Following our well used previous thread , please note.
PLEASE DO NOT CHIT CHAT HERE- BIRDS/ BIRDWATCHING ONLY
Please respect the wishes of a few with specific interests, so that they may continue to enjoy the forum. My little buddy the titmouse will be watching you!
SO! Any bird-related chit-chat is OK?
Questions on feeding, locations, sightings and such--OK?
Problems with feeders and other critters eating up seed---OK?
I hate "rules"...:o/ I was born to break them--selectively...
Loved the link lady supplied for learning bird songs.
I bookmarked it...
I have a question--YES! Bird related...
Those of you who said you put out fruit for birds...oranges, apples, whatever--
How do you 'serve" them?
Do you have special feeders? Do you just nail it to a tree? How?
Does the location matter? Near a house--not so near? Near a tree?
Could, say, an orange cut in half be put in some kind of netting
(like Onions come in) and just hung from something?
Does just throwing the fruit on the ground work? I can see it attracting other critters, though.
I often cut up apples (past their prime) and never see the birds go for them--
BUT! They are always gone by morning...What? Who??? Don't have any kind of
wildlife around here...some squirrels--Chipmunks--but they are still snoozing...
Gita, those are all great subjects on the bird thread. We just want to avoid getting off on tangents --yes we all mostly are very familiar but when someone wants to read birds and there come lengthy posts about (...fill in the blank...what did I have for breakfast---the price of gas...my kneecaps itch today...) can be annoying, and may turn off people who are here for the TOPIC.
I have never had luck getting birds come to fresh fruit. Anyone?
I rescued this young robin from between some fencing, last spring. I had to grab him to save him, so we took pictures too.
I feel we should not lose the link ladygardener provided on learning to recognize bird songs...
SO! Lady--if you don't mind, I c/p'ed it here for everyone. I really liked it--but never
spent a lot of time checking it out...
************************************************************************** I heard and then saw my first robin this morning, happen to be looking out the front window at the time.
I get Orioles every year, since I coaxed them to the back yard with oranges, I always hear them before I see them as they are very shy and stay high up in the trees. I had at least 2 pairs last year. Have to buy a new nectar feeder this year as the old one is leaking. They also love grape jelly. Learn their call, here is a site that will help you. http://www.birdjam.com/birdsong.php?id=2
I had a pair of Bluebirds check out my bird houses but they moved on, not enough open space and the sparrows take over the houses. Do get wrens to nest if they can fight off the sparrows for squatting rights.
Sweet little robin, no, its hard to tell there but I feel it was big enough to be rambling around the underbrush and got stuck between layers of lightweight fencing by the garden. In fact he could fly a bit and got himself on this railing after the photo shoot.
I noticed the rough patch on the roof of his mouth in the first picture. Neat.
Nice bird call link, its pleasant just to be able to hear birds when they aren't outside singing.
I just added a link in the opening post here for anyone who wants to go Chat on a new Chat thread.
Speaking of robins, and getting the worm, as I delivered my papers yesterday there were a number of robins out in paved parking areas getting the migrating worms in between heavy rain showers here.
The worms not consumed by hungry robins were flushed into storm water to become part of the ecological system of the Chesapeake Bay ...
Sally, your "fledged but still dependent" robin rescue reminds me of the year a pair of robins built a nest in the big oak tree less than 20 feet from my door.
Most birds do not nest near my yard because of indoor/outdoor cats or so I figure. These robins were also way off schedule for nest building as this was the end of August with not nearly enough time to raise the brood to enough maturity to migrate or survive the winter if they survived my cats!
My cats early on in their predator life were dive bombed and two were pecked by mockingbirds and shifted their predation to mice and moles and a squirrel or two.
These cats actually ducked and crouched when any bird flew over, not just a hawk!I felt, however, that a baby robin fledgling sitting on the ground loudly begging its parents for food would prove too much a temptation, so I made plans to confine my cats indoors for a week or so when fledging time was near, hoping to get it right.
Silly,silly robins I thought.
One morning as I was leaving for work and wondering if I should let the cats out that day I got a surprising answer. As I opened the back door, I was immediately buzzed by not one but both parent robins, and they meant business.! I went to the front door but they were there, too. Shades of the movie "Birds"! I finally had to climb out a window and leave thru a neighbors yard to get to work! I wondered if I would be able to get back in at the end of the day and truly did not look forward to fending off determined birds even if they were smaller than me for a day, let alone a week!
Cautiously I approached my house. No birds! Those silly, silly robins had fledged their brood of four in less than one day and moved on! Silly, silly, me.
Our occasional visiter the Sharp Shinned Hawk stopped by for lunch. It can and does enter the heavy shrub cover and helps itself. This time I think the hawk made off with an English Sparrow which is acceptable. The hawk sat off to the side for quite some time eyeballing the offerings. Again it was poor photography weather.
We moved into our new house (same one I am still in) here in fall of 1969
The next Spring, a Robin built it's nest on top of the light by our front door.
This light is barely above head level...
For 6 weeks, we used only the side entrance...till they were all gone.
On a slightly alarming note--about 5 years ago, a bird had built a nest on top of their
front door light. and the heat from the light caught the nest (empty..) on fire...
OH, the excitement---calling 911, having 2-3 fire and EMT trucks and all that.
Learning a lesson--they replaced it with a light that sits flush with the soffet. (sp?) .
Sally, our neighbors next door have had very good luck with birds and fruit.
While it's not "fresh fruit" they've put out raisins on their deck railing for a couple of years now during the warm months, and have very regular catbird customers. They'll lurk in the shrubs nearby while you're putting them out, and swoop in even before you're off the deck.
This year, they've begun putting out a half-orange on a sort of hanging thing (I'm assuming they got it at a bird store just for that purpose), with the cut side up, and have a mockingbird coming on a regular basis to enjoy the treat. Something else is enjoying it too, because the cut orange occasionally will just disappear. :-/
Good bird stories. Their behavior can be so interesting but we have to sometimes wait and observe, other times they're 'in your face"! sometimes we got great nest views when what was high and well concealed from the ground, was in a good position for window watching.
Hawks must surely be active in my yard but the waiting and watching was hard to do with a young brood of our own. Still, there was that one day when one suddenly and completely noiselessly swept across my path. Whooh. You almost wonder if you imagined it.
Also battled light fixture nests too. I never thought about the fire hazard! Let them finish a brood, then removed it and taped up a "lovely' duct taped cardboard thing, sloped to keep them off.( On second thought, that may not have been the smartest thing either...!)
Holly, we know there are orioles "around" here, but I've never seen one. We put out oranges years ago to try to attract them, and got nothing except shriveled oranges. ;-( Our friends may be battling ants once it gets warmer, but oddly we don't see mockingbirds much after the catbirds arrive in late April/early May. Maybe they compete for the same foods/nesting areas?
I have a tall shepherds 2 hook that I hang the orange nectar feeder and a pop bottle bottom hanging not far down from the hook with dental floss, the oriole preaches on the hook and leans down to get the jelly. I also have a metal ring with a spike in the middle to poke an orange half on it, found at Wild Birds Unlimited. Oranges can get expensive so once you draw them in switch to the nectar and grape jelly.
Please don't think that just putting out oranges will draw them in, they need to be in your area so listen and look, then feed if you spot them.
Yesterday I saw 6 robins in the empty yard across the street, it started snowing last night and is still snowing, we have something like 6 inches now and it is very wet and heavy, the spruce branches are hanging very low. No robins today, they headed back to the woods.
I started putting fruit out for the butterflies, then thought about for the birds too. I have a yarn pot hanger that I put a plate in and the fruit on the plate hanging from the end of a branch towards the middle of the yard. I put out orange quarters, grapes, apples ... just any kind of fruit. I've had birds and butterflies, also hummers, at 'the plate'.
Funny story--cont'd...re the battle between the Starlings couple and the "prime hole"
in my old Cherry Tree...
Been seeing all this stuffing (feels like cottony fiberglass???) all over the grass around the
tree. Saw a squirrel there this morning--and the starlings having a fit...
Got my flashlight out this evening and looked inside----nothing there but the stuffing...
SO! The winner is not yet announced---but I bet it will be the birds--as they are
pulling the stuffing out of the hole in the trunk as fast as the squirrel is stuffing it in there...
Amazing--how the birds can THINK to destroy something to re-gain their roost from
Equally amazing is that the squirrel even tried again--after being ousted by the birds last year..
I know the birds won last Spring--as I KNOW they had babies in that hole!
Will be watching who wins this spring! I know it will be the Starlings...
They are taking turns now---one dives in and brings up something--then the other
does the same...Not sure what it is they are bringing up now--but it must stick to
their beaks--as there is a lot of beak-cleaning going on each time.
The Robins are feasting on all the bugs and worms brought to the surface
with all the rains we have had...
Yesterday was the first time I saw Robins. All of a sudden--they are just there!
The dry stalks are the dead stalks from last year of my Kopper King Hibiscus.
Need to cut them back--or leave them up to act as a framework and support to
the new growth to come. I'll just tie a string around the stems--voila! A cage!
You ALL know, by now, about my "Bird Condo: in all the holes in my Cherry tree?
Well! I do not know what has happened???? I have NOT seen either bird --male or female--
now in over a week????? It seems totally abandoned...
I can see the "Condo" from my kitchen window---and there is NOTHING!!!!
No birds (Starlings) any more. NO nest building! NOTHING!!!!
Where did they go? I have not seen any squirrels there either----
The hole in the tree just seems abandoned! The only thing I can imagine is that one,
or the other, may have gotten killed off...either hit by a car--or snatched up by a Hawk--
or something else...and the other just moved on...Do they do that????
Gita...It is not a mystery. You have just identified all the possible facts you can think of. There is no question that can be answered unless you see more and then there would be only more known facts. Animals do not file flight plans.
I have not seen a Cedar Waxwing in eons. Need to plant some berries. Mountain Ash and Pyracantha were always a good attractors when we he them. We have lots of apples but they do not seem attracted to them. They never did stay here. In Corning NY some years ago they were a dime a dozen...likewise in Ithaca. Both of these locations are a days flight North of my backyard. I do not know if this is still true.
Cedar waxwing sitting yesterday has me asking some questions. I've been seeing some small flocks of robins either 'returns' or stayed here foragers so as I was driving up the hill and noticed multi bird activity, I thought robins, Since most activity was up in the bushes and not on the ground(don't those robins love worms!) and I had my window open (for delivery) I heard calls that made me think cardinals...but so many? The most cardinals I've seen at one time is 5 and those were in quick succession, three males, two females. Most of the birds I saw yesterday flew off when I stopped to take a look, circled overhead and then returned, flying off in small goups of four or five off and on as I watched. Still thought cardinals as they all looked "brownish" against the dark grey sky but definitely crested. Finally got a good view of one with the red on the wing tips and the facial markings. Then a few others.
Came home and listened to waxwing calls and still feel there were some cardinal call that I also heard yesterday. I'm so unfamiliar with waxwings and have never seen them here in Maryland. I know they love berries, are nomads and move in flocks...my question is could I also have seen or heard cardinals along with those holly berry feeding waxwings? Would cardinals 'defend' their territory from crowds of waxwings? Do cardinals eat holly berries?
Wonder if I'll see the waxwings again today? I'll be a much more keen observe this time if I do. There were a lot of berries left on those bushes about 4pm yesterday...Humm So, like you Gita, I'll be doing my Bird Waiting thing again today
Any one watch the Nature program I linked to above on Birds of Paradise? Really worth it.
Wild Rose, any waxwing pics to share?
Oh, and one more thing, do any of you put out "nesting materials" for your backyard birds?
My suburban location has ample nesting materials from many sources. One exception...Purple Martins appreciate a little help being put in the nesting box. Cardinals are mostly seed eaters. Never saw a cardinal or cardinals defending anything but their position on a seed feeder. Until the arrival of spring and the mating season they may be in the area in pairs but they don't really buddy up until nearer the matting season. Most female birds mate with more than one male. Some female birds leave the sitting nest and go out to meet other males while the mate keeps an eye on the homestead. Nice arrangement. This helps prevent in breeding and breeding to the same genetic faults.
I have only seen live waxwings once- on bird walk near here. THere was a flock in some tree, I can't remember what kind of tree darn it.
If the birds like dog fur they can have plenty. As some guy at the dog park said "'I used the shedding tool on my German Shepard, out in the yard, and my neighbor asked me if I had killed a deer, there was so much brown fur laying around it looked like a deer pelt"
We have Waxwings that pass through every year, I usually see them in the ash tree in the front of the property. I was thinking that when the ash's leaf buds open there are tiny insects that are drawn there and that is what the waxwings are after. just my thought.
We would brush our Alaskan Malamute in the back yard, she would blow coat every spring, the yard was covered in soft white undercoat. We told the neighbor that the dog exploded
Gita, maybe momma squirrel had her babies.
BUT! Momma Squirrel never owned this hole--the Starlings did.
The white bits of some kind of insulation are all still laying all over the ground under the tree...
I tell you! Those Starlings were bi=oth working hard on this "Condo" property.
Now--NOTHING!!!! Not one in sight!
Maybe they gave up as there was too much unsuitable "filler" in this hole.
They sure were working hard, in shifts, to remove whatever it was they had to remove...
Maybe they just gave up and found a better hole????
It will be interesting to see if anything has taken possession of the hole. I have a locus tree in the back yard, the hole in the tree has housed birds an family of squirrels and the last 2 years a honey bee nest. There were years where nothing lived there. Maybe bats.
You starlings may have just given up, but I bet they will return another year.
I spotted a Kingfisher, sitting on some utilities lines on our drive to get my drivers license picture done this morning. There is no mistaking that profile.
I don't see anything in the above photo--just a tree trunk with somethi9ng darker in the front...
Are they babies? What is that mass of dark?
Re my Starlings--The only thing I can imagine is that they gave up on ridding the insides
of that hole of all that "fluff"...It is still laying all over the lawn at the base of the tree...
See above photos...
Haven't seen any squirrels around there either...As last year--the starlings banished them!
It is sheer ABANDONMENT of an unfinished "project..."
This brings me to a complicated question...
I saw those 2 Starlings mating...for 5 minutes or more...I thought he was killing her!
IF that initiates the "nesting behavior" (or--which comes first???) and the birds have both
been actively cleaning/constructing the nest (in that hole)--and then abandon it---
can the Female delay, at will, the development of her eggs?????
Obviously--if she/they have chosen to build a nest at some different site--the egg-laying
would have to be delayed...How does this work?
We will see...we will see...and, I will keep you posted...
I have been a birder for aprox. 30 years or so. I have only seen this once and it was shocking and cool at the same time. Starlings battling to the death on a sidewalk on a busy street, completely oblivious to the fact that they were rolling around at two women's feet, traffic, noise. They were really going at it. I read up on it. It seems to be a territorial thing/nesting. Can you give your take? Theresa, Toronto, Ontario
Robinson: Dear Theresa,
Good to hear from a fellow birder. I have several times seen birds fight to the death, although in all cases it was something else (an alligator or a car) that actually killed one of the birds fighting. Most likely, this was a fight over nest sites, which are limited in birds such as starlings that nest in cavities (tree holes drilled by woodpeckers, eaves in buildings), but cannot make their own. When they find a good, safe cavity, it is so valuable that it is actually worth fighting over and taking incredible risks. Males will also fight to the death over especially desirable mates. Usually, fights over something like food would not be so extreme because the consequences of losing a few food items are not so great that it is worth taking such extreme risks.
Gita, the picture is the honey bees that took over the hole in my locust tree. The dark spot at the bottom of the picture is all the bees clustered in the hole, I had to use the highest zoom on the camera I could get. The hole is very far up the tree. This was taken 2 years ago.
Here is more info on starlings... http://www.birdhouses101.com/European-Starling.asp
Gita, you're excused this time LOL I hate it when sleep excapes me. I have returned to reading again and find it does wonders for me, I guess it clears my brain of anything that is bothering me that day.
Crit, I really look forward to seeing my red wing blackbird. he is one of my regulars that say spring is really here.
While walking around Williamsburg (VA) yesterday, DH & I were sort of surprised to see a Slate-colored Junco hopping around in the grass. I think of them as winter birds (aren't they sometimes called "snowbirds"?) and was not expecting to see one of them in April in southeastern Virginia! Hoping it doesn't mean anything, and this guy was just a straggler... ;-)
Gita, thanks! We want everyone to have some threads to enjoy.
I watched a junco on the railing today. I didn't know he was one of the ones entertaining me with busy twittering yesterday but he was twittering away nicely. They visit my thistle feeder a lot. Maybe he was complimenting me on my ''cuisine.''
Karen, Are the osprey,heron and grackle year round for you there? Could you do a shot or two of "the river" ? Deep,shallow,wide, swift, rocky, sandy? And what sort of vegetation/ trees and how close to shoreline. Thanks, I've much to learn about water and shore birds even though I live by the Bay.
Coleup... thanks for your interest. The herons are pretty much year-round residents, though you won't see as many in the winter months. Osprey are very strict migratory birds. They head out of our area in mid to late August, and return in March. They are devoted mates and parents. It is so fun to watch them build their nest every year, then raise the chicks. I can't find the nests here along the river, but I am watching about five nests in the nearby NWR. The grackles must head out for winter, cause I don't see them during winter months.
The river is so busy right now due to the annual Atlantic Shad spawning run. In early March, the Atlantic Shad and one of the Herring species swim many miles up the Rappahannock River to spawn. The area of the river near Fredericksburg is shallow and rocky, and it makes it very easy for the birds to spot the fish. It can get so busy in the evenings, you don't know where to point your camera! I love it! There are also a couple of pair of eagles here too. In another couple of weeks it will be all over. The birds will all stay, but the fishing will be less frenzied.
Doc... me and the new lens are getting along famously! ;o)
Take a look at this photo below... open it up and view big to get a good look. This is the area of the river we sit and watch. It is probably about 80 yards across here. It is shallow enough that you could walk all the way across and never be more than thigh deep... some places only ankle deep. This photo was take with a wide angle lens at near dusk.
How many herons do you see??? (I'll let you guess a bit, then I'll tell you!)
19. Grackles here are making nests and destroying other nests in the greenbelt and park area.. Last year we had fewer Grackles. They used to chase our cat. I mock them with an attempt at their screaming warning sound. Sharon.
We fed hummingbirds for the first time last year (http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/1129055/), and learned that hummers would be back to our area in early April. Not sure why they come back so early because there are hardly any flowers for them. Anyway, we put a feeder out last week just to see if they were in the area already. This little guy visited us yesterday!!! We will put more feeders out this weekend. Exciting!!!
I saw my first hummer a little bit ago. I know they have been around because the nectar is going down in the feeders. I only put 2 up, for any that came first. I usually put mine out April 25th. That is what my Mom always told me. She also said to take them down Sept. 25th, but have learned that might not be the thing to do incase of any late straglers that need some nourishment.
I was going to put a tomato plant in my upside down planter. I just left it hanging outside over the winter. But that isn't going to happen anytime soon. I think there is a bird nest in it. I keep seeing 2 birds go in with stuff in their beak. Don't know if they are building or feeding.
Oh well what can I say it is my own fault. I knew I should have taken these old greens decorations down. Yep right there next to the front door. I took the one on the other side down a week ago but this one I left in place until this morning.
This morning I saw a bird fly out and wondered if he was starting a nest in one of my window boxes. No not in one of my window boxes Yep that old greens decoration has a birds nest in it and an egg, too.
No, No NOT Sweet, I will have dead branches on my house for weeks till she finishes laying her eggs, hatching them and getting them raised. LOL Well I will have a first hand view of it all. I will check tomorrow and see if I have another egg.
Yes,some of them are very quick! Which reminds me that this is the time of year when at least five of the newspaper tubes I deliver to daily get used as nesting sites. Never know until I'm about to put the paper in if there is a nest or not...so, just one day! I've been stared down by alot of mama birds. A paper tube has some things to recommend it as a nest site as it is dry, takes little engineering, deep enough so some predators wouldn't have access, can't be blown down...etc.
The tubes on my route are all red or white. I've only encountered nests in the red tubes which are the ones for the paper I deliver. Maybe the other paper people dispose of nests in their tubes...Isn't it against the law to remove a birds nest?
Holly, I am sure that there are so many wonderful things and plantings to enjoy in your yard that no one will notice the brown! Have you figured out what kind of bird yet?
Three times little birds have build nests in my hanging baskets...Mom didn't seem to mind my watering the containers but got really upset/agitated when I moved one about seven inches over so I wouldn't knock it when I passed by,,,I swear she made me put it back!
No I wouldn't move it. I sure hope it is a safe nest for her. She flew away so fast I didn't see what she was. I said to Ric that I didn't see her back all day and she wasn't sitting on the nest. He told me that many birds don't sit on their nests till they lay all their eggs and it could be a few more days till she starts to sit on it. We are in and out that way all the time but she would know that so she must be a bird that doesn't mind people moving around. Maybe a wren? I will let you know how it goes.
I've had them build nests in my hanging planters. This year I have one building one in my Topsy Turvey tomato plant hanger that I left up over the winter. I noticed it is starting to get holes in the sides, so I'm not going to use it anymore. I'll just let her have it.
English Sparrow and Starling are the only two unprotected birds. All the rest may not be molested in any way. I for one agree with the laws relative to tearing down nests...except when a Robin desides to build on the porch light. LOL
[quote="docgipe"]English Sparrow and Starling are the only two unprotected birds. All the rest may not be molested in any way. LOL[/quote] Wow did not know that.
but a nest on a porch light does seem a safety risk for both parties
Karen, really enjoying your photos!! Wood ducks are a favorite for me, such exquisite detail, How old do you think those fluffy chicks are? Are these along the same river with the heron fishing frenzy?
Which came first for you, the walks or the birds? Glad you have found a way to share such richness from your backyard. Your life list must be long and varied. Any more sightings of the kingbird?
Please, please do post some pics of baby herons, great and green Thanks in advance. Do they build their nests closer to the ground than eagles and osprey?
Is it just my mind?????
BUT00In the picture of the mama and her ducklings in the water----
the two directly to the right of Mama--and above the rest of them---have human faces!!!
Female on the left--and male on the right...Do you see them?????
As soon as I looked at this photo--I saw that...Yes! It may be my warped mind...
or my visionary skills...Ahem...
I guess the walks came first, but I have always been a nature and animal lover. My Dad is retired from the Forest Service, and I got my love for the outdoors from him, and he taught me all about the trees and plants and wildlife in the woods. I didn't get into photography until my 20s, and I only bought my first DSLR three years ago.
Green Herons I will have access to all summer long to follow the nest and babies. They don't so much like to wade as perch on limbs right above the water line. Currently, the activity among them is males looking through the trees, trying to decide which limb Mama will want the nest on! They will start nesting soon though!
I do not have access to any GBH rookeries. They are a bit difficult to find, and in this area, they nest way up high in oak trees. I am aware of oone rookery on the wildlife refuge, but they have closed off access to it for the season, in the best interst of the herons.
I am following a pair of Osprey, and they are well. The female is currently sitting on eggs... probably another couple weeks to hatching.
Yes, I think you guys are right female house finch. I am so use to seeing the red male I wasn't thinking that the females aren't red. The nest and eggs look right. Last time I looked there were 4 eggs in the nest. Ric said he has been seeing a male hanging around and they are common for us.
VaWildRose, Did I see your name on the Birthday list a couple of days ago? I was sure I saw it but have been so busy I never got back to check or send you Birthday wishes. Your pictures are just beautiful. I so love seeing them. There was an older couple at Lowes today and the gentleman had a camera slung over one shoulder with a long lens on it. I told him he must be a bird watcher. He just brightened up and started to show me pic on his camera. Says he always has it with him, where ever he goes. LOL
Gita...Please tell us in one word how your last post relates to the world of birds. Before you post your nice response...read your response and again...Please tell us in one word how your last post relates to the world of birds. No I am not having a bad hair day. ]:o)
Oh my goodness...We have a visiting pair of Indigo Buntings. This only happens here maybe once in every five years. We have never had them nesting in our neighborhood territory. They were right in there with the finches chompping down on the smaller bird seed.
I saw Indigo Buntings at a park near here- Kinder Farm. I never have before and never would have wihtout the ranger-guide and the other experienced biders. They find all kinds of birds in the trees with skilled observation that I owuld and have completely missed.
I came home for lunch from work one time and saw two Evening Grosbeaks at the feeder. Never since, never before. I sure got lucky.
This "Bird Brain" has been conditioning it's feathers for some time for a flight to some other woods. Bye...it has been very nice getting to know most of you all. I just can not stand the impending frequent inconsiderate hogging of the threads by spamming idiots some who think it is an honorable position assumed, cute or funny. Their inconsiderate ignorance shall no longer tease or jam what little brain I may have left.