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claireplymouth

Project FeederWatch #2 2009/2010

This is a continuation of the first Project FeederWatch 2009/2010 thread.

I'm still being surprised by Wild Turkey behavior, as I see them more often and they're becoming more comfortable in my yard. On the last thread I posted a photo of several turkeys looking up at starlings eating suet. My assumption was that they saw the starlings eating something, and wanted some too.

I may have been wrong. Yesterday the starlings were on the ground and several turkeys tried to snatch them. One also struck at a goldfinch on a birdbath. I'd seen this before as small birds flew to a tube feeder above a turkey but I didn't pay too much attention. I checked some references and turkeys seem to be omnivores - they eat mostly plant material, but will take insects and salamanders and apparently anything they can get. The small birds here don't seem particularly afraid of turkeys but they stay away from them. Turkeys aren't formidable predators like hawks.

The more I see of them, the more I think of turkeys as descendants of dinosaurs, sort of very dwarf T. rexes. These turkeys were startled by something so they all stood upright for a short while. Reminded me of a visit I made to the dinosaur hall at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.

I wonder if the dinosaurs were as iridescent as this turkey was yesterday in partial sun by the euonymus. The red glints were very striking.


Claire

Comments (50)

  • mskee
    14 years ago

    Claire,
    That's a fascinating observation about the turkeys snapping at the smaller birds. You may want to watch your back when you are refilling your feeders! ;)

    Emily

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Emily: Warning taken - I just had a vision of being trampled by a flock of turkeys who were trying to open the seed containers I was carrying.

    They'd probably come back sheepishly asking me to open the things for them.

    Claire

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  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Who knew that turkeys were omnivores? You learn something new every day. I hope they behave themselves while visiting your yard, Claire, and you don't see the small bird population start to decline. [g] I think I would enjoy having turkeys in the yard. I think their feathers are beautiful.

    Our heated pet bowl arrived and I put it out, but they have not discovered it yet. It has a short cord and it is recommended you don't use an extension so it is closer to the house, than I normally put something for the birds. So we will see.

    DH and I took a walk at the pond this weekend and brought some stale bread along for the birds. It was great to get out and there were a ton of birds, including a pair of swans with a cygnet, still on the pond. There are still some patches of open water. I felt bad for the Canadian geese, they seemed to be no match for the seagulls in getting their share of the bread, despite their size, they were not fast enough. I took a few photos....

    The seagulls were the first to notice we had bread. Before we even opened the bag, they were flying our way. It took awhile for the swans to decide to make the trip. You can see the group of birds in the distance in this first shot. There was ice between where they all were congregated and us, and the swans were very funny, the ice between them and open water was about 5ft long and they slid across it on their bellies to get into the water on the other side, to get down to where we were.....

    Larger numbers than I've seen before...

    The one in the middle with the dark color streaks is the cygnet....

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Nice photos! No snow left here now.

    Gulls are very good scavengers - some of the glamour is lost when you see a flock of gulls scrounging for food at the dump or a landfill. And don't feel too bad for the Canadian geese; they do quite well for themselves. Everywhere. Pretty birds, though.

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Well, none of them looked like they were wasting away. [g] One other thing we noticed...there was a large wild rose patch, lots of thorns, where there was a very large number of birds flitting in and out of. They were so loud, we could hear them quite a distance away, as we got nearer I noticed, they were all sparrows. Not one other type of small bird.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Yesterday I saw a female Red-winged Blackbird!

    I occasionally see a male Red-wing during the winter, but a week ago there were three, and today I saw first three then six male Red-wings Last year I started seeing the flocks in early February. I just realized that early February is in a week or two!

    And I have to mention turkeys - I'd been trying to think of how to describe the soft sweet sound I've been hearing from the turkeys when I was filling the feeders, and all I could of was "purring", but that's ridiculous, birds don't purr. Well, I checked the Birds of North America online site (I can't link to it) and they said:

    " "Purr" call, a soft purring sound, is given by newly hatched poults if picked up and held by human (Healy et al. 1975); this call the commonest vocalization given by poults of any age"

    The turkeys in my yard seem to be mostly youngsters with a few adult females leading them, so I'm probably hearing the kids talking. I also hear an occasional YOICK from the adults. I haven't seen a flock of adult males for a month or so.

    A neighbor told me that he had a breeding turkey display in his yard yesterday morning, all raised feathers and prancing around. I'm wondering if my flock will split up soon.

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Claire, I rarely see a red wing blackbird. We are not near water. Last year I did start to see a pair toward late summer for awhile, but that was unusual for me. I'm still loving that variegated bush. The creamy wide edges are very attractive. I would love to see an actual turkey display and 'hear' what the turkeys have to say. [g]

    I have not yet seen any birds at the heated birdbath. Oh well. I saw a flock of starlings in the yard this morning. I can't remember if I have seen them here in January before or not. I hope they come back to eat the winter moth caterpillars in the spring.

    Not a lot going on here, but someone is eating all the bird seed. I have a white breasted nuthatch [my 'upside down' bird] in the yard. We see a pair of those every year summer and winter. Terrible photo, but as good as it got today.....

  • carol6ma_7ari
    14 years ago

    Claire and prairiemoon, I am so impressed at your photographs that I'd love to be able to post some of my own occasionally. But I don't know how. Is there a tutorial on GW for this? (I suppose I should search first, but I'm asking the local experts instead.)

    Carol

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Carol, I would love to see more photos from you!! Yes, some generous soul added instructions for posting photos etc in the FAQ section. If you have any problems, just ask away!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Carol, you can either use a web hosting site (there are many, such as Photobucket, Picasa and Picture Trail) or you can use TinyPic.com,

    The advantage of the hosting site is that you can set up a page with many photos on it and organize them by topic. A great example is sedum37's site on Picture Trail (see the Flora in Winter thread).

    The disadvantage of the hosting site is that you have to set up an account.

    The advantage of TinyPic.com is that it's very easy to upload one photo and link to it, and you don't have to set up an account.

    The disadvantage of TinyPic.com is that you can only upload one photo at a time, which is not useful if you want to show many photos.

    ------------------------------------------------------

    That said, I use TinyPic.com myself.

    You don't have to set up an account at a hosting site if you use TinyPic.com.

    1. The photo files on your computer must be in a format such as jpeg or jpg.

    2. Using Tiny Pic, you hit the "Choose File" button and it searches your computer desktop.

    3. Choose one then select a size ("Resize" button), and then UPLOAD NOW.

    4. When the file is uploaded, copy the HTML tag, not the IMG tag.

    5. Paste the HTML tag in your post.

    This is the easiest way I know.

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    That's funny, Claire, I use Tinypic.com too. I have an Apple that has iPhoto where my photos are stored on my computer and I can export any photo to the desktop of my computer in a manageable size and I change it to a jpeg format. The export function is under the file menu. Then I go to tinypic.com and choose the file off my desktop. and follow the rest of Claire's instructions. Looking forward to seeing some of your photos Carol...

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    PM2: Maybe your birdbath is too close to the house or too exposed. All of my birdbaths are near shrubs or trees so the birds can escape if they sense danger.

    Ever since the big snow storm we had, I've been putting out little temporary birdbaths in addition to the heated one (which is on the other side of the house). My best luck has been when I put the temporaries in a spot where the birds were used to getting water in warmer times. These photos are all from today.

    Here a bunch of Mourning Doves are finding ice in the copper birdbath and are checking out a blue styrofoam container with fresh water in it.

    Some of them did eventually drink from it.


    Starlings, on the other hand, immediately leaped in for a bath.


    I also put out a plastic bowl at the foot of the copper birdbath. The plastic is very slippery and it's easy to knock the ice out (note the ice floes by the bowl).

    Starlings like this bath too, even though it's slippery. Starlings seem to love taking baths, or at least playing in the water.

    It's still below freezing, but at least it's sunny and there's no wind today. A good day for a bath.

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Claire, adorable photos. You have a lot of Mourning Doves, one of my favorites. Maybe you're right about the heated water too close to the house. It is near two small decidious bushes, but that could definitely be the problem. They advice against using an extension cord for some reason, so I guess I will just try it a bit longer. I did put bird seed on the ground near it to see if that would help them locate it anyway.

    I like your idea of taking out water and putting it on top of the permanent bird baths . It obviously works. I'll have to give that a try. One of my large plastic saucers that I've used for a few years as a birdbath developed a very large crack in the bottom and won't hold water. It's been out all winter for at least three years, so I'm not sure why it happened now.

  • sooey
    14 years ago

    Claire...Are you 'Claire from Plymouth' as heard on 'The Point' this A.M.?

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Hey sooey, good to "see" you! Yes, although I actually sent them an email rather than calling.

    My email question was:

    "A question for Vern Laux

    I heard that the Allen's Hummingbird that was trying to winter over on the Cape eventually died. My question is whether any hummingbird could survive a winter on sugar water alone. I thought that, during warm weather, the sugar gives the bird quick energy so it can go out and catch insects, and energy to sip nectar and sap which have other nutrients besides sugar.

    I've read that you should never add anything but white sugar to the sugar water for hummingbirds, but does that apply during the winter?

    My question is meant for The Point broadcast on February 1, but a private email answer would be fine.

    Thanks,
    Claire from Plymouth"

    Vern Laux (Resident Naturalist at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation on Nantucket) didn't really answer the question, which I didn't phrase as well as I should have. My question is whether a hummingbird can survive the whole winter on sugar (a carbohydrate) and water when there is no protein or other nutrients (vitamins, mineral, etc.) available to eat.

    Claire

  • sooey
    14 years ago

    Yep...I heard it! I thought it was a good question. When I heard him say that they had an email from 'Claire from Plymouth' I had the feeling it might just be you! I like The Point and try to listen to Vern on the first Monday of every month. I also like to listen when Roberta Clark is on. She gives great garden info/tips during the spring & summer months.

    I did not sigh up for PFW this year. We have a bunch of family stuff going on...new Grandbaby...so I thought I better not commit to something I might not have the time for. I hope to be back in the saddle for next season. I am still enjoying the birds and try to keep my feeders full. Most of the same birds are back but not as many Goldfinches. Lots of Butter Butts! I have enjoyed all of the pics you have been posting! Keep them coming!

    sooey

  • sooey
    14 years ago

    We had Turkeys on our driveway early this morning...8 of them. I have seen only one Turkey here in the past, so this was an unexpected sight. They made an impressive mass...walking and strutting up a driveway on a cold winter morn. I can report now that these Turkeys, on this February 2nd, did not seem to see their shadows... I will take that as very good news.

    sooey

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    sooey: I envy you your "Lots of Butter Butts!" I only get one or maybe two at a time. I didn't get any here at the suet feeder until January - maybe they ran out of bayberries by then.

    Here's a Butter Butt (AKA Yellow-rumped Warbler, Myrtle Warbler) on January 5, 2010:

    I also am getting a Purple Finch pair this year, rather than the usual House Finches. No House Finches at all. I saw these Purple Finches yesterday on a tube feeder.

    Right after I took the first photo, the female flew over and kicked the male off his perch on the feeder. He moved down a rung.

    I'm having a war of wills with the turkeys. The flock will feed for a while on the ground, then I'll look out and find them swirling around outside my window, or just standing there staring in to me. It's as if they're trying to remind me to go out and put more seed on the ground. I'll check and there's still seed there because other smaller birds are eating.

    The seed I put on the ground is mostly cracked corn, but with some black oil sunflower seed and other stuff mixed in because I never know who's going to be out there. I suspect that the turkeys are holding out for the sunflower seeds (or nyjer, they love nyjer which they find under the socks).

    I know some of the neighbors feed the turkeys too, so I'm not worried about them starving. I'll put more seed out later in the day so there will still be seed on the ground early in the morning before I'm dressed and willing to go outside.

    I was in the middle of preparing this post when your second post came through. Here on the coast a Groundhog Day shadow means at least 10 weeks more of winter, so I hope your turkeys know what they're talking about.

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Claire, I brought out some water today and I did see a little interest. I am leaving them out there for the night, so I imagine I will have blocks of ice to knock out and refill tomorrow. I didn't have much time to look out the window today, but I did see more Mourning Doves, the usual Juncos, a pair of Cardinals, the usual Tufted Titmouse and Chickadee and too many sparrows. Yesterday a crow landed in the yard again. I wonder what is bringing them around this year. I haven't had them before. I was having a few gold finches but I'm not seeing them now. And the purple finches haven't showed up in a few weeks either.

    I tried taking photos of birds on the back feeder with my zoom all the way out today and they came out awful. I guess my little 4x optical zoom can't handle the job. So it's not encouraging me to take more pics.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    sooey: I forgot to say Congratulations on the new Grandbaby!

    PM2 (do you prefer lower-case pm2?): Maybe once they get used to water being available they'll go for the heated birdbath. Now you too can have a yard littered with little blocks of ice knocked out each day.

    I have crows coming every day, but they feed on the seed on the ground and warn about hawks.

    Today I had thirty-seven (37) Mourning Doves! I've never seen anything near that before. They flew into a big pitch pine and perched for a while, checking out the area. When they were ready to eat they started dropping straight down to the ground a few at a time and then all of them were feeding in a big lump of dove. When they left, they reversed the procedure, flying straight up to the pine a few at a time and perching again for a while before vanishing.

    Every time I see a dove now I think maybe one is the White-winged Dove I saw in December, so I check them all carefully with my field glasses. Nope, 37 brown-winged doves today. Maybe tomorrow.

    I'm glad the turkeys like to walk into the yard rather than drop out of trees. That would be a little frightening if fifteen turkeys landed with a thud - probably earth -shaking.

    A few weeks ago some neighborhood dogs (we have a leash law but it's ignored by many people) chased the turkeys into the trees across the road. The turkeys were radiating indignation as they stood there. They probably could have squashed the dogs if they landed on them, but I doubt if it occurred to them.

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Claire, PM2, pm2, no preference. :-)

    Sooey, yes, I add my congratulations on the new grandbaby too! That has to be very exciting. :-) Is it your first?

    I am jealous of both of you and all the turkeys visiting you. :-) Eight turkeys coming down the driveway has to be a sight to see, sooey. lol Your turkeys are pretty funny Claire. They can see you in the house and look for you? That's a riot.

    I won't mind having blocks of ice around the yard. I wish the outdoor spigot could be turned on, it would be so much easier.

    I can't believe you had 37 mourning doves! I don't think I have ever seen that many in one place. They certainly seem to love your house. They aren't making that 'cooing' sound I love this time of year. I would love to hear your 37 when they start doing that. I find them the cutest bird. I love to see them hanging around the yard. They attempt to park themselves on top of the feeder but it has a little slope and they slide off most of the time. I also see them find themselves a sunny spot out of the wind, maybe under the arborvitae and take a nap. Did you ever get a photo of the white winged dove?

    Your turkeys in the trees are comical. [g]
    Do you have 15, Claire?

  • corunum z6 CT
    14 years ago

    Solo Speckled Visitor: She(?) comes alone every day, favours the suet, and at first glance I thought Starling, but no, and she is always alone. Can't find her in Gibley's Guide. Anybody?

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    PM2: All of the birds can see me in the house if I'm close to a window. They're usually OK if I'm just looking, but when I raise the binoculars many of them will immediately fly off. They seem to recognize the lenses as big predator's eyes.

    My computer window is tall,so it's easy to see in. A neighbor's dog used to come look in, begging for a treat. One day I was sitting with my back to the window so he barked to get my attention.

    I photographed the White-winged Dove on Dec. 20, 2009 in the middle of a big snowstorm. A very unhappy dove. I've had a few tantalizing possible glimpses since then, but nothing definite.

    The turkey flock averages around fifteen, but it's variable.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Jane: Looks like a European Starling to me. Most of mine have yellow bills, but the non-breeding ones apparently don't. I've often seen them one or two at a time here, and they love suet.

    The bigger flocks have only come here recently.

    Claire

  • sooey
    14 years ago

    Hi Kids...Thanks for the congrats on our new Grandbaby...her name is Nora Jane and lives with her parents all the way down in Ellicott City, MD. A very long way away. She is now 12 weeks old, a real cutie and we skype most every day. Love technology!

    Claire...I have never seen Turkeys up in a tree like that. At least, not so close. That male Pruple Finch is beautiful! I wish we had them here more often.

    sooey

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Jane, you took a nice shot of your bird. Are you using a zoom? I never thought of starlings as attractive, but he is rather handsome. I tried to find a photo of a starling that looked exactly like that but everything about him is the same except yours has a gold ring around the outer edge of the eye and the beak is not yellow.

    Claire, your house seems to be an animal magnet. [g] Your neighbor's dog is so cute. And that Dove is very different with the white tip on the edge of the wing and I wonder if they all have that reddish cast to the rest of their feathers?

    sooey, I love the name Nora Jane, very different! What is skype?

  • terrene
    14 years ago

    Hi guys, great to see all the activity on this thread. Claire, how nice you have a pair of Purple Finches. Apparently they used to be common feeder birds 10 or 20 years ago, but I only see them a few times a year. PM2 I really like that first photo you posted with the seagulls flying - nice winter shot. What camera do you use?

    I am still counting every week, with the usual suspects showing up. Nothing really exciting happening there though.

    The birds are definitely getting ready for breeding season - calling for mates and checking out nesting sites. It was so exciting to see the Bluebirds checking out "their" nest hole in the Pine snag 2 days ago. They most definitely appear to be interested in nesting there again. Unfortunately, the House sparrows were checking it out too!

  • corunum z6 CT
    14 years ago

    PM2, thanks to the Turkey Mistress of Cape Cod who shoots with a Canon, last summer I bought the Canon SX10 IS - it has a 20x optical zoom. Examples below of what it can do from inside the house through double pane glass. Dove was about 12' away, red-bellied woodpecker was about 20' away, and the curious finch was about 25' away.

    So happy to have bluebirds coming every day. I installed nesting boxes on cedar posts last year for them. The sparrows were very happy in the boxes and raised many children. Oh, well - I feed them all - even the vultures.

    Jane

  • terrene
    14 years ago

    Great pics, Coronum. I love to see Flickers, but they only come to the suet log a few times a year. However there was a family nesting somewhere in the way back yard (or the neighbor's) last year and I used to watch them looking for ants in the neighbor's grass.

    How nice you have Bluebirds coming to your feeders. They are such beautiful and friendly birds. Unfortunately, House sparrows are very competitive for nesting boxes and cavities, and they are mortal enemies of Bluebirds. They are an invasive species and rarely co-exist peacefully with our native cavity nesters.

    Sialis.org is a most excellent and comprehensive website to learn about Bluebirds. See link below, and they have a very detailed explanation about the problem with House sparrows.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Sialis.org

  • corunum z6 CT
    14 years ago

    Sorry, wrote the wrong woodpecker name. Have pics of both Flicker and Red-bellied - hope to get the Pileated - but he only comes in the spring. This also taught me not to post whilst on the phone with the flooring store, lol. Thanks for the link above. This little chap comes just about every afternoon.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    PM2: I don't really see a reddish cast on my photos, so that may be an artifact of the posting. The White-winged Dove description doesn't mention that.

    Jane: You've certainly mastered your camera (which has a longer zoom than mine).

    Terrene: I've still never even seen a bluebird (except for the juvenile Camp Fire Girl sort).

    I'm still seeing the large flock of mourning doves here, but most of them keep at a safe distance. Here at the limit of my zoom are some doves hanging around in the pines. Not great shots, but I think they give the feeling of what it's like to have many doves populating the trees. A nice, woodsy feeling.

    The fuzzy area at the bottom of the first photo is a window decal.

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Hi Terrene, DH and I enjoyed our walk at the pond that day, it's been awhile since we've been able to do it. We usually see a couple of pairs of swans, sometimes with the families, every year. One year, we were able to watch them grow from chicks and it was very touching and sad to see the juvenile swans leave the parents the next winter. We could see the pair together in one part of the pond and the last one of the cygnets in another part for a few days, all alone, and then he was gone. I have been enjoying a few of my photos from that recent trip as a desktop background. Here is another one that is fun....

    You can see DH tossing the bread and the piece of bread suspended in the air.....

    And here is that same pond at almost the same spot in late summer....

    I have not had a digital camera very long and for a few years prior to getting one, we were taking photos with those horrid portable cameras from the drugstore, so I am just so tickled with my camera. I am still amazed at the quality of even a digital camera with few bells and whistles. I have a Canon A630 that has the swivel LCD screen and only has a 4x zoom. It does allow for manual settings, but they are lost on me, since I have yet to get out of automatic. [g] One of these days.

    I do love those long zooms though!! I have to agree with Claire, Jane, you are really using that new camera very well. Nice clear shots! I can't believe you are getting those shots through the window either.

    I am very envious of the bluebirds you have Terrene and Jane! VERY envious...lol. I don't think I could attract bluebirds if I tried where I am. I'm a little bit urban here. All small 1/4 acre lots for at least 2 miles in every direction. I see no mating behavior going on that I can tell at all, but I've not had a lot of time to look out at the garden. Despite full feeders, there are lots of days when I'm not seeing as many birds as usual in the winter. We see a pair of Flickers every summer, looking for ants in our lawn.

    Claire, I am definitely seeing a reddish cast, even on your latest shots of the doves. Odd. I love that last photo of that fat little dove with the pine and the light behind him.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    PM2: The Mourning Doves definitely get a rosy tint, particularly the males. I was just referring to the White-winged Dove which is related to the mourning doves but not quite the same.

    When I was hoping the WW dove was still around, I emailed a later photo of a dove to a local bird guru. He identified that photo as a mourning dove, and one of the reasons was the pink color of the breast.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    14 years ago

    Well, thanks for kind remarks, but assure you, it's the camera.

    This is the first winter that I have noticed a resident robin. Admittedly, it is also the first winter that I have been so attentive and that, in part, is due to the camera. This winter-puffed fellow spends a good part of his day in our Prairiefire Crabapple and despite gulping the now-ready fruit, he flies into a rage to guard the whole tree. In his presence, no other bird is allowed to land. He tore after after Miss Cardinal this morning who tried to land in the tree, drove her off into the rhododendrons, then he flew back into the crabapple and knocked back a few apples like they were a fine single malt. Robin the bully? Who'd a thunk it?


    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Fine shot of a fierce robin! Your crabapples must be gourmet fare. I've also noticed that Canon cameras have a tendency to control you - You see so much more when there's a camera nudging you to peer into the distance.

    Today is the first day of Focus on Feeders, and I'm having unusual bird numbers.

    So far,
    27 Mourning Doves
    13 Red-winged Blackbirds
    38 Goldfinches

    but not a turkey in sight. Go figure.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I'm having some computer problems and I'm not sure these photos will post OK. If not, I'll try again tomorrow.

    The turkeys never showed up this weekend, but there was definitely the first significant wave of spring Red-winged Blackbirds. Twenty-one males on Saturday; looking splendid in their glossy feathers. This photo doesn't do them justice, but it was nice to see them spread out out among the house sparrows. I haven't heard them singing yet - they probably won't until the females arrive in a few weeks. I love that skree-skree song.

    I also saw my very first Hermit Thrush (I think it's a hermit thrush). It was lured out of the woods by the styrofoam water container. For all I know it may have been drinking out of the heated birdbath for months, but I just happened to see it here today.

    I feel sorry for the snowy mess in the Mid-Atlantic states, but it was a great relief for once to have a nor'easter kicked out to sea rather than charge up the coast.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    14 years ago

    I know he's probably growing into his big boy cap, but to me, it sure looks like somebody kissed this little fella resting in a tree. Feel very lucky in that every day the Downy, Northern Flicker, and Red-bellied woodpeckers feed here. And my little friend,Ivy, in the window agrees.

    {{gwi:1057057}}

    Jane

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    That's a lot of blackbirds, Claire! And I love your cat, Jane!

    I've been getting out to put water out for the birds every day. I am starting to get a collection of ice blocks. [g] I am going to put them all under my new Arborvitae so that will be the first plant in the garden to be watered. They have been using the small buckets of water I put out. I think I am going to have to find something more shallow, only the large birds can get to the water. The small birds can't reach. I don't want to make it deeper to bring it closer to the rim and I already learned it doesn't help to put a rock in when the rock is going to get frozen in ice. [g]

    Today when the snow was on the way, a flock of Starlings showed up and just like Jane, I saw our first Robins. Four of them! Very odd to see them in February. And I saw a solitary red wing blackbird. Plus the usual cast of characters. I love to watch the juncos chase each other around the yard. They are like dive bombers or the Blue Angels that do their precision aerial shows. [g] Plus they have that little white triangle that shows up in their back feathers when they fly. Lots of fun watching them. It reminded me of a scene from the Disney movie 'Song of the South' when all the birds and animals were happily zipping around the landscape to the song, 'Zippity Do Dah'. [g]

  • terrene
    14 years ago

    I like that summer shot of the pond PM2 - that's nice you have a wild place nearby to take a walk. Claire how cool to have a hermit thrush. There was a Wood thrush under the Yew trees a few years ago. Corunum, that is the cutest picture of a Red-bellied woodpecker I've ever seen (and the cat too).

    The birds were really active this morning all over the yard and neighborhood - as if they could sense the snow coming and wanted to get a good breakfast before the ground was covered again. There were at least 2 dozen Blue Jays hanging out in the canopies of the trees in my yard and the next door neighbor's. They were making quite the racket, perhaps there was a turf war going on. I had no idea there were so many Blue Jays residing in the area.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    Delightful Red-belly kid, Jane, and Ivy embodies the essence of "cat"- sitting in the warm house dreaming about hunting birds outside.

    PM2: That's a great idea of putting the ice blocks under a shrub to water it when it thaws out.

    I just saw movement out of the corner of my eye. It was the house mouse, AKA "Eek!", getting past all the barricades and into the container of birdseed. Oh well, as long as it leaves the shells in the container rather than in bureau drawers ......

    Terrene, I also heard a lot of Blue Jay noise this morning - maybe new flocks moving in. I've been tossing peanuts on the ground away from the regular areas trying to lure the Blue Jays and squirrels so the smaller birds can feed.

    Claire

  • terrene
    14 years ago

    Claire are you serious - a mouse in your house?? You need Ivy to come over and visit, or maybe Iris, my little indoor cat who is a very good mouser.

    Yes, maybe some of the Blue jays were a migrating flock encountering the resident flock. I swear the Blue Jays like to barge their way into the middle of the smaller birds and watch them scatter. I try to lure them away from the suet log and tray by spreading corn chips or something they like under the Yew trees. Or I stand out there and watch while the Bluebirds feed, because the Blue Jays are much more skittish and shy, and usually don't like to come to the feeders if I'm out there.

  • mskee
    14 years ago

    That's a wonderful shot of the Red-Bellied! It definitely looks like a lipstick kiss on the forehead.
    Inspired by this thread, I put out a plastic bowl of water for the birds today, near the feeder. No takers yet, except for a curious squirrel. We'll see!
    Emily

  • corunum z6 CT
    14 years ago

    Time for a trip to the kitty adoption agency, Claire?

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I'm in between cats now, I lost my old pass-along cat recently. She had been declawed (before I got her) and wasn't much of a mouser anyway. Didn't seem to see the point of it when she could get me to open a can for her.

    I'll get another cat at some point but not just yet. I've had pet mice and rats before so Eek! is a surrogate cat.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I've been busy with the GBBC and seeing birds I've never seen before (not in my yard). I visited the local marsh which is in a nature preserve and I saw that at least in the eyes of the water birds spring is coming.

    A Mallard drake was busy preening himself

    when a female Mallard swam by him at very close quarters. I swear she winked at him.

    I also saw a pair of Hooded Mergansers (new to me) that looked as if they were dressed up for a Mardi Gras parade. The photo wasn't exposed correctly as I was frantically trying to catch them before they swam out of sight.

    I hope these photos load OK - I'm having computer issues with dial-up internet access. My accelerator which used to increase the speed from pitiful to mediocre is defunct, so I'm back to pitiful and I can't really preview photos. I'm holding out for Verizon high speed which is supposed to be available soon, but they don't seem able to find my street.

    I just noticed that the copper birdbath is completely thawed out! A very good sign.

    Claire

  • mskee
    14 years ago

    I've got a window feeder (among others), attached to the window next to my computer. This (these?) Chickadees entertain me, coming and going with sunflower chips in their beaks...
    Emily

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    That's great, Emily! It looks like you entertain the Chickadees too. They're such gutsy little birds.

    Frankly, I was skeptical that many birds would come to window feeders because they're so close to the house. Do you get many other species?

    Claire

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    14 years ago

    Enjoying everyone's photos. I've been discouraged from taking more photos because with only a 4x zoom, I can't get any decent photos of the feeder that is at the back of the house. I am also seeing a reduction in bird visitors for some reason. So, I am enjoying all of yours.

    I've never seen Mergensers, Claire. They are certainly different looking! And I've always wanted to have one of those window feeders, Emily. Chickadees are very bold, yes! Do you ever get other kinds of small birds on that feeder?

    Claire, are your turkeys still around?

  • mskee
    14 years ago

    As far as the window feeder goes, I have seen Tufted Titmice at it as well, but mostly Chickadees. There is a large shrub near the window, for the birds to launch from and retreat to, which I think is key, especially for these types of feeders!
    I doubt it would get much use from a window without any cover....

    Love the Hooded Mergansers. Their "hair" looks like something out of Rocky Horror Picture Show!

    Emily

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    14 years ago

    I'm going to start a new thread because this one is loading very slowly. You'll recognize the new thread - I think I'll call it Project FeederWatch #3 2009/2010 (duh).

    Claire