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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 16:49

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

All of the threads in the "Birds and other mobile features in the garden" series prior to 2013 are now stored in the New England Garden Forum Gallery. See the top of the main page to switch between Discussions and Gallery. For 2012, see the links posted in Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. These threads have been moved to the Gallery but there may be problems with some of the links. I've corrected those I can edit and I made an Index for threads from 2008 to 2011.

And for 2013:
INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013

2014 threads to date:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #2
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #3
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #5
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #6
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #7

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One of the many chipmunks visiting my deck has a bobbed tail. I've seen a short-tail before, but this one is shorter with a certain flair. It doesn't seem to stop the chipmunk from eating or chasing other chipmunks.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

After the second nest of bluebirds left, I thought we wouldn’t see any for a while. There are still a few around though, and last evening one showed up to check out the empty box. This happens a lot, even in the winter, but tonight we are beginning to think there may be a 3rd brood coming. Both male and female were there, and when a robin got too close, there was a dust-up (happens often during nesting). Sometimes the robin retreats, and sometimes stands its ground and the bluebirds just keep a watchful eye on it. This time the robin fled.
 photo MaleBluebird20140722333x500_zpsb494a2fb.jpg
 photo RobinaboveBluebirdbox20140723333x500_zpsf9f51dc2.jpg
Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 19:39

Three broods of bluebirds, Susan! What a gift to your yard! I wonder if the robin was just curious - they don't nest in boxes (as far as I know), and don't eat eggs or nestlings (as far as I know).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Claire, You're right, I don't think the robins do any harm at all. But they do like to get close and assert themselves a litte and the bluebirds just don't tolerate any bird close to the box. They appear out of nowhere to defend the nest! As for a 3rd brood, that would be a first for us but time will tell.

Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Great news, Susan. Keep posting on this possible 3rd time around.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 10:45

A new turkey brood has appeared; a hen with four small poults, much smaller than the poults in the main big brood. She doesn't travel with the main brood but she's often accompanied by a second hen that appears bigger and older. Grandmother? Aunt? Nice neighbor?

At first they stroll down the yard for a little way, then they come back and hang around for a while.
Turkey hens and poults1 7:26:14

This seems to be a favorite preening spot for turkeys - sunny and partly enclosed.
Turkey hens and poults3 7:26:14

The poults are learning to lounge around.
Turkey hens and poults4 7:26:14

Turkey hens and poults6 7:26:14

Claire

edit note: The photos were taken from my deck. I hear the hen clucking to the poults as they walk by. The clucking seems to be giving them directions (keep walking, or head for the brush). The turkeys know I'm here - they look at me occasionally - but they don't seem to be very concerned unless I make a sudden move.

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Jul 26, 14 at 10:51


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

claire, i have been thinking of you for the last month because this year our variegated Mulberry 'Paper Dolls' has
gone crazy with fruit. Like - there's enough for 10 armies of birds! the few robins and squirrels that are regulars- are wicked lucky because they can eat as much as they want.

Claire, i am a totally unlearned person re:birds. I don't understand, if we have such an attractive mini arboretum for them- full of conifers and J maples and tons of other trees and viburnums, plus 5 waterfalls w/ ponds for bathing and drinking-- why don't the birds that I WANT- come here??I know we don't have the wetlands for the red winged blackbirds or the open fields for the bluebirds, or the ___?__ for purple martens, or the __?___ for swallows, but what is needed to attract baltimore orioles, flickers, yellow breasted grossbeaks?, cedar waxwings...birds w/ color that are not the robins and cardinals i am so familiar with..... We have tons of robins, some cardinals, mourning doves, tons of small song birds. Thx for any info!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 11:48

Mindy: I'm still thinking about why you have a limited number of bird species, but a few thoughts are:

- Does your mini arboretum have any connection to a wider forested area? Maybe some of these birds require a larger territory with different types of vegetation. I rarely see the cedar waxwings - they arrive in a big flock to gobble up berries and then fly off to the next venue. There just may not be enough food in your arboretum to sustain a flock.

- I'm sure your arboretum is very well maintained and you don't allow dead trees and branches to remain. This may limit the nesting opportunities and the presence of insects. Flickers are woodpeckers and eat ants and beetles. I don't usually see flickers in the summer when they probably have plenty of insects to eat. They come to suet feeders (a bug substitute) and heated bird baths in the winter.

- You may not have the right nesting spots for some birds and there aren't any within an easy flight so they can fly over to visit. The orioles around here nest down by a pond and fly up for jelly and fruit.

- Baltimore orioles usually stay high up in the trees where you won't see them, hunting insects, unless there's a fruit/jelly feeder to lure them down.

- The robins and cardinals and doves and small song birds are probably most comfortable in the kind of small woodsy environment you've made for them.

I'll keep thinking, and hopefully someone else has more ideas.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

clare,i really do appreciate your thoughtful response.
(BTW, i forget to mention that we DO have a pair of hummingbirds! who love the loniceras and monarda,)
I wish you coud come and visit- you would see, i THINK, a bird paradise. Hundreds of types of woodies-trees, conifers, shrubs, and some perennials. We prune our trees to enable air flow and bird access. But we don't put out feeders ever.

In my ideal (fantasy) world, I would contact the editors of the trade publication that ALL the birds read- to keep up-to-date on the weather and latest news- and put an ad in w/ a photo of our mulberry tree, saying "On Special, RIGHT NOW! just in time for you cedar waxwings- luscious Mulberries galore!! Enough fruit to feed your ENTIRE FLOCK!! ...And while you're here, check out our other deals, coming in the near future- Shasta Viburnum berries, Cornus Kousa and Quince fruit, Monarda and Rudbeckia seedheads, ornamental grasses and hundreds more!!
Bring your best colored plumage and Come On Down!!!"

Here is a link that might be useful: The Cotton-Arbo retum; open 24/7, Free


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

The bees are enjoying the bells of this Clematis pitcheri hybrid which has a long bloom period. The one in the bloom in the lower center part of the photo was wedged far enough into the bloom so that only a small amount of it was visible initially, and in this photo it's in the process of backing its way out of the bloom.


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babs and clems

hi babs, i've been looking for that pitcherii-- lovely! where did you find it? Have you bought from The Mixed Border ? Our gardens are so crowded that small clems(Brushwood, Joy Creek) don't do well, so we have to grow them on elsewhere first, but MBorder gets in a variety of LARGE pots (exp. but worth it for us) which do well.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Hi, Mindy - I mail order the majority of my clematis, this one from Brushwood about 4 years ago. I don't have your space constraints, so I add small ones around the edges of old beds where I can keep an eye on them or into new beds and they do well (as long as the voles don't get them; I now plant in hardware cloth baskets.) I like this one for growing onto shrubs since it has a long internode and so doesn't smother the shrubs even though it's large.

The Mixed Border is a relatively long drive for me (it might be closer to you), and the one time I tried going there, they were closed. I hadn't check the website for their open times, just stopped in when I was in the area for another reason. I'll check them out some time when I am headed to the southern part of the state again. Thanks for the recommendation.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Barb, next time you want to head down there, let me know. I was there last weekend and would love to go back. Got there on Sunday after he closed, but they were there so he let me shop and we talked for quite a while. Very nice nursery with some interesting plant material.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Question .... What are these?

We have been very lucky to enjoy frequent visits from Sandpipers and Ibises.The Sandpipers have been around for a while... I love their sounds. Because they blend in so well with the mudflats, I usually see them before I hear them. Are these Least Sandpipers?

And we've been really, really lucky to have seen several Ibises the last few days. Again, identification for us is tricky. Can anyone tell if these Glossy Ibises or White-faced Ibises?

And then .... when it rains, it pours. Here's a pic my DH just took today.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 10:56

Molie: Nice selection of birds there! Another sandpiper possibility is Semipalmated Sandpiper. According to Cornell, one difference between Least Sandpiper and semipalmated is the color of the legs. Semipalmated legs are black and Least legs are yellow. I'm not sure from your pictures what these are.

I won't even try to guess the Ibis ID - I'm just amazed that you are seeing ibises!

I'm very tentatively saying Red-shouldered Hawk - the tail is too short for an accipiter, but I could easily be wrong.

Great sightings!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Thanks, Claire... will have to hone in on the legs from now on, but the sounds we hear all the time from the river banks are those of the Least Sandpiper.

As for the Hawk... Red-shouldered sounds good. Here's a closer shot that my DH took. Maybe some others can also confirm that ID. I didn't post it earlier because the head was cut off in the shot.

We'll keep checking the varieties of Ibis online. Hard to tell and I'm no expert.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 14:09

OK! Now that's just plain showing off, Molie! Seriously? Glossy Ibis? ay yi yi. I think Claire is right on the Semipalmated Sandpiper - gray legs and I think the Glossy Ibis is in adult breeding plumage - according to the picture in The Crossley Guide.

Near the CT River, but in the meadow this morning, (I could just spit) while focused on the bunny, a black mink ran across the path in back of the bunny - some 20' behind. First time I've ever seen a mink, but I'm going back. May take years to see another one, but...

Not critters, but now thanks to the New Hampshire people, I want more clematis. The chap who put mulch down for me this year snapped the artery of my Jackmanii - totally kaput.

Those Plymouth turkeys are lucky to be learning the art of lounging, lol. They are special.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Molie, so many lovely birds coming to visit! Your hawk looks to me like a red-tail which has an unstriped tail, reddish on top and white on the underside. Red shouldered have brown and white striped tails.

The only Ibis that is likely in your area is the Glossy since the White-faced is a western bird, so WF would be way out of their normal territory.

Jane, don't give up on your Jackmanii. Often they will return the next year from the roots (or even in a couple of years), so take care of it and don't dig in the area.

We are regularly seeing 4 mama turkeys along with a flock of about 14 poults, now about half grown, but they are wily and don't let us get too close.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 2, 14 at 11:18

Molie: There was an article in the Cape Cod Times this morning on "Migratory birds preparing for amazing journeys".

It said:
"An interesting phenomenon called post-breeding dispersal happens at this time of year. This involves many southern species of herons and terns that disperse northward after the breeding season causing a bit of excitement for birders. There is typically a small influx of birds that do this in the month of August. The likely species involved include little blue heron, Louisiana heron, glossy ibis, cattle egret as well as myriad tern species like sandwich, royal, gull-billed and in waters offshore sooty and bridled tern."

That may explain your ibis invasion.

It's also early migration time and I've been noticing huge flocks of sandpipers in the local marsh when I drive by (without my camera of course).

Mindy: Another thought about the bird populations in your arboretum. You may have too high expectations concerning the visibility of colorful birds. In an enclosed aviary you see lots of birds happily flitting around in full view, but that's not what they do in real life.

In real life, birds usually don't want to be visible to predators (there are hawks and other beasts out there!) and they stay in the trees or brush or grass; only coming out to get food or water or to bathe. Some birds are more secretive than others - what you're seeing now are the bolder types.

You may have more birds than you know already; they just don't feel it's safe to show themselves, or they're appearing at different times of the day, like very early or at dusk when you're not looking for them. In the winter I see a lot of cardinals and white-throated sparrows as it's getting dark when the hawks are not around.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Nhbabs... thanks for the corrections and your help in identifying the birds. We are lucky to be living along a tidal river that allows us to enjoy so many birds.

Jane, regarding your clematis... many of mine have browned out and have had to be cut back. They'll return next year, hopefully happier for the trimming.

Claire, the Ibises appear only for a short time every summer. Luckily they returned to the same spot over several days and so we had the camera ready. The birds that we haven't seen in several years are the turkeys, probably because there are now so fences and new dogs in the neighborhood. When we moved here 11 years ago, turkeys were frequent visitors. And pretty bold, too.... walking down the center of the street and even up to the edge of our deck.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 2, 14 at 15:01

nhbabs and Molie - thanks, I wouldn't dig the Jackmanii out anyway, I'm a believer. It's just that he was loaded with buds and had 2 blossoms, then the dreaded snap.

Mindy - I full agree with Claire's assessment of your backyard birds. When you wrote about the birds you WANT versus those you get, my guess is that they're around. For what it's worth, in the 39 years here, I've seen a Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Orioles and Indigo Buntings once - and I look out the window frequently toward the feeders and heated birdbath. The Cedar Waxwings show up for exactly 3.5 hours the day they choose in February to clean out the last of the crabapples and chokeberries. If I leave the house at the wrong time, then I've missed them for the whole year. But they're here. New England really has colorful birds and it sounds to me as though you have a nice crowd.

Molie's Glossy Ibis. And herons, sandpipers, egrets, swans, ducks, geese, et al. Lovely pictures she has of all of them. So I got an email from my friend and river dweller (Molie) that said, "You must bring your camera. The birds are spectacular. Come for brunch." Thank you, Thursday will be fine. Charged the batteries for both cameras and this is what I came home with:
Sparrow with bug

Now in all fairness, beyond the great bloody mary and foodstuffs, I did get a regal egret in mud up to his ankles. Everybody else was absent.
IMG_2344-2

So whether watching or wanting to see certain birds in certain locales, it's still a matter of Mother Nature's vicissitudes and her incredible sense of timing. It's all good stuff.

Jane :)

This post was edited by corunum on Sat, Aug 2, 14 at 15:09


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 19:38

Fantastic detail in that first photo, Jane. House Sparrow?

And that egret is the epitome of attitude! We are here, admire us!

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 22:18

Yes, Claire, HOSP. The nest was so close it would have been hard to mess up the shot.

I've noticed the sleeping bee events again. There seems to be something about August pollen in buddleia and Joe Pye weed that entrances bumbles. (could be just me) Not in high sun, but at the beginning and end of the day, bumbles, not mason bees, seemingly fall into a stupor of great rest. The camera was so close, but this little guy never moved. He was still 'asleep' 20 minutes later. Hard workers!
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

What a great photo, Jane! Yes, I've noticed sleeping bees in the garden especially in the early morning and wondered... Why? So I did some GW "research" in the Bees and Beekeeping Forum where a poster (kazyaka) wrote:

"Bees do not sleep. What you are noticing are bees that where out to late and didn't get back before dark. Bees use the sun to find their way back to the hive and also to the flowers. The bees you find in your flower heads in the morning are just cold and wait to warm up to go back home."

Seemed to be logical to me but then I know nothing about bees/bumblebees.

Then I got to thinking... they must sleep sometime. That led to an interesting link:

Here is a link that might be useful: Do Honeybees Sleep?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 4, 14 at 13:06

What a great article, Molie! I think 'my' bee is an old forager and like me and doesn't dance well. Really good article - thanks.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Bluebird update: We thought we might have a 3rd brood for the 1st time, but what we were seeing were the parents of the second brood hanging around the nest box while the fledglings were learning how to feed. When other birds approached, the parents would assume defensive posture and run them off. They are gone now, to wherever the go this time of year. We expect them back in a few months. Picture below of one in the vegetable garden just before departure.

Awesome photos Claire, nhbabs, Molie,Jane. My Jackmannii clematis has been inadvertantly cut off by a weed wacker before, but it came back as glorious as ever.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Really nice shot of the bluebird, Susan, showing a beautiful reddish glow on its front .... maybe from the setting sun?

Have you any idea where they go when they leave you... (then in three months, they'll be back) ... so it must be a route they take that returns them to your yard?

Curious Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Thanks for the link on honeybees, Molie. Fascinating. I haven't seen a honeybee for several years, just bumble bees and smaller bees.

The color on the bluebird is still so vivid, HG603. Here we are seeing lots of warblers with much reduced color. I did see a still-bright indigo bunting early yesterday morning, but decided to just watch rather than go get my camera out of the car.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Molie and nhbabs, yes the color is vivid and it was evening sun hitting the garden that created a pretty glow. I would suspect photoshopping if I hadn't taken the photo myself!

I wish I knew where they go this time of year, but for several years they have come back to us. We catch a glimpse of blue and all of a sudden they are flying around and checking out the boxes (even though they don't nest until spring).

Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

So... the Ibises came back. And for a time this morning they were in a cluster with Canada geese and Egrets, but the Egrets left as my DH went for the camera.

These Ibis appear to have the beginnings of a white ring around the eyes.

And a Golden Finch dining on Echinacea seeds.

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 11:30

Molie/Susan: I did find one note at the All About Birds site that said that
"Insects caught on the ground are a bluebird’s main food for much of the year. Major prey include caterpillars, beetles crickets, grasshoppers, and spiders. In fall and winter, bluebirds eat large amounts of fruit including mistletoe, sumac, blueberries, black cherry, tupelo, currants, wild holly, dogwood berries, hackberries, honeysuckle, bay, pokeweed, and juniper berries. Rarely, Eastern Bluebirds have been recorded eating salamanders, shrews, snakes, lizards, and tree frogs."

Maybe bluebirds feed mostly on insects when they're feeding nestlings, but after the young have fledged they switch to fruit to balance out their nutritional needs. It could be they move to a different area after the nesting season where there are more fruits available, but come back to the feeders when winter is approaching. Just a guess.

Grackles leave here when the fledglings are adept at flying and I've wondered if they're changing food sources (or just joyriding with the kids).

Molie: Beautiful ibis pics! I'm still stunned at the idea of ibises in your neighborhood.

Jane: Your bumblebee looks very comfortable there. The bumbles here get up before I do and head out to the various breakfast spots.

A favorite fast food place is the oriole/catbird jam feeder.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 13:08

Molie- you lucky duck! I'm glad they came back and that DH 'caught' them. nhbabs is right, they are Glossy Ibis and not White-faced Glossy Ibis. I cropped your picture and had a good look then compared it to pictures in The Crossley Guide. From even a few feet away, I think, if while in adult breeding plumage, it could be difficult to tell the difference. The W-F Glossy has a wider area of white around the eye, but it's close.

Susan - lovely bluebird photo. I usually see the highest number of them in the winter when the suet feeder becomes popular.

Claire- glad we all have the bumbles! But mine don't have the breakfast diner you built...and I'm not telling them.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Claire, that makes sense about the feeding habits. They are definitely all about the insects in the spring/early summer. When they return in the fall, they are more into seeds, berries, and suet (when we make it available). Of course the bugs are scarcer then. We are just curious about where they go when they leave here, but probably will never know.

Do you just spread any jam on a plate to attract orioles and catbirds? We see the latter here but the orioles, not so much.

Molie, great Ibis photos. Appear to have that pretty sun glow too.

Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 5, 14 at 20:01

Susan: Suet is supposed to be an insect substitute for birds that like to eat bugs. Insects are apparently very high in fat so that makes sense. Outside of putting little GPS tags on the bluebirds it's hard to know where they go.

I have a few oriole feeders that are made to hold jam. The picture shows one that's made by Duncraft but you can just put the jam or jelly on anything and the birds won't mind. The traditional sweet is grape jelly but the birds in my yard seem to like apricot or peach or raspberry better. I have both catbirds and orioles in my yard. The orioles dominate the catbirds but the catbirds will just wait until the orioles are gone.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 17:10

This chap poses well. Discovered he is a Aphrodite fritillary - a brush-footed butterfly. The front legs have fine hairs and are for tasting and smelling - not walking. He favors the rose of sharon and buddleias and luckily for me, is a slow mover.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Beautiful picture Jane!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 6, 14 at 19:36

Jane: Beautiful indeed! It's hard to believe that the butterfly is real and not some delightful design project.

Claire (who's still regretting not getting the camera in time to picture the tiny orange neon dot that appeared on a hosta leaf)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Great photo, Jane. You are an amazing nature photographer!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 14:55

From above: Claire (who's still regretting not getting the camera in time to picture the tiny orange neon dot that appeared on a hosta leaf) I did a quick Google image search for orange bug, and had no idea (other than VW's) that there are so many orange bugs. Yup, next time get the camera. And if it's an old VW bug, buy it. Loved my '65. I digress.

Thank you , Molie, I swear I'll buy the next time.

Took these fellows today on the 15 year old budleia and speaking of bugs, wondered how the little guy felt coming in for a landing. Bugs probably don't feel. Or do they?
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Claire, I had a used cream '63 VW bug and later a '68 zenith blue w/sunroof. Lots of fun, despite the heaters not being so great and the distributor cap sometimes needed to be dried off when it rained. But I digress too! Great shot of the little one photo-bombing the swallowtail.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 18:32

Jane: Nice shot of the traffic pattern at the Buddleia Airport - little butterfly hoping that the big butterfly will get out of the way in time. I think that all living organisms, like bugs, feel on some level. It's probably necessary for survival and avoiding danger.

Susan: I never had a VW bug, although I remember years ago going with a friend to the Mack Truck shop to have a Mack bulldog installed on his VW. I wonder if I can get one now for my Passat....

Claire


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RE: Hail

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 18:39

I've been listening to the NWS Weather Alert radio most of today as they warn about the serial thunderstorms that keep hitting us.

They talk about hail the size of nickels and quarters and sometimes I hear "duck-sized hail". I must be mis-hearing this (or maybe I just want to hear about hail the size of ducks). They can't possibly be saying that can they?

Claire

edit note: I just heard another warning and they might have said "gusts and hail". I like the ducks better.

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 18:44


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 18:55

Hahahahahaha, that 's funny. Duck size hail would hammer the Passat into bug. Nooooo....


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Oops, my apologies to Jane who posted the swallowtail being photo-bombed by the little one in the background. I re-direct my VW comments to you and promise to pay more attention in the future. Do I have it right yet? :(


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 20:52

You're good to go, Susan, lol. Not to worry. Yes, the heater was mostly absent, the clutch cable snapped and I drove 26 miles in 2nd gear, the sunroof seal leaked in the rain, but it was a fun car. Great in snow.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 17:12

Claire - Months later, I can't tell if this is a Winter Wren or a House Wren. This little bird was guarding the house that was occupied last spring by what you thought may have been a Winter Wren. May be she is. Also wonder if she is a juvi from the nest. Her alarm call works because as I got closer without seeing her, she really belted it out. But as soon as I saw her, I backed off and started for the house.
wren singing

Not until I was some 25' away did I realize that I was not the only reason for the shrieking.

Aug.2014 under wren house
Ivy came as soon as I called her and the little wren relaxed. Cat follows me everywhere which is not usually helpful for taking birds photos.

So little brown birds with green hues cast upon them still stump me. The eye streak may be a little longer than house wrens. ??

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 17:27

I'm not sure about the wren, Jane. I'm only familiar with Carolina Wrens which are easy to identify. Maybe you should post the pic(s) on the Bird Watching Forum?

I remember taking walks with Siamese cats - they particularly enjoyed going down to the beach (big sandbox!)

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 17:29

Parasitic birds are such a mystery. Not my place to judge, but one has to wonder why the parents don't see the difference. A Brown-headed Cowbird must have laid an egg in the Mourning Dove's nest because this juvi only comes with the doves. Gotta wonder...
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 17:59

Maybe they do see the difference but have learned that it's better to accept the stranger and avoid retaliation by the brood parasite.

Fear of the cuckoo mafia: In fear of retaliation, birds accept and raise brood parasites' young

It's interesting that the parasite has lost the nesting instinct but still tries to protect its young.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 20:58

Fascinating article, thank you. No established equilibrium makes me wonder if all living things forget history lessons. Interesting.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Claire, that article about brood parasites and the fear that allow birds to accept the stranger is fascinating but also makes me wonder how and why did this behavior develop in the catbird?

And more wonderful photos from Jane. I was under the impression that Ivy is no longer a "hunter"..... she lives the good life and really doesn't need to work for her meals.

Some "river news" to pass along. You may recall the pictures of the three osprey on the tower? We're guessing that they've been giving Junior hunting lessons along our river. For several days we've seen and heard them in the trees. It's been their calling to each other that has alerted us to their presence. The pairs of calls seem a bit difference.... one being weaker. Here's the parent (?) in our neighbor's pine tree. I'm just guessing because of the yellow eyes. Maybe some of you are better at distinguishing a maturing juvenile from its parent.



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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 9, 14 at 10:55

Molie: It's believed that the cowbird developed a relationship with herds of bison, following them and eating insects kicked up by their hooves. Following buffalo herds makes it difficult to commit to a nest and a brood, so the cowbird evolved a different strategy, i.e. let someone else raise the kids. ( see this reference).

Recently I was watching a cow in the local gentleman farmer's fields and I noticed cowbirds feeding in the grass as the cow grazed. The birds moved along with the cow, so this is probably what it looked like multiplied by a few hundred cows.

I was reminded of this the other day when I mowed the lawn and lots of insects leaped up. I kind of expected a few cowbirds to join me but I guess the feeder was more interesting to them.

I like the idea of ospreys teaching hunting to the young.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Thanks for the interesting link, Claire. My curiosity has been nourished!

Molie


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 15:34

Is it just me, or does anyone else see a 'face' on the backside of the little finch (guy in the middle). Young master RB Grosbeak has come a long way. He and his 2 sisters are on their own.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 17:55

There's definitely a face there, Jane. Somewhere in between a Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar and Charlie Chaplin.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 18:33

I seem to be obsessed with bugs lately, not surprising since August is buggy season. Sort of like if you're dealt lemons, make lemonade. If you're dealt bugs, photograph them.

Today an insect that at first I thought was a mosquito landed on the table next to me on the deck. I started to grab the bug spray (I'm never far from bug spray) then I thought - green mosquito? I've never seen a green mosquito. I got a quick photo as it was leaving and it seems to be a Long-legged Fly, a beneficial insect, good to keep around.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire (waiting for the neon orange dot to come back)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 21:30

Don't believe I've ever seen the Wilt Chamberlain version. Good to know that he's beneficial. Wasn't it Twain who alluded to the idea that we shouldn't have to have mosquitoes AND politicians? Something like that. Yes, a buggy year everywhere.

Nobody applies breaks with the speed of a hummer, 'cept a hummer.
Audacious bumble took her spot!
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Jane, love your hummingbird picture! So crisp. I have feeders, but seems the birds always put their heads down or move away just when I click the camera. Not giving up though.

Susan


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

The goldfinches seem to be stocking up for migration; last week Molie saw them on her Echinacea, and today I had them on my hollyhocks (Alcea) just outside the living room window, first the male and then joned by either a female or young one. They often eat the seeds of my annual poppies as well. I'd been planning on harvesting the Alcea seeds and then removing the stalks, but I may leave them up for a few days to see if the goldfinches return.
From goldfinches August 11, 2014

From goldfinches August 11, 2014

Great hummingbird photo, Jane. Did the hummer chase the bee away or just leave and return later? This morning I had a female visiting the honeysuckle in the corner of the first goldfinch photo, but didn't get a photo.

Claire - the long-legged fly is beautiful with the blue-green color and stilt legs.

Last week I got a shot of a garden spider in her dew-beaded web in the morning . . .

From garden spider August 1, 2014

and her 4 captives all neatly wrapped that same afternoon. She's just finishing wrapping the last one here.
From garden spider August 1, 2014

She is still there a week later, so seems happy with the site.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 17:56

Wise hummingbird, Jane, to reconsider when faced with a stinging thing almost as big as the hummer's head. Lovely shot.

nhbabs: You're making the goldfinches very happy - so many seeds! And that's a huge spiderweb!

It's funny that now that I've noticed a long-legged fly I saw another one today on a crabapple leaf. This one is more gold-colored. They're probably everywhere but I never looked closely.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And the first Hummingbird Moth of the season visiting a lily.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 18:35

Oh, good show! Birds, bugs and their food. Are flies getting longer legs or is the once denied climate change bringing them up North? Wonder if you're seeing Texas Long-legged flies, Claire? You're too observant not to have noticed these before. (link below)
Hummingbird moths and spiders of all kinds let you know the sedum is beginning to blush. Good shot.

nhbabs - nice bird garden. Every time I've seen the Goldfinches riding an echinacea bloom, by the time I get the camera they're off. So good going. To answer your question, as Claire mentioned, no, the hummers give a very wide space to the bees. This isn't at my house, but there are so many hummers because of a meadow nearby, my friend had to put up another feeder - and then they still fight each other.

Not a fan of spiders, but the art they create is a wonder.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Tall Ones or something like that

This post was edited by corunum on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 18:37


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 18:43

One more thing...this is the first time I've ever noticed a 3 dimensional view of a butterfly's wing. We should all know this, right? hehe

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 16:42

Someone sent this website to me -hope it's okay to share here. I think all those who frequent Claire's thread would like it.
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: butterflies/fruit


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 13, 14 at 18:47

Lovely picture of the butterfly hanging from the flower, looking like a paper parasol.

Amazing website - I didn't realize how important fruit is to butterflies. I'm a little afraid to put out fruit for them because I fear some of the birds will scoop the butterflies up. For a while I had Carolina Wrens cruising my deck looking for moths to eat (the moths were sleeping under various benches, chairs, umbrellas, etc.)

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 15, 14 at 8:54

Just reviewed the index you made of this thread, Claire, and I think this may be the longest running thread on the NW Forum. Correct?
I noticed that you had a Bobwhite on June 15, 2009 - I've never seen one. Also noticeable is the amount of people who no longer frequent the NE Forum. Change is the only constant, I guess. It's an interesting history and an especially nice digital record of your land for future stewards. Well done!

Sometimes I think about making one of the Shutterfly picture/story books of the changes that this yard has seen. Today, one can put the whole history on a memory stick and hand it to the next owner. Some things don't change, however, and that's the need to be incredibly flexible. This hummer chap was up in the big maple preening, resting and surveying the world he'll leave in a few weeks.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Stunning photos of the sunning swallowtail and the preening hummer.

I tried taking photos of a female or young yellow warbler last week, and they essentially are photos of a bush. Quite frustrating. I'll start a new thread about cameras.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

It appears that not all of our blue-feathered friends left town after all. So happy to see this pair, even though we have no expectations of another brood this year.

The male on the tiller handle
 photo IMG_0826333x500_zps6f8af825.jpg

The female
 photo IMG_0843335x500_zps5fa13239.jpg
The pair on the old pasture fence. Not as clear as I would like due to distance (and the photographer's skills).

 photo IMG_0838500x333_zpsf4b1b67e.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

I've seen a couple of little green tree frogs in the last week, though I don't know what kind they are. There was one on a basil leaf in the veggie garden last week, but he disappeared before I could get a photo.

There was another on the door yesterday. He was initially on the glass (this view is less than one 6" x 10" pane to give some scale.)

From August 16, 2014

and from there he moved to the door frame before hopping onto the step and disappearing into the greenery along the path.

From August 16, 2014


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 10:35

Jane: It takes a lot of maintenance to be a glamorous hummingbird! Sort of like the backstage pictures of an actress getting ready to go on stage. Beautiful shot.

Nice to see the bluebirds back, Susan. I like the way all of them are using structures you provided, rather than perch on trees. Humans are useful, after all.

Pretty little tree frog, nhbabs. Has anyone seen baby toads this year? We used to see whole herds of them in the spring, but that was before I started feeding the birds in multiple locations. The birds probably ate the little toads, although I've also cut down on lawn so I may not see them.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 10:44

Thanks, and everything Claire said about the bluebirds and frogs. Wonderful stuff here! I've seen very tiny leaf hopping toads (frogs?) in a front - away from the bird feeder- garden and the usual toads in the lawn. We use to have a toad that hopped into the open-door garage. He and the cat would sit side-by-side watching drops bounce off the driveway. I should have gotten him a small umbrella.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 11:21

Have to go prune and dig up Jack O lantern fungi again, but as I glimpsed out my window, I again saw the Mourning Doves doing their latest and greatest. Last spring I went to Agway in search of a new feeder and seed (that's when the safflower came home) that would discourage the gang of 50 HOSP that were cleaning the feeder daily.

The Audubon feeder I chose said it was specifically for smaller songbirds. That feeder along with changing to safflower pretty much assured the dispersal of the sparrow gang. It did. However, I have since learned that Mourning Doves consider themselves small songbirds and the group of 20 birds is cleaning the feeder daily. 4 lbs. of safflower every day. Hope the kids leave home soon.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 11:53

Oh, that's funny, Jane! So 50 house sparrows = 20 mourning doves. Maybe it's time for a big tube feeder for the safflower? With the big perches they make for cardinals...

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 16, 14 at 17:37

I guess that equation rings true, 50 to 20. I never should have named the first two doves that perched, Bertrand & Russell. They defied my sense of logic and pursued their own freedom of thought. Four pounds a day. How many Euros? Oh, well.

Whilst having supper tonight, I saw a first. Lots of anxious crow talk, in flight you could tell, and there! in the middle of the back yard, a chase ensued after crow#1 flying low with a sn*ke hanging out of its beak. Never thought of sn*ke as the Saturday night blue plate special. yuck. (would have made a great photo though)

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 11:08

Oh, good - another 'small songbird' on the feeder. I think the Audubon bird feeder marketing folks should redefine 'small songbird'.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 11:52

Well, since the Common Raven is considered a songbird (the largest in North America), I guess grackles are small in comparison. Be glad you don't have a raven landing on your feeder.

I have another possible take on your crows-with-snake event. The crow broods are fledging now in my neighborhood and they're flying all around with non-stop nasal cawing (I flew to this tree! What do I do now? Where is everybody? I'm hungry, feed me!).

Maybe your crow is delivering the snake lecture to the kids - "This long skinny floppy thing is dangerous! Watch out! This is how to deal with it!"

Just a thought.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

Those bluebird photos are lovely, Homegrown. I like the bright blue against the rusty fence.

I think you (or maybe someone else) once posted photos a few years back of tree frogs, nhbabs. I never realized before that that tree frogs lived in cold climates. I've only seen them in tropical places. It would be a treat to see one. Great pictures of your little guy!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 12:18

I took a video of the crow fledglings. The sound is low because I was inside the house (some windows open). It's not exciting but it gives an idea of the sight and sounds of the young crows.


Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 15:07

That's good, side-by-side crows. I seldom think to use video. I think papa crow brought home the starter course. The fledglings here are well on their way. As mentioned over the years, we feed all meat scraps to the crows and by the end of July, the kids hit the ground with the elders. The other day there were 5 crows on the ground after chicken scraps and I could tell the kids from the parents/older siblings. The 4:30a.m. yelling has mostly stopped, for which I am grateful. Their nest is within 200' of my bedroom windows. No alarm clock necessary.
Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Crows


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 16:24

Post deleted. I just realized how long this thread is and I'm starting a new one, 2014 #9, using these photos to lead off.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Aug 17, 14 at 20:41


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The Ibis and the Ducks

GardenWeb BirdWomen(GWBW) this is my new moniker for you! Catchy, doncha think?!--
I have to tell you--when I see that photo of the Ibis and the Mallard duck,
I blink my eyes and (I wish I could make a Photo shop for you)
I see a tall graceful Cher in a Cleopatra outfit, complete w/ cobra headdress,
standing ankle deep on the edge of a beach, gazing out to sea, and all around her are stubby American male tourists wearing shorts, baseball caps and basketball sneakers..........


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014 #8

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Aug 28, 14 at 11:03

"I see a tall graceful Cher in a Cleopatra outfit, complete w/ cobra headdress,
standing ankle deep on the edge of a beach, gazing out to sea, and all around her are stubby American male tourists wearing shorts, baseball caps and basketball sneakers.......... "

Wonderful image, Mindy! I almost choked on the last bit of coffee in my cup.

Claire


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maintenance required for birdhouses?

claire and GWBW, plse tell me what maintenance i should expect were i to get a large 4 sided (36"x25x22") birdhouse to display in the gardens (a decorative piece for me, but built to be used). Years ago i was scared off of getting birdhouses because i was told that a bird eye disease gets passed along in nesting masterial, so i would have to rigorously clean the insides every year or more. My worst suit is maintenance so i never got any bird houses. (I thought this one would make a striking centerpiece if mounted on a tall fencepost.) Thx for your help.


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