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Who is on your bird table today?

Discussion in 'Wildlife Chat' started by Lurcherlad, Jan 4, 2015.


  1. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I've had Mister and Missus Cardinal. He's already getting a little redder than he was a few days ago:
     

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  2. leashedForLife

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    i'm presuming U're in North America, Lori -

    have Ur birds paired already?

    i'm pretty sure the adult M & F Cardinal here are the same adults that reared 3 chicks, last spring & summer -
    in fact, i'll bet that most of the youngsters, at least half, are their kids - possibly all of them, as Cardinals
    might be among the birds who can rear 2 clutches in a good year.

    but the M isn't courting her with food offerings, yet; in fact, ALL the Ms, subadults, too, are chasing
    ALL the hens - adults & youngsters, drabbit. I've got 3 hanging feeders, plus a tray & a deep soup-bowl,
    & the doggone cocks are still trying to 'own' them all.

    The most Cardinals i've had feeding at the same time were 2 adolescent hens & the adult hen -
    1 on the tray, 1 on the bowl, 1 hopping & hunting spilled seed in the snow.

    Otherwise, it's one or 2 Cardinals at separate feeders - they can share the tray with smaller birds,
    there have been 4 or 5 sparrows eating with a single Cardinal, but even with a 2-ft long tray, they can't
    seem to share that space between 2 Cardinals.

    12:15-PM update:
    Eek! - a 3rd cockbird just arrived; so 2 subadults & 1 lipstick-red grown-up.
    Good heavens, the poor hens aren't going to get a nibble - & there are now 5 hens; 4 youths, 1 adult.

    i can't wait for them to pair off, so the aggro drops a bit & everyone settles down somewhat.
    .
    .
     
  3. leashedForLife

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    was a bit of a struggle - my back-door was frozen shut by ice, even tho i salted the concrete when i saw ice
    forming; the sun yesterday afternoon melted the snow on the roof, & sent drips from icicles above down to
    freeze on the doorstep, the fence, the rain-gutter, & the window-sills.

    Yesterday i broke the icicles off the sills & wall, & salted the doorstep after clearing it, but the ice over the cold
    night sealed the metal storm-door to the aluminum frame. Once again, the big upper-pane of glass came out,
    & i reached thru the door-frame to break up the ice with a metal chopper. This was about 8-AM; birds, mean-
    time, were all roosted in the 30-ft volunteer apple tree, to my left, chattering excitedly.

    I brought the seed in overnight, because it was spozed to SNOW possibly as early as 5-AM; it was already
    flurrying by 7:30, & by 9-AM the table had another fresh inch.

    Meantime i parked the tray AND the soup-bowl under the table, on the chair seats, protected from the snow.
    It's not a popular choice with the birds, but if the seed gets covered & wet, they won't eat it or find it.
    Within 30-minutes, they'd given up on hopping pathetically around on the table, & were swooping in under it
    to perch on the bowl or tray, & eat.

    Everybody's hungry, & tonight is spozed to be BITTER cold - ambient of 0'-F, plus a wicked wind-chill.
    I'll be reloading every feeder, over the day.
    .
    .
     
    #43 leashedForLife, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  4. Jonescat

    Jonescat Don't do nothing. Do something.

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    Sparrows have got beaks full of feathers already, but they do cheat and live in their nest holes under the roof all year round. The blackbirds are still a rush of testosterone and are attacking anything that moves - I hope she chooses one soon (3 boys to 1 girl).

    Cold but not really freezing, but we did just run out of mealworms so I may get shouted at by the starlings in the morning.
     
  5. leashedForLife

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    i finally put ANOTHER bowl out, with seed - my 8-inch white pottery "pie crust" bowl,
    filled with 2-cups of seed & set on a 15 x 24 inch woven rattan rectangle, previously a hamper-lid.

    the cock Cardinals were so irascible, they were causing not just the hens but the smaller songbirds to flare off
    & fly to the apple-tree every 3 to 4 minutes. What craziness!

    The extra bowl finally gave them too many targets, & things settled down.
    Now i have 3 to bring in. :lol:

    All the birds made multiple visits, today - except the Blue Jays, altho i heard them next door,
    or shouting around the neighborhood, now & again. Even the Junco visited a half-dozen times,
    & the oversized sparrow - I'll have to look tonite, & see if i can get a solid I-D.
    .
    .
     
  6. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Yes I am in the Northeast USA. And no they aren't pairing yet, but the birdsong has already changed it's tune, I've noticed in the morning.

    We are deep in snow, frequent snow storms and frigidity, but the increased light and the change in the light's angle says spring is coming...someday. :p

    But they both hang around all winter. The Missus is very shy usually and I've never been able to get such a good picture of her before. HE practically poses :D
     
  7. leashedForLife

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    the earliest i ever heard a spring-territorial song WAS a Cardinal, on January 11, 1978.

    but none of the Cardinals within hearing distance are calling, "Cheer!... Cheer!..."
    yes, i'm seeing light above my room-darkening curtains earlier every morning.
    My bedroom gets morning light, & in spring / summer, that double window gets light ALL day -
    hence the room-darkening curtains, to help keep the room a little cooler.

    i can't tell the juvenile M Cardinals apart, but one frequently has a lowered crest - or i THINK it's one
    bird, maybe it's either of them, depending upon how he feels, :lol: - i don't know.

    2 of the juvenile hens are extremely shy & very flighty; the other is bold.
    The adult hen is neither bold nor shy, but won't stand up to any of the M birds, adult or juvie;
    when the M-Cardinals fly toward her or posture - she flees.
    .
    .
     
  8. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    No I'm not hearing Cheer Cheer! (Sweet Sweet Sweet!) yet either. It's the smaller birds I'm noticing different sounds. Their morning chatter has changed..it's subtle but I always seem to notice it around this time of year and it always makes my heart lift.

    I was just taking some trash out, it's about zero degrees (F), with a windchill of minus 13 (F), a very starry night, and oh man, you ever notice how deep the snow looks at night? There's only about 2 feet out there, but it looks like more. :p:D
     
  9. leashedForLife

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    I wish. :lol: We got 26" last week, followed by 14" early this week, & 3-inches today.
    So 40-odd, & the last dose was wet & soggy - leaving a 3/4-inch crust of ice before the 2-inches of powder,
    on top.


    i'm 5'8" - There are piles of snow at street-corners that overtop my head by a foot, or even 2.
    I feel like a 5-YO walking beside them - can't see a darned thing, they're MASSIVE walls of snow.

    They brought a mass-volume melter, a big machine, to the main Boston 'snow farm', & are melting
    the snow, to allow more snow-removal. Many side-streets are one-lane traffic - one lane to park,
    one to drive; drivers must take turns at each block, to drive in opposing directions.

    They're thinking we may break our 15-million-dollar annual budget for snow-removal, with these 2 storms.
    The MBTA is spozed to be severely delayed tomorrow, due to below-zero cold tonite, & bitter cold tomorrow.
    The heaters that melt the ice on the 3rd-rail can't cope with such severe cold, & the motors burn-out. :(

    I need to get to the cheap-groceries / Job-Lots stores, & CostCo - my 'frig is near-bare. The birds have plenty,
    but i can't eat bird-seed. :p
    .
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  10. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    You must be south of me, got hit by that storm last week? We only got about 8 inches for that one. Had a foot this Monday though. But yeah, it snows EVERY freaking night, LOL! If I had a garage maybe I wouldn't mind so much but man I get tired of brushing off my car every morning. Heehee. Oh well, at least we don't live in Buffalo NY. :D

    Well, you could eat the sunflower seeds......
     
  11. leashedForLife

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    Boston - we got clobbered.
    I went to Watertown for 3 days & helped an elderly friend stay dug-out during the storm, walk her
    2 tiny-toy dogs [a Pap & her Pom-cross son, 3# & 10# respectively], & dig out her corner-lot sidewalk -
    snow 6-inches above the crease of my knees, & i wear a 34-inch inseam. :p
    not every night - but it's been every few days for 2 1/2 weeks, now.
    nah. :eek: I'm not particularly squeamish, but they aren't any too delicate about processing bird-food.
    I'm willing to trust it for the birds - not for me.

    I know the belief is everyone must eat a peck of dirt before they die, but i'd rather not eat half that peck,
    in a day or two. :lol:
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  12. Psygon

    Psygon Yoshi Tonks! :-)

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    Not on my bird table, but OH spotted two bullfinches in a tree in the neighbours garden this morning. We sat with the binoculars watching them for a bit :)

    Bird table has been decimated by the squirrels - they've stolen the bottom of our peanut feeder (and all the peanuts inside too!). Going to look for some squirrel resistant feeders later :) Fortunately it isn't stopping all the finches and tits from feeding through.
     
  13. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Missus Cardinal was back this morning but too quick for me to get a shot. However the Downy Woodpecker isn't shy. It's snowing though, so I wasn't able to get a very clear shot through my window
     

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  14. leashedForLife

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    on Friday, the adult Cardinal hen suddenly found her chutzpah, & began chasing ALL the subadult Fs.
    :nono: that only adds to the frequent sorties among the adult-M & the juvie-Ms.
    He's STILL not courting anyone - "he" being the deep-scarlet adult.

    The Junco was here a dozen times yesterday, & snow is expected to begin around midday today.

    the Jays were shouting at the cats this morning, shortly after daylight peeped; they haven't been here for about
    5 days, which is just as well - they don't let ANYone else eat; it's Jays-only as long as one Jay is eating seed.

    Temps are more than 10-degrees warmer than last night - but that's not 'warm'; last night, ambient was
    3'-F minus 18-degrees of wind chill [meaning it felt like -15'-F].
    I still need to go get groceries, & parts of the Orange Line [light rail] are shut down to prep for the snow.

    The Song, White-Crowned, & Brit-bully Sparrows are still arriving regularly;
    the possible-Grasshopper Sparrow only comes 1 to 3 times in a day.

    ============

    The other Big Development:
    a new squirrel that i hadn't seen before came out of estivation yesterday, was alerted by the bird activity,
    & found the pie-pastry bowl of seed, sitting on the rattan tray to keep it from sinking in the waist-deep snow.
    :(

    He's had a rough life: he's missing at least 3-inches from his tail [the males fight & chase, & try to BITE
    one another's tails; when they succeed, the thin tissue around the bony tail often dies, & everything past
    the bite-injury, falls off]; both his ears are notched from other bites / fights. His right ear is missing about
    1/4th, in a deep curved notch.

    But he's in good body-condition, & i won't have him carrying off an ounce or 2 of seed to stash somewhere,
    plus rummaging thru the seed to find his favorites & flinging the rest; so i spent half my day rushing out
    to chase him off, flinging icicles to bang on the privacy fence, & smacking the house siding [which scared him,
    but not the birds].

    It's 9:30 & he hasn't shown, yet; typically, squirrels try to avoid the bitterest cold & stay curled indoors until
    at least double-digits. I hope he's gone back to estivating!

    EDIT: "double digits" = 10-am or after.
    .
    .
     
    #54 leashedForLife, Feb 7, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2015
  15. Psygon

    Psygon Yoshi Tonks! :-)

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    Bullfinch was back so grabbed the camera this time. Such a striking bird... even at 40x zoom :D

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. leashedForLife

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    a Purple Finch hen, & a long-billed, short-tailed WREN came by -

    i don't know the exact species of the wren, but i got a very, very long look at the bird,
    as s/he wrestled with a peanut on various surfaces - moving it about & trying to hammer it, including on snow,
    which didn't work very well. Finally s/he parked it on the rattan screen, & whacked it smaller & smaller.

    The bill is long, at least as long as the skull, & curves slightly downward.
    The tail is about half the length of the body - between 2 & 3-inches long.

    Purple Finches are actually native to WESTERN North America; unscrupulous ppl began trapping them,
    & sold them as 'Hollywood Finches' as cage-birds -- to be pets. :nonod: This went on for decades; at last
    the Federal govt outlawed taking or harming migratory birds & "non-pest" resident species, & they began
    arresting the wild-bird dealers... who would set all their stock free, if they thought they were about to get
    caught, so they wouldn't have any 'evidence' of a crime.

    As a result, these high-plains & desert oasis & river-bottom birds of California, New Mexico, & other
    western states, became an 'introduced species' on the East Coast. So now they're here... for good, or ill.
    They do migrate, altho in a mild winter further south [Pennsy, Md, NC / SC...], they may stay over.


    So BOTH of these birds are definite new-arrivals from the South - like the Song & White-Crowned Sparrows,
    they're not year-round residents in Boston. :thumbup: YAY!...
    .
    .
     
  17. leashedForLife

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    given that we had an all-day, lightly falling snow-storm, i was amazed to see a large Northern Robin & starlings -
    thank Goddess, the starlings only visited me sporadically & in small numbers! - 2 or 3 at most, as the flock was at least
    3 to 4 dozen birds, who could easily have monopolized all the feeders & emptied them in short order.

    As it was, the Starlings preferred the crackers & bread & cat-kibble out next door, & the Robin tried to make do
    with the seed in the pie-pastry-rim bowl. I offered him raisins as well, often popular with Robins, but he didn't seem
    to know what they were, & while he picked up a few, it was only to toss them out of the way... luckily, not into the snow,
    just moving them off the seed.

    This Robin was so enormous, compared to the southern birds i saw for so long, who were like etiolated plants,
    long & skinny, with orangey terra-cotta breasts, light brownish-grey backs & wings, & slatey caps on the cocks.
    EDIT: they were actually built on the body-plan of a Mockingbird, long narrow tails & long slim bodies, a very
    different silhouette from the classic plump & sturdy Robins of my Pennnsylvania childhood.
    I think we have a clearly-developing Northern & Southern TYPE within the species, which will eventually become
    different species - long after i'm alive to see it, but that's my opinion.

    This fella is deeply pigmented, with a brick-red breast, slatey back, dark-charcoal primaries, & BLACK cap;
    the dots decorating the white throat-patch are vivid, crisp black.

    All the birds swept in & out of the yard like a scarf in a high wind, all day; the Song, White-Crown, & English
    Sparrows were often in a mixed flock, which is unusual - the Brit-thugs are so argumentative, they usually travel
    as a group on their own [5 or 6 birds, always 2 cocks & either 3 or 4 hens].

    The Wren came back, too - s/he is a slow learner. :lol: Kept taking peanuts from the hanging tube, then flying
    down onto the snow, & trying to HAMMER the nut... which promptly submerged; then the bird would get
    another one... & another... So i put a TRAY under the tube-feeder, & the little dingbat quit feeding there. :eek:
    Went back to the leaf-tray & 2 bowls under the table, only one of which has a convenient hammering surface:
    the rattan hamper-lid that keeps the pastry-rim bowl from submerging in the fluffy, 30-odd inches deep, snow.

    We got another 6 to 10-inches over yesterday & overnight; i have to go shovel, & most likely i'll need to pull
    the storm-door's glass pane again, to get into the back yard & retrieve the buried bowls.
    The snow was swept under the table by the winds.

    We're expecting another 6 to 8-inches today - then a break, & more snow Thursday & possibly Sunday.
    We've already broken Boston's record for snowfall in a 7-day period; this winter may bust Boston's snow-
    removal budget entirely [$15-M usa], & winter runs into MARCH; we have a long, long way to go.

    off to shovel...
    .
    .
     
    #57 leashedForLife, Feb 9, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
  18. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    Someone is happy this morning :)

    [​IMG]
     
  19. leashedForLife

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    isn't singing yet, they've a very recognizable lilting song, but his alarm or territory call was frequent, yesterday -
    'Kleep!... Kleep!...'

    He was probably anxious about the cats, who luckily can't get around to OUR yard for now, due to the very-deep
    snow, but come next door for free food. :nonod: I do wish cat-owners would keep their pets indoors, or at least
    on their OWN property; cat-pee & cat-feces don't win them any fans. :rolleyes:

    As dusk was falling around 5:15-PM last night, the Robin was a riot - he was half-sitting, squatted in the pie-crust
    bowl with his feet spread widely, & his feathers fluffed, looking so much like a setting hen, i had to laugh. :laugh:
    Every 5 to 10-secs, he'd pick up ONE seed, & swallow it. In between, he just... hunkered. His crop was clearly
    visible, & he was stoking for the overnight cold while he'd be roosting.
    I thought it was a riot - never saw that before!

    He's so big, he makes the Cardinals look like Sparrows, & the Sparrows look like bee-sized Hummingbirds.
    .
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  20. leashedForLife

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    5 to 1-PM, & i just got back in from struggling to A, get the doggone DOOR open,
    & B, un-bury the 2 bowls & the leaf-tray.

    The hanging feeders aren't enuf to host all the hungry birds, as 2 are single-bird feeders.
    The 8-port only gets used by 3 to 5 birds, as they simply can't seem to tolerate one another so close,
    even for the sake of food, even for a few minutes - the Song Sparrows do pretty well, the Brit-thugs
    can't occupy more than 3 of the 8 ports without someone being chased off.


    I couldn't get the &%$#@! door open, as the snow had packed the bottom, & the wet soggy stuff
    that fell at 3-AM could be clearly heard to DRIP - it froze the storm-door PANE in its frame, so i couldn't cheat
    & pull it out, to shovel the base of the door free from inside. :yikes: I had to wrestle the ice-chipper out thru
    the crack of the door, awkwardly shove the snow away one-handed - which promptly fell back in, being virtual
    powder - & finally slide sideways out the slightly-wider crack, to shovel, chip ice, & find the invisible bowls.


    I cleared off the glass-topped table, & then spread the snowy seed from the top of the deep soup-bowl,
    & snowy seed from the leaf-tray, on the glass table for foraging. That was instantly popular, i was still chipping
    ice - a noisy process! - just 8-ft away, & birds were on the table & at the hanging-feeders.

    thank Goddess, we're between 2 rivers, & the birds can find open water within flight distance -
    there's no electrical outlet in the yard, not even on the house-wall, on this old house, & i would never be able
    to keep the water replaced quickly-enuf to have it fluid for any length of time.

    I need to dry my clothes & stop sweating before i go back out & refill everything, but hordes of birds
    are swooping into & out of the yard, including - Drabbit! - some starlings. :rolleyes:

    I know they're handsome, smart, & cheeky, but the dam*ed Starlings are cavity-nesters who are human-tolerant
    & will damage houses to make nests, plus they compete with native birds very aggressively. They also are good-
    sized birds, with near-Robin sized bodies despite their short tails, & eat like locusts.


    I'm going to eat some pasta, & then refill all the feeders - including the still-not-retrieved pie-crust bowl, buried
    on its rattan tray.
    .
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