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claireplymouth

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #5

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

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #2

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #3

Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2019 #4

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


I just happened to see a flock of about 12 robins checking out my big old winterberry fruits. This is a month early, usually they feast at the end of December. Maybe the berries are ripe early or maybe the robins are desperate. The real test will be to see if they come back and decimate the berries. They were definitely eating some of them.












Comments (77)

  • corunum z6 CT

    Well, the stained glass ornaments worked for a little while. This afternoon, under full cloud coverage, somebody, probably a dove, hit the window in my office very hard - but flew off. Has to have internal damage unless it wears full armor. Couldn't stand the thought, so I hauled out a ladder and put soap sutures on the outside of the windows. Rain, snow, ice are coming tomorrow, but I can't handle the idea of a little guy getting hurt. Actually, the windows do look as though they had surgery. They smacked it less often within the past few weeks, but even 2 strikes is two too many.



    On a kinder note, Mr. and Mrs. Northern Flicker shared a suet meal.



    The mourning doves circled the corn table and I have no idea why. A Thanksgiving prayer circle?



    Despite their size difference...



    They communicated peacefully and ate together.


    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Nice pics, Jane. Maybe the doves don't like getting corn between their toes?

    I see your snow is spotty, The view from your office is snow-free but the other areas are still white.

    No snow cover here now, but more slop is coming late tonight. Snow, changing to sleet, changing to rain. I hope it's mostly gone before it gets really cold on Wednesday and Thursday nights - the ice could be treacherous.

    PFW count day today and about 25 robins showed up to nosh on the winterberries. The berries are getting sparse and pretty soon there will be no red accents out that window. I'll have to put up a bright red bow on one of the pitch pines - I already have two small red bows on the wisteria.

    I'm late getting out the Christmas lights - late by local standards, early by my ancestral tradition of putting up lights on Christmas Eve and keeping them up until Twelfth Night/Epiphany. I've got some lights up now, more to come when the slop stops.

    Claire

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  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Jane, I forgot that I promised you a photo of my friends’ anti-bird strike netting. It shows up a fair amount in photos, especially against the white snow, but I find it easy to overlook during the growing season.

  • corunum z6 CT

    NHBabs - thank you. It is probably the best for bird strikes, terrible for the camera. And, for me. The immediate feeling I get when looking at the netting is confinement which is very negative for me. So far, the soap sutures are working. I put the soap only where they had repeatedly struck the window, but no need to cover the whole window.

    In today's freezing rain storm, the bushy tail proves it's worth as an umbrella/parka.





    Carolina Wren pair having breakfast together.



    No snow, all freezing rain - all day - Oh, joy. I appreciate the quiet as there are few cars, no planes. As long as the power stays on, good to go.

    Jane

    Less ice accumulation than was anticipated, but deicing is still necessary.

    Miss House Finch




  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    I have had juncos, sparrows, and a few chickadees enjoying the grit that has been visible in the driveway over the last week. This morning the juncos left tracks in the light dusting of snow we had overnight.

    I have a honeysuckle vine (native selection Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’) on an obelisk trellis in the front garden that is in the sheltered angle between the old farmhouse and its right angled ell.

    Now without leaves it looks like there was a nest in it this summer, and I have noticed that it is continuing to provide shelter to sparrow and juncos at night. I have to be careful going out the main door after dark because if I run out slamming the door I startle the poor birds and they flutter around in confusion until they realize I mean no harm. It isn’t lovely at this time of year, but it is a plant that provides valuable shelter in the winter garden.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    NHBabs: Bird tracks are a good reminder that there's still life out there even if you don't see the birds themselves. I also leave messy plants standing during the winter and I have several brush piles that I've topped with leaves and pine needles to give shelter to whatever needs it. I'm hoping that the ground will stay mostly unfrozen under there.

    I have a long-standing hole in the garden next to the porch that I assume is a skunk's entrance to the space under the porch. Other people have seen a skunk nearby (their dog found it to his regret). I keep waiting for snow to build up there so I can see if there are skunk tracks.

    There are holes all over the yard which I assume are evidence of skunk's digging for grubs. The skunk uprooted a number of bulbs I had just planted and left them next to the holes. I put the bulbs back in the newly dug holes. Spring will tell if the bulbs survived.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    Seeing if this will post. Seems houzz won't let me do much. Tried to click Like on several posts in different threads- nothing.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Most Houzz functions seem to be working, but the like function is sporadic and has been for at least a week.

  • corunum z6 CT

    Sometimes the light demands a photo:





    Squirrel bookends


    Some days, there are 4 pairs of Cardinals here. Never going to get them all in one frame.


    But 3 females cooperated on the ground


    And 3 males scattered


    Jane

    Off topic, but I'd like to know if any of you know the name of the elongated variety below. It was a mixed box today at Stop&Shop and slightly wilted leaves or not, IMO, the elongated ones taste like the strawberries I picked when I was kid...just a few years ago. I really think they're a different variety.


    My niece in Florida may have found the answer - she is buying them there now.Red Wonder Wild

    I'd like to grow them.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    The Like function isn't working now - consider all of the previous posts Llked. That sounds like a good strawberry to grow if you can protect it from the critters.

    The light makes the squirrel look like it's roasting something on an open fire.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Just checked - like is working again (for now).

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    Thank you, Claire. A sudden rush of Likes in my mailbox, that doesn't happen every day. :)


    I saw the mob flee at an apocalyptic-like speed, then I saw the reason.




    Some things don't change.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    That hawk has a very quizzical look to it (Where'd they all go? They were here a minute ago.)

    Have you ever seen a hawk drink water? I don't think I have - I'm thinking they get all the fluids they need from eating the unlucky bird.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    No, I have not seen a hawk drink water. They bathe in the large Japanese font out back, it’s cement and sturdy, but not drink.

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    I can like if the URL is Gardenweb, but not if the URL is Houzz, such as if I follow a link from an email or notification.

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Good find, NHBabs! I just tested it by following the email link (no like) and then clicking on my Gardenweb bookmark (like works). Weird.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Weird is right. The techies at GW/Houzz are challenged by their jobs.

  • corunum z6 CT

    Just assume I Like every post on this thread. :)


    Window Alert update: The soap worked 100% for 2 months. Zero strikes in that time - which is a big relief. The rain washed away the intensity of the original marks I made, so this morning I washed the windows and made new marks that will have to last through the end of March or so. As long as I can climb a ladder, this system will work for me. I looked at the exterior Window Alerts for sale and folks mentioned that they lasted for about 4 months and some blew off. I own the soap and it won't blow away. Only the middle and last window have ever been struck, so I continue to mark where previous strikes occurred. Plus, with this method, I wash the windows, lol. Good day to do it.



    And, I can still shoot through the marks. Flickers are fun.


    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Good idea, Jane. I wonder if you can put soap on a selfie stick...... sort of soap-on-a-rope on a stick.

    The flicker looks very jaunty there on the feeder.

    It's warm again today - 60 degrees now! It's supposed to get cooler tonight but still above normal. This is taking "January Thaw" to extremes. I just hope the bulbs aren't fooled. I'm sure we'll pay for this in February and early March.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    Seems to me that people are a bigger problem for crows than owls. The article makes me wonder that possible reason(s) for crow gatherings in specific areas, may lie outside of our human sensations, e.g., ley lines, electromagnetic fields, collective consciousness, et al.Crow Gatherings

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Interesting article, Jane.

    Or maybe the crows just want to gather to complain about the weather.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Or they could be complaining about the hawks. Chilly today and this Cooper's Hawk seemed to be looking for a warm meal.

    I don't see the hawks often but they're here every day, judging by the panicky birds either trying to escape or freezing in place so they won't be seen. When I see five blue jays motionless on a shrub I know a hawk's nearby.

    Claire

  • Pat z5/6 SEMich

    Thanks for that tip, Claire.

    claireplymouth z6b coastal MA thanked Pat z5/6 SEMich
  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    We got maybe an inch of snow before midnight and it's been slowly melting and condensing since then. I went out this morning to clear a path and make sure the birds and critters could access the seed on the ground. There were animal tracks all over the place, mostly on my bluestone and gravel paths. The animals consider the paths were made for them. I guess what's easy and convenient for me is easy and convenient for animals too.

    Unfortunately, I shoveled up the major portion of the animal tracks before I thought to get my camera. These survived the shoveling because I didn't need to clear the path there. I think they're raccoon tracks. Lots of raccoon activity at night.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    In this current cloudy world, I guess any day of appreciation is a good day. So, in honor of

    National Squirrel Appreciation Day ,this chap from last summer is still asking for peanut butter. (Yes, of course, I would accommodate him or her, whatever.) Pesky that they can be, their fortitude, agility and overall stick-to-itivenous is admirable in a survivability kind of way.





    Our 5" of snow is thinking about melting, but is not quite yet convinced.

    This is literally 1/10th of a second difference. Reminds me of a deli number system, NEXT ...





    Jane - oh, Happy National Squirrel Day


    P.S. - Clair - I don't carry a camera when shoveling either, but sometimes remember to put the phone in my pocket. The fox made great prints the other day.

    claireplymouth z6b coastal MA thanked corunum z6 CT
  • corunum z6 CT

    After three cold nights, I retrieved the SD card from the trail cam. There were 1,059 pictures on the card. Lots of activity one would think. Not exactly. There were about 400 of me shoveling the bird path, 600+ of squirrels, 7 clear night shots with no one in them, and these:

    One Cooper's


    Violet-the-Bunny, who lives under the deck


    One cat - with a collar at 11:53PM


    The perpetual squirrel buffet gang, et al


    And the zoo attendant


    Some nights are great though, so I'll reload the card and hope for mystery guests. Bobcat should be around pretty soon.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    National Squirrel Appreciation Day, Eh? So that's what the gray fuzzy thing was muttering this morning when I put out the peanuts for the jays and whomever.

    I like your Leaning Tower of Birdfeeder, Jane. I have one like that too - it took a lot of time and effort by the critters to get that angle, and I'm not going to be able to put it upright until Spring (there will be a Spring one of these months).

    And National Peanut Butter Day is coming up on January 24... I just got some Everything Bagel Nut Butter but I don't think I'll share it with the squirrels.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    Nut butter - at that price I wouldn't share it either. Is it outstanding?

    Just a few of the regulars outside my window. . .

    Carolina Wren with a star in her eye.

    Titmouse was frozen in place for more than 10 minutes because the Cooper's hawk wouldn't move.

    Cedar Waxwings berry checkers

    Not an ideal camera angle, but they sure can pop 'em down.

    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    If you're an Everything Bagel fan (I am) you'll probably like this nut butter. I think it's great. They have a few other good nut butters too, some spicy

    This is one of my PFW count days and I was watching titmice flitting back and forth and back and forth and back and forth, finally deciding there were four of them. It's always startling when they suddenly freeze.

    Cedar waxwings are such elegant looking birds.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    I buy everything bagels, so I may check the nut butter out.

    The warm, wonky winter weather woke (feel free to add on) somebody up this morning. I know they do not do a full hibernation, but digging new holes in January is bit out of season, even for him.


    Jane


  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    I haven't seen any chipmunks yet and the safflower seed feeder seems to be visited by cardinals, house finches, chickadees and titmice mostly. I stopped feeding safflower seed during the summer when there always seemed to be a chipmunk in the feeder stuffing its mouth.

    I put the feeder up again when the chipmunks took their winter break. I like to have the safflower option for those birds who back off when the blue jays monopolize the other feeders. Blue jays don't like safflower.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    That's a very impressive bird house renovation! And it looks so small from the outside...

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    Outside my window - 2 nights ago.





    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Nice story there, Jane!

    I've read that this is the breeding season for possums (one of many breeding seasons). Maybe there will be many youngsters scampering around to catch with your cam.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    Guthrie?


  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Nah - Guthrie came out for a while but dived back into his burrow when the footballs started flying. Barely had time for his Super Bowl snack.

    In Memoriam, Guthrie 2012


    I hate to think what the Spring forecast would have been if the groundhog had been hit by a football.

    Claire

  • corunum z6 CT

    Guthrie was fun. This chap below, not so much. Outside my window 4:35AM.


    He left without breakfast


    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Fierce looking beast - good thing Violet and the Possums (sounds like a rock band) weren't around to be unwilling breakfast items.

    Rain today and tomorrow - at least it's not snow. The "Early Spring" forecast is holding up so far. Of course it's only been four days since Groundhog Day.

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    National Geographic has an article

    Why this coyote and badger 'friendship' has excited scientists

    including a video that shows a playful coyote chumming around with a badger.

    It puts a whole new look on these supposedly serious animals.

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    My preferences are a bit different - I love possums, but would rather have coyotes than groundhogs any day.

    Claire, I watched that video - very sweet and unexpected.

  • corunum z6 CT

    Too tired to search for an answer, but I'm guessing the RB Woodpecker's head is turned roughly 80° isn't it? Seems like a lot.




    It was a dark and stormy morning yesterday when the robins completely cleaned the red chokeberry outside my window.




    So glad the Carolina Wrens live here.




    This guy (pileated woodpecker) does a number on a maple out back. I don't want to lose another tall beauty.


    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT

    Claire, I'm posting this on your thread because it directly relates to "other critters". The little cypress tree stays on the deck spring-fall, then I bring it in because it is a planting zone higher. I put the little tree in a south-facing window and discovered that a chipmunk had planted cherry tomato seeds - or spat them out is more like it. Now the tomato plant has buds. The last picture is the other gardener.





    Jane

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Nice series of photos, Jane. The red-belly certainly has a wide range of head-turning - useful, I guess, if you're worried about predators. Humans use rear-view mirrors to see behind them but it would be great to be able to just swivel around when parking the car.

    The chipmunk is probably waiting for its tomato harvest. I hope you plan to share with it. (I'm thinking I should start getting used to using the gender-neutral "their" and "them".)

    Claire

  • NHBabs z4b-5a NH

    Jane, IME, most birds can turn their heads at least 180 degrees from front, and for some like owls, it is close to 270 degrees. Pretty amazing, but they cannot afford the weight of a lot of muscles in their head to turn their eyes because they wouldn’t be balanced for flight. So they have the muscles for turning to allow wide vision closer to body center.

  • corunum z6 CT

    Most people applaud 'Birds-in-Flight' photos. I have some okay ones. However, ... I just made a folder for all my "DAY LATE BUCK SHORT SHOTS". (say that 3 times quickly😂)
    Even lousy shots beat the news.

    Red-bellied on bottom, titmouse tail on top

    Downy jump

    Nuthatch tushy shot top left, Downy (lots of dots) bottom right

    Hairy woodpecker in flee mode, more lots of dots

    Jane

  • corunum z6 CT

    Couldn't help myself...


    claireplymouth z6b coastal MA thanked corunum z6 CT
  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    Quoth the poet, "Nevermore".

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    The temperature dropped to about 10 degrees last night and I was worried about birds and plants that have gotten used to daytime (and sometimes nighttime) temperatures way above freezing.

    To top it off, yesterday a flock of about nine red-winged blackbirds showed up, adding to my worries about the sudden cold.

    Well, this morning I was out very early stomping out ice and refilling birdbaths. The heated birdbath held temperature OK, but it was so dry that the birdbath was almost empty in the morning.

    The temperature has rebounded to the mid to upper twenties and there have been birds everywhere - useful because I'm counting for GBBC.

    The frosting on the cake is a flock of about 25 red-wings and they've been singing! That red-winged blackbird song is a very welcome sign that spring will indeed come (one of these days, after a few more dope-slaps from Mother Nature).

    Claire

  • claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

    I just set up a new thread, Birds and other mobile features in the garden 2020 #1, since this thread is getting long and slow to load for some.

    As always, you're welcome to continue the discussion on this thread, but please post new material on the new thread.

    Claire

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