claireplymouth

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #2

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #!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:

INDEX to threads 2008 to 2011

For 2012, see the links posted in
RE RE: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2012 #7. There may be problems with some of the links. I've corrected those I can edit.

2013 threads: 
INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2013
2014 threads:
INDEX: Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2014

2015 threads: Links for #1 through #10 are included in

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2015 #11

2016 threads: Links for #1 through #9 are included in

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2016 #10

2017 threads: Links for #1 through #6 are included i

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2017 #6

2018 threads:
Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #1

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #2

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #3

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #4

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2018 #5

2019 threads:

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #1


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

With winter technically here, but waffling, I repeat the mantra I said years ago, somewhere. "Far better to ponder interesting wildlife behavior in the garden than to spend the winter staring at dormant plants."

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

I was startled this afternoon by hearing bird song, mostly red-wings. I made a video showing the Arnold Promise witch hazel in bloom to record the bird song (and to show the witch hazel too).

Snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow so this may be the only bird song I'll hear for a while.



Claire

Comments (71)

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Maybe your birds have been reading Shakespeare


    Why beware the Ides of March?

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year

    The turkey flock is back. There were about twenty turkeys out there this morning. Unfortunately, the sun wasn't high enough to get their feathers shining.

    View from my kitchen window:

    Claire

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  • corunum z6 CT
    last year

    Glad the turkeys came back. They know a good path when they see one.


    Nobody ate anyone, but possum remained mindful after the first hiss.






  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    “Nobody ate anyone” made me laugh!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    That must have been a fearsome hiss, much more effective than "playing possum". Maybe this is the next step in the evolution of possums?


    Claire

  • Nessdizzle Formally 6a, now 9b Central Florida
    last year

    Not trying to hijack this thread, but seeing it’s bird related, I figured it would be okay to ask. So I bought a metal birdhouse, not sure if that’s a good choice over wood? But I just loved the design and the price of course played a part. Thing is I’m not sure how to hang it, and if there’s a better spot (full sun, facing south, or whatever) could anyone give an idea of a good place to hang it, and how to attract birds to it?

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    A couple of things:

    be sure that there are small drainage holes in the bottom

    look up the diameter of the hole in your birdhouse to find out what birds will be attracted to it.

  • corunum z6 CT
    last year

    Nessdizzle, Mass Audubon has addressed this issue. Bird house material

    It is a cute house, but metal will hold summer heat, worse, if it was in a sunny place, ouch. Wooden bird houses do wear over the years, but a natural material for wildlife seems a better bet for their safety. IF you had a place that is always in dark, dark shade, maybe somebody would move in. Others here may have a better idea. Just my 2 cents.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Nessdizzle: Your question is perfectly appropriate for this thread.

    NHBabs and corunum have good advice and the Mass Audubon link is good. I, too, would be very concerned about the metal in a sunny place, unless you can insulate it somehow.

    You might also post on the Bird Watching Forum for more responses.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    https://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/

    This has links to some articles about what makes a good birdhouse and what species can be attracted to them.

  • Nessdizzle Formally 6a, now 9b Central Florida
    last year

    I’m trying to hit ‘like’ on your responses, but it just keeps telling me who else liked it rather than letting me ‘like’ it lol...but thank you! It was just so cute, and I thought the colors would go well against my dark blue house..so I figured what the heck, buy it. But then I was thinking about it, and I’m like ...maybe metal isn’t the best of materials for a birdhouse..hence the cheaper price...so I’m glad I asked...what if I put it out in the fall for the winter? Then when weather warms up, put it away?? Either way I’ll check those links out...but while I’m here, check out this chubby squirrel taunting my kitties watching him eat in the window

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Nesdizzle: Maybe you're hitting the "like" part of the button. Try hitting the thumbs up icon instead.

    That squirrel certainly understands window glass. Very cute pics.

    Putting the birdhouse out in the winter only is a great idea - birds can roost in there for shelter. Maybe add some leaves or pine needles to give them some insulation.

    It's a very pretty thing, just not right for the original use.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    last year

    Caught the Grackles in the sun. It's amazing how much we can see in the 'right' light.




    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Beautiful birds! While we're fussing over sunscreen the grackles are just glowing in bright light.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    Those grackles and many of Claire’s turkey photos are just beautiful with the sun finding colors that the feathers don’t show in flat light.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    We have a red-shouldered hawk that has been hanging out in the field behind the house for the last 3 days. I have never seen one before in person, but this one has perched so that I have gotten several good views, so I am sure of my ID by now. Unfortunately, when he is visible close enough and in good light, he doesn’t stay still long enough for a portrait. But what a handsome bird, with rich colors on the chest and crisp black and white on tail and parts of the wings.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year
    last modified: last year

    A bit fuzzy between the fading light, a window that needs cleaning, and the quality of the iPad camera, but there were 6 deer right behind the house last night, something we never see. They typically are more skittish around humans, but the ice this winter making ground level food unavailable may have made them less so since they also ate pieces of my arborvitae at the shop, something that hasn’t happened in 10 winters. We fairly often see them in the field on the other side of the fence, but these guys didn’t take off, even when DH opened the back door and stood watching them.

    This morning there was a large flock of turkeys farther down the farm field and a phoebe on a branch just outside the kitchen window, so the birds know that spring is coming. We still have some ice and snow, including just out of the photo on the north/right side of the spruce.

  • defrost49
    last year

    It might be spring and I am coming out of hiding. I enjoyed catching up on this thread and appreciate the faithful posters who document the world around them. My husband is good at spotting things and yesterday it was a northern goshawk which we haven't seen in a long, long time. There's a smaller hawk that is a frequent visitor, a red tailed, I think. We have seen a few red polls this year. They have been absent from our feeders for several years but there was one winter when we had a flock of them. We have seen a pair of cardinals but typically they stop a couple of times and fly off for better pickings someplace else. Wild turkeys still walk thru the yard but we no longer have the huge flock that used to roost in some pines. The farmer used to grow field corn there but now it's a hayfield. I think we have seen more deer than usual during the winter. Most recently they were feeding in a corner of the field that is only mowed to keep the brush down. My husband knew that there is wintergreen growing there and suspected that's what they were eating. Google confirmed that wintergreen is one of the plants they will eat.


    We have possums now. I have to remind myself that they eat a lot of ticks as well as raiding the suet feeders. From the sounds, it must be turkey mating season. Lots of gobbling. A song sparrow perched next to the porch and sang a lovely song. Usually a song sparrow builds a nest lost to the ground and loses its hatchlings every year. Last year the nest was in a spreading cotoneaster, barely off the ground. We've also seen a fox sparrow as well as rusty capped. My husband looks forward to hearing red winged blackbirds again. We've had a small flock at the feeders for a few days but they must be heading further north.


    Thanks to the wet weather and a high water table we have a depression in the yard just past my vegetable garden that is a tiny pond in the spring. Each year we'll have a pair of mallards spend a couple of nights. It's deep enough for paddling around and attracting our young grandson but will dry up later in the spring. Goldfinches look pretty bad right now as they changeover to brighter colors. My husband won't be refilling the feeders anymore. We know we have bears and usually they don't come close to the house but we don't want to give them a reason to come closer. With luck we will see a mama with a couple of cubs by the stone wall. The UPS man got a video of the cubs climbing a tree next to the road. He says he always watches for wildlife when he drives by.

    Happy Spring!

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    Nice to see you again Defrost!

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Welcome back, defrost49! You have a nice selection of wildlife in your neighborhood.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Spring is here! So says the male goldfinch who is dressed for the breeding season.

    Claire

  • nekobus
    last year

    Poor guy looks drenched. I’m noticing a lot of goldfinches lately, too.

    I got a shock this afternoon when I went to check on the new bees that we installed yesterday, and startled a turkey hen off of the fence right behind the hive. She flew up from about four feet away — before I even saw her — into a tree with a kind of shocking whoosh-thump-thump noise. While I was looking at her, this one below flew up into the same tree. Then I noticed a third one on the neighbor’s roof. We see them around greater Boston all the time, just never before in my yard!

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    Congrats of the first turkey visitors, nekobus. Close up, turkeys are impressively large with beautiful feathers, but they sure aren’t graceful in the air. I always slow down if they are on the road edge because I have seen more than one windshield destroyed from a turkey strike.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Erupting turkeys is a very impressive phenomenon, nekobus! I see it here occasionally when they're really frightened, but after a while the turkeys get used to you and will just scurry out of your way and come back when you leave.

    They really seem to prefer walking to flying. It probably takes a lot of energy to get all of that body into the air. I sometimes see them flying into the trees in the afternoon to roost overnight.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year

    We also see them occasionally flying into the big pines along the river around dusk. Then we can see the silhouettes of turkeys on the branches against the setting sun.

  • nekobus
    last year

    Two days ago there was a quartet of them in front of the neighbors -- two toms and two hens. I got a kick out of watching them poking around for a couple minutes. The toms were both fluffing and bobbing their bills in the air to try to impress the hens, to no avail. Agreed, NHBabs, about the plumage up close. Mostly just amazed how much bigger they seem when they're stalking around a few feet away, versus seeing them across a field or out of a car window. Dinosaurs!

  • defrost49
    last year

    I can't even remember where I was recently but saw a flock near the road so I started beeping my horn. I don't like to stress wildlife by making them run but I was pretty sure that even if I slowed down (as I did) some of them would attempt to cross the road.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year

    I looked out this morning and saw two toms displaying to hens across the street. This is a rural one-lane road and cars usually slow down for the turkeys. Sometimes I think the toms are showing off for the cars as well as for the hens. I know that when I walk past a tom in display he often won't appear perturbed and move away. I do walk very carefully and I'm sure to tell him how beautiful he is.



    Claire

  • Pat z5/6 SEMich
    last year

    Even though it is cold, I know that spring has sprung in SE Michigan because I have 2 Red-breasted Grosbeaks returned this year to my backyard tray feeder this late afternoon. I learned a lot about Cowbirds by doing a search on the Houzz "Bird Watching Forum" and I removed the saucers from my 2 tube feeders in front to force my daily Cowbird and Robin (sic) visitors to feed on the ground or in the backyard. Do not understand why I have not seen any Grackles, black birds, Starlings, etc. I do have my usual Cardinals, Nuthatches, Gold Finches, House Finches, Woodpeckers, Titmouses (sp), so life is improving, even tho' Mueller hasn't testified yet. (Sorry, the devil made me go off-topic).

  • defrost49
    last year

    Would love to see Red breasted grosbeaks in our yard! We've had starlings frequently during the winter. I don't think the birds are happy that the feeders have been taken in but the bears are awake and we saw a young bear last Monday evening. The bluebirds however are finding plenty to eat. They like to perch on a garden fence and watch for bugs. They'll swoop down and fly back to wait for the next one. Tree swallows and bluebirds have been arguing over the nesting boxes. I don't know who is going to win.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Lovely to have grosbeaks in your yard, Pat! I may have seen one recently but it could have been wishful thinking, it was just a very quick glimpse.

    I do have orioles back now. I think this is a male orchard oriole who first appeared on April 28.



    I'm so glad I don't have to worry about bears, defrost!

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    last year

    Resident lawn dethatcher. No sign of Buddy yet.



    I'm trying to remember why I had to turn yellow...


    Oh, nooo...I just remembered.


    I'm not ready for this.

    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT
    last year

    They arrived this afternoon. Two males, one female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks - that, fortunately - really like safflower seed.






    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Such neat-looking birds! Grosbeak is a fitting name for a bird with those formidable beaks.

    Claire

  • Pat z5/6 SEMich
    last year

    I didn't think Cornell could make a mistake, but their Common Feeder Birds List, Northeast Region, does not list Rose-breasted Grosbeak. I find mine like just about everything a Cardinal likes.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Pat: It's probably a case of location, location, location. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks may be common at your feeders, and Jane's, but I've only seen them a few times over many years, so they're not common here. Blue jays, cardinals, chickadees and the like are really common here, but not grosbeaks.

    Claire

  • Pat z5/6 SEMich
    last year

    But, Claire, it's not listed in any "Location" page, but it it pictured with the birds on the introduction page here https://feederwatch.org/learn/common-feeder-birds/

  • corunum z6 CT
    last year

    I knew the Grackles were upset when I switched to straight safflower seed, but never gave revenge a thought. Our front stairs this morning. (note to self: wear hat when mowing)

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Pat: Maybe the Rose-breasted Grosbeak photobombed the shoot when they were making the list? Or, I see the Evening Grosbeak is on the list. Maybe an intern pulled the wrong grosbeak photo, not realizing that Rose-breasted is not the same as Evening.

    Jane: The hat sounds like a good idea!

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT
    last year

    Two pair of RB Grosbeaks have moved in and the hummer, I think it's a girl, but my record isn't great in this area, is staying. New nectar this morning and she zipped in near me. What a great sound those wings make!

    Outside my window yesterday...


    Jane

  • skibby (zone 4 Vermont)
    last year

    Two out of the three hummingbird feeders are up. Now, the waiting game. Last year I saw my first ones on May 7. I don't have a clear view of the porch feeders from my reading chair inside so I need to get up and go to the window but in better (warmer) weather when I'm out on the porch they are up close and personal. There is one feeder on each end of the porch, about 90 feet apart. The third goes on the wisteria covered pergola at the end of the front walk, maybe 50 feet away. It makes a nice triangle - or racetrack - for them to zoom around and play. I suspect that a nest(s) are somewhere in the cedar hedge nearby that separates my property from the next door neighbor but haven't been able to find them.

    I do enjoy watching other birds but I'm still very much a novice. The more flamboyant birds I recognize easily, it's the more common ones that still look alike to me that I have no confidence in my IDs. I'm just learning what to look for. Our local Nature Conservancy has been a big help to me and I have many field guides. I also enjoy learning about interesting facts and behaviors that birds exhibit. I'm a big fan of crows because that's just about all I see in the winter. I decided that I'd learn to like what I have and that's been fun. One spring the crows alerted me to a barred owl that was sitting on some patio furniture on my front lawn. What a fuss they made swarming and screeching - the numbers were incredible. Another time a persistent crow let me know that there was something trapped In the downspout of the garage. DH was able to dismantle it and rescue a baby squirrel that had slipped into it and couldn't get out. Excellent! Sorry for such a wordy post!

  • defrost49
    last year

    I liked your wordy post. You might have more birds in winter than you think if there's anything around to provide them some shelter like our rhododendron next to the barn. Saw a new bird this morning - a bobolink! Saw the first black bear of the season last Monday. Looks pretty young.

  • corunum z6 CT
    last year
    last modified: last year

    BUDDY is Home! No picture, but his dark ruby throat and sense of humor are unquestionable markers. Ahhh...home.

    Edited ...20 minutes later...



    Buddy's daughter ? for comparison -




  • Pat z5/6 SEMich
    last year

    skibby, I love your posts! Please don't stop.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year

    I haven't seen orchard orioles for a while but the Baltimore orioles are all over the place, fighting over the jelly/jam feeders. The orioles would be happy with suet in those cages but I'm afraid the grackles would take over the feeder. I sometimes put orange slices in the cages but the jelly/jam is the favorite.

    This jelly/jam feeder is easier to access.

    A female Baltimore oriole was eating from a suet feeder, holding on to a holly and the cage.


    The catbirds are back!

    Claire

  • deanna in ME Barely zone 6a, more like 5b
    last year

    I have FOUR hummingbirds fighting over my three feeders! Just bought two more to put in on the other side of the year so they'll each have some territory. And, the turkeys are coming through and shaking our birdseed completely out of the feeders, so I need taller shepherds hooks for those, too. This juvenile eagle was enjoying the waterside this week. I suppose the molting process is their version of teenage acne. He'll have his white head soon enough.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Five hummer feeders sounds reasonable, deanna. Pretty soon you'll be making up the nectar in gallon quantities.

    I love the eagle pics - he does have a glum, teenage look to him.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I hope you all don’t mind a few non-New England photos:

    a heron rookery in the arboretum in Madison, Wi


    And a mile long boardwalk along the edge of one of Madison’s many lakes that we walked a couple of times allow us a view of a bunch of birds.



    A willet and several ruddy turnstones


    UnIDed sandpipers with one ruddy turnstone


    Amazing how well the mallards and their ducklings blended in along the shore.



    We also saw a bunch of birds we weren’t able to capture with our phones: yellow warblers and at least two other kinds of warblers we couldn’t ID, a red tailed hawk, white pelicans(!), catbirds, orioles, red winged blackbirds, killdeer, mourning doves, at least two kinds of sparrows, just to list a few. The air was alive with birdsong, even mid morning. It was wonderful.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    What a lovely way to spend the morning, NHBabs! So nice to be outdoors in the real world in the Spring.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    This thread is getting long and slow to load for some so I'll set up a new one very soon (Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #2).

    As always, you're welcome to continue the discussion here, but please post any new stuff on the new thread.

    Claire