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Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 29, 13 at 16:55

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:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #1
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #2
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #3
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #4
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #5
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #6
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #7
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #8

...................................................................... ...................................................................... ..........

I finally took down the peanut/suet nugget feeder that hung from my deck railing because I was getting besieged by squirrels.

"Got peanuts? Why not? I want peanuts in a shell pack as well as the shelled ones!"

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I felt bad about the downies that loved the suet nuggets, but the timing was good. The hummers have gone so I played musical feeders and put the hummer feeders on the deck just in case a straggler comes along and put the suet feeder up on the prime hummer hook in the front yard. The downies (and red-belly and chickadees and titmice) found it fast.

When it's warm enough for me to go out on the deck the squirrels and chipmunks still appear expecting peanuts, but they don't hang around otherwise.

Claire


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Love that second shot, Claire. He's beseeching you with his plea, "Me? You talkin' to me? You want me to LEAVE?"


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 10:09

The more comfortable these squirrels get with me, the more little theater is played out. The doe-eyed gazes come from squirrels perched on top of the railing, standing under my table, and on top of a chair.

The main thrust is to get peanuts still in the shells - I guess they're frantically stocking up for the winter. I'll throw out bare peanuts and the squirrels will check each one of them and give me an indignant look - not acceptable, need shells. If the shell is cracked they'll eat it there, but an intact shell filled with peanuts is carried off triumphantly.

If the theater doesn't produce shells, after a while they'll give up and eat bare peanuts.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 16:30

Since I usually see chipmunks scurrying on the ground, I tend to forget that they're comfortable in trees and sometimes even live there.

This chipmunk has a nest in the old broken sour cherry and today it was chipping away just outside the nest which is about ten feet above the ground. You can see the hole to the right.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It looks as if the cheek pouches are swollen/vibrating while it makes the chipping sound.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I wonder if this was the same chipmunk that stood on my foot this morning reminding me that I needed to put more peanuts down on the deck.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

When I first noticed this cardinal perched on the top branch of one of my willow bushes through the kitchen door, he was a fluorescent crimson ornament in a beam of sunlight shining on him through a hole in the clouds. Of course by the time I retrieved the camera, the sun had faded and so had he. Still he looked pretty against the backdrop of fall foliage.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 10:36

Cardinals definitely belong in the fall foliage show and this one looks like he knows how splendid he is (even without the sunbeam on him).

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 14, 13 at 18:30

I've been keeping the bee feeder (previously known as the oriole/catbird feeder) stocked with preserves. The visitors are still primarily bumblebees but there are also other bees and a hornet and a yellowjacket. (I'm very weak at insect identification and staring at the online Bug Guide is confusing me more).

I have two plastic plates in the feeder. The pieces of wood, pine needles and cones and a peanut shell are something for the bees to stand on so they don't drown in soupy preserves. I'm using up some store brand apricot preserves diluted with a little water.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I think that's a Bald-faced Hornet on the bottom right.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

There seem to be two different sized types of bumblebees, a few honey bees, or maybe other native bees, and a yellowjacket in flight on the top right.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I'm getting a little more cautious since the bees, etc. are getting more desperate and the hornets and yellowjackets have shorter tempers. I check the feeder early in the morning and on cold mornings the insects are not moving, making it easier to pour in a little more preserves.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

That's a yellow jacket on the left in your third photo from the top, and a bald/white faced hornet on the right. Providing these guys with a food source is liable to make your property more attractive as a nesting site for these little demons. Having these creatures in proximity is extremely dangerous, especially if you are allergic to their venom, and one of many reasons why I do not offer jelly to the wildlife here. I think it must be at least as dangerous as feeding bears, and here at least it might well draw bears as well as venomous insects. I would be careful if I were you!

I like your little rodent friends a lot better than your stinging insects!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 13:25

spedigrees: If I saw the yellowjackets (and hornets) at the jam feeder during the oriole season I would be more worried, but they only show up later on when their normal food sources are scarce. Until then they're considered beneficial in that they feed on caterpillars and harmful flies.

Clemson fact sheet

Their nesting season is over by now and they're just trying to survive and maybe feed the queen. I've only run into a nest on the property once and I would never have known about it if my nephew hadn't disturbed it by digging where he really shouldn't have.

I'm pleased that I can feed the bumblebees and honeybees and their ilk, and I'll just be careful not to antagonize the others. Besides, I'm curious to see what insects are lurking in my yard when I don't usually see them.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 15, 13 at 14:00

It was relatively warm today and I managed to sit out on the deck for a while. When they realized I was out there the squirrels, chipmunks and blue jays came to see if I had brought peanuts with me. They particularly wanted the shell packs so I started throwing them out on the deck.

A blue jay checking out the table.
Blue Jay with peanuts5 10:15:13

And then a pounce!
Blue Jay with peanuts4 10:15:13

Can I fit two shell packs in my craw and bill?

Blue Jay with peanuts1 10:15:13

Yes!
Blue Jay with peanuts3 10:15:13

Blue Jay with peanuts2 10:15:13

And away we go!
Blue Jay with peanuts6 10:15:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 17, 13 at 13:10

A Common Grackle has been hanging around long after the main flock migrated away. Maybe he'll stay all winter; sometimes one or two males stay over until spring. I don't know if it's a confused juvenile or maybe he was injured or just old when the others left. I suppose he could also be from a different flock and just got lost. In any case, he likes suet and looks good with fall grass in the background.
Common Grackle2 10:15:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

I am wondering if frost will hold off for long enough for these caterpillars (black swallowtails I think) to survive and make chrysalises. I am considering bringing them in on some potted parsley if a frost threatens. We didn't notice them until late September, munching on a self-seeded fennel plant right by the main kitchen door. DH particularly likes them because if you touch them, they send up a pair of bright orange antenna-like projections.
From October, 2013


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Oh by all means, bring in the black swallowtail caterpillars and save them from the frost, nhbabs! I love black swallowtail butterflies.

I let much of my stinging nettles survive for their sake, but have never encountered any caterpillars on the plants.

This looks to be another year with an extended "Indian summer." I still have some marigolds and nasturtiums blooming. Perhaps your caterpillars will not need intervention if the frost continues to stay at bay.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Is this a praying mantis?
 photo PrayingMantis7_zps110cb879.jpg

 photo PrayingMantis9_zps2fbafdd3.jpg

The otters were back. They spent a couple days in the pond. I refused to go out in the backyard since I didn't want to scare them away. There were 2 this time. Lousy photo since it was taken through a window with a long zoom lens.
 photo Otters_zps4a57450e.jpg

This Northern Flicker was playing "King of the Stump"
 photo Flicker_zpsf7971c34.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 19, 13 at 11:15

nhbabs: I have no first hand experience with raising butterflies and have no idea whether you should bring them in or not, but I just found this site Raise Black Swallowtail Butterflies Indoors. About 2/3 down the page it shows what the caterpillar looks like when it's about to pupate and says:


Black Swallowtail Caterpillar
Ready to Pupate

"When the caterpillar gets ready to pupate it will scrunch up along a stick or stem and then spin its silk. It will attach itself to the stem/stick like a telephone lineman hangs on a pole with a belt. The caterpillar will use a belt of silk as well as attach its base to a patch of silk."

Maybe if you watch your caterpillars you can see if they're ready to pupate and thus are ready to survive winter on their own before a frost? If they don't seem to have a clue that cold is coming then they should come inside?

pixie_lou: Yes, a praying mantis! Such an amazing looking insect. Maybe you or your daughter will want to keep it indoors.
I just found this eHow site How to Take Care of a Praying Mantis

I hope your otters stay around until snow/ice season. That should be a fun sliding area for them (and for you to watch).

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, Oct 19, 13 at 11:16


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Wow, Pixie Lou, I've never seen a praying mantis in my garden. Boy, you have a lot of wildlife around your property. Otters no less! The most exotic wildlife around my place, are squirrels. (g)

Claire, I like your series of Blue Jay photos. They are interesting to watch. And the bees in the jelly feeder, I don't think I could feed bees and have all those bees all over it. Especially the yellow jackets and the wasps. I am sure you are doing them a good service though. :-)

I haven't seen any more Swallowtail caterpillars, but I have seen a couple of those black and brown fuzzy caterpillars that turn into Moths. Isn't it late for caterpillars to be able to winter over?

I've started to get a little interested in identifying whether I have native bees in the garden. And I took a photo of a few today and I think I have some common Eastern Bumble Bees. At least it looks like that to me....


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 16:51

PM2: I agree that your bee looks like an Eastern Bumble Bee, although I'm no expert. They're so nice and furry looking. It's a lovely picture, too, on the flower.

Ironically, I've been having no insect threats when I add jam to the jam/jelly/bee feeder, but this morning I got stung by a wasp that had overnighted in one of my gloves (the gloves stay out on the porch). I pulled the gloves on to go out and refill the birdfeeders and I woke up the wasp which was probably terrified by the huge finger that suddenly appeared in its bedroom. I thought it was a thorn at first, I get lots of thorns in gloves and socks, but when I pulled the glove off the wasp fell out.

Needless to say, when I needed to put on the gloves again a little later I shook them about ten times first. Maybe twenty times. I can't blame the wasp, after all I attacked it.

The swelling went down quickly and it's just a little sore now. This is only the second time I've been stung in the nine years I've been here, and both times the wasps had been seriously threatened.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 17:18

Well, from brown spat-clad squirrels and beautiful blue jays to caterpillars, lovely bumble bees and otters, it appears that the autumn segment of this thread is off to a good start.

At a nearby pond yesterday, I watched as mallards approached the water surface for landing. It appeared that all trays and seat backs were in the upright position until something went wonky in the back of the trio. I don't usually notice them crash land into one another, but this one duck must have got a down draft or tipped a wing the wrong way as one foot is on the other duck. They're probably used to it, but it's interesting (to me) that they land so close to one another. Glad I'm not a duck.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Ouch, Claire! That’s a pretty good record, 2x in 9 years. I haven’t dared speak of my lack of stings for fear, I will jinx myself…lol. I would not have thought to look in my gloves either. Guess I’ll be checking them from now on. Just think, a big spider could be in there too. I have read that when they are feeding like that, they barely notice you.

Thanks for confirmation about the Eastern Bumble Bee. I'm looking forward to taking more photos of insects next year to try to see just what is out there.

Jane, DH and I spent a summer walking our nearby pond routinely and I haven’t gone in a long time. Your photos remind me I should try to get there soon. I love that photo of the Mallard with his landing gear ready…lol.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 17:55

How embarrassing, Jane! And when the paparazzi are watching and recording the mishap!

Maybe it's a kid who's done pretty well on the flying lessons but hasn't mastered the landing maneuver yet.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, Oct 21, 13 at 18:00


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 8:54

Claire, maybe you could compile a sort of Dick Tracy Tips for gardeners...you know...shake your gloves out each day before inserting hand; check your Muck shoes for mice (the toe area is a perfect waterproof mouse house - I'm glad I had socks on); stomp on the stone wall before sitting on it (wakes up the snakes and spiders before your tush does), et cetera. Good thing you're not allergic to stings. A spider once bit my middle finger and the finger swelled to about 5 times normal size. Glad the young doctor thought it was funny.

This Am. Goldfinch seems to be wearing a brown cape. Can't say that I've noticed this change before.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 12:17

Jane: That's an interesting idea and I'll think about it. If I did, I'd want to aim it at "how to coexist with other critters in the garden", not "how to avoid dangerous pests". I don't want to encourage the tendency of some gardeners to want to kill off anything that's not a plant, and a "desirable" plant at that.

It seems early for the goldfinches to be molting but they know better than we do. I haven't seen that particular configuration before, but one of my favorites is the one I saw in January, 2009.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 16:19

The white-throats are back! Or at least one is. I saw this White-throated Sparrow today - I haven't seen them since last spring. They should stay now all winter.

Not a great picture but it was lurking in the brush in one of their favorite spots.

First White-throat 10:22:13

Claire

edit note: I think that's a tan-striped morph of the white-throats. Cornell's All About Birds site says in their Cool Facts section:

"The White-throated Sparrow comes in two color forms: white-crowned and tan-crowned. The two forms are genetically determined, and they persist because individuals almost always mate with a bird of the opposite morph. Males of both color types prefer females with white stripes, but both kinds of females prefer tan-striped males. White-striped birds are more aggressive than tan-striped ones, and white-striped females may be able to outcompete their tan-striped sisters for tan-striped males."

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Tue, Oct 22, 13 at 17:18


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 23, 13 at 16:57

Wow. That edit note above presents huge discussion material. But more suited for over a good supper and a pitcher of ale. That's huge!

Speaking of huge...look who showed up today. I looked out and saw him foraging for millet and aloud I immediately said,"Oh, crap. He's here". Not nice, but accurate. Every time the Dark-eyed Junco (aka snow bird) shows up, it snows within 2 weeks. Tomorrow I'm taking the snow blower into the shop for a gas tank leak. Looks like I may need it in November.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

I think that the definition of a pest and the decision to react via discouragement or coexistence are dependent on how large of a view one takes. Certainly very few gardeners do not squish or drown Japanese beetles, and most everyone eradicates bacteria and mildew from their homes with bleach, and takes antibiotics to kill a virus. Most people draw the line somewhere.

My thoughts about strategies for preventing undesirable pests from inhabiting the garden, are:

1) Do not feed them! Not attracting wildlife that will cause a problem in the first place is the most basic action (non-action actually) that one can take.

Many people have learned to avoid filling their bird feeders with the millet that attracts English sparrows, but to select instead other seeds that do not.

In my state it is illegal to feed the birds during the spring months when bears are coming out of hibernation, so as to avoid human/bear encounters. I agree with this. While I like having bears in the woods behind my house and to hear them hooting to one another at night, having them near my house would pose a danger, to humans and to bears alike.

And so on.

Obviously if you grow something that the wildlife desires to eat, you are breaking this "do not feed" philosophy. There are secondary strategies, such as fencing, or providing a feeding area in a place more attractive to the unwanted wildlife, such as apples or squash along the edge of a wood. Sometimes deer or rabbits will be content with this offering and leave the fruit trees or veggie garden closer to the house alone. I think that my expanse of clover-rich mixed pasture is why the rabbit population never seems interested in sampling my garden fare.

2) The more proactive measure of discouraging undesirables like wasps from nesting near human habitation by removing nests in the early stages. It is easy to say that wasps' nests die when winter comes and then the danger is gone, but the reality is that during the fall months a large nest will produce hundreds of new queens who will winter over in cracks in human buildings and found new colonies in the spring, especially if their previous nest proved to be in a friendly location. Thousands of people die every year from their venom, and having a husband who is deathly allergic, these insects are definitely not welcome at my home.

All animals fill some sort of ecological niche, and it is true that wasps prey upon flies and other insects, but they also raid the nests of honeybees and other wild bees, causing significant damage to the bee populations. Given the precarious state of the bee species these days, contrasted with the robust nature of the wasp population, wasps fall far to the side on the environmental detrimental/beneficial scale IMO. I'm afraid of bees too, and hubby could die just as surely from their stings, but because of the vital niche they fill via pollination, I give them a lot of latitude. I won't let them nest here, but then they have only made one attempt to do so in 40 years.

I pretty much weigh things as I see them and my views sometimes coincide with wildlife experts and occasionally do not. English sparrows are bullies that destroyed the delicate balance of nesting birds here and would have taken over if I had not taken action. It was a case of nature being out of whack, much like the expanding jellyfish population that is destroying the Japanese fishing industry. On the other hand, purple loosestrife is supposed to be an invasive plant accused of supplanting native plants like the cattail. The loosestrife coexisted in my wetland with the cattails just fine for years, until wildlife management unleashed a predatory beetle which decimated the loosestrife in my state. Stinging nettles are nobody's friend, but I let them grow because they are caterpillar food for the lovely black swallowtails.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 23, 13 at 17:45

Uh-oh, doesn't look good for CT. I haven't seen any juncos here yet so I assume we're in the clear here on the SE MA coast, although they're forecasting lower than normal temperatures for the next week or so.

I just got an email from Brent and Becky's Bulbs - they're shipping my order now so they must believe it's getting to be cool enough for bulb-planting. Sounds like a good time to move some lilies too. Before it snows.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Oct 23, 13 at 17:50

spedigrees: You posted while I was responding to Jane's post. Lots to think about in your post.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 10:38

spedigrees: Life-threatening allergic reactions of course will change the balance of what you can tolerate in your vicinity.

Aside from that special case, I think each person should draw their own line as to what is or is not appropriate in their management of their yard.

My own view is that I am a steward of the yard and that each critter or plant has a certain right to live, and that the existing ecosystem is a whole lot more efficient than what I would impose. That said, I need to strike a balance between what would happen if I don't interfere, and what I feel is best for the yard, including my own needs. That includes my practical need for access and space, and my desire for an esthetically pleasing appearance. I also get enormous pleasure out of feeding and watching birds and other critters.

I'm still struggling with deciding what should or should not remain here, and I understand that in many ways I'm taking sides not because of a great ethical vision, but just because I happen to like this better than that.

I pull out bittersweet vines because they strangle shrubs and trees I want to preserve. I pull out poison ivy because I'm allergic to it and so are most of the people who might visit. Both of these have berries that birds love. One is native and the other is not.

I kill red lily leaf beetles because I like lilies better.

I buy plants and put them in spaces where a local volunteer wanted to grow, only because I like the bought ones better. I do try to use plants that fit in with the existing plant community.

House Sparrows aren't a big problem here - the hawks seem to prefer them and other birds have plenty of space in the woods around to nest. Their population fluctuates but is never overwhelming. I see no need to interfere with their lives here.

These are not easy decisions for me to make, but not acting is not an option. We humans have enormous gifts of being able to manipulate our environment - with that comes enormous responsibility to ensure that the environment is better for our being here.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Oct 24, 13 at 14:56

Good reasons and writing all around here, thanks. Did not know, (Sped quote) "It is easy to say that wasps' nests die when winter comes and then the danger is gone, but the reality is that during the fall months a large nest will produce hundreds of new queens who will winter over in cracks in human buildings and found new colonies in the spring... ." Ahh, boy. Hope I didn't wait too long to have the neighbor spray both white face hornet nests. I, like many other ill-informed hornet nest landlords, thought, 'It's only a couple of weeks before the frost comes and then they'll be dead anyway, so if they get sprayed now, I can do the garden over and move the old azalea tree." Now I learn I might not have acted in time. It's all a balancing act, isn't it? And, I admit, on my land, in my house, it also depends on my mood, energy level, or if I feel threatened or not as to whether some creature lives or dies at my hand, or my slipper.

You can't see the nest well, but it's that brown thing in the center of the corner fence garden. It was volley to basketball size and because I'm allergic (and chicken) the whole garden received no attention for several months. What a mess after 17" of rain and weeks of heat.

After the brave neighbor did the nightly deed, the garden was cleared, the 50 yr. old azalea was moved, and stepping stones put in so I will be able to clean more easily in the future.

So one hornet's nest held one woman at bay for several months. Now I know better because of this post. Many thanks to both of you for your openness.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 26, 13 at 10:44

Enough philosophy for now.

I hadn't been seeing woodchucks for about a month and it seemed too early for hibernation, so I was relieved yesterday morning to see a fat healthy woodchuck eating birdseed in the company of a cardinal.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And it was back this morning, this time with a blue jay giving it a disapproving look.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I think this is the same woodchuck as yesterday, but not Guthrie or Griselda, although I'm not great at individual woodchuck ID's. Maybe this one lives in the burrow by the tool shed - said burrow being one I was careful not to step into when I was painting the back of the tool shed.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Oct 26, 13 at 17:43

Those are great shots, Claire. Gophers are cute. I saw one at the town dump (not supposed to call it that) the other day and he was absolutely robust.

Juncos are now here in multiples and have discovered the heated bird bath. The snow blower will be ready next week. sigh...

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Claire - love the disappointing look of the blue jay. I was at Wellfleet Bay wildlife sanctuary early last week and saw lots and lots of white throat sparrows. I normally don't see them at home. So it was a pleasant sight.

I was at Race Point beach (I think that's where I was)in Provincetown on Friday. We saw this fox sitting on the parking lot sidewalk. As happy as I was to watch him and take photos, I was also disturbed to see him hanging out in a parking lot next to the tour busses. Clearly he is loosing habitat

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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Beautiful fox pictures, Pixie! It could be that he has learned that the parkinglot by the tour buses is a good scavenging ground. Foxes are opportunists. I imagine this one may dine on sandwich scraps. He looks healthy.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 27, 13 at 14:42

Beautiful fox there, pixie_lou - It looks like the fox equivalent of a seal point siamese cat! The tourist season is really winding down so the fox will have to start traditional hunting. Unless it can latch on to a post-Thanksgiving dump....

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Oct 27, 13 at 17:06

3 in a row, pixie, that's a beautiful fox. Boy, otters and now a fox - you're on a wildlife roll! He was certainly checking you out - great face shot.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 1, 13 at 18:11

End of October and the lawn dragon has taken to joyriding in my little cart.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

On Halloween afternoon the dragon found a new friend.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The sun started going down but the new friend just brightened up.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Best Friends Forever? (or at least until the candy runs out)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 3, 13 at 10:51

Jane saw her first junco on October 23 and worried that it meant snow within 2 weeks.

Today I saw my first confirmed juncos of this fall season, searching for nyjer seed under the pine needles:
First Juncos 11:3:13

First Junco 11:3:13

I say "first confirmed" because I thought I saw a junco about a week ago but it was only a fleeting glimpse before I could grab the binoculars or the camera.

I was just checking my photo record and I discovered that on 2011 and 2012 the first junco was seen on October 28 of each of those years. If my fleeting glimpse last week was correct, that would have been around October 28, 2013. It's a great relief to know that my juncos seem to migrate based on the calendar and not on the weather forecast.

I'm counting on no snow for a while yet - got some work to do in the yard that requires workable soil.

Claire (ever optimistic)


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 5, 13 at 10:20

Provincetown apparently has more problems than foxes at parking lots. I saw this article today about Lured coyotes becoming a problem at Seashore beach on capecodonline.com.

Claire
...................................................................... ........................

"By Mary Ann Bragg
mbragg@capecodonline.com
November 05, 2013

PROVINCETOWN - " After nine coyotes were spotted begging at cars one night last month, Cape Cod National Seashore officials are threatening to close the northern parking lot at Herring Cove Beach for two weeks to stop people from illegally feeding them.

Rangers have found bags of dog food along Province Lands Road and piles of fish guts and fish heads in the parking lot, all of which indicates deliberate attempts to feed coyotes, according to Seashore chief ranger Leslie Reynolds.

"One coyote is too many to have running through the parking lot, never mind nine," Reynolds said Monday.

No humans or pets have been injured since the nine were seen at sunset on Oct. 24, but the Seashore has posted signs and doubled the number of rangers monitoring the parking lot and beach.

"If we don't see a marked improvement, and we already have, the superintendent is intending to close Herring Cove north for two weeks," Reynolds said. "We would only do that if the feeding continues."

The long, narrow parking lot, with 208 spaces, is popular for residents and visitors throughout the year because of its drive-up views of the ocean and the sunset. The beach itself is popular for evening bonfires.

The coyotes have been coming over the dunes and lingering on the tarmac next to cars, on the beach and in the nighttime shadows around the beach fires.

The eastern coyote is well-established in most of Massachusetts except Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, according to state wildlife records. Resembling a medium-size dog in body shape and size, a male typically weighs from 34 to 47 pounds, and a female from 33 to 40 pounds.

Coyotes will eat whatever is readily available, and predictable sources of human-provided food can cause a coyote to act tame and could lead to unpredictable and bold behavior.

They naturally eat rodents, rabbits, deer, birds, insects, reptiles, fruits and berries, but also scavenge road kill, garbage, pet food and even cats and small dogs, according to the state.

In the past two weeks, Reynolds has doubled the number of rangers monitoring the beach from two to four. They tell people not to feed coyotes, or to fling bits of food from car windows to get a photograph. The rangers also are trying different hazing techniques to drive away coyotes, such as air horns.

Rangers have so far issued one citation for feeding wildlife in a national park, Reynolds said. Under federal law, the infraction carries a maximum penalty of $5,000 and up to six months in jail.

Three new signs have been posted at the Herring Cove northern parking lot, warning against feeding coyotes.

"It just needs to stop," Rey­nolds said.

"The loss of fear is one of the worst things that can happen to a wild animal," Roberto Aguilar, medical director of Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, said Monday.

Feeding a coyote could eventually lead to that animal having to be killed, Aguilar said."


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 5, 13 at 10:57

Sounds like a good place to put up a webcam to catch pictures of people. We now have black bears in town and if one found its way to my bird feeders, PFW would be gone for me. I've seen coyote and red fox in my yard at 2pm. Much of the wildness in their spirit is already diminished just from living in built-up country/rural suburbia.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 10:55

It's been a busy bird morning. A female Bluebird took a spirited bath

A young Cooper's (I think) Hawk took a stroll after chasing everybody away

Even though my first PFW count doesn't begin until next Monday, this morning there were 11 different bird species within an hour. Last night on the PBS program, Nature, it was 'Love in the Animal Kingdom' (link below, if interested) and in my house, Ivy was smitten. And yes, I saved the life of a 40" Sony after it was attacked by an overly interested Siamese.

Jane

Here is a link that might be useful: Nature, PBS, online viewing


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 7, 13 at 17:09

That's a lovely Nature show, Jane, did Ivy think she's a hyena? The weedy seadragons are marvelous creatures, as are all of the creatures there.

Your hawk looks like it's on stilts - the legs seem to belong to a hawk twice the size.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 10:49

Last August, in the 2013 #7 thread, I posted pictures of an interaction between turkeys and woodchucks where a couple of turkeys seemed to be fascinated by the appearance and disappearance of a woodchuck.

This morning I noticed a woodchuck feeding on the ground and I went to take a photo just to document that it wasn't hibernating yet. I saw a turkey feeding nearby and watched to see what would happen.

The woodchuck fed in one position under a hanging feeder.
Woodchuck1 11:9:13

The woodchuck then moved away while a turkey intently watched it.
Woodchuck and turkey1 11:9:13

The woodchuck moved toward the turkey which quickly moved aside out of the way.
Woodchuck and turkey2 11:9:13

As the woodchuck fed, the turkey circled around.
Woodchuck and turkey3 11:9:13

The woodchuck is still there (out of sight), but the turkey is about to leave.
Woodchuck and turkey4 11:9:13

The woodchuck now has the field all to itself.
Woodchuck and turkey5 11:9:13

It looks like turkeys are afraid of woodchucks. I've never seen an aggressive woodchuck but maybe they're fierce when cornered, and turkeys do sometimes chase smaller critters. Not always a good idea.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 10:56

Well, he's here. White-throated Sparrow, first one I've seen this year.
As usual with little brown birds, I can't really tell if it's a M or F, 1st. yr. breeding or an old pro, but it's happy bouncing around my little boxwood garden. Nothing quite like lots of bird photo ops to make me wash windows.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 11:06

I was posting at the same time, Claire. Neat shots of the interaction. Has the whole woodchuck family stayed, or have the kids moved on?


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 9, 13 at 12:08

Jane: White-throats are very personable little birds and I always love seeing them. Bird photo ops not only make me wash windows but they hasten the process of removing screens (I always keep a few windows screen-free for the photos, but the view is better when they're all off).

I'm not seeing many woodchucks now so I don't know which are still here, but the various burrows haven't filled in or gotten covered with leaves so they're probably still in use. One under the roses, one under the porch and one next to the toolshed. I haven't gone over to see if the one on the border of the neighbor's yard is still there. I've been told there's one under the other neighbor's deck and then there are the woodchucks living on the coastal bank..... I'm beginning to feel surrounded.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 11, 13 at 11:24

Jane: Another woodchuck this morning and I think this is one of this year's babies, grown up a bit. It certainly looks different from the woodchuck a few days ago. This woodchuck was browsing with a chipmunk.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Maybe it's this baby, photo taken August 18, 2013 with a chipmunk companion.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

And on the bird front, the nyjer feeders are filling up again with birds - today goldfinches and house sparrows feeding together. The goldfinches are all wearing their drab winter coats.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

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

I think you'd have to be a first name basis with these guys to know who is who. I don't see any telltale ID marks that could indicate Hoover from Herbert; great case for DNA. As long as you don't fall into the proverbial 'woodchuck' hole and break an ankle, I'm glad they are there for your entertainment. We've learned more because they live at your house. And, drank more cider, lol.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 12, 13 at 17:57

Today's woodchuck seems to have a much lighter coat and a distinct reddish-brown cap.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It also has a light marking on its nose:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Of course I could be imagining the differences but it amuses me to try to distinguish them.

One thing I'm sure of is the Fox Sparrow I've been seeing today and yesterday! Particularly satisfying because these are my first two Project FeederWatch days. I don't really know if there's one or two (or ten) but it lurks in the brush and does the terrier scratching routine in the leaves. The rain streaks on the windows finally dried so I could get a reasonably clear picture.
Fox Sparrow 11:12:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 20, 13 at 9:50

This morning a female cardinal lurked on the big old winterberry - maybe checking out the ripeness of the berries. Her bill complements the red of the berries.

They don't seem to be ripe yet, at least the robins and waxwings haven't appeared en masse. The robins do send scouts periodically to check the fruit.

Cardinal on winterberry1 11:20:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 20, 13 at 10:38

Have you seen a small pair of glasses lying about? Maybe woodchuck is a reader. Do you know if the winterberry fruit has to freeze twice as I have read about aronia (chokeberry)? The only time I captured Cedar Waxwings on the aronia, after the Robin scouts signaled, was the end of February a few years ago.

Lovely Cardinal shot. I've planted more chokeberry bushes just for the berries and their autumn leaves which I like - very colorful.

I completely forgot PFW last week, thanks for mentioning - sticky note just went on my screen.

Jane

This morning I found a Carolina Wren using a branch as a napkin and I thought how useful it all can be.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 20, 13 at 11:01

I had just clicked off this page when right outside my window was a Northern Mockingbird proving that the chokeberries are not ready. Watch the berry in his beak that ends up being spat against the branch next to his head. Berry isn't on the branch in first picture. Last picture is just because he's beautiful. Must be a bird nerd to get this excited about a berry in a beak.



Then he left, sans berries. They're not ready.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 20, 13 at 14:00

Jane: I don't know how many times the winterberries have to freeze before they're tasty, but it's usually by the end of December. We have late fall weather so the leaves are just now beginning to drop after a couple of light frosts and the berries aren't ripe yet.

I just glanced out the window and saw a juvenile Cooper's Hawk land on the birdbath. It always amazes me that they can turn their head 180 degrees to look behind them (maybe at me watching).

Cooper's Hawk1 11:20:13
Cooper's Hawk3 11:20:13

The hawk only stayed less than a minute (the camera was at my side). I noticed a turkey stroll by the birdbath right after the hawk left so the turkey wasn't concerned. Much different from earlier today when I saw a fox in the yard, and eight turkeys immediately headed up to the trees. Eight turkeys in flight is always impressive.

Cute picture of the wren cleaning its bill.

The mockingbird looks a bit disgusted (and it thinks it's all your fault that the fruit isn't ripe yet). Great pics of spitting out the unripe berries.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 24, 13 at 14:00

Well, 'cept for the critters, I think everybody bailed on us in here, Claire. oh, well.

A young Cooper's has a flight through here often and the troops clear out for an hour or so, then things return to normal. The hawks as birdbath visitors is getting to be normal also. But this morning, this little gal got to sing all by herself in the sun, till the wind ruffled her too much. female Blue bird.

Saw a video this morning of a lady in Staten Island, NY who has 26 turkeys visiting her very suburban neighborhood yard every day. The TV guy asked her how she dealt with it, and she said, "I tell 'em I've got their cousin in the oven."

Jane

This post was edited by corunum on Sun, Nov 24, 13 at 16:57


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 24, 13 at 15:15

Sweet little bluebird there, Jane (beigebird?)

I don't usually see the hawks here, but the crows make a big ruckus and mob them so I can tell there's a hawk around by the drama and noise (as well as the sudden absence of little birds).

Cold and windy last night and today, temperatures in the twenties and forecast lower tonight, and I've been busy breaking ice on the birdbaths and refilling them. I do have one heated birdbath but a lot of birds have their favorites and those quickly freeze up. I may end up (as I did last year) moving the heated birdbath closer to the others to avert panic.

I looked out to the backyard and saw a lump of fur in an oak overlooking the bay. The lump was a squirrel hunkering under its tail for protection and looking toward the deck. I've pretty much stopped feeding the squirrels and birds on the deck, mostly because it's getting too cold to eat out there and I don't want to be opening those doors in mid-winter. I relented this morning and this squirrel may have been hoping for another round of peanuts.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I went for a long shot and discovered the squirrel had turned around, back to the wind.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It must have given up and gone back to its nest because the tree was empty soon after.

I felt a little guilty but there's plenty of food on the other side of the house and they can walk around.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 11:47

Cold this morning and a male Northern Flicker came to the suet feeder. You can really see how he uses his tail to prop himself up while he's feeding.

Northern Flicker2 11:25:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 14:57

Busy day today - it's the first of my two Project Feeder Watch days this week so I've been looking outside more carefully than usual.

I was washing dishes (the sink is right under my kitchen window) and glancing out to see what was going on. Somehow washing dishes doesn't keep me totally engrossed so I was pleased to see a fox suddenly appear under the feeders and give me an excuse to grab the camera. It took a few seconds to dry my hands so I missed some time.

The fox was investigating a birdseed block I put out, maybe smelling squirrel scent,
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and then checked a pile of granola I'd thrown out.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

It seemed to think about the granola (I think it took a bite),
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and then went back for more.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Unfortunately it must have seen or sensed me watching so it came to attention,
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

and then moved on.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

No squirrels in sight for a while.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 16:57

Wow! What a good day in the garden! Great shots and it's nice to know that he'll be regular thanks to your granola. Foxes really are good-looking and that one looks to be fully adult and healthy. Very nice.

A short while ago I spotted a dove gray back on an accipter body just outside my window in a birch tree and after consulting the Crossley Raptor guide, I now know that I've seldom seen a true adult Cooper's Hawk. Usually I see the juvi. mottled brown cape and breast, but this was so unremarkably solid dove gray that it was very remarkable. Quite striking, really, with heavy bright white under the tail. Of course, he was quick when the camera lens cover swung down and I missed the shot. But he'll be back.

Have you noticed a decline in the number of squirrels this year? Perhaps it was Pixie who commented previously. I have. One Eye, Big Tail, and John the Bully are all missing after having been here for several years.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Nov 25, 13 at 20:06

Jane: Most of the Cooper's Hawks I see are juvenile, not adult - probably because the successful adults are very very efficient and don't hang around long if they miss a strike. I've also read that the survival rate of hawks is low - it's not easy catching little birds.

I just checked my photos and I only have a few of adults.

Jan.18, 2011
Cooper's Hawk2 1:18:11

Feb. 15, 2010
Cooper's Hawk1 2:15:10

The gray back, striped breast, and red eyes are distinctive.

I'm not sure about the number of squirrels - it really fluctuates with the time of year, maybe due to new broods arriving but not surviving the predators. There also seem to be squirrel territorial wars so they come to the yard at different times.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 26, 13 at 16:15

And today's granola-eating canid is a coyote! It looks like it might be a youngster and it was very, very nervous. After I took about 50 pictures it occurred to me to make a video too. Once I re-learn how to upload a video to YouTube I'll post that too.

Here are a couple of images. The coyote was definitely eating the leftover granola (the video shows that better).
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The coyote looked like it was going to spend all afternoon scraping up the last pieces of granola, but I had to go somewhere so I reluctantly went outside and scared it off.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 26, 13 at 17:02

OK, here's the video on YouTube of Coyote eating granola. After looking at the video again, I think the coyote may have been afraid of the very noisy, very active dog next door. It kept looking in the direction of the house next door - the dog wasn't outside but the coyote may know of its presence. Which means that the coyote has probably been here before.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 9:54

Is this a new trend in my yard? or have I just not noticed it before?

This morning the fox (or a fox) was back but not eating granola. The granola was probably finished by the coyote but the fox was eating peanuts which I put out for the jays and squirrels and whatever (not realizing that 'whatever' could include foxes). It's still raining and windows are wet so the pictures are a little blurry.

The fox kept looking around but ate a lot of peanuts before it left. There usually aren't that many bare peanuts out but my bag of peanuts-in-the-shell broke and there was a pile to occupy the jays and squirrels.
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 9:59

Holy Cow! I just saw your pictures - and the video - wow. Do you have mixed feelings about coyotes dining there? Not that one can really chase them off permanently and it is a good thing you don't have a cat, but after coming face to face with one outside my garage, not only did my respect level rise, so did my blood pressure.
Do you think the sweet smell of the granola brought him in closer?

Last night I heard noises from the deck area and this morning I found the chairs askew in an odd - not wind blown- kind of way. Made me look up outdoor night wildlife cameras. Have you considered one of these bird cam type gizmos or do you have one already? I'm thinking about it. Surveillance, yes, but as an animal lover it might provide some interesting shots. Although, not much can beat swashbuckling turkeys.
Great shots, Claire.
Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 10:03

We were posting at the same time, but I think you really put a big X on your door. Peanuts and granola are too good to resist. Maybe Bud Light in a bird bath would be nice.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 27, 13 at 11:02

Jane: I'm a little concerned about the coyote but they've been around for a while. I think my yard is a wildlife corridor between the hunting grounds in the woods across the street and the hunting grounds on the coastal bank behind the house. The bluestone path I carefully installed for me is also a convenient pathway for the critters (and turkeys) - and that happens to be where I've placed the birdbaths (water source) and birdfeeding areas. The coyotes and foxes may have traditionally used a path through the brush between the neighbor's and my yards, but the bluestone is easier.

I won't put out anything to attract them specifically but I will continue to feed the usual (smaller) characters.

A bird/wildlife cam is tempting.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Claire - loving the groundhog turkey pictures from a few weeks ago. And all your wildlife in amazing. I'm actually a bit more impressed with all the birds you've captured as opposed to the mammals.

The chickadees don't normally go to the thistle feeder. Or maybe I've never noticed before? I do need binoculars to see the thistle feeder from the house.
Chickadee photo Chickadee_zps48291e66.jpg

As for wild mammals - I had a "wild" neighborhood dog in the yard. Does that count?
Stray Dog photo straydog_zps7584c72e.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Earlier this week I *thought* there was a new bird in the yard. I was looking through binoculars, and grabbed the big camera with the long lens to get some photos to help in identifying. I was a bit embarassed to find out my "new" bird was just a Starling in his winter coat. I think what threw me off the most - there were just 2 of them in the yard. I'm so used to seeing them by the hundreds. Oh well. It was still a new experience!

Starlings photo Starlings_zps1853c6e3.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

Otto and Frolic spent the day in the pond on Wednesday. I was doing my Thanksgiving baking, and could watch them from my kitchen window. When the morning started, the pond was 3/4 covered in ice. But they were having fun breaking the ice up. By mid afternoon, there was no more ice left, but they still hung around, even spent some time nuzzling on the gate.

The photos are kind of crappy since they were taken through windows, and it was pouring rain most of the day.

otters 1 photo otters1_zpsb4e85910.jpg

otters 2 photo Otters2_zps9d3201d8.jpg

otters 3 photo Otters3_zps7371fca4.jpg

otters 4 photo otters4_zpsf9554a9d.jpg

otters 5 photo otters5_zps0f1864fb.jpg

otters 6 photo otters6_zps596a5a2a.jpg

otters 7 photo otters7_zps0f46e49b.jpg

otters 8 photo otters8_zps9f102ee7.jpg


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 29, 13 at 11:03

pixie_lou: Your otters are delightful! I can just imagine them splashing around breaking the ice up.

I miss the two 'wild' neighborhood dogs that used to come by every day and patrol the yard (and collect a fee/treat). I didn't have woodchucks in those protected days, although the dogs did almost kill a holly by using it to mark their territory. The ringleader, Roscoe, passed on and Rusty now stays close to home. So I have woodchucks and foxes and coyotes (probably always had them but they moved quicker then).

I'll get a few starlings all winter but the big flocks rarely stop here.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 30, 13 at 10:34

I put handlebar tape on my new pitchfork to make it easier to use without rotating. It never occurred to me that it would also be easier for a hawk to grasp. I think this is a juvenile Cooper's Hawk - when it spread its wings it looked pretty big and the crows were watching intently but didn't attack.

C. Hawk on pitchfork1 11:29:13

C. Hawk on pitchfork2 11:29:13

That's my compost spreading paraphernalia - I need to do another section today.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 30, 13 at 16:08

Pixie: Pure and simple, I want your pond. The otter names are perfect. But, I really want your pond. Keep snapping their picture, please. Just great!

Claire: Can one conservationist be MORE thoughtful? Bicycle handlebar tape for the ease of hawk talon gripping? Man. You get the girlscout Hawk Merit Badge. And they are good pictures, too.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 2, 13 at 16:24

I saw a Hermit Thrush today! This is the second time in the last few weeks - usually I only see them in mid-winter at the heated birdbath, and then only once a year or two. Maybe it was checking out the berries (still not ripe). The first one I saw came out of a rose patch which has hips.

Hermit Thrush2R 12:2:13

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 5, 13 at 11:42

A leucistic Dark-eyed Junco has been hanging around the yard for about a week now but it seems to choose dank, gloomy, times to feed when I can't get a good photo. I had one good photo op on a nice sunny day but just as I got the camera focused a squirrel came barreling through and scared the juncos away.

This is the best I've been able to get so far.
Leucistic Dark-eyed Junco1 12:5:13

Leucistic Dark-eyed Junco3 12:5:13

It seems healthy and normal other than the white feathers on the head.

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by corunum CT 6 Central CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 5, 13 at 16:55

Good catch inasmuch as they are quite rare. Leucism, so I've read, doesn't affect anything systemic, just the coloring, so he's healthy. The female cardinal I caught in photos last year did not return this year. It probably was the HOSP environment, not her condition.

Jane


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

I love the photos of the foxes and the coyote.

The photos of the otters are positively magical, Pixie! What a wildlife treasure to have in your back yard!

The hermit thrush is our state bird, but I don't believe I've ever actually seen one. That's a great picture, Claire.

As to wildlife around my house, all I've seen lately are the neighbors' two yellow cats that patrol my brushy areas in search of rodents collecting food stores for winter. One cat has a tail and the other doesn't, and they belong to two different families. My old cat seldom ventures out in this weather, and then only for a few minutes, and she never leaves the porch. These two relative newcomers have inherited her hunting grounds.


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 5, 13 at 20:08

spedigrees: Your two neighbor cats may belong to different families but they look like they're hunting together, cornering the rodents there in the brush. I'm imagining a whole line of yellow cats working together and beating through the brush flushing out mice. Small lions?

Claire


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

They do look like they are in league together, now that you mention it!


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RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013 #9

  • Posted by claire z6b Coastal MA (My Page) on
    Sun, Dec 8, 13 at 17:58

The 2013 #9 thread is getting long (and I just happen to have some new turkey photos) so I"m starting a new thread (2013 #10). You're welcome to continue the discussion here if you like or move to the new one.

Claire


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