice jam to put out for the birds/critters....

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 12:08


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 29, 14 at 14:39

How kind that effort would be in the right hands.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Thanks for the link, Jane. Broken Arrow's online catalogue lists one variety of Aronia --- arbutifolia 'Brilliantissima'. Might be worth a ride down in the spring. Wish I had room for this plant.

Claire, how close are you and your camera able to get to the bird baths and feeders? I really admire anyone who goes out on these cold days to take photos of birds and other winter visitors. I thought the pictures of the fox were particularly moving. It's been an awfully cold winter and I agree that he didn't look good. His tail was down and he seemed to be trying to stay close to the ground and unnoticed. Has he ever returned?

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jan 31, 14 at 11:05

Molie: Pretty much all of my bird and critter photos are taken through a window from inside the house. I placed the feeders and birdbaths so I could see them from one of the windows. The main problem is fuzziness due to dirty windows.

I'll go outside with the camera for the Great Backyard Bird Count but otherwise I'd much rather photograph from the warm inside with my shoes off.

This is the un-zoomed view from the kitchen down the path toward some feeders. A hawk probably stopped by because all of the birds suddenly disappeared.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A partial close-up of the nyjer feeder, taken from the kitchen.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and just beyond the nyjer feeder is a suet feeder, photo taken from the kitchen.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Lens full out at the nyjer feeder, focused on the feeder and not on the goldfinch.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and lens full out at the suet feeder.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Another favorite view is from my computer which I keep by a different window. Down the path is a cluster of birdbaths.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Lens full out at the latest temporary birdbath on top of the frozen copper birdbath.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

My camera is an older Canon SX30 IS with a built in 35X zoom.

I haven't seen the fox again. We've had a couple of thaws and I hope it's finding food somewhere. It's warming up now for about a week and hopefully the temperature will be more seasonal after that so local critters can handle what they're used to. Winters here on the coast are generally not very cold - windy but not frigid.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 13:48

That's a good camera range from inside. How wonderful to have nature outside every window. Very nice.

This morning a hermit thrush tried the chokeberries:

And after tasting just one berry:

Oh, well. I like the shrubs. Carbon and Copy were caught in the same pose today:

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Thanks for the explanation of your zoom, Claire. More information for camera shopping is always appreciated.

We have finally had some warmer weather and so I went for a long walk yesterday down by the stream, through our far corn field (not visible from the house) and then through the next farm south which was an ornamental tree & sod farm at one point and is now returning to its roots as a food farm. I had been wondering where "our turkeys" had wandered off to and found evidence of them in several places:

Crossing the stream

From Jan 31, 2014

and then up to check out the manure piles in the field

From Jan 31, 2014

but the real attraction seems to have been the ornamental crabs in the tree fields. There were lots of tracks in this area, but almost none around the other rows of trees.

From Jan 31, 2014

Earlier in the week I had taken a quick ski around the corn field by the house and found tracks from fox and coyote as well as this little guy, perhaps a mouse based on the size and tail drag, where his track and the fox coincided.

From Jan 31, 2014


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 16:20

I suppose, Jane, you can tell yourself that the birds and squirrels in your yard are just so well fed that they don't have to stoop in desperation to eat the yucky chokeberries. And you'll have a nice berry display into the spring (and maybe residual berries into next fall).

It's amazing that aronia is a common native shrub - they must seed around somehow - all those desperate late-winter birds?

Very pretty pic of the titmice in the birch.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 16:37

nhbabs posted while I was responding to Jane.

Those tracks are really like an outline of the turkeys' day. You can see where they went without them being watched and disturbed. Did the ornamental crabs drop crabapple fruit that the turkeys were looking for in the snow?

I don't understand the fox/mouse story - did the mouse go by first and then the fox came by? The mouse tracks seem to continue unchanged but there's that pounce hole.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 18:01

Those New Hampshire turkeys are just plain lucky. Actually, just from this one thread alone, I've learned just how lucky wild turkeys are. They seem to frequent prime properties only, country and seaside. Turkeys are smart.

Today I went to a large pond (I will have a pond in my next life) . Why is it when you scan a large raft of ducks (I looked that collective noun up) there is usually at least one that is different? (where's Waldo) I did discover that the more time I spend with ducks, the stronger my desire for orange sneakers.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

I honestly don't know how the turkeys got the crabapples, but I didn't see any evidence of fruit on the ground or scratching in the snow, so I don't know if they flew up into the trees and wobbled on the branches while eating (I've seen grouse do that) or if the fruit had fallen.

The ongoing fox track was a regular trot, and the photo included a mark where two paws (front and back) hit almost the same spot, so I am sure that the mouse came first since there was no pause in the fox's journey. The fox print is mostly there for a size indicator (so much more interesting than my mitten.)

Jane - The photo is quite 'Waldo' and I echo the wish for orange high tops!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

NHBabs, please post a picture this spring of your crabapple lined avenue when the trees are all in bloom! How lovely, even in winter! Did you plant these trees. This is inspiring me to create something similar.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 15:10

Jane: Now I'm wondering why all of those waterfowl have orange feet and legs..... it can't be so they can find their feet if they lose them in the garden.... and it wouldn't be much camouflage if a snapping turtle was swimming underneath.

It looks like they're all milling around waiting for the parade to start, or the gates to the stadium to open - maybe the different ones are the color guard to lead the parade?

nhbabs: Maybe the turkeys stretched up like a giraffe and browsed in the crabapple trees? I've seen them do that reaching for a nyjer sock (the sock emptied out really fast with a hole in it).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

Sped - The double row of crabs isn't my doing; I was cheating a bit, and it's on the next farm south that was an ornamental tree and sod farm before a combination of mismanagement and the economy put it out of business 5 or 6 years ago. The photo is of two adjacent nursery rows, spaced wide enough for a commercial mower to fit between. It has now grown well past its sell by date and I imagine will get torn out at some point, but I don't know since the current farmer (food) only ripped out pines and spruce rows this summer. I will try to remember to take some photos this spring since it is quite spectacular in bloom with rows of white and all shades of pink as well as various non-fruiting trees pushing leaves.

I think for an allee planned to remain long-term you would want your trees spaced further apart in all directions, but I do love the look trees spaced regularly along a drive or path. Here's a slightly broader view - the left side of this photo is the right side of the one above.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 16:41

I just noticed we have 93 follow-ups on this thread! This is too many for those with slow loading problems. I'll start another thread ASAP, maybe even without a start-off photo.

As always, you're welcome to continue the discussion on this thread.

Claire


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