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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 13:21

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

All of the threads in the Birds and other mobile features in the garden series prior to 2012 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery.

For 2012, see the links posted in Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. I'm in the process of moving these threads to the Gallery.

And for 2013:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #2


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A warm day with sun (believe it or not) and the turkeys are enjoying the day.

This tom is resplendent in the sun. The red splotches are leftover Christmas decorations inside my window.
Turkey resplendent2 3:13:13

Other turkeys, hens and toms, are lounging around the yard, getting up now and then to eat some more.
Turkey siesta1 3:13:13

No, this is not a turkey carcass, just a very relaxed bird snoozing under a holly.
Turkey siesta2 3:13:13

It's supposed to get chilly again for about a week but the trend is definitely in the direction of Spring!

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, May 27, 13 at 17:36


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

We also had turkeys this week, and unusually for us, they were near the house. As long as I only put my camera and not my face or body in the window while I took photos, they didn't run away. They were feeding in the areas under trees and on south-facing slopes where the snow had melted. Unfortunately they were in areas where the sun hadn't yet reached so that their color was pretty muted.

From March 14, 2013

From March 14, 2013


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 15, 13 at 14:12

nhbabs: It looks like your turkeys are also preening, getting all the feathers in order - a sign that they're comfortable in your yard.

It's interesting that they're OK with the camera looking at them, but not a human. I guess turkeys don't worry about big-eyed predators. Smaller birds here get scared by the camera eyes (hawk eyes?) but don't usually worry about me (inside the window) although they'll scatter if I move too fast.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 18, 13 at 20:05

Not New England, too OT

This post was edited by corunum on Tue, Mar 19, 13 at 9:39


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 10:04

Photos taken by a New Englander on vacation anywhere are not OT (on my thread, anyway).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 17:32

Two White-breasted Nuthatches together on one feeder. It must be Spring - usually one will chase the other off.

White-breasted NuthatchesR 3:20:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 20, 13 at 18:36

Well,TY for stretching the boundaries, Claire. Just wanted to share some joy from birds and gardens with people on this thread. Spring IS here, azaleas everywhere, and today I bought 25 lbs of fresh tomatoes -large and beautiful for $1.40/lb to bring home. A farmer at heart, I had to marvel at the veggie garden at the U.of Georgia Bamboo Garden and a Jap. Ilex tree in full berry bloom planted in 1934-huge tree-have picture but can't find it now. Gazebo pic below is in the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston and the first Killdeer I've ever seen was in the Savannah Wildlife Refuge. Been too cold for painted buntings yet, but a woman told me she saw a yellow cardinal at a friend's feeder.

Killdeer

Weather turning cold,time to go home to Ivy.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 10:03

I want to take a nap in that gazebo, feet up with a fresh breeze in the face. And a Killdeer as well!

Twenty-five (25) lbs of fresh tomatoes! That's a lot of sauce for early spring!

Thanks for the glimpse of spring,
Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 10:05


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 22, 13 at 12:21

Well, Spring didn't last very long (but usually it goes directly to Summer, not back to Winter).

One of the first sights this morning was a Carolina Wren feeding in a hole in the snow partially covering the feeder.
Carolina Wren on feeder 3/22/13

And a turkey tom continued to display - I guess Spring trumps Snow.
Wild Turkey display in snow 3:22:13

Claire (who was out shoveling for the birds before breakfast)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Our turkeys don't get shoveled for and they weren't happy about it. After our snowfall on Tuesday, they came by Wednesday morning, literally running from one spot under a tree where the snow wasn't as deep to the next shallow spot. Here they are clustered under the apple tree by the garden.


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Odd raven behavior

I just looked out the window, and out in the back field were 3 ravens behaving in an odd way. There are areas of the field bare of snow, but they were in an area with about 4" of the white stuff, plunging their heads in, beak-first. One would hop a few steps or a few feet and then would stuff its head in up to the eyes and then repeat the process. It's too cold for insects and it was too spread out to be a nest of voles or field mice (the behavior was spread over an area something like 25' square.) When I went out there wasn't blood on the snow.

I'm baffled as to what they were doing. Any ideas?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 17:06

That looks like a very peaceful spot, nhbabs, if you're not a hungry turkey (I'm sure you're not a turkey).

I don't shovel for the turkeys - they've got big feet and they can shovel for themselves. I do shovel for the little birds that get absolutely frantic when the groundfeeding areas are covered with snow. Sparrows and juncos are good at scratching in leaves but they just aren't equipped to deal with several inches of snow, and they're not good at feeding from hanging feeders.

It helps that I'm careful to spread seed on areas convenient for me to reach, like next to the bluestone path. I just push the shovel down the path like a snowplow and make a few side forays to expose the seed already there (and add more).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Mar 23, 13 at 17:15

You posted the second pic while I was responding to the first. Voles or field mice sound reasonable, not a nest but a trail, with the critter(s) trying to escape the ravens. Either they escaped or were carried off (bloodlessly) to be eaten somewhere else.

I'm guessing, of course, never having known a raven, but I once saw a crow catch a vole/mouse.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Claire - DH had the same suggestion of individual mice or voles, so I imagine that's what it was. The ravens are a hair larger than crows, so it seems reasonable. I tell by the difference by their sound which doesn't resemble a crow's at all. I don't think they were successful (unfortunately considering our overabundance of voles!) since I think I would have seen it.

Also, our turkeys finally decided it's spring; there were 6 males all trying to catch the attention of one lone female this morning, displaying and strutting.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 24, 13 at 10:03

nhbabs: I have raven envy - I've never seen one here although they're beginning to come back to SE MA.

This is a video that was posted on the Bird Watching Forum of an Alaskan raven orating in a tree.

Raven talking

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Claire - I saw this chap last week and thought of you as you wait for their return. Do not recall seeing a RW Blackbird so still and so happy. He has quite a nice song and sounded like a very experienced lyric virtuoso. I usually see them briefly in with a flock of starlings and darting quickly for food. He was a delight.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Mar 25, 13 at 16:52

A still red-wing? Rare indeed and a beautiful pic.

Right now I have the horde of blackbirds in a mixed flock, flying back and forth and back and forth and responding to any alert (there they go again!) Since this is my Project Feeder Watch count I have to quantify it somehow. Rough guess a few minutes ago - 50 birds total, guesstimate 30 red-wings and 20 grackles, with 8 cowbirds and 6 starlings joining in (they stayed together long enough to count.

The flock slowed down for a few minutes to graze on the lawn by the edge of the cliff (under the oaks and cherries). I wonder if there's some kind of insects emerging there or maybe blown out of the trees. I hope so, because that's one of the main reasons I feed them - to eat pests. I've seen that in other years too - the birds grazing in that area around this time.

It takes a lot of birdseed though to keep them hanging around. I just bought some more so I'm ready for the next storm, whatever it may be.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 26, 13 at 11:25

One of the few good things related to the cursed late snowstorms is the sudden appearance of a Northern Mockingbird. I usually only see them once or twice a year and they don't stick around.

This one has been frequenting the suet and the peanut/nugget feeder for the last few days and looks like it's settling in (at least until the bugs come out). I've seen it pretty much every day. I don't know if I've heard it singing - there's a cacophony of birdsong out there.

Posing on a rose.
Northern Mockingbird1 3:23:13

Not so graceful on a suet feeder, but it's a lot easier to land on top then to grab onto the side of my other feeder.
Northern Mockingbird3 3:23:13

I don't know if it's eating the suet nuggets or the peanuts but it likes this feeder too, maybe because of the perches on the bottom.
Northern Mockingbird1 3:26:13

Northern Mockingbird2 3:26:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

I just wanted to say, Jane, how much I love your photo of the Magnolia Plantation. OT or not, we can all use a reminder that somewhere there is Spanish moss, green grass, and flowers blooming right now! I keep going back to look at it. Although this current cold spell seems to have all of the eastern states in its grip. There were scattered snow showers in parts of Georgia yesterday, and I imagine 50 degree weather probably feels like 20 degree weather does to us.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Sped - Glad it brought you some joy, that was my purpose for posting and glad Claire was willing. No matter where we live in the world, the sun is our source of life and going months without seeing it definitely changes one's outlook, so a sunny spot with flowers soothes and the nature of this thread is uplifting with all things natural.

Claire - that's a beautiful picture of a Mockingbird. I see a sense of the all-knowing wisdom birds need in his eye. Birds are very expressive, IMO.

At the U.of GA Coastal Bamboo Gardens, there was a small number of Mockingbirds together which I photographed, but it wasn't until I got home and looked at the pictures closely on my computer that I noticed in a group shot in a tree, the majority of birds were Cedar Waxwings, not Mockingbirds. Here's the question (to self): There was a Hopi Crape Myrtle close by that was covered in seed pods that garnered some interest from the flock. At home, Robins lead the way to berries and crabapples and are followed by the Waxwings. It makes me wonder if Waxwings ever do their own grocery shopping? (something else to look up.) And, would be interesting to see if you have a few Waxwings after this Mockingbird.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Either winter has truly ended or Mr. Red Pants just got hungry, but he's awake this morning. This is the first time I've seen him since about the 3rd week of last October. He, and all of his significant others, live under the deck where there remains a raised garden bordered by field stone, so he's comfy.

This particular chipmunk has changed my attitude about gardening. I suppose age and its holdings on me have also assisted in a mental redirect, but it is this chipmunk that made a heath die by digging a 4" diameter tunnel under it (yes, I filled the tunnel twice, but to no avail). So, again, it was this chap who flashed through my mind yesterday while I was admiring the dark, dark pink heathers for sale at BJ's. As his image took a firm stance in my mind's eye, I thought, "Oh, no, not again", and walked on by the heather...only to see him reappear this morning in a keener sense of reality.

He's back.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Hibernating Chipmunks,Craig Frank, Ph.D.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Jane -

Don't give up on heathers due to chipmunks. I've started planting things that are precious to me in cylinders of hardware cloth. So far, I've seen them doing a great job of turning aside the tunnelers. I got the lightest weight mesh I could find, 1/4" grid, and it's pretty easy to cut and form. I am not a fan of chippies any more than of voles. Both do quite a bit of garden damage.

Any more warm and welcoming bird or garden photos from your trip south? Seeing things green and warm looking is really lovely during a cold, wet, late spring like we seem to be having this year.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

A couple days ago I had a mystery bird in my garden, scootching up the trunk of the large shaggy red maple in the side yard. I've decided that it was a brown creeper, which I've seen photos of prior to this, but never seen in person. He really reminded me of a nuthatch with different colors, a longer tail, and an upwards instead of downward path.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 28, 13 at 16:46

Jane: I wish I could wake up so bright-eyed and alert; all ready to scamper around the yard causing trouble. Gotta admit they're cute, chipmunks are.

I've seen a chipmunk a few times in the last month or so, just flashing by on the way to the feeding ground and not giving me a photo op.

I second the request for more southern (Spring-like!) photos.

nhbabs: You're lucky to have seen a brown creeper; I've only seen one once working its way up a pine tree. It looked like a piece of bark had gotten loose and wandered off.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Thanks for the hardware cloth advice, nhbabs, I may try that for a new hydrangea that he also tunneled under. I'm reading Sydney Eddison's book,"Gardening for a Lifetime", and am agreeing with her fully about easing up with age, so the chipmunk will probably have another good summer here, I'll swear a little, and try to find a smiling Buddha statue somewhere to put over the entrance to yet another tunnel.

You are brave people to ask for more pictures of my trip to Charleston and Savannah. I don't know how else to do this but give the link to a new Flickr account and click through it as you wish. Flickr is brand new to me and I do not know about creating 'sets' and doing fancy slideshows. If there is a better way, Claire, and you know how and want to adjust the link,have at it, I trust your technical abilities. I just don't know how.

It was wonderful, felt like a vacation, hit 79 degrees at one point, was sunny most of the time, and the 26 yr. old Volvo got 27mpg and we made it home safely. Can't ask for more. The camellias at the Magnolia Plantation, Charleston, were far better than my pictures show. Flickr tells me that I have maxed out my free account for this month, but there are (too?) many unedited pictures to view if anyone chooses to do so.

This NE Forum matters. Viewing Camellias one thinks of Bill RI, and when I saw a covered bird feeder and Guinea Fowls with a story of native turkey ancestry, how could one not think of Claire. So I am happy to share a birding/gardening adventure.

For the Yawning Pelican that is on the Bird Watching Forum, click:
Brown Pelican Stretch and Yawn"

Kindly,
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Charleston & Savannah, some pictures


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 10:30

Jane: I did the slideshow and felt winter's tensions ooze away. Thanks for taking me to a place with sun and growing things and water with beautiful reflections and no ice! I want to haul out on that ramp (without the turtles and alligators) and just soak up the warmth.

I'm very new to Flickr and still trying to navigate the site but I've learned a few things. On the Photostream page, on the upper right above the holly set, there's a button for the slideshow which runs through all of your photos to date. I see you figured out one set, to make more go to the menu on top, click on Organize, then on Sets and Collections. On the left is create a new set - the Photostream will run on the bottom and you drag what you want into the set. There's probably other ways to do it but I haven't figured them out yet.

I've just got birds in my Flickr account now but I sprang for the paying account just to get all of them in one safe place. At some point I'll probably add non-bird photos, but for now I'm still using TinyPic.

I'm not sure if that link to my account (claireplymouth) works, I just added the claireplymouth name to the link so this might be better. The tricky thing is that when I click on the link myself no name appears.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 10:46


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Glad you had a happy small journey via the pictures, Claire. You're way ahead of me on the Flickr site. I only opened the free account recently so I could easily email a link to the vacation pictures because I don't 'do' facebook or other social networking. It's easier to look at pictures online at one's convenience and click off when one wants to go to the john or gets bored. Remember having to sit in a friend's or neighbor's living room years ago and watch their 8mm home movies and be polite even though your girdle was killing you and you couldn't get to the front door fast enough? This new way of sharing is so much better... and it saves a lot of lying.
I store my 'best' pictures on a portable external hard drive and have copied some to a flash drive; never thought about cloud storage.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Mar 29, 13 at 17:07

I also store photos on an external hard drive but I set up the Flickr account primarily as a way to share photos with eBird and birding groups. Now that I have it I like the convenience and one of these days I'll probably participate more.

I'm not interested in the Facebook culture and yes, I do remember the girdle killing me (and the ridiculous petticoats).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Thanks for the photo links, Claire and Jane. Makes for some lovely browsing.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Has it occurred to anyone else in this month of change that as we are awaiting hummingbirds, the Dark Eyed Juncos (who are really polite Canadian sparrows) are not leaving? Referencing the map on the link below, it looks like Juncos' summer territory now includes the Northern half of Connecticut. Maybe I should do more reading before posing this question, but does anyone else think that as our zone temperatures continue to rise that the number of birds in our area will also increase and if so, will there be enough food? Won't the acclimatization and adaptability of subsequent new-to-us species depend on food?

I've already sowed many hundreds of seeds for milkweed for Monarchs and wonder as a bird watcher if perhaps more wildflower seeds should simply be cast in welcoming areas. Not planting a formal garden, just flowers for food. What is a good native flower for birds in a mostly shady, moist area? Have to increase the food in my yard for more birds, all-the-while not increasing my work load. The Canadians may not be leaving. Just wondering...
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Dark Eyed Juncos, Cornell


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 2, 13 at 18:08

Interesting thought and food will certainly be an issue for whatever birds are in the area. I'm mulling this over but here are some preliminary thoughts:

1. Hawks and other predators will like the situation - more food for them.

2. All those weeds that seed around are also a source of food for birds (a good excuse not to weed too fanatically).

3. It might be wise to avoid herbicides as much as possible to avoid poisoning whatever seeds are produced. Poisoned seeds are often toxic to birds. Herbicides also remove available food.

4. Many birds eat seeds and/or fruit during the winter but switch to insects during breeding season. The high protein/high fat insects are good food for the babies. So encouraging insects will help birds.

5. It might be wise to avoid pesticides as much as possible to avoid killing off the insects the birds need to eat. Poisoned insects also can be toxic to birds (don't feed the babies poisoned caterpillars).

6. If the competition for food is intense, the most aggressive birds will hog all the food and the less aggressive birds will go elsewhere. Assuming there's an elsewhere to go to. Right now there's still the boreal forest with lots of bugs but climate change may diminish that.

7. If competition for nesting sites gets too intense here, then more birds will probably head north to the boreal forest. That's the same situation as in the neotropics - my understanding is that birds that winter in the tropics will migrate north to breed just so that their offspring will survive. I read somewhere that only about 10% of broods survive in the tropics due to competition but the percentage is 40% or more in northern breeding areas. I could easily be wrong; this is off the top of my head and I haven't looked for references.

In any case, there's a lot of change to come and the local bird populations won't be the same as we're used to. I want to think about this some more (and read).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

I, too, enjoyed your southern photos, Jane! Sometimes I just go to flickr and punch in a place name and go for a virtual journey without leaving my computer chair. It's the perfect way to escape winter, and/or the familiar, without the challenges of actual travel. I used up my allotted free space there some years ago, and am too cheap to pay for more space, but reluctant to remove any existing photos, particularly those that others have commented kindly on or marked as favorites.

Girdles! What are those!? You gals need to embrace comfort and lose uncomfortable undergarments! They're bad for you! LOL!

I purchased 30-some small trees which will arrive a couple months from now, and am welcoming, not just new reforestation, but also the new unmowed areas around these trees which will add to my wildflower areas of milkweed and other "weeds" to feed the birds and butterflies. I'm somewhat dreading the planting and watering process until the trees become established, but I'm looking forward to it and hoping they will thrive. Hubby promises to cart water around with the lawn tractor cart for me.

Jane, I'm not sure what other wildflowers could grow well in shady, moist areas, but certainly a number of species can grow together and would naturally. Milkweed prefers sunny dry growing conditions, which is mostly what I have. I essentially cultivate wildflower areas in reverse, in other words I cut or pull "undesirables" like thistles and poison (wild) parsnips for instance, but allow the existing weeds/wildflowers to grow. Occasionally I will collect and scatter some seeds amongst my own wildflowers (it works for me), but most of what grows was native or established to begin with. I've adjusted my opinions as to what plants are desirable as I've learned more about their usefulness as food sources and habitat for wildlife. I've grown more tolerant of stinging nettles, for instance, since learning they are food for black swallowtail caterpillars, and after seeing a small flock of 3 or more hummingbirds feasting on the jewel weed blossoms on the bank of the brook, I now give them the run of the property.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Sped said: "Girdles! What are those!? You gals need to embrace comfort and lose uncomfortable undergarments! They're bad for you! LOL!"
Oh, dear heart, I tossed it all long, long ago. Comfort is my mantra. And, as of the morning of July 17th, 2012, I am NOT tolerant of stinging nettles -- butterflies or not. I got smacked by stinging nettle and poison ivy at the same time and it took 8 weeks and double prednisone to calm it all down. Still have the nettle scar. Instead, I'll plant the rest of my parsley seeds in a sunny bed for the Black Swallowtails, but the nettle is out! That stuff hurts.

Speaking of, I was just out on the deck and a black butterfly flew by. Think it was a Black Swallowtail; no camera, of course, but according to Audubon, they can begin in early April. I believe the darkness is officially over - and the Am. Goldfinch seems to concur.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 15:39

None of my goldfinches are gold yet, at least I don't think so since they've mostly been absent lately, maybe because of the huge number of blackbirds flying around.

HOWEVER! I just glanced out the window and saw a woodchuck hustling down the path to the groundfeeding area. The camera was next to me and I got one shot as the woodchuck turned and saw me and then ran off to the left. I'm not sure if this is Guthrie risen from hibernation but it does look familiar.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

AND THEN! Just as I finished uploading the woodchuck pic to my computer, I saw a big grey bird following the same path as the woodchuck - down to the groundfeeding area, turning to see me, and trotting off to the left.

Helmeted Guineafowl1 4:4:13

Helmeted Guineafowl2 4:4:13

Helmeted Guineafowl3 4:4:13

It's a Helmeted Guineafowl! I got a few shots and after I processed them I looked around and saw there were two (2) guineafowl feeding in my yard. They've probably wandered off from the property about 1/4 mile away where there's a flock that roams the neighborhood but usually stays close by that area.

One of them came out for a drink of water then went back into the grasses.
Helmeted Guineafowl4 4:4:13

I'm afraid to stop looking out the window. No turkeys in sight - I'd love to see guineafowl and turkeys together.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Well, you lucky duck!!! Guinea fowl! Some of your turkeys must have blabbed about the smorgasbord. Glad you were home to see them and capture some shots. Dollars to doughnuts, they'll be back and I believe that is Guthrie - I recognize his aged wisdom - plus, "Territory and home range: Territorial. Woodchucks may skirmish to establish dominance. Subordinate woodchucks avoid dominant ones. Home ranges overlap and are usually small. Woodchucks rarely travel more than 50 yards from their den, even to feed. Their burrows can be 2 to 5 feet deep and as much as 60 feet long. There are usually 2 or 3 (but perhaps as many as 5) entrances, possibly including a well-hidden, straight-down "plunge hole"." He probably woke up just in time to make more little Guthries.

Guinea fowl! Wow.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: New York Wildlife Mgmnt.

This post was edited by corunum on Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 9:08


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 17:30

RE Guinea Fowl (AKA Guinea fowl AKA guineafowl AKA guineas): A turkey came by while the guinea fowl were in the yard. This is a lone turkey tom, maybe ostracized by the older breeding toms.

They seemed to be aware of each other but not at all upset. When the turkey went over to where the guineas were feeding, they moved out of the way, which is sensible given they're smaller. I imagine turkeys and guineas meet each other often in this neighborhood. They look similar, too, more little dinosaurs.

Nice reference from UConn:
Guinea Fowl Management
edit Note: This link works when I preview it, but not when it's submitted. I tried twice.

RE woodchuck (Guthrie?): I didn't see him for a long time in the late summer so I filled in his burrow which was in the middle of my peony patch. It was never re-dug, but later on I saw signs of digging under my porch. For a while I thought that was a skunk den since the neighbors' young dog accosted a skunk in that area (and probably will never do that again).

Now I'm thinking that might be a woodchuck burrow after all, unless he moved under the woodshed......

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Apr 4, 13 at 17:35


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Celebrate those Guinea fowl - they eat ticks!!

I've noticed the last week or so the large flock of female turkeys who we see most days is being accompanied full time by a single male who is strutting his stuff though I have yet to be close enough to get a shot.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

That link and another from UCONN.edu won't open, but because I saw guinea fowl at the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston and heard an interesting story about their importation to this country around the time of the Spanish Inquisition, I had looked guineas up when I came home. One of the notable traits is their effective guarding ability. "The birds sound an alarm whenever anything unusual occurs on the farm. While some people find this noise to be a nuisance, others find it to be an effective tool for protecting the farm and make guinea fowl the farmyard "watch dogs." The loud noise of the guineas has also been shown to discourage rodents from invading the area." (ref.UCONN link below)

Apparently you have the silent guineas, Claire, inasmuch as Guthrie was so nearby. Kinda funny... I hope they come back.

Here is a link that might be useful: UCONN Extension, Guinea Fowl


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 11:48

Jane: The two guineas yesterday were pretty silent but only one apparently made it through the night, probably due to a predator. This morning the survivor was running around squawking and kept that up for a few hours. It was a very unhappy bird, perhaps losing its mate as well as its flock. It flew onto my cart and looked into the window at me while squawking. I don't know if it blamed me or was asking for help or just generally complaining.

Guinea fowl on cart 4:5:13

Guinea fowl1 4:5:13

Guinea fowl2 4:5:13

Guinea fowl3 4:5:13

Guinea fowl4 4:5:13

After a while I saw the guinea feeding with a turkey hen. It seemed to take a cue from the turkey because when I went out to spread seed (as I do every morning) the two of them just moved to another area and then came back with no squawking.

Guinea fowl with turkey 4:5:13

And later the guinea was feeding with four turkey hens.

Guinea fowl with turkeyhens 4:5:13

The arrival of a displaying tom didn't seem to make any difference.

Guinea fowl with turkeys 4:5:13

The guinea seems to be staying in the yard even when the turkeys leave. Frankly, I hope it goes back to the property it came from - there are lots of Guinea fowl there for company and I'd rather not feed another one to a predator.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Oh, no... rats.
I get it, but I always have difficulty with that side of nature. Sorry it happened in your eco-friendly yard. And, yes, under the recent circumstance, I, too, hope she returns to her original feeding area. Although, she fed quickly, didn't she? Perhaps that's why they are named 'Guinea Fowl' and not 'Mourning Fowl'.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 5, 13 at 12:39

When the guinea is with the turkeys it feeds quietly, but when they leave it walks around squawking again.

This picture was taken in 2009, but it shows the flock back in its original range with a variety of colors. Most of the ones there now are the dark type. I see about six of them there when I walk by and this one would fit in nicely.

How do you tell a Guinea Fowl to go home? Does it need a map? Maybe I could lay a trail of bird seed on the road....and try to distract the turkeys from following it....

Guineafowl2 2:15:09

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Claire, you always have something interesting going on in your garden....lol. Guinea Fowl, wow. Well, I feel sorry for the poor bird, being alone like that. What kind of animals are in your neighborhood that might have taken the other bird? I'm amazed that you manage to garden and enjoy turkeys. The dental assistant at my last dental appointment was telling me about the turkeys around her yard and she was not a happy camper. She was explaining how they get on her roof and run around and it scared the life out of her the first few times it happened. And sometimes she has to avoid going out her front door because they congregate right there. I guess she's just not an animal lover or nature lover. :-)

Poor Guinea Fowl. Nice that she has the turkeys to keep her company.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 10:45

PM2: The guinea made it through the second night. I first heard it this morning then saw it walking near the greenhouse. I'm thinking it might have roosted in the greenhouse (now AKA coop?)

Helmeted Guineafowl 4:6:13

The two of them, being new to the neighborhood, may have made a poor roosting choice the first night and one of them was taken by a predator. Two obvious choices are coyotes and foxes which are regulars here. It could also have been a great horned owl. I've never seen one but I heard several hooting a year or so ago.

The turkeys are here a lot nowadays but soon the hens should be going into the woods to nest and they won't come around for a month or two. I haven't seen them yet today and the guinea is just hanging around.

I guess there are two kinds of people; those, like your dental assistant, that say
OH NO, THERE ARE HORRIBLE TURKEYS OUT THERE!
and the kind, like me, that say
LOOK, LOOK, SEE THE WONDERFUL TURKEYS!

C'est la vie.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 10:47


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 15:01

ah HA! I knew that little greenhouse still had a purpose! You can make her a little bed - must have some straw around there somewhere - and a little solar powered night light with some soft, piped-in Brahms would be comforting. After all, she is a grieving widow.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 16:18

Seems that we all like a good chip now again...but I got the scallops. For more than 25 years, the Crow family has had all the meat scraps from my house, but once in a while, a side of chips doesn't hurt.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 18:34

Those are happy crows, Jane, eating their fish and chips (minus the fish). Do they ever fly off carrying a chip? I see the crows here occasionally bringing a beakful of something delectable (like raisins or bread), as if it's a gift for a nestbound crow or crows.

I'm a bit disgruntled about the guinea roosting in the greenhouse, if it's true. I don't begrudge it a safe haven, but I have plans for dismantling it, turning it into a trellis, and planting the big rambler roses there. The roses that are making it very difficult for me to walk by the side of the house.

I'm also thinking that the survivor is a male, not a female. I spent some time today looking for clues for sexing guineafowl. It's not easy.

One reference: here

The survivor seems to have a larger helmet and bigger and more cupped wattles, so maybe a male:
Guinea fowl3 4:5:13

The lost one had maybe a smaller helmet and smaller, flatter wattles so maybe a female. I only have one photo of this guinea's head.
Helmeted Guineafowl3R 4:4:13

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Apr 6, 13 at 18:36


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Claire, we are in an area of lots of small lots near us so we never see those kind of predators, but then again, we never see guinea fowl either..lol. You're very fortunate! About all we've seen are rabbits and chipmunks and unfortunately, this year, our neighbor has seen vole or mole tracks after the snow melted. Two years out of 20 we've had the unpleasantness of battling a woodchuck for the produce in the vegetable gardens. So I guess we are pretty fortunate in some ways too.

We had an inexpensive arbor that was getting dilapidated and I decided it was in the wrong place any way. Last year, our son pulled it apart and used the sides to make new trellises for the back of the house. Very satisfying to reuse something and make it purposeful again. I hope you are able to do that this year.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Claire, sure, they fly away with the food, sometimes 40 feet, sometimes out of sight. When the font is up, as it is now, they also dunk, drink, bathe and chat. I've seen all 6 of the family gather here at once.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 8, 13 at 16:34

Jane: Sometimes when I refresh the copper birdbath I find plump raisins in the bottom. I figure a crow put them there to hydrate - I'm not sure if the crow forgot the raisins or expected them to still be there when it came back the next day. Sorry, crow.

I saw the first snake of the season today! Sorry, no picture - I was raking and not prepared for the photo op. A smallish snake, brownish-green and very anxious to get away from me. I left a small pile of leaves for the snake.

The guinea is still here. I walked over to the farm today to tell them that one of their birds was in my yard. The guy said it wasn't his, and that someone down the street had been trying to establish guinea fowl and was having no luck. They kept getting killed. I trotted over there but no one was home so I left a note. I doubt that this bird could be easily caught but that's his decision.

The guinea has now taken to going over to the breezeway and chatting at it's reflection (at least that's what I think it's doing). I see it several times a day and hear it squawking somewhere between my house and the house next door (lots of brush, blackberries, an old hot tub, and my greenhouse - good habitat).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 15:32

More excitement this morning; first a thunderstorm (not big, but something) and then two turkey toms started fighting just outside my kitchen window.

The guinea ran around looking like a referee and giving a running squawking commentary of the action. The rain had just let up so the windows were still wet and blurry.

The video ends when the turkeys got out of my sight but they continued fighting for a while around the side of the house (the rose shook) and then reappearing for a few seconds when they split up and one tom ran away across the street.

All quiet now, and the guinea was just feeding quietly with one of the turkey hens.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 9, 13 at 17:08

Good that you took a video,Claire, it really shows the rather extraordinary length these chaps go to to claim territory. Have to admit, I wasn't thrilled about viewing the fight (don't like any fight), but it did make me wonder why the dominate male kept striking and holding the head and neck. I wondered if they'd fight to the death, but a fellow at Ohio State answered my question:
" Reproduction in birds is stimulated by the length of the light day. In wild turkeys, as the length of the light day increases in the spring, hormones associated with reproduction increase in the bird and the males become more aggressive and may fight to reestablish a peck order and the right to mate females. When fighting for male dominance, the birds try to damage the secondary sexual characteristics (snood and tissues around the head) so that the bird being attacked is not attractive to females. If a male loses these fights and has damage to the snood and soft tissue around the head, usually the other males will leave him alone. In other words, turkey males do not fight to the death of the other. Sometimes death of a male does occur due to consequences of fighting but this is not the intention of the aggressive male. " - Dr.K. Nestor

I'm glad I'm a hen. Jane
(you did good, TY, Claire)

Here is a link that might be useful: The Tremendous Turkey by Dr. Karl Nestor, Ohio State U.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Wow, that is a spectacular video, Claire, of your sparring tom turkeys! Thank you for the information, Jane. I had rather wondered why the birds did not strike out at each other with their feet, as roosters will do, but the Ohio State scientist's words explain why the two turkeys went for the neck twining assaults on their combs and wattles instead.

I can only imagine how Prairiemoon's dental assistant would have reacted to the turkey battle, had it occurred in her door yard!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 8:49

Excellent reference, Jane, that makes a lot of sense. The situation was the same the last time I saw a turkey fight - just the head lock action.

A few weeks ago I decided it was time to figure out how to make a video, so I was ready yesterday.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 12:04

I just processed the second video, which I took when the turkeys came back around the house to the kitchen window. It's very short. The guinea wasn't involved.

Turkey fight ends

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 12:20

And on the quieter side of life here, I walked outside and saw another snake (or maybe the same snake) sunning on the bluestone pavers. It quickly slithered over to the Phlox Protection Zone adjacent to the path. It apparently felt it was invisible there because it stayed unmoving while I went back into the house and grabbed the camera. A garter snake I guess (I'm not good at snake ID).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 18:10

The guinea has been fascinated with his reflection in the glass of the breezeway. He was running back and forth today and I managed to get a video of the scene.

Here's a still photo of the guinea at the breezeway.
Guinea2 at breezeway 4:11:13

I just installed a cardboard guinea baffle that I hope will prevent him from seeing his reflection. The cardboard is on the outside of the glass. I don't know yet if it will work, but it's a start.

Guinea baffle2 at breezeway 4:11:13

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Apr 11, 13 at 18:17


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 11:15

Claire, I cannot even deal with sn*ke thing, so moving on...that cardboard guinea baffle (the name actually sounds like something marketable) should work. Good thinking. Next sunny day, let us know.

I saw him leaving the backyard this morning about 9:30 and thought, "Better check the recycle bin in the garage". This time he didn't fall in, but rather, knocked over screens blocking the back door and there, in the dark corner, his carefully made oak leaf lair. It may be Oscar whom I discouraged from garage living a few years ago when he was just a joey. Then again, it could be Recycle Ralph back in action. Either way, we have a new resident...again. If a wild animal is going to move into your garage, opossums are probably the easiest of all. Coexisting can work.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 13:21

Coexisting is a fine approach to a wild animal moving into your garage, Jane. It's probably more interesting than most of the junk we collect in garages (or would if I had a garage).

Just remind yourself that opossums can be cute.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 11:58

The first Eastern Towhee of the season appeared today! It's a male and he's been scratching around on the ground in true towhee fashion.

This is another of the species where to my eyes the female, while different, is just as attractive as the male (like cardinals). No female in sight yet, though. They have dark brown heads and back rather than the black of the male.

First Towhee1R 4:14:13

First Towhee2R 4:14:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 15:49

Well, the Eastern Towhee is cute coming and going! I had to look up the female inasmuch as I've only seen one male here - once -not a common visitor. He has a simple color pattern and it's striking.

This morning M&F Cowbird stopped by as well as the Cardinal couple - he's feeding her frequently. Am.Goldfinches are much brighter yellow, despite the prevailing chilly winds. Now I know nobody thinks well of Sparrows - capitalized or not - but this morning in the one ray of sun that graced my feeder, I noticed for the first time the truly yellow eye markings on an adult breeding White-throated Sparrow. Just him, no others...yet.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

It's only the English sparrows that many of us despise, Jane, and they're not really sparrows anyways. They are finches. Even at that, other finches do not share the nasty attributes of the English/House sparrow. English sparrows are just an anomaly, nature gone wrong, aka a branch of the family that somehow became invasive.

But your little white throated sparrow is a handsome guy. I'm not sure I've ever seen one here.

I love the opossum too. I had one in my barn for one night. I'm surprised we don't see more of them with the brook so near. They are strange little creatures, oddly cute.

*I* like your garter snake, Claire. They are harmless and eat enough insects and rodents to make themselves useful. I don't have so many as I did living in my barn, now that the pony is gone and we no longer have the hay bales the snakes used to call home.

Did the guinea baffle work? Is the bird still part of your flock?

We saw a pileated woodpecker last week, pecking on a dead tree, on a drive near our home. I *wish* I'd had a camera! He was a sight to see and something I've never seen in the flesh! It's nice that they've come back from the brink.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 16:58

Jane: The white-throats are one of my favorite sparrows and I have them all winter, feeding at my nyjer path. One day in January I saw 12 at one time, but the usual number in the winter is around five or six. I'm not sure if they're here all summer as well - I don't usually see them but they may just be staying in the woods. They've been singing for a few weeks now, the 'Old Sam Peabody, Peabody, Peabody' or 'Oh Sweet Canada, Canada, Canada' calls, depending on your nationality.

spedigrees: The guinea is still around but he's taken to going into the woods across the street and calling. I suspect he's trying to entice a female to come visit. I wonder if he's going to discover the guineas at the farm and move there - if the wind is right he should be able to hear them about 1/4 mile away. Sometimes we can hear the bull bellowing.

I half expect him to show up one day with a guinea hen at his side, showing her the new territory.

The baffle seems to be working. I tried to get a video of him at the breezeway with the baffle but he saw me and panicked.

I've never seen a pileated woodpecker.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 14, 13 at 17:43

House Sparrows may be unpopular here, but there's concern in the UK where the house sparrow is in serious decline due to lack of insects and nest sites.

The BBC has an article on How to help house sparrows in UK.

There are usually at least two sides to every issue.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Yes, they've never caused problems in their home country. It's very strange. I'd be happy to help with a round-up to ship massive quantities of the little buggers across the pond where they are wanted. But I guess that wouldn't solve the problem of habitat and insects to eat.

Same thing with rabbits. Here they're not much of a problem, but in Australia they supposedly became a plague of Biblical proportions. And for that matter our North American grey squirrels are much hated in England where they are leading to the decline of the native red squirrels.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 9:48

That BBC link doesn't seem to be working directly now although you can still search for "How to help house sparrows in UK" and get it.

One interesting statement they make is

"Sparrows can be bullies so try not to put your nest boxes close to other birds that have already taken up residence in your eaves."

so even in their home grounds they're very territorial. Most likely other UK species learn to nest farther away from structures or to fight them off.

Part of the problem here may be when people insist on setting up birdhouses close to their own houses and inadvertently invite a territorial dispute.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

I found these links:
house sparrows
Apparently the house sparrow is no friend of the farmer, here or in England.
house sparrows in British farming communities
This is about declining numbers of house sparrows in Indian cities.They seem to be best liked worldwide in cities, where they do not create problems.

The house sparrow invasion of my property was centered on my birdhouse equi-distant between my house and the woods, and probably 60 or 70 feet from my house, so proximity to human dwellings wasn't really an issue. Oddly enough they have never disturbed the barn swallows that nest right on our front porch, nor even made an appearance on the porch. Now the house finches have joined the barn swallows on the porch, and neither species has been threatened with displacement by the house sparrows. Of course I did decimate the HS population during the great sparrow war, but I'd be surprised if some didn't still inhabit my area.

Perhaps you're right about birds in the UK being better equipped to fight them off or willing to nest further away. I think eastern bluebirds are rather timid creatures, similar to the British red squirrels who are being displaced by our grey squirrels.

This post was edited by spedigrees on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 12:44


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 16:32

Sped, you cracked me up with "I did decimate the HS population during the great sparrow war"...still chuckling. I found a blogger who shares your affection about the winged rat .
Despite my opinion about excessive political correctness robbing our culture of a more honest civility, I can't help but wonder when the "English" Sparrow was renamed the "House" Sparrow? Given the House Sparrow's ability to rapidly rise into a strong sense of dislike among bird watchers and farmers, perhaps it is now time to rename the House Sparrow again. I vote for "Senate" Sparrows.
Speaking of proper names, I almost caught the garage culprit. It's Recycle Ralph who has taken up residence in back of the storm windows. Look at what he dragged out of the recycle bin and into his lair. Bear in mind, the V-8 can had been rinsed, so he fought hard based on smell alone. He obviously tore his hair out over this can. Good thing it's low sodium V-8. At least I'm not responsible for raising his blood pressure.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 17:23

spedigrees: I just can't get outraged about the supposed evil character of the house sparrow. I look out my window at the various birds in my yard and I know some people hate-hate-hate the crows... and others hate-hate-hate the turkeys... and some hate-hate-hate the grackles....and hate-hate-hate the cowbirds... and hate-hate-hate the red-wings... and hate-hate-hate the blue jays... all birds that I enjoy watching.

Yet some of these people gush enthusiastically about the grandeur of the raptors...Hawks! Owls! ...and seem able to overlook the really nasty habits of those birds.

The house sparrows here mostly left when the blackbird horde arrived, although the hawks may have also depleted the population.

Jane: Senate Sparrow is a slight improvement on House Sparrow, but still not an admirable adjective. Maybe Librarian Sparrow? Everyone likes librarians.

And concerning the V8 can - you brought 25 lbs of tomatoes back from Georgia - could you spare a tomato or two, or some sauce, for a hungry opossum?

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, Apr 15, 13 at 17:25


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 8:35

Nope. I only feed birds and do what I can to discourage wildlife from calling my home their home - including trying to gently evict the possum.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

Ah I wish my possum had stuck around. I fed him part of my ham sandwich, well I left it on the floor for him, and it (and he) were gone the next morning, never to return.

As far as unwelcome furry guests, I do seek to control the numbers of the mice in the barn, via passive/aggressive predator measures, despite the fact that I consider white-footed field mice to be one of the cutest creatures on the planet. Cats, snakes, and weasels are all enlistees in my rodent control volunteer army.

There are only a few specimens of wildlife that I relentlessly exterminate. Hornets and wasps top the list and I shoot for a zero population of these stinging insects every summer. They are followed by the fleas, ticks, and internal parasites that seek to victimize myself and my family, both two and four footed. These particular unwelcome insects, arachnids, and nematodes are the only pests to provoke me into chemical warfare, as my general rule is to shun pesticides and herbicides.

If my house sparrows had left with the blackbirds, they would have been no problem. Not that my blackbirds leave, they are full time residents each summer. I would have welcomed raptor sparrow predation, but I've never seen a hawk touch ground here, although they frequently circle overhead above the woods. They probably have a collective memory of being shot at unfortunately, and seek prey in distant meadows away from human habitation.

The rapidly multiplying plague of house sparrows that descended on my property, bent on colonization, was something I liken to a swarm of locusts. I've never seen anything like it. I now understand why they have so many enemies, and I am generally very tolerant of invasive wildlife. I even like feral pigeons!

Then there are those pests who have bested me. I sadly concede defeat to the red lily beetle. (RIP my beautiful tiger lilies.) I also see no reasonable means of eradicating the Japanese beetles, now that they have found me. Instead I am planting only those flowers this year that seemed to have resistance to the beetles last year, and giving up on those that were a sought after delicacy. Thankfully my perennials are among those with resistance, so none have become casualties.

Turning to non-pests, "my" pair of tufted titmice are checking out last year's nest in my barn, thinking about refurbishing it I guess. They're next to impossible to photograph, as is their partially hidden nest up in the rafters.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 16, 13 at 16:54

70 follow-ups is way too many, I should have started a new thread sooner. I'm doing that now (Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #4).

If you want to continue the discussion here, no problem.

Claire


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