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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Mon, May 27, 13 at 16:58

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. These threads have been moved to the Gallery but there may be problems with the links.
I've added an INDEX on the Gallery side that I hope will solve the link problem. I think I've corrected the most current links by editing the posts but I can't change threads prior to the edit post feature. If this works I'll post how I did it.

edit note: It looks like you now have to put " " marks around the URL when you link to it, i.e. "URL". If you don't, GW automatically adds them in and does it wrong, splitting the URL into two segments that don't work. You can correct it on recent posts using the edit post feature, but older posts can't be edited. This only seems to apply to internal GW to GW links - I have no idea why.


And for 2013:
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
...................................................................... ...................................................................... ..........
For a change I'm going to start out with a bug rather than turkeys since the turkeys are mostly off in the woods nesting (I hope).

I was sitting on the porch steps gardenwatching today when I saw a bright green bug on the paver at the bottom of the steps. Luckily I had my camera nearby so I could get a few photos - OK, about ten photos.

At first I was afraid it was an Emerald Ash Borer but Google said no, so rather than bother with a bug guide I googled "bright green beetle" and found it's a Six-spotted Tiger Beetle which is apparently common here although I've never seen one before.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Ferocious little beast but very beautiful, so long as you're not its dinner.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Tue, May 28, 13 at 10:25


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

I was stung by a bug that looked exactly like this one, iridescent green, when I was a tiny tot. I shrieked and my parents came running to rescue me! It was a very painful sting, much worse than your average bee or wasp sting. I have never forgotten the lesson! I give any metallic green insect a wide berth to this day!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

This is one of my mobile garden statues. We have a stack of old white marble slabs in a corner of our property, a custom made spot for a cat statue, but I prefer the living ones that show up occasionally.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, May 28, 13 at 18:07

Wow, spedigrees, that beetle must have made a big impression on a little kid if you still remember what it looked like and how it stung! I imagine you just grabbed it, as little kids do, and paid the price. Not a nice shiny new toy.

Cats make fine garden statues, although some might also not like being grabbed by a curious little kid. Cats, though, are usually better socialized than beetles.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Oh I did! I was forever collecting wild specimens, but that particular specimen objected. (I grew up with cats so I knew about them!)

There was a skirmish over the birdhouse today. Apparently it is prime real estate. A pair of Eastern bluebirds challenged the resident tree swallows, and I'm not sure who won the disagreement. As long as English sparrows are not involved I guess I don't care who claims the house. I wish I'd captured the 4 birds on video, but the best I could do was a couple bad photos of Mr. Bluebird.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, May 28, 13 at 22:00

Hats off for the most colorful start to a new thread. The tiger beetle is new to me and after reading about them and Sped's memorable bite, I'm glad to meet the shiny green bug here (only here).

Looks like Sped's bird house and fluffy orange lawn ornament along with Claire's sparkling metallic dragon, collectively, win the most original garden art, mobile or not. Lovely all.

An unhappy meniscus has kept me down, but I did spot this cardinal nearly tipping over while straining to see something. He uses his tail as a rudder to keep him upright and 'afloat', I think.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, May 29, 13 at 10:22

spedigrees: There's an interesting article on sialis.org about Competition - Who Trumps Whom? in nestbox wars.

Do squirrels climb up the bottle tree or do the bottles roll and knock them off? Maybe a clue to a new squirrel deterrent.

Jane: A cardinal with swimmer's ear after all this rain?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, May 29, 13 at 12:34

It was a delight this morning to see a bright red beetle that didn't have square shoulders and doesn't eat lilies. It was on a lily of the valley leaf looking at a peony bud but I scared it by mistake so it flew over to a rose.

Ladybug!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

I'm sorry about your joint troubles, Jane. I doubt that the cold, rainy weather of the past week has helped you.

That's a lovely photo of your cardinal pair. Do you know where they are nesting? I imagine they must be feeding little ones by now.

Claire, the link you posted about nestbox competition was interesting. The video from a link on that page of the titmouse/bluebird fight was astounding and scary to watch. Apparently their territorial disputes are prolonged and violent battles.

As to squirrels, they have never made an appearance anywhere near our house. The bottle tree/birdhouse is situated in the middle of an acre of former pasture, now open mowed lawn, so I think squirrels are loathe to travel any areas without a canopy of trees to traverse. Our newly planted trees will eventually meet with the forested area along the ridge behind our house to form a horse shoe shaped ring of woods surrounding our meadow, so that may provide a transportation network and cover for arboreal creatures in the future. But for now, only deer and rabbits venture onto our open land. Also, except for the hummingbird feeder on the front porch, I don't feed the birds, so there is no strong attraction for squirrels to brave the neighborhood cats by crossing dangerous territory.

I was mistaken about the swallows on the porch feeding young ones. The bugs in their beaks were most likely chunks of mud and sticks. They are still renovating their old nest that the finches commandeered last summer. As you can see, the nest has risen with each rebuilding, so now there is less headroom between the nest and porch roof. I think that the painters will be doing the birds a favor by removing the old nests this fall, so that next year's new nests will be roomier.

I know there must be baby finches in last year's swallow nest on the outer rim of the porch, but because of where it is located, I won't likely get a glimpse of them until they are big enough that their heads are up above the wall of the nest. Mom and Dad Finch are now refurbishing their last year's nest in the nestbox for a second brood. I don't have very good pictures as none of these birds are especially tame, so I have to photograph them through a window. If we made a habit of sitting out on the porch, they would probably pay less mind to their human hosts. Here is Mrs Swallow on her reclaimed ancestral home, and below that, Mrs Finch on a windchime preparing to enter the nestbox.

This post was edited by spedigrees on Thu, May 30, 13 at 14:29


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, May 30, 13 at 14:23

You know, between the adventures of 'Plymouth Turkeys Trot' and 'The Return of Vermont Porch Swallows", there are some neat photo/journal stories here. A collective weaving of this thread over the years would be interesting (to me).

Haven't seen any lady bugs yet, but the coloring is great, isn't it? You're right, Sped, the nest knock-down will be doing them a favor. At this rate of building, another 2 years and the opening would be like a mail slot.

I had to abandon a stroll through my Philosophy Garden the other day because Mrs. Carolina Wren went absolutely bonkers inside the house I put up for her as a substitute to her previous nesting site. She used to build inside a mortise and tenant joint in the spruce wood picket fence, but the new vinyl fence isn't bird-friendly, so I made her a wooden apartment in the same area. Poor bird, yelling at me didn't show her fine lyrical ability, so before she became hoarse, I apologized for the intrusion and left. Let the weeds grow, the babies are more important. And the columbine is growing right through the bench seat -- lovely shade of blue though. By the time the young wrens have fledged, I may be able to kneel again and life will go on.
Jane


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, May 31, 13 at 7:49

Always amazing to see apparent straight lines in nature from roundish objects; like a straight tulip stem from a bulb. Last night...


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, May 31, 13 at 9:28

spedigrees: Since you're removing the old nests when you repaint, you could put up new wooden barn swallow nests painted to match the trim. Or with nifty decorative accents.

RE territorial disputes: We look at nesting as an AWW, that's so cute! event, but this is deadly serious business for birds that flew thousands of miles for a chance to reproduce.

Jane: When your knee gives you lemons, you might as well make lemonade. It's amazing how the garden will still be there if you don't intervene for a while.

That sunbeam picture is lovely.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, May 31, 13 at 19:28


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, May 31, 13 at 19:46

It got so hot today that I spent most of the afternoon on the shady deck, besieged by squirrels and a chipmunk looking for peanuts.

The chippie comes right over to my foot and stuffs his pouch then runs back to his storehouse. And does it again and again.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Hey, that's not a peanut!
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Full load.
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I really have to fight the urge to reach down and pat the chipmunk.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

He is cute. Admit I wasn't thrilled when Mr. Tunnels made airways under some plants, or sat on the deck eating my bucket of strawberries, but he is cute. Resist the urge to pet Chubby Cheeks, especially if you play the flute.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 1, 13 at 18:41

Another hot day yesterday, and the turkey toms were hanging around in the shady back yard. This one lay down in the grass (which needs to be mowed when it cools down a bit).

Turkey in shade 6:1:13

No turkey chicks yet. A few days ago there was a gathering of four hens and two toms - I suspect it was the family from last year. The hens were really nervous and spent some time on the roof of the house and flying around. They may have had some unfortunate encounters with predators. I don't know if there will be an attempt at a second brood, but there still may be other broods out there.

Claire, waiting hopefully


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 16:11

Claire, I didn't know that they'd have more than one brood inasmuch as the chicks spend so many months with Mom...interesting. That tom looks so much more calm than when swashbuckling up your stairs - nice repose.

Mr. Tunnels now has competition:


And neither of them knows just how safe they are doing battle today as Ivy (cat) lay asleep on the sofa.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 3, 13 at 19:05

Jane: Wow, that's a fierce chipmunk interaction! Not quite so cute when they're fighting.

Some birds will have a second brood if the first one fails for some reason - like predation. I doubt that turkey hens will breed again the same season if they've managed to raise chicks to reasonable size. There just wouldn't be time. I'm guessing that if the eggs or new hatchlings were taken they might breed again if the males are still willing, and I've heard some gobbling in the woods. I haven't seen more than one hen for a few days and she's the one that's been here all spring.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Myrtle came out of the pond to lay eggs.

Turtle photo IMG_6228_zps2fff56eb.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Way to go, Myrtle! Super picture, pixie.
Jane (still have pond envy)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 5, 13 at 10:13

pixie_lou: That's a great shot of Myrtle, AKA "She Who Must Be Obeyed". No one's going to stand in her way!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 13:08

Looks like a young Carolina Wren to me - the breast feathers are still mottled and those feet look pretty new.

That cedar post is so useful:

And, the Clover Bros.

And, a Twin-Spotted Spike Tail dragonfly with aqua blue eyes

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 6, 13 at 17:13

That's not a post, it's a pedestal! A pedestal for an adorable wrenlet (or whatever you call a fledgling wren). Those feet do look new, as do all the feathers.

Bunnies making a V for Victory sign (we just ate your garden)? or V for Peace (can't we all just get along)?

And a magnificent dragonfly! Great pictures, all.

Clarie


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Chippy has been hanging out on the stump under the bird feeder. Maybe I should change his name to opportunist?

chippy photo chippyonthestump_zps50585a04.jpg

A Great Blue stopped by the All You Can Eat Buffet.
heron 1 photo Heronseries1_zpsb8c2f70f.jpg

Since the Koi and Comet were all gone, he moved on.
heron 2 photo Heronseries2_zpse3e54a5d.jpg

heron 3 photo Heronseries3_zps02683322.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

I've been seeing quite a few Northern Flickers lately
Flicker photo NorthernFlickercropped_zpsc4631769.jpg

And a totally new bird for me - at least in my yard - pigeons!
Pigeons photo Pigeonscropped_zps5225ced1.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 12:15

pixie_lou: Chippy has found a fine spot to wait for food delivery - Manna from heaven. It always startles me to see them run up tree trunks like squirrels.

The heron has to fish for its food; have you considered stocking the pond with minnows for the herons? or are there enough frogs and turtles to feed them now that they've apparently wiped out the goldfish?

Flickers and pigeons are an odd combination - one of them very rural and the other so urban - although I once saw a flock of pigeons on some rocks at the edge of a pond in Central Park and suddenly they looked like normal birds (AKA Rock Pigeon) in a normal environment.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 17:19

sigh...herons in the back yard...pond envy again. You lucky duck, Pixie! Good catch. All I got was a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, but, she's nice. Must be a single gal, haven't seen a male yet, or, maybe she just got a lucky break of freedom.
Jane


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 9, 13 at 18:44

That's a pretty little bird, Jane, of the streaky brown sort but at least she has the big beak to distinguish her from all the other streaky brown birds.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 10, 13 at 16:18

Glanced out the window today and saw a small woodchuck near my porch steps - too small to be Guthrie.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It went on alert for whatever reason.
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and then headed right into the garden.
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Well, I thought it went right but there it is on the left.
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Ah, there's two of them!
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Both of them came out onto the path,
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then the farther one came to join its sibling.
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then went back into the garden to the right.
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Hey, where are you going?
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Wait for me!
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Both of them went into the peony/rose garden bed so I thought I'd go out and scare them away. They disappeared though and I discovered that the old burrow under the peony/rose garden had been re-excavated sometime recently. If you look really hard you can see a hairy face there.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Maybe Guthrie flipped the burrow to his neighbor? or to his family? At least one of those babies kind of looks like Guthrie.

Claire

Note: I'm on the deck and a chipmunk just tried to scare a squirrel away from the peanuts. The chippy ran very fast almost brushing by the squirrel. Gutsy little thing.


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 10, 13 at 17:21

Great pictures!!

Oh, Claire, I am SO happy you've met Guthrie's children, hahahaha. Warms my heart that the lady handing out peanuts and who knows? a brew? to chipmunks has woodchucks with viable sperm. Maybe that's Mrs. Guthrie Woodchuck staring back at the camera from inside the hole?... sorry, I mean the front door to their home.

Now it just wouldn't be summer without Guthrie and just think, he's insured a woodchuck future for you. Whatta guy. hahahahahaha


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Great pictures, Claire.

Aww, waaaaay too small to be Guthrie. Haha.

Love all the wildlife in your yard.

-Tina


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 9:13

Well, what goes around...as of this morning there's 3 of three of them running around the gardens and stuffing their cheeks under the bird feeder. Between the woodchucks and chipmunks, Claire, you definitely have the larger problem and tunnels --not enviable. Ivy (my cat) gives chase until the chippy goes up a tree then, despite having good claws, she gets bored and comes in the house. I think pushing 12, the chase is enough for her and she certainly isn't hungry. She wouldn't even bother with woodchucks. Other than using Havahart traps and transporting 'the problem' to somewhere else, I can't think of a humane way to reduce the numbers. I'll probably do what I always do;fill in the holes to keep plant roots from drying out and take their picture. Too bad there isn't a WANTED board for all these pictures.
Jane


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 11:03

Jane and Tina: You gotta admit they're cute, although I'd really rather they were cute farther away. Like on the coastal bank where most of them seem to hang out.

Jane said: "Other than using Havahart traps and transporting 'the problem' to somewhere else, I can't think of a humane way to reduce the numbers." That's not a great solution either according to MassWildlife.

They give a lot of reasons why transporting wildlife is detrimental and then add the clincher - it's illegal in Massachusetts to capture and relocate wildlife.

"Finally, for the protection of wildlife and people, Massachusetts law prohibits the capture and re-location of wildlife.
Often people want to catch a problem animal and release it elsewhere. It is illegal to move any live wild animal from one area to another. This law has been in effect for many years, protecting both people and wildlife."

On their page concerning Preventing Damage by Woodchucks they say

"Do not trap woodchucks unless you are willing to release them on site (such as an animal removed from a cellar) or to destroy them humanely."

Amazingly, there's a 50 week hunting season for woodchucks, so you can kill them but not relocate them.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

I call him Charles. And he is a lot bigger than last year. And based on the state of my gardens, he is getting bigger!
charles photo Charles_zpsb752e91b.jpg

Jane - you may have the kissing cardinals. But we are a bit more liberal here in Massachusetts. I have kissing homosexual woodpeckers.
hairy kisses photo hairykisses_zps35b7168f.jpg

Lastly - caught the heron in flight again today.
heron flying photo Heronflying_zps5b8e33bb.jpg


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 9:02

Oh, to look out and see a heron in flight in my yard...drooling. Wonderful shot, pixie.

It's likely that your Downies aren't a couple, but it's possible - see link below. I observed two Northern Flickers doing what I thought was a mating dance and I posted a question similar to yours on the Bird Watching Forum. A woman who had studied woodpeckers gave a very complete answer and now I can't find it on the forum. However, Cornell link below will offer more. The size difference makes me wonder if this is a father feeding a son. This RB parent is feeding a youth that is almost full size, but without head feathers:

Either way, Pixie, they're lucky to have that suet bag!
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell -interesting questions


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 14, 13 at 10:56

pixie_lou: And a fine woodchuck, indeed, is Charles! I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of his offspring.

Claire


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Claire - I'm hoping he's a bachelor. I'm so hoping he is a bachelor. He ate my eggplant plants last night.

There is a great kids book "A Garden for a Groundhog" about a groundhog that eats everything in the garden except the zucchini. Lo and behold - Charles has not touched my zucchini plants!

Jane - I could tell by observation that one bird was feeding the other. The chickadees are doing the same right now. My DD was actually the one who asked my why the 2 boys were kissing.

In all my years at Cornell the one thing I regret is that I never made it up to Sapsucker woods. Then again as an undergrad I had absolutely no interest in birds. I spend so much time on their web site nowadays.


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 16, 13 at 16:25

Pixie - a Downy father spent a lot of time yesterday trying to escape from his son who kept after Dad with an open beak. Dad had had enough and just like the blue jays last year, this father turned on the kid and let him have it. No pictures of that scene.
Another woodpecker moment though, this RB must be paid by the ground feeders. Seeds fly everywhere while this guy searches for a peanut:


Wish I could turn my neck the ways he does:

Got it:

Leaving to go back to the maple where he'll eat the peanut while holding it with a foot.

If I had to make that many trips for protein, I'd have croaked years ago.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 16, 13 at 19:54

Jane: I've never seen the parent turn on the annoying kid, but last year later in the season I saw three White-breasted Nuthatches together and suddenly one of them started with the wing flutter and gape. The other two completely ignored it, and I was imagining the first nuthatch saying "Mom, Dad, it's me! Your kid!" I guess the teenager was on its own.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Mr. Heron came to visit again. He has decided that he likes to eat frogs.
heron frog 1 photo Heronwithfrog2_zpsee3dc54e.jpg

heron frog 2 photo Heronwithfrog_zps92778d5a.jpg

I call this guy Tommy. Tommmy two timer. I caught himleaving the pond, climbed over the garden boxes, and headed out to the stream.
tommy turtle photo tommyturtle_zps9cb9c12d.jpg

This post was edited by pixie_lou on Mon, Jun 17, 13 at 19:31


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  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 17, 13 at 16:34

OMG. What shots! Can't go to judgementville because I'm human and only 'hunt' at Stop&Shop, but did you offer the heron some garlic butter?
Jane


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  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 17, 13 at 16:47

Wow! The heron has definitely found himself a five-star restaurant! Five-frog pond?

And maybe Tommy saw the future and decided to lay her next batch of eggs in a less trafficked area.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Amazing photos of the heron dining, PixieLou! I've never been close enough to see what a heron caught when I've watched one hunting.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Great pictures of the heron, both in flight and catching Mr Frog for his dinner, Pixie! They always look like prehistoric birds to me. Also Myrtle is a formidable armored tank!

I find your pigeons endearing. They may be feral, but I think they're much maligned, delightful birds. I have a resident domestic pigeon who lost its way 10 years ago and flew in my front door and has been with me ever since.

That is a brilliant photo of the dragonfly, Jane. I had no idea there was a type with such lovely aqua eyes.

I laugh at Myrtle and Mr Tunnels and Chippy. I've never thought to name any of "my" wildlife. Those chipmunks are such cute little buggers that I would have been tempted to pet him too.

Claire, the wooden swallow nests at the link you posted would be a very convenient way to add nesting spots if one didn't have eaves or ridges that were conducive to nesting.

Disappointingly I think something must have happened to one of our swallows (a predator perhaps) because they abandoned the nest on our porch. In addition I believe that the first finch nest failed. No babies ever emerged that I saw, and it has been a day or two since I saw the finch parents entering the nestbox inside the porch. It is sad after the porch birds were off to such an enthusiastic start.

The dispute between the bluebirds and tree swallows over the birdhouse was settled and the original inhabitants (tree swallows) prevailed. I spent the better part of an hour trying to photograph them, but this is the best I could get, just the rear half of one of the birds disappearing into the house. They are zipping in and out of the house, feeding little ones I think. So at least we have one pair of swallows successfully raising a family this year.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

The hummingbirds were easier to photograph. These two were engaged in some sort of fracas at the feeder. At least with the little hummers showing up for breakfast and dinner everyday, my porch is not altogether birdless.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 10:49

spedigrees: What a shame that you won't have the wealth of birds nesting on your porch. Maybe next year.

I love the closeup of the birdhouse/bottle tree. Those bottle colors were beautifully chosen. The swallows are living in a classy house.

Very nice photo of the hummer fracas!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 20:19

Now the peanuts on the deck have attracted many more critters than just the chipmunks, the original actors. If I sit quietly all sorts of critters will appear, some nervous, some surprisingly calm, and I can watch them interact with each other. They all keep an eye on me though. This is the first time I've photographed squirrels while sitting on the deck, not through a window.

Yesterday one squirrel was eating and a second squirrel wanted the peanuts but wasn't about to challenge the first. Squirrel no. 2 lay down on the deck under the railing and watched Squirrel no. 1.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Squirrel no. 1 seemed to be playing to the audience (which maybe included me).

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Eventually no. 1 chased no. 2 away (no pic).

Blue jays and white-breasted nuthatches will come to the deck while I'm sitting there and one male cardinal also likes peanuts.

I still have the peanut/suet nugget feeder hung from the deck railing.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 19, 13 at 19:50

Hey, Jane, has Ivy gone on walk-about? This Siamese was all comfy under the shrubs watching one of the bird groundfeeding areas. I saw her (I think from the face it's female but I could be wrong) from the window and went out to talk to her. I usually chase cats out of the yard but I have a weakness for Siamese cats.

I walked up to about ten feet away and told her firmly that these are my birds, not hers, and she just lay there politely. I went and got my camera and she allowed me to take a few photos. Finally I started to walk closer and she calmly turned and left.

I feel like I was playing chicken with a cat, but at least I won.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Actually I've been seeing her in the neighborhood occasionally for about a year. She looks to be very healthy and not at all afraid of people so she probably has a house somewhere nearby.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 19, 13 at 22:18

Oh, that's somebody's Siamese baby for sure and I agree, she looks female. Ivy doesn't hunt birds but chipmunks and mice are fair game in her book. Your well cared for visitor could be Ivy's sister.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 20, 13 at 10:34

I didn't think about the chipmunks which also feed at that area. I should have told the cat that the chipmunks are mine too, as well as the birds. Oh well, I'm sure the cat understood the message (not that she'd heed it, she is a cat after all).

The face is identical to my first Siamese.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Thanks for all the wonderful photos. I've got to get our little camera out but I'm not sure it nor I is fast enough to catch some of the action. My husband commented on how beautiful the male goldfinch is against the dark leaves of our crab tree.
The phoebes enjoy sitting on the pea fences. I've seen where the barn swallows can slip into the barn because the old boards leave a gap. The male bluebird is beautiful. My husband also spotted a wild turkey with three little ones. We should have a lot more but we are having company and Mr Clean decided the field needed to be mowed and there's an excavator working nearby to remove stumps around a field.

The first woodchuck that has visited in decades may have been outwitted. My husband kept digging around his hole with the backhoe. I think the woodchuck finally gave up. I hope so.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

I love Ivy! Both she and her lookalike appear to be very well fed!

My 20 year old cat's hunting days are behind her, but I miss the vole control she used to provide. My porch used to be littered with little dead bodies and partial remains. I imagine the neighbors' cats get a few, but they're not as comfortable hunting here as they are in their own territories.

My first allegiance is to my domestic pets. My cats brought down everything from rabbits to weasels to squirrels, and a fair share of birds too, in their day. The only thing that really upset me was the neighbor dog killing the fox kits that lived up above our pasture. :-( But he was a hound and it's what they do. He's gone now, so maybe the foxes will come back. There are enormous rabbits running rampant and many voles and moles to amply feed a family of foxes.

Here's my old girl on the porch rocking chair. She ignores the birds and they, her. She can't hear anymore or move quickly, so they're in no danger. A few years ago I used to keep her indoors during the days each summer until after the baby swallows fledged.

I have made the happy discovery that the house finches are still flying in and out of the nestbox. So I guess there will be baby birds on the porch this year after all.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

All the kitties are cute!

Well, I'm glad my Jessica doesn't 'hunt'. She's 11 y.o. and does not like the outdoor.

I have let her out in the past. The last time was a few years ago. She ran under the nearest shrub and wailed at the top of her lungs until I picked her up and brought her back inside.

All the voles and field mice are safe.

-Tina


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Jessica is very pretty. She's just an indoor girl at heart, it would seem!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 20, 13 at 18:16

My last cat was also in the ranks of non-hunters. She was a pass-along cat, about 14 years old when I got her, and she lived until about 17. She spent as much of that time as possible happily out on the deck. Raised as an indoor cat, the deck was wild and wonderful enough for her. The only thing better than the deck chair was my lap with me on the deck chair.

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 11:36


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

This thread is so much fun! I had some slightly larger than expected birds turn up near the bird feeder this morning.

Is there an easy way to attach multiple photos? It looks like you can only attach one at a time.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 10:30

Nice turkey there, and dogwood, EpeeGardener. If you use the GW uploading feature you can only attach one photo at a time, but you can post several messages in a row.

It's easy to embed multiple images in your message if you use an outside photo-hosting site. We have an FAQ page How do I include a photo in my post? which tells you how.

The gist of it is:

1. Get the photo onto your computer desktop, by digital camera or scanning or whatever.

2. Upload the photo to a web-hosting site; either by opening an account (Picasa, Photobucket, etc.) or by using a site that doesn't require an account (such as TinyPic or imgur). Pick a reasonable size for posting like 640 X 480 pixels.

3. From the list of codes on the website, pick the HTML code and copy it. DO NOT copy the IMG code. It won't work on GW.

4. Paste the HTML code into your message.

5. Preview should show the photo included in your post.

If you still have a problem just post, lots of people here will help.

(I really need to update the FAQ to include Garden Web's new feature.)

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Another way to post two photos is to stitch two photos together, one above the other, using PSP or photoshop. Then you can upload them as a single image. I've resorted to that. Anymore than two pictures would probably be too cumbersome, but at least this works for two photos.

What a lovely collection of porch cats we have here, in addition to other critters of the untamed variety!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

I've been working around the back of the house planting a new bed, and to get there I need to walk around the rock wall which was created to make a level surface for the back patio. Apparently the local snakes like it, since I've seen a milk snake (one of my favorites both for their beautiful pattern and the fact that they eat rodents, hopefully some of my voles), though I didn't have my camera on me at the time, and 2 garter snakes or perhaps the same one two different days. Neither was particularly happy to be disturbed, and happily moved soon enough that I wasn't startled by almost stepping on one.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 15:58

OK, (I'm such a wimp) zipping past the sn*kes, no offense, nhbabs, it's that Western culture upbringing, as bird lovers, what a lovely cat grouping we have!

As an aside, my friend from Madras says women in India do not feel the same way about 'those' things. That led to a long discussion about the Garden of Eden! But, in my gardens, if spotted, I have to walk away and find a hero/heroine somewhere to transport it elsewhere. So, hats off to you nhbabs and Claire who can handle these sightings with a much deeper appreciation of their existence and patterns than I can muster. Should mention so I don't get clobbered, I could not, nor have I, ever hurt one: One would have to be close to do that, and they have their place and I have mine - -far away. But it's a nice collection cats, eh?

Jane, the sn*ke wimp
(double negatives are not back in style...)

This post was edited by corunum on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 9:00


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 18:14

Pretty snake there, nhbabs, probably thinking it was invisible among all the leaves? seed pods? I saw a garter snake yesterday lounging on top of my compost pile. I wasn't going to the pile itself - I needed to do something on the other side - so I walked around carefully so as not to scare the snake. I didn't bother to go back for the camera, the pile is across the street and I'm lazy.

Why do you need someone to transport the snake, Jane? Usually all you have to do is move quickly and they disappear. Maybe you should practice snake scaring gestures - jump up and down and make horrible faces...or pretend you're a roadrunner looking for a snake to eat. If you google "roadrunners and snakes" you find all sorts of interesting things.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

I've been snake handling on a regular basis lately, rescuing the reptiles by lifting them up and over the dog yard fence and dropping them to safety on the other side. My sheltie "puppy" has become fixated on the garter snakes that hide in the crevices under the old quaking aspen stump. I really don't want her to kill the creatures, given their insect and possible vole control capabilities, but I expect it's just a matter of time before she gets one.

She's obsessed and circles the stump endlessly trying to grab the snakes when they emerge. I'm thankful there are no Eastern Diamondbacks here on this side of the state, because a rattle would be a completely irresistible attractant, and I expect she would lose the contest and end up the one needing a rescue.

I'd move your snakes for you, Jane, if I lived nearby. ;-) Or you could have someone package them up and send them to me. I may be needing replacement snakes before long with Mabel the Snake Terminator on patrol.

This post was edited by spedigrees on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 18:37


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 9:19

Thank you, Sped, and I'm sure UPS would be thrilled to transport them. There are field stone walls holding raised beds around 50% of the house, so we do provide good housing for them and chipmunks; hence, the round robin.

Claire, sometimes I make brave gestures and they retreat, but I know they're there. My first Siamese brought one into the house and dropped it on an Oriental runner so she could play with it comfortably out of the hot summer sun. I came out of my office and could not really see it on the densely patterned rug until nearly on top of it. The cat wouldn't take it out so I called the woman across the street who came over and literally swept it out of the house with her old Fuller Brush broom. Every kind of species that lives in this yard has been brought into the house thanks to some cat. I remove everything except sn*kes. Too bad Vermont is so far away.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 13:20

Jane: When I was a kid we had a cat door in the garage that opened into the house. One cat insisted on bringing snakes inside to play with under the rug in the living room. Someone would bring the snake outside and the cat would follow and catch it again and bring it back into the house.

My parents learned to lock the cat inside to give the snake time to escape. I suppose I was taught from a young age to respect wild things but not to fear them (I won't go into catching wasps in the house and releasing them outdoors).

My grandniece says she's afraid of butterflies - go figure.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Our cats brought all kinds of furry things home, but no birds and no reptiles, and not into the house. Now our road is too busy for cats, so we are overrun with chipmunks and voles.

One more snake photo, and then I'll take pity on Jane and not post any more (unless I manage to get a snap of the milk snake.) I think that this is the biggest garter snake I've ever seen, sunning himself on the manure I've spread in an area where I am expanding a garden bed.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

EpeeGardener, that is a big bird!

I don't get any snakes in my garden. My mom used to have a house about 3 miles from my current home and I remember she used to get garter snakes in the garden. Maybe, this is why I have field mice and voles and she didn't....

My home is a 'catch and release' household. Whether it's a spider, centipede, or ant, it gets scooped up in a cup and released outside.

Jane, perhaps the Siamese was bringing you gifts.

Claire, what a funny cat.

-Tina


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Wow, so much critter activity going on in all your backyards! Amazing heron photos, pixie lou. I usually have a pair of pigeons but haven't seen them this year.

I do feel bad for you Claire with all those woodchuck's! You have a regular nature preserve going on! lol

Jane, that's a lot of chipmunks. I wonder how many you actually have because I thought you usually don't see more than two at a time. And for each one you see, isn't there supposed to be a lot you can't see?

Spedigrees, LOVE that bottle tree!

I have had the usual common birds at the feeders and spotted one rabbit this year in the yard, that the dog chased out and that's it. Not even a chipmunk and very few squirrels either. I'm babysitting our son's Lab mix and she loves the yard, and has developed a new habit of chasing whatever moves. She has three cats at home that she plays with, so she was so happy to see a little black cat on the top of the fence one day and raced over to it, probably to play, but clearly the cat thought her life was at risk and hasn't been seen since. (g) So, here's a photo of the dog at least, since I rarely see another critter any more.

This post was edited by prairiemoon2 on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 7:51


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 8:37

Another nice snake photos, nhbabs. They enjoy the sun so much, I wonder what they think about all the rain we had. Maybe they enjoy that too - I once toad-sat for a friend and he showed me how to hold the toad under a light stream of water from the faucet. The toad loved it! (yes, you can tell when a toad loves something).

PM2: That dog has the marking of a tuxedo cat - a tuxedo dog? She does look happy there in the yard.

We used to have visiting neighborhood dogs that would patrol the yard and I never saw woodchucks. The dog next door isn't allowed to run free so he's no help.

So this morning the woodchuck family was out having a leisurely Sunday breakfast all bunched up at the table.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and then a stroll/romp along the path.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

They're all aware of the camera, even though I'm shooting from inside the house.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It's hard to sneak up on a woodchuck; I guess that's one reason there's so many of them.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

LOL, those groundhogs are really cute! Especially in that first photo where they're all huddled up. But they're so much cuter in your yard, Claire! (g) You seem to be enjoying them, are they doing any damage? I had just one in my garden once and he did so much damage, I just don't think I could peacefully coexist with a groundhog.

I had to look up tuxedo cat, Claire, I had not ever heard that term. Yes, our dog's name is Noodles, she does look like one of those tuxedo cats!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 9:28

PM2: I don't know what the woodchucks are eating besides birdseed which they really love. That's fine with me, better birdseed than phlox.

I haven't seen any more plants missing since I moved all of the tall garden phlox (paniculatas) behind bars. Probably every thing else that's left here isn't tasty. There are plants I lost over the last few years that may well have been eaten but I didn't realize it. I used to have a number of echinaceas but I thought they just got overwhelmed by the jungle. They may have been eaten too. I hope the woodchuckx fill up on birdseed and don't get desperate enough to eat plants.

I don't grow vegetables so that's not a problem.

I just remembered the three little Blue Muffin viburnums that set flower buds. Two of the three had the flower buds eaten off - the third happened to have a fence around it and wasn't touched. None of the leaves were eaten, just the flower buds. That's odd because the yard is filled with the native dentatum viburnums and they flower - I guess the woodchucks aren't tall enough to reach the flower buds.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 9:32


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Claire, I didn't realize they would eat birdseed. I seem to remember he mowed down all my echinacea that year I had my groundhog visitor. That seems to be one of their favorites aside from anything in the vegetable garden. They quickly ate most of our small vegetable garden that year. Haven't seen one since 2007.

What do you mean phlox behind bars? Chicken wire protection?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

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

PM2: The birdseed they were eating this morning is the wildlife critter food blend plus a few other things that I put in that area to lure bigger critters and birds away from other areas where I want to attract smaller birds. They don't seem to touch the nyjer which is right next to the wildlife critter food.

I set up the Phlox Protection Zone last summer and moved all of the defoliated tall garden phlox stems there (all that I could find).

It runs the length of the alley on the south side of the house with a break for the hose bib. The fence is the green wire type with smaller holes on the bottom. A determined woodchuck could dig under it but I'm hoping it won't occur to them particularly since there's stone next to it. The meadow phlox (maculata) is also colonizing the Zone and the woodchucks don't eat that. The tasty garden phlox is embedded in yucky meadow phlox.

This is the new Phlox Minnie Pearl behind the fence. I don't know if it's necessary but I'm not taking any chances.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

You can see an intact garden phlox here (not blooming yet) next to the meadow phlox just beginning to bloom. There's some Siberian iris there too.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I have two rambling roses on stilts running on top of the Phlox Protection Zone. These are the rose types that used to cover the rose arch and I'm experimenting with running them along shepherd hooks.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

The decorative birdhouse my 8 year old made last year has some tenants of the black-capped chickadee kind! There are some babies in there, but we're not sure exactly how many - anywhere from 2-6.

 photo tweetybird.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 13:48

Mrs. Guthrie Gopher and children are great -aside from that phlox problem, and thanks, PM2, I feel ever so much better after hearing that chipmunk equation, lol.

This morning was a first here: Mrs. Turkey and 4 poults strolled through. It must be 20 years since seeing a turkey in my yard. She took the chicks to the bird feeder, nibbled around the nyjer area, saundered through the birch tree island garden and was, thankfully, deterred by the picket fence. She led them back the way they came. I got so excited I forgot to change the ISO, so the picture isn't wonderful, but she was here!

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 13:54

Excellent BC Chickadee house, teapot. The music notes are perfect.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 13:56

teapot100: Your 8 year old must be ecstatic to see the chickadees nesting in the birdhouse. I would be too. I like the musical notes under the perch and the window on the side. The roof is good too.

Jane: You have turkey poults! You'll have to take on the task of photographing them for this year - I haven't seen any yet and I'm getting less and less hopeful.

Claire (I better start a new thread soon, this is getting long)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Claire, very inventive. That idea of putting in the wire fencing down the side of the house and then putting rambling roses on stilts running on the top is a riot! I used to love your rose arch so I hope this becomes a great substitute. It looks great so far. And to surround the tasty phlox with the phlox the critters don’t like to eat, genius...lol. Hope that works out. From a distance, that green fencing is not very noticeable.

That is such a sweet birdhouse, teapot. Your 8 year old must be so excited to see birds and babies in it! It's such a positive lesson in seeing the rewards from making something with your own hands, to actually end up with birds in it.

Gee, I didn’t know you didn’t have turkeys, Claire, but I guess Jane may pick up the slack in that area. How fun! Hope they stick around, Jane.

Sorry Jane, didn’t mean to burst your bubble with the chipmunks. It is really just a rumor with no basis in fact that I am aware of…..how’s that, better? (g)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

My 8 yo is thrilled and the birdhouse sits by a window where she can watch it all day if she wanted to. She made the birdhouse to look like ours - orange door, blue shutters, lol. We're going to work on a hypertufa birdbath this summer so hopefully we'll attract more sweet birds.

Would love to see turkeys in our yard, but none yet, just some crossing the road. We have seen foxes, bobcats and little bears, but no deer. Hm.

This post was edited by teapot100 on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 17:02


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Teapot, I love, love, love your daughter's birdhouse! She did a fabulous job!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 16:36

PM2...I hope you don' t play high stakes poker (smile). Nice try, though.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

Nope, and I guess it wouldn't be a great idea. :-)

Oh, and I should have offered to let you borrow my dog for a week and see if that doesn't shift the population of chipmunks in the opposite direction. She gets along with cats. :-)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 24, 13 at 13:53

79 follow-ups makes this thread hard to load for some so I set up a new thread, 2013 #6.

Claire


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