Friday, 21 April 2017

Bird-y Things

I haven't been walking regularly the last couple of months, but whenever I do, my camera comes with me. However, over the past year I've exhausted most of the even-slightly-interesting natural features along my walking routes. That means that most of my pictures are repetitions of ones I've already posted.

But I do have one to share. Earlier this year I mentioned we were visited by a female pheasant. Well, a few weeks ago the male pheasant showed up. Here he is in our back yard:

Busily eating whatever bugs are awake when there's still snow on the ground

I saw the female again (well, a female, at least) just a couple of days ago. From watching the male fly away a few times, I believe they may be living in a small wooded area a couple of streets away.

Moving on to other birds now, the ones that are more common to our back yard ...

After one snowstorm I felt very sorry for the flocks of smaller birds which I was starting to see in our area (presumably having migrated here thinking it was spring, and getting a snowy surprise), so on impulse I bought a small feeder which holds a block of seeds in suet, and hung it from our back deck. My thinking was (1) I would have quicker access to it there, as opposed to putting it in the trees at the edge of our yard, (2) it would entertain our cats, as it is just outside the basement window where our cats spend some of their time, and (3) it would also entertain me because it's right outside our kitchen window, where I spend some of my time.

Well, that was good thinking -- as far as it went. What I forgot was that birds tend to poop ALL THE TIME, even in the middle of eating or while waiting to eat. Little devils. So now our deck is liberally sprinkled with white splotches. Fortunately, last summer we moved our barbecue to a different spot on the deck, because it used to be right where all the splotches are now.

I also didn't count on whole flocks of birds fighting over the feeder. It's just a little feeder, but we've had dozens of birds in the yard at once, some lining up on the deck railing, and others jostling instead of lining up, and dive-bombing each other with open beaks, and pushing each other off the feeder, and, in general, acting like hooligans. At times it feels like we're in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Mostly we are getting starlings and another bird that's either a blackbird or a grackle -- I'm still trying to identify that one because they are fairly similar to my untrained eye. But sometimes we get a chickadee or two, and I've occasionally seen a little yellow finch. And when the feeder first went in, it was the bluejays who found it first. Now they are nowhere to be seen. The starlings and blackbirds/grackles are just too numerous and persistent. So I'm thinking of getting another feeder to offer Niger/thistle seed to the tinier birds, and maybe one for peanuts for the jays ...

This is how it begins, isn't it? One feeder ... then another ... and before you know it you're eating crackers for supper because the birdseed purchases have blown the budget.

By the way, I'd love to be able to show you some photos of the birds at the feeder. But my camera always focuses on the screen instead of the birds! I need to find the instruction manual (oh dear, probably a two-week project) and see if I can override auto-focus.

Hope you have a restful weekend and don't have to dive-bomb anyone in order to get your food :)


This is one kind of bird we do not have to worry about finding in our yard. Ever. But isn't it cute? (photo by Pixabay)






31 comments:

  1. I hear you on the quarrelsome incontinent visitors issue. And quite a lot of ours are vandals as well.
    I still love to see them, despite having to scrub the veranda on a regular basis.

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    1. I foresee some scrubbing in my future, too, but somehow - like you - I don't mind :)

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  2. "...and before you know it you're eating crackers for supper because the birdseed purchases have blown the budget." HAHAHA! So true. You are on a slippery slope. Be careful :) And wait until the squirrels show up. You might end up living in a cardboard box!

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    1. Hahaha!! And this is why I resisted getting the first feeder for so many years :)

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  3. Yes, I'd love to see some photos! We haven't reached the cracker-eating stage yet, but you're right -- installing bird feeders can be an addiction. Birds are resourceful -- they're made to survive these shifts in weather.

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    1. I hope I can figure out how to take some pictures of the birds rather than the window screen soon! Yep, they're resourceful all right - and pushy :)

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  4. When the blackbirds come they take over everything. Here the black birds visit us during their fall migration.

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    1. Maybe these guys will move further north as it warms up. We will see! I think the feeder will come down as soon as things warm up a bit more.

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  5. "I also didn't count on whole flocks of birds fighting over the feeder. It's just a little feeder, but we've had dozens of birds in the yard at once, some lining up on the deck railing, and others jostling instead of lining up, and dive-bombing each other with open beaks, and pushing each other off the feeder, and, in general, acting like hooligans. At times it feels like we're in an Alfred Hitchcock movie."

    Great paragraph.

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    1. Thanks, Ivy - I wish I had some video; they are such a rowdy bunch!

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    2. I've got some video now - will post soon :)

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  6. So, Jenny_o, your life is for the birds is it? Well. perhaps they would like the crackers too...Cheeky buggers! Have a good weekend and don't get dive-bombed!

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    1. Hahaha! And you're right, they'd likely eat the crackers too :)

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  7. I also enjoy watching my backyard birds. Sometimes the camera has a special setting for "through the window".

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    1. I'm going to have to try to find my instruction book!

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  8. Ostriches always look like they smell something bad.

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  9. We have a pair of little, red, somethings (finches maybe?) building a nest in the curve of our downspout under the eaves.
    The cat is very near to losing it over them. She sits in the kitchen window making the I-caught-a-mouse noise, and during the recent rain she climbed the Juniper tree up to the edge of the roof. I don't think she can get to them, but she doesn't seem convinced.
    So today is nine years since my stroke, and two years since my second cataract surgery. The weather seems like it will hold, so I will probably get to walk in the back yard again.
    There are various birds back there, and across the fences, mostly crows, but a couple of doves and the occasional hummingbird, and something that looks like a cross between a Kildeer and a Magpie that probably isn't either of those. If I see it today, perhaps I'll try to figure out what it is.

    -Doug in Oakland

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    1. I think the anniversary of surviving your stroke and getting your second eye surgery calls for a celebration, Doug. Happy life to you. *clink* And I'm glad to have had the chance to "meet" you in blogland.

      I was surprised by the number of bird identification sites there are to help me identify our birds, and simultaneously surprised by how many birds are almost identical, making the job harder than it really should be :)

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  10. We used to help the birds out but then the squirrels showed up so we stopped. I might start up again since the squirrels will probably avoid our yard thanks to Ms. Frizzle. It turns out our puppy is a pretty good hunter. Take care, jenny_o, and hope the birds don't blow your budget.

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    1. Well, it's a good thing Ms. Frizzle is earning her keep somehow ... because I think she's pretty deep in debt with everything she's chewed up :)

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  11. We have many feeders in our back yard . We bought two and then our grown children thought it was a great gift to give us - so the colllection began. Yes, our bird seed bill is substantial.

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    1. It's never the capital cost, it's the operating cost that breaks the bank, isn't it?!

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  12. Yep, you're right about that first feeder - it's the thin edge of the wedge. We went through the same process, but we were cured of it when we discovered that the feeders attract bears and we had grizzlies in the vicinity. Now that we're on the coast, we're starting again. Just today I saw the cutest hummingbird feeder in the hardware store... ;-)

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    1. Grizzlies - ack! But doesn't BC have grizzlies too? ... maybe they're further inland?

      In any case, until the bears show up, enjoy your feeders (plural, I'm sure!) :)

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    2. There are bears here, too, but they don't seem to be as common in the area where we are. Or more likely, there's enough wilderness still untouched that they don't have any reason to come near human habitations. Occasionally there's a bear sighting but it's not like our old place where we had seven grizzlies and umpteen black bears sighted within a 10-mile radius. So far, so good...

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    3. OH. MY. That is a LOT of bears ... we freak out here if there's a bear within 20 miles!! (and ours are just black bears)

      With our compost carts, black bears have become a bit of a problem in some areas. Now we are advised to freeze all our compost until pickup day, which is once every two weeks. I'm all for composting, but who has room in their freezer for all that??

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    4. What a pain! I'm not sure how our composting will work - I want to have a compost bin on our property, but I'm afraid it'll attract bears, too. We'll also have compost/garbage pickup, but then we'll have the same issues with the compost cart as you have. Hmmm...

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  13. You have such a gift for these nature photos. I wish I see such wonderful nature all the time!

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    1. It surprises me how many different birds and animals we have, because we are right in town! Thank you for your kind comment, Nicky.

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