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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Feeding the Birds

Since I am stuck with low key activities for a while following a congestive heart failure diagnosis, I am relaxing in the yard now that the weather has finally warmed up. Jay Piscapoe is back and mugging for the camera now that he seems to know what it is.

There is actually quite a number of visiting species in the yard. Many more than there were at this time last year. I don't know how long it takes for them to spread the word that there is food. But I do know that they are all well aware now.

Jay here, keeps hopping up on top of the Shepard's hook where there are two tube feeders. One is full of nyjer and the other I change up depending on what I have on hand. This time it is a cardinal mix which will serve up a variety of birds. Jay bobs and sings from this perch and then gets all weird about it. That's what he was doing in this shot.

Jays get a bad rep for chasing other birds out of the feeders. This guy is doing pretty well with sharing. I just wish he would help the chickadees defend against the big squirrels that keep dumping the feeders out. He's got to be at least as big as a squirrel, bigger when he is all puffed up and agitated.

We also have last year's old faithful friends, as a mentioned in a previous post. Cardinal Richelieu is as fat and sassy as ever. He's taken to sitting in the pine tree and crowing orders. A few females come in to eat after he is done pontificating... I really wish I knew exactly what these guys are saying.

New this year, as I said, is the Junco Squad. There is rarely less than 5 at a time. And none of them can sit still long enough for the camera to shoot the cluster of them. They have a habit of hopping and flipping up their food. They definitely stir up the dirt and the snow when we had it. New this year as well is this little guy...

Dr. Gregory House Finch. Clearly he is too good for the camera as well. Since this one is new, I've only seen it for the last 3 days, I don't have it's habits down yet. Each species seems to approach the feeders in different ways. Knowing how they approach helps me to set up the shot and get them before they get away. I don't know Greg's pattern yet. He has a lady friend and she seems to be okay with direct confrontation. I may have to name her Cutty.

The yellow finches are not as common at the feeder as they were last year. I have seen them. They just haven't gathered en mass yet.

Also new to the group is Rod Starling. I'm not too sure what is going on with this one either. I think this is mostly a late morning bird. Once we broke noon he was no where to be seen.

What little I know about starlings could fill a thimble. I did think that they traveled in rather large groups as swallows will do. My mother was always terrified that the glittering little darlings would take over the garage because dad would leave the doors open all day. 

They never did. Mostly, they kept to the rafters of the abandoned chicken coop. I still think it is strange that this guy has been here alone. But maybe they wait until the lines are shorter. 

Richard Nuthatch? 

Now that I have started on the naming pattern it is getting a little more difficult. Richard Hatch was in Starsky and Hutch. Don't ask me who was who. I quit watching when my mom announced she had a crush on the dark haired guy. Ewwww. I can't think of anyone else with a Hatch name. 

I also can not think of a fictitious character to name this one after. There is both this white breasted and and the standard nuthatch visiting the feeders. The standard nuthatch remains elusive. Both are very active birds. The brown one seems to have some kind of avian ADHD because it will NOT sit still. It barely stops to actually eat anything. 

And I have no idea what to name the Red winged blackbird. Other than Detroit. See where I will run into problems? Every time I see him I hear Paul McCartney in my head.  

This one is going to be difficult to capture. It doesn't yet come close enough to explore the feeder closer to the house like the others do. I want to capture this one in flight as the flashing color is gorgeous. But it keeps itself tucked in at the edge of the property.

I've put out suet this year because of the unpredictable cold spells. That is the feeder that he prefers. I can't tell if he is really eating the suet or just hangs on that side so that he fits well enough to reach the seeds in the tray. 

Undoubtedly there will be more bird photos in the coming days. 

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