Watching the Birds Midsummer 2014

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

HD sells Mealworms--at least ours does. Not cheap!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Pet stores too. Easy to grow your own I suppose but too yucky for me.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

My daughter used to raise mealworms for some of her "pet" spiders, and she would end up with thousands of extras for my birds. I tried to raise them after she no longer needed them, but I wasn't diligent enough about cleaning the rearing trays and I ended up with a bunch of mites in addition to mealworms. I put everything outside for the birds to eat and haven't tried it since.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Muddy--

How do you raise mealworms?

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Gita, I was very bad at it, so it's better if you do as this link recommends! http://www.wikihow.com/Raise-Mealworms

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks, Muddy--but no thanks!

Sounds like too much work--and I really don't need any.
I was just curious.....
G.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Wow Muddy I admire your dedication to try that.

I heard 'my' white throated sparrow today. I love this bird
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/1429/

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Sally, I really enjoyed your article - and I will look carefully at the wrens in my yard this winter. I hope they're Carolina wrens. Did you write an article about white throated sparrows too?

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

thanks, Muddy. I've seen both wrens here at some time.
No I haven't written about white throated sparrows. But they have that clear song and its like Hi, I'm back! to me. When I get old, I think I'll stop talking to people and just listen to birds all day...

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I can't recognize many bird songs, but I'm getting pretty good at understanding "bird speak"; e.g. when the blue jays say "We need peanuts!!" or the chickadees say "Go away so we can eat!".

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

haha Muddy! Or many of them speak the same language for "CAT!!!!!" which sounds much like "SNAKE!!!!!"

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

There seem to be different words for "hawk!!". The blue jays give one shriek when there's a hawk around, then quiet down, whereas the little birds hide but keep chattering to each other.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Went out side early this morning to take a few things to the recycle bin and I heard this noise. Last evening while I was away a huge flock of starlings moved into the woods behind the house. As I sat waiting for lift off you could hear their bird calls getting louder and louder then just before liftoff all became quiet and then a great rush of the sound of their wings as they launched. I know starlings have a well deserved reputation as a nuisance bird, but the whole experience was pretty exciting.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Those flock movements sure are stirring.. .I heard one yesterday, maybe a smaller group, but was just as you so eloquently described it. The calls, the hush, the whooooosh.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Holly--
Holly
I have also noticed how the black birds swarm in tree tops--and then all take off.

Years ago--someone posted a link here (?) to where a couple girls were in a boat
and filmed the phenomenon of a flock of tens of housands of blackbirds
moving as one--and all shifting as one.
The flock looked like a black cloud from a distance.--and then like a funnel--
and then all moving as a vortex.....it was mind-blowing.

This video had a name what such a phenomenon is called. Wish I knew....
Any long-timers on DG remember this? Or--know what to search for to find it?

I am sure it hit a million views IF it got to Facebook.

G.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I remember that Gita, We see 10's of thousands migrating thru our area. I use to watch them as I drove to work in the early mornings. Many of those fields that fed them are all gone now.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I thought I posted this before but I couldn't find the post. Anybody know what this guy is?

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Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I think it's a male Yellow-shafted Flicker, which is the type of Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) that lives in the Northeast U.S. (as opposed to the Red-shafted Flickers living in the West). I've never seen one in my yard; lucky you!

This message was edited Oct 26, 2014 9:06 AM

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

agree, I think the black chest V is unmistakeable
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Flicker/id

I first saw them on my yard when we first bought, they were on the ground eating bugs. I rarely see them anymore but I hear them "wickwickwickwickwickwick"

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Cool! Thanks for the id :)

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

You're welcome!
When I was outside today, I heard a grackle or two; uggh!! They make a easily recognizable sound that, to me, sounds like someone calling pigs: "soo-ee!". Every sound they make is like nails on a chalkboard to me. Fortunately, I think they might have moved on already.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

On sally's suggestion--I filled 2 of the 3 tubes of my big feeder with
Safflower seeds. (is that right? The white seeds...) in an effort to keep
the Sparrows from devouring all my seed.

Now--I see NO birds at all at this feeder. Saw ONE Chickadee one day.
Maybe the Safflower eaters come later--when it is winter?
Besides--I have now noticed a lot less Sparrows visiting my big tray of Millet
and some other seeds on the lg. tray under my chair since I hung up the safflowers.

OK with me! BUT, which other birds should be eating these seeds this time of year??

Now, Sally, I did say the seeds were from last year--but the bag was never opened
and I kept it in my Shop where it is in the 50's. Should not be all THAT stale!

BTW--Is it time yet to see Goldfinches yet? I may have to put out the $$$ and get
a small bag of fresh Thistle seed.

Thanks....Gita

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Well, you can't tell the birds which ones are allowed, and when to come....I hope the cardinals find you, they love safflower. I guess it could take time for other birds to realize the piggie sparrows aren't in the way and there is something good there now.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

So do chipmunks. I put a mix of millet and safflower in seed trays, and the chipmunks pick out the safflower and carry it to their burrows.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

It is almost weird---but i have not seen any Chipmunks for 2 years. I think I saw one behind my Junipers--but it was no more than a streak of motion.
Around 2010 and 2011 they were all over the place. Wonder what happened????

NO! I have not seen a snake--nor any hawks in my area.. NO cats either...

G.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Maybe there isn't enough food for them, so they moved on to other areas.

Chipmunks stuff their cheeks with sunflower seeds from my bird feeders, too. They can empty out a feeder pretty quickly! I put baffles towards the bottom of the poles, beneath the feeders, in the hope that chipmunks would not be able to clamber over them. No such luck; it doesn't slow them down.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

In a dream the other night there was a chipmunk that was at our house and I was overjoyed because I've never spotted one in the 5 years we've lived here.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I have only rarely seen them. (5 times/ 24 years?) When we do it seems they like to be really close to the house. Maybe it's the only place exposed where they are that we CAN see them and do, since we are there more often.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Some years ago--I used to toss out some sunflower seeds then sit on the patio
and watch them come and stuff their cheeks and run off. Really close--if you sit still.
In a few minutes--they would be back for more.
This was in 2010...

They are very cute! G.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Wow! I guess I've been taking my chipmunks for granted. They're foraging and running around my yard every day from the day their hibernation ends until it starts again.

I put sunflower seeds and peanuts on the ground for them, but they've been climbing up to the feeders anyway. I guess I should put more seeds down so they can fill up their larders without nudging out the birds.

It really steamed me when the neighbors' cat caught and killed them. I was able to rescue one once by chasing after the *&%$ cat, which dropped it. The chipmunk seemed stunned, so I asked my daughter to get a box for it to stay in until it recovered. As soon as I started to put it in the box, though, it ran away.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Stupid cat! That would have irritated me if it was a chipmunk. Our neighbor's cat was eating a squirrel in our yard one morning. I wasn't super upset because we have tons but I was more disappointed than anything....disappointed it wasn't a rabbit!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I've never heard that chipmunks do any damage in the garden. What sweet little creatures. I finally saw one today- ran across the driveway of the fitness club, from one patch of wild plants to another, in the drainage areas alongside a very busy road.
Heard Song Sparrow today. We had years of this being our "time for the school bus" bird as it is the 8 oclock bird on my bird clock.
http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Song_Sparrow/id

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I've never heard of a bird clock; what a pleasant alternative to typical alarm clock sounds.
Blue Jays wake me up fairly often. I used to jump up and go feed them, but now I make them wait.

I got a surprise today when I spotted a largish bird's nest (probably a Robin nest) in a Rhododendron. I made a mental note that I should remove it because birds don't re-use nests, but then I noticed a chipmunk sitting inside it and staring at me.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Just FYI----
This Thread is at 232 posts...."Cat" is nowhere around to move it.
Anyone else?
Not that i am having any difficulty. None at all.... Gita

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

There's a sturdy nest on our front porch that's been re-used for several years. In the winter, a pair of house wrens shelter in it every night. It's starting to look pretty tatty, so it's probably time to remove it (time to paint the porch columns, too). Previous nests there have been pretty flimsy, as it's a very small corner on top of that column, so I've left this one alone, knowing I didn't have to worry about baby birds falling out.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Oh that's awesome Susan! You and your chipmunks :) You should trap a few and bring them to the next swap...LOL

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Yeah, Jeff----

There will be plenty of 'nuts" around......

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Are we still talking about the chipmunks? Or the people at the swap!?! LOL

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

LOL! Both--I guess...

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Haha!

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