The birds are getting ready for spring!

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

It might be overly optimistic of me, but now that the snow is melting, I think it's time for a new thread! We migrated from here:

Mating season seems to be starting: The birds are chasing each other around the yard, and 2 chipmunks were making such a racket in the garage today that I thought I had trapped a bird in there! Chipmunks manage to run though my garage even when it's closed, so I know they weren't trapped ; - )

This thread isn't just for the birds; any critter chatter is fine!

This message was edited Mar 12, 2015 7:17 PM

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I heard full out robin singing today, not just robin 'talk' Sounds like SPRING!!!!!!!!!!!

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I didn't see many of the bird "regulars" in the yard today; I hope they were off searching for nest sites and not scared off by the flock of grackles that was squawking in the yard.
They picked the millet out of the safflower and millet mix, so I refilled those trays with just safflower. I'm so glad they don't like it!!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Did you take that bluebird pic above?

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Muddy, if that's your handsome blue fella, no wonder you're willing to stand outside and scare off grackles while he feeds!

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

No, my husband did. I could never get the bird to sit still for that long ; - )
He took this one too. He's got a good camera and much better photography skills than I do.

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Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

They are sweet, aren't they? There were 10-12 of them in my yard sometimes, but I haven't seen them for a few days. I think I've heard them, but they've gone back to being timid. Plus, the feeders they would be using are partly hidden by evergreens, so it's hard to see if they're using them.
Here are a few more photos. The shots of the female were long-distance, so they're blurry.

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Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

My feeders have been empty for about 3 days--so no birds around.

Today--I filled up my feeder again--and the squirrel-proof one with BSO.
Scattered some seed around--and hid a long tray of seed under the cover
of my grill. I am sure they will find it.

So spring like today--I pruned my Butterfly Bush and my big Rose bush.
More late now....

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Well done, Mr. Muddy!

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Muddy, those are great photos of the bluebirds!

I am finally signed up for that beginner photography class next week. I had originally planned on taking it about this time last year, but health issues got in the way, and then I never got back to it. I'd love to get some tips on how to get good bird photos. I've never posted any that I've attempted to take because they never are close enough to even see what kind of bird it is. I need to get a telephoto lens I suppose, but it will be something to ask when I'm at the class.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

I've heard of turkeys flying down from their overnight perch and landing in soft snow and getting stuck. May be your bird was having trouble getting airborne.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Aspen, there's a thread for people like you and me! The bird photos I take aren't great either.

Edited to say that we can have our own version of "appalling bad bird photos" on this thread. The bad ones can be really funny, so don't hesitate to share them!

This message was edited Mar 13, 2015 10:54 AM

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Wow, a bald eagle's nest has been sighted at the National Arboretum for the first time in 70 years!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I have no idea what is going on.,,,,
I have filled all my feeders--and there is hardly any birds visiting....
just some sparrows and Junkos.

NO blackbirds??? I cannot believe it! Maybe having an empty feeder
for 3 days made them decode my restaurant is closed?

I even put out a new suet cake. No one has touched it...

Are they all THAT busy nesting and coupling??? G.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

That's really neat about the Bald Eagles. Maybe we'll be seeing more of them in unusual places as their numbers increase while available nesting sites remain static or decrease.

Gita, I've seen less bird activity in my backyard as well. I think part of the reason it is that they're off looking for nesting spots, and part is that insects are starting to appear. I saw a spider outside for the first time since fall.

I think my starlings are gone, or mostly gone, because I can put hot pepper suet on a ground feeder and it's not eaten very quickly.

The grackles have come back, unfortunately - they disappear during the winter - but they don't like suet. All they're interested in are peanuts and millet.

Maybe your blackbirds did give up, or maybe they don't like what you put in the feeder.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

"MY" Grackles are the ones who always trashed my suets. OH, they love it.

My new 40lb. bag of Pnnington seed mix is what I now have in 2 tubes of my feeder.
In the 3rd tube is just Black sunflower seeds.
I also put those in my squirrel-proof feeder as I have not been able to buy
any Safflower.
HD has a 5lb bag for $12+--something. Wallmart has an 8lb.bag for the a bit less.
They were out the last time I went there. That aisle was trashed!

Well--the way I look at it--if they don't like what I put out--they can go find food
somewhere else. Not wasting my money for any gourmet stuff.

It is not the seed why no one is visiting my feeders--it has to be something else.

Courting..nesting...egg-laying...etc... may be the reason.


Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Wait, I know....your grackles migrated to my house!

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

SSG, I heard about the bald eagles nesting at the Arboretum on the news yesterday. That is so neat. I was thinking about going to their spring plant sale, and wondering if there might be a chance of spotting them.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

I'm definitely going to their spring plant sale! At the end of the article it tells you where to park if you want to try spotting them.

I love that they're catching catfish on the Anacostia River!

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Awesome news on the bald eagles. As coleup has described a nest she knows it is very big. I think Mt Hamilton is that hill behind the Azalea Walk; that you can walk up not too long but a steady rise and paved road. You go quickly from feeling in the city to feeling very far away on the hill.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I got to see the approx. 20 bald eagles that hung around Huntsman Lake in Springfield in January 2012. It was quite a sight! My sister lived a block away at the time, which is how I found out about them.

I have a wacko Robin in my yard. It's raining and the ground is saturated so lots of worms must be surfacing, but it went after the whole peanuts!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Good riddance to the Grackles.....but, I know they are around...
Just saw one in one of my feeders....BOOO! Go away!!!

There were a large number of RW Blackbirds on my lawn this morning,
except none of the wing markings was red. Does that mean these are all
females? I am sure there are plenty of worms surfacing in this soggy ground.
Ny sump is working overtime...

My windows will be replaced this Thursday and Friday.
Does anyone want to have the old ones? Sturdy--all wood...Will have 6.
And--2 smaller ones (bathrooms). I took out all the screens--as they are metal.
Can't find metal screens anywhere any more.

Also--my front door and my basement entry door (32")--which are solid wood.
Both could make a nice Cold Frame.....
They are all going to the landfill otherwise.

LMK--quickly G.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Gita, this site has a picture of a female red-winged blackbird (also a juvenile male):
If those aren't what you saw, try to get a photo and maybe we can ID them.

I had a surprise when I went out to bring in the bird seed trays - there was a large raccoon reaching into a squirrel-proof caged feeder! There's a baffle midway up the pole, and another on top of the feeder, but it managed to get to the feeder by climbing to the end of a pine tree limb and landing on the pole. When it saw me, it slowly started to leave the same way.

I'll be moving that feeder tomorrow! I gave it a handle of peanuts to eat tonight, but I really don't want it to come to my yard at night, especially now that nesting season is starting.

This message was edited Mar 14, 2015 8:58 PM

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Oh, there are so many cool things that could be done with those windows! I'm tempted, but with so many other projects "going," I know they would end up sitting.

Don't take them to the landfill, though... that sounds like a great item to post on Freecycle or Craig's List, or even the Habitat for Humanity "ReStore."

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

The red on redwingeds doesn't show much, there is a gold edge that you'll see more.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Yes--sally--I know for sure it is a RWB. Just no red showing...
Never knew the female looked that different,Muddy.
All the ones on my lawn the other day had were black with a tan marking
where the red would be.

I cannot ask them to leave the windows on my driveway w/o a definite
someone coming to get them.
They said that Re-Store and such--none of them are interested.
I am still trying to find someone....
THEY take them to the landfill--not me.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Gita, if nothing else, save a door. They store easily and can quickly be converted into a table or work surface for projects that come up.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

We took an unexpected hike up to the dam at Lake Pinochet this AM. There is a fair sized bluebird trail there. It may have been 1/2 mile and I saw 10-15 BBs and a pair of ospreys. I don't think I've ever seen that many in one area.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Nice! It's great that people are doing bluebird trails.

I saw bluebirds flying away from the feeders today as I was up on the hill moving the feeders and taking down bird houses, cleaning them and putting them back up. They're my new second favorite birds (after the blue jays).

A pair of chickadees was upset that I took a bird house to clean (I made sure there was no nest in it first), so I guess it was theirs. They even flew down to the patio and flitted around it as it was drying! I put it back in the same area, so I hope they use it.

Odenton, MD(Zone 7b)

A great blue heron visited our fish pond today. It was very interesting watching it catch a few fish. I'm sure it will be back.

Scott County, KY(Zone 5b)

Redwing Blackbirds are our sign that spring has arrived. Their call is unmistakeable, and their striking red epaulettes are welcome at our feeders.

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Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I really like how that Redwing Blackbird grabbed the tube feeder to hold it steady; that's smart!

Catbird, I imagine you will be seeing more of that heron; it sounds like it found a great "bird feeder" ; - )

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I'd probably be going to the pet store and getting those feeder goldfish to tempt the heron back. Is that why they're called feeder goldfish?
At this moment, I can't think of anything else to feed them to. Oh-- bigger fish?

Don't mind me -the coffee hasn't kicked in yet.

Odenton, MD(Zone 7b)

John (the landlord) has decided to do away with the pond this year so I'm sure the heron will be able to feast after we get the netting from over the larger pond. I was afraid he was going to get caught in that yesterday.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Heaven forbid, but if he does get caught, be sure to throw a sheet over him before trying to help... once they can't see, birds will settle down a lot. Then you can "wrap" him to immobilize his head (that heron bill is no joke) and protect his wings in case he thrashes.

Yep, feeder goldfish are for bigger fish and also for pet snakes.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

IF this helps.....

Here we have this amazing Nursery called "Chapel Hills"...
They hold festivals and have petting zoos and, in general, are open to schools and
children's Birthday parties and such.

They have a serious-sized, concrete pond filled with Koi. Huge !
Many children just have to go and see the fish. So do the Herons...

ALL the owner does is string a wire line on posts all around the pool ,
about 2' high. and that is all it takes to keep the heron from getting in.
They seem ignorant of it and when they walk up to it, they go no further.
They do not fly into the pond--they land--and then walk up to it.

You could try that around your ponds too. G.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Thanks for the tip, Gita; I'll keep that in mind in case Blue Heron find my little pond.

I've used a similar technique to keep deer out of the garden beds in my front yard, except that I used several strands of fishing line strung between stakes instead of wire. It spooks them when they walk into it. It works, but I don't keep the "invisible fences" up all the time because it's annoying to have to move them when I want to work in the bed.

Lucketts, VA(Zone 7a)

Standing on the deck earlier today, I thought I heard the geese in the distance. Then I glanced down at our small pond and saw ripples in the water that coincided with the noise. We went over to investigate and found 4 frogs in there, heads sticking out among the wet leaves.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Well, if that's not a sign of spring, I don't know what is!

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I LOVE, LOVE earing all the geese nostalgic...
But--there are formations heading North--and some heading South.

Explain this...G.

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