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Bird sightings 5

Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
Mon, Apr 16, 07 at 12:23

Starting a new one, since it's taking me forever to load the other one on dial-up. :)

I just had to report our recent sightings of a male northern "bullock's" oriole in our yard! He is SO handsome! We've been trying to get pics, but he's a skittish little man. He loves the hummer feeder, but what else could I put out for him?

Other Cali folks are reporting similar sightings north and south of us, so I guess they're pretty common. I hope we get to see him more often, or at least every year while on his way through! :)

Brenda


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bird sightings 5

The sell oriole feeders that are orange colored. I've also seen photographs of orioles feeding on slices of orange or a half orange. Lucky you! We have Northern Orioles (used to be called Baltimore Orioles) but I've not seen one since I moved to Southern Maryland. I used to see them fighting in spring at my old home.

I almost got a photo of a crow at my suet but my camera's batteries decided to die at just that moment. Darn!

We are getting 60 mph winds. Power and phones were out earlier.

OMG - I think a tree just fell down somewhere out back. What a thud. I have to go look! Talk later. CT


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RE: Bird sightings 5

CT - you ok?

Brenda, a shallow dish (like an ash tray) of grape jelly. Our baltimore's and orchard's LOVE it. Won't see any here for another 3 weeks.

S


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RE: Bird sightings 5

What a beautiful bird - congratulations Brenda!

I've also heard grapes, hung by the stem or in a suet basket is good.

No new sightings for me, just hundreds of goldfinches and the usuals. The fox sparrows, white-throated and juncos are still around too - a little late but ,considering the weather not too surprising.

CT - so WHAT happened??


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Oh sorry. Yes, it was a large tree but thankfully not mine! Two lawns down a big pine fell but missed my neighbors house and fence. On the other side of me not so lucky, another tree down and it took out their fence, but not their house.

For the night I have my sump pump plugged into an emergency back up generator in case the power goes out again. We still have over 4,000 without power and it changes where it is happening like changing socks. Lots of wind on this penisula.

Because of the wind a dove was driven off course right into my front window. It was stunned and my cat really wanted to get it through the glass, but after a minute or two it was OK, walked off and then flew off. The poor birds - this spring has just been awful so far. It is supposed to be warm and mild right now with bees buzzing, and gentle breezes, not this nor'easter from hell.

CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Apr 17, 07 at 11:22

Glad to hear you're ok there, CT! Cripes, it sounds like that storm is still wreaking havoc. I hope you folks get some relief soon!

We've had several rain storms come through here, which is almost unheard of in April. We're usually well on our way to the hot temps of mid- to late spring by now. We get those brutal winds after the storms move through. I can't stand the wind more than anything. I'm totally NOT complaining about the rain, though. :D

Ooo, I have grape jelly! I can do that! :) And I have to go into town today, so grapes are on the list for backup snacks. Thanks so much for the info, ladies!

Brenda


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A new sparrow for me today. Handsome looking Chipping sparrow. I noticed the fine rufous cap on his head right away, nice stripes on the back and a clear breast.

Thanks Brenda - for the concern. The wind was bad and it is still blowing but not the 70+ gusts we had yesterday at the height of the storm. There were 3,500+ people without power this morning in my county.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 18, 07 at 8:56

I looked up the chipping sparrow, and what a cutie! So interesting that it specifically utilizes hair for its nest, too. I'd love to see one pluck some fluff from my kitty. LOL

Brenda


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Chipping sparrows are such cute birds, and so much smaller than most the other sparrows. And I love their chipping sounds. I have several pairs that nest here every year. Heres a couple of pictures that I took last weekend ...

Chipping Sparrow
A pair of chipping sparrows

Migration seems to have halted over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully with the recent warm up, we'll be seeing some movement - I am particularly anxious to see the indigo buntings. And to hear the wood thrushes. I did see a couple tree swallows on my way home tonight. I'm still hoping someone will nest in my nesting box.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 19, 07 at 11:28

Adorable birds! I'm going up to my folks' house to take care of animals and house-sit until Sunday, and I'm so worried about missing any new birds! I told DH that he better have the binocs handy and report any out of the ordinary activity while I'm gone. LOL

Mr. Oriole is still hanging around, but he's not going for the grapes or the jelly. I love the sounds he makes when he's trying to get a taste of the hummer food, though. Very sassy. :)

Brenda


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I received this email today from the ohio listserv ...

ALERT: Help Stop the Deaths of Millions of Migratory Birds at Communications Towers

Every year, as many as 50 million birds die after colliding with tall towers that relay signals for our TVs, radios, and cell phone networks. These deaths, that include many species of declining songbirds such as the Black-throated Blue Warbler and Dickcissel, are needless and preventable. We now have our first opportunity to take action.

Ask the FCC to change the lighting scheme on towers to reduce bird kills.

There are more than 90,000 lighted communication towers across the country.
Most of these use steady burning or slow pulsing lights to warn aircraft of their presence. These lights attract birds, particularly during bad weather during peak nighttime migration periods. The birds become disorientated by the lights and crash into the towers, their guy wires, and each other, or plummet to the ground in exhaustion.

Strobe lights are just as visible to aircraft, and science has repeatedly shown they are far less attractive to birds. By mandating the use of these strobe lights instead of slow pulsing or steady-burning lights, we can prevent these deaths.

Now the FCC, the agency that licenses towers, is considering a rule that will mandate strobes on all towers. They are seeking public comment on this proposal. This is your opportunity to let them know how important it is that they approve it.

Click Here to send in your comment today.
Deadline for comments is Monday, April 23!

A copy of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is available from the FCC here.

___________________________________________________________________

American Bird Conservancy ( www.abcbirds.org) is a
501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, whose mission is to conserve native wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. For more information please call 540/253-5780.

Here is a link that might be useful: To respond to the proposal


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Hey Brenda - why don't you try a small, flat platfrom feeder filled with one of those homemade butterfly concoctions. I saw it once on a website and I'll have to hunt up a recipe for you to post, but I remember it having an over ripe mashed banana, other juicy, very ripe fruits, and I remember something about swirling this mash with Gatorade (a red, orange or pink color of Gatorade is probably best). The show or website (I can't remember exactly where I saw it), but they used a ceramic, glazed somewhat smallish, shorted-sided dish or shallow bowl shape, and put them on a flat surface off the ground (in the garden). I'll go search something for you and post later if I can find something. That would be a nice mix of fruit and liquids. You might get hummers and butterflies, and hopefully the oriole will take an interest. I'd keep the container small to keep the mix fresh.


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Jean - I jumped right from orioles and missed your post. Will take care of that!

Brenda - forget the butterfly mix (I read about it and sounds like to much work to me, and bees and wasps, etc.)

Since your oriole wants to feed at the hummingbird feeder I think it needs its on feeder built for orioles. They need a substantial perch area to feed.

A link to a good looking feeder provided. This is just one. I'm sure you can find them in local stores or other on-line stores to price or style shop.

Here is a link that might be useful: Oriole Feeder


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Awwwww Jean. That's horrible! The avian specialist told me that he knows someone who goes through downtown Cleveland on a regular basis and collects *laundry baskets FULL* of dead birds that have collided with the windows from office buildings and other structures. He told me some staggering number of birds that she gathers but I don't remember.

Thanks for the information and link!

*~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~~*~~~*~~~~*~~~*

Aside from the regulars here I saw some Brown Thrashers on the patio this afternoon. In the crabapple tree was a pair of ultra-cool looking Black-and-white Warblers. I had not seen them before and had to look up their ID in a bird guide.

The Chipping Sparrows are great fun and very bold! I hand raised two chicks a few years ago and of all the birds I have hand raised, these were THE MOST playful!

C3D


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 20, 07 at 11:13

I've sent my note to the FCC, Jean! Thanks so much for letting us know about that.

And thanks, CT, for all of the info! I actually tried to find one at WalMart the other day, but even with their HUGE selection of hummer feeders, there was nothing for the poor orioles. I may have to order one online, but at least I know what to look for now. I might try that mix you were talking about, anyway, just to see if I get some butterflies. No matter how many plants I put in for them, they never seem to find me. :)

Those black-and-whites are awesome, Chicka! Like little zebras! LOL

Brenda


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Brenda - a link to butterflies then!

Here is a link that might be useful: A Birds Home (and Butterflies)


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RE: -Bird sightings 5-

Brenda - I decided I didn't like that last link. The next one has a better plant list for butterflies.

For the homemade butterfly food mix I think it is mostly rotting fruit with Gatorade. I did see some sights that added molassas, and had elaborate ant moats, etc.

I get lots of butterflies, but then I have lots of butterfly flowers (and an actual butterfly garden too). I am going to focus more on larvae food plants this summers. I am searching for hardy Dutchman's Pipe plants and a nearby nursery is looking for me. Also, parsley and asclepsias are good food plants. A mud puddle or shallow wet sand area for moisture will be used by butterflies too. Try to keep them away from your pond though, if you have frogs!

Here is a link that might be useful: Another Butterfly Site


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OK, I am going completely crazy tonight, but I just found a really good site for butterflies I had to share. I better stop now! I suppose butterfly websites are common. I wish one had it all - so to speak. LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Butterflies and Other Stuff


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Apr 21, 07 at 10:36

LOL Those are all great sites, CT, thanks! Check out my page here at GW for the list of plants in my yard. I already have tons of butterfly-friendly ones. I have a feeling that living near a highway might deter them a little, though. :D We usually get the annual painted lady migration from down south, but I'd love to attract different ones, too.

As soon as I get home, I'm going to delve further into the butterfly info. If I keep building, maybe they will come.

Brenda


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Another one for lots o' garden and bird/butterfly stuff. They have quite a few oriole and hummingbird feeders in a large price range. I've tried quite a few hummer feeders over the years and the expensive blown glass ones are pretty but IMO they don't work as well as the good ol' Perky Pet brand. My favorite brand because they last and they are cheap. Can't beat that combination! CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Best Nest


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 22, 07 at 10:04

Ooo, I like that site a lot, CT! I totally agree about the most expensive not necessarily being the best. Last year, I thought I'd replace my plain, green, plastic tube feeder with a nice copper one. The birds would NOT go near it! LOL I left it out there for at least a month before I finally gave up.

I have one of those hexagonal plastic hummer feeders, and it's too hard for me to clean. Think I might go for glass with no corners for the hummers AND the orioles. :)

Brenda


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I like my hummingbird feeders to be glass (or clear plastic) and small (with one to four ports). They drink it dry in two days which is just about the time to clean it out and fill with fresh. I make a gallon size jug of sugar water and keep the extra mix in the fridge.

I have 6 small feeders about the yard, with 3 on my front porch where I can sit outside and watch them from a few feet away in my rocking chair! They are so friendly. I like it when they perch to preen.

One feeder is by my pond but way up in the air on a pole so the bullfrogs can't eat the birds. I just read that praying mantis also eat hummingbirds! I always have praying mantis in my garden, in fact I find egg sacs in almost every shrub! I would not be surprised if a hummer or two gets eaten in my yard. I have many of them so I can't tell if one is missing or not.

I like to spread out my feeders because those little dynamos are so territorial. I will get one sometimes that guards what it thinks is it's own personal feeder. It will sit in the honeysuckle and dive bomb any other hummer that comes in to eat, so you need to have them on all sides of your house, so the guarders can't see around the corners!

I had copper feeder one time and I didn't like it. I do like plastic coated wire baskets, tube feeders, and platforms. I just put out a new ground bird bath about 3 feet from my pond, but I'm thinking I need to move that - the bullfrogs will snap up the smaller birds and eat them and drown the bigger birds. I have an 8 inch (or more) bullfrog now (when sitting). I know he is record book size!

My hummers like the lobelia quite a bit and that is near the pond too, but higher up, so I hope they are OK. My pond has many nectar plants near it (euphorbias, lobelia, butterfly bush, hosta to name a few). I am going to try and get either seeds or plants of Dutchman's Pipe to plant along my fence behind my pond.


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Brenda, my orioles will sit on the edge of a clear glass bowl or dish and drink sugar water (red, haven't tried no coloring).

They also like Lantana flowers.


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I thought I had sold or given away my Opus Oriole feeder but I just checked my garage and there it was, still brand new in the box. It is the 32 or 36 ounce. I just set it up with some real orange halves nearby. We'll see. I have it in the backyard where I can see it from my kichen window. My luck - I've not gotten batteries for my camera yet and the orioles will show up. Actually, I've not seen orioles in this yard yet, but I know they are nearby in a more densely forested area. Maybe they will do a fly by and see the feeder. I only half filled the feeder as I suspect I'll be changing it out long before any orioles show up (if at all). I wish I had the smaller model. It came from Best Nest and is that tear-drop one on their website in the upper right side. I did use food coloring gel to make the water orange. It only had sugar and some corn starch (that is harmless enough). I boiled the sugar water really hard first and let it cool, a 3.5 to 1 mix. Now I have to drag out my hummer feeders too as I have lots of sugar water left over.

I have Robins nesting in a cypress near the pond. She was gathering materials and flying in and out of the tree while Mr. Handsome was keeping watch for her. I went out this morning and cut her some extra good plant stuff of various types. She was pulling at the LA iris and the daylily dead leaves from last year. I'm afaid a bullfrog might grab her there so I pulled them all myself and put them further out in the yard for her to get. I snipped lots of pieces of flexible tall grasses that were dried up from last year too.


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Sorry, the hummers like Lantana, Orioles like sugar water in bowls.
(Must be the drugs)


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Yup, the hummers do like lantana, I had a hanging pot of lantana last year and they were all over it.

Hummer and Lantana

Speaking of hummers, I had my first one today! Only got a quick glimse of it at the feeder. And right on schedule, the buckeye blooms opened yesterday. I'm glad I had the feeder out because I have a mere dozen of blooms this year. The cold snap got some but the squirrels have demolished most of them. You'd think they would let them mature so they would have some buckeyes for the winter but they seem intent to eat as many as they can - and they are going to great lengths to get to them ...

Squirrel antics 1
Squirrel antics 2
Squirrel antics 3
Squirrel and his snack

I had a red-eyed vireo, a yellow-rumped warbler and a ruby-crowned kinglet yesterday. I could have got a good shot of the vireo but the camera could not lock in a focus and he was too fast to manually focus. I'm not seeing the multitude of warblers being reported in the area but for some reason I never do in the spring, I am much more likely to see them in the fall.

And I had a house wren poking around in the cotoneaster and singing his little heart out.

And last, but not least, I heard a wood thrush tonight!

Spring is definitely here, come on buntings!


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Jean - that hummingbird photo is fantastic! How do you get that green background behind it - it blends in perfectly with the stunning action photo of the bird.

I still have to fill my hummingbird feeders. I cleaned them up last fall and put them in a bag and stashed them in my kitchen (under the table of all places). I had guests and moved the bag and now I can't find it! We have hummers here now. Warblers are spring birds here. The SMAS has two trips planned to see the neo-tropical migrants and warblers. There are 37 warblers that stay or migrate through this area.

Funny squirrel photos.


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RE: Bird sightings 5

hello!

ct, at least you cleaned your feeders before putting them away! or even put them away. mine hung through most of winter, empty. i brought them in on our first warm day before i tricked a poor creature.

great pics, all.

i have a momma squirrel so i am keeping my squirrel feeders filled. i have been slacking for some time now. they keep taking the cover off and spilling it everywhere. anyway, she is definitely a momma. i was sitting on the patio, along came squirrely on the fence, came down the fence in a straight line from me. then, she walked along the house right toward me, so i had to toss a bit of sandwich. that wasn't enough, she came closer wanting more. that stand- stretch- sniff is too cute.

there is a photo contest, people!

Here is a link that might be useful: nature photo contest


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Apr 25, 07 at 11:37

Thanks for the oriole info, ladies! Sorry, I thought I replied already. LOL I put out some mandarin oranges I had, but there were no takers. I'm thinking the oriole is gone already, as I haven't heard him or seen him at the hummer feeder lately. Til next year, beautiful beast!

Oh, and I'm waiting for my trailing lantana to get blooming again after our freeze this year. You're right, they love it a LOT. You're an amazing photographer, Jean! That pollen on his beak is priceless!

And those squirrel shots are so adorable! Why must their tummies (and fingers) tempt me so!? *drool* You could easily win that Parade photo contest, Jean!

I've been cracking up over the Brewer's blackbirds when they try to land in my yard! They are so funny and awkward - "chirp, chirp, chirp, I'm comin' in for a landing, oh, nope, over here, wait, that's not good, chirp, chirp, chirp"...LOL So silly, the way they freak out the finches and sparrows. They seem to say, "What the heck is that black thing?!" LOL

And Sir Thomas the domesticated goose has been hanging around here lately. I saw him splashing around in a puddle near the road, and pulling yummy seeds off the purple needle grass. He looks so lonely; I wish I could invite him in for a day in the pond and good eats. But I can't, so I won't. :D

Brenda


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CT - the background is an eastern red cedar but when you shoot with a telephoto lens, the closer the object in focus is to the camera, the more blurring you get in the distance. The depth-of-field (how much is in focus) is also relative to the f-stop. The background "patterns" are also referred to as blokeh and the canon lens are well known for producing good blokeh (what a word!). So I didn't do anything special.

FTM, it sounds like you have a new pet! We'll be expecting pictures of Momma, don't ya know??? I checked out the contest site, did you see the sample galleries? Great stuff!

LOL Brenda, what a great description of the blackbirds! We don't get the Brewers here but I can just see them! The mourning doves are like that too, and when they finally land, they start strutting their stuff like they are quite proud of themselves for safely landing.

Is Sir Thomas the same goose that you posted pictures of last year?

Someone has been eating my orange today. I didn't see who but it has been hollowed out. Last year I tried oranges and the only one interested was the red-bellied who didn't eat the orange, just the ants! The skin is left intact so I don't think it's a mammal, maybe tomorrow I will get to see.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 26, 07 at 11:50

Ooo, speaking of doves, it seems the ringed-turtle dove (or whatever species this amazing creature is) is still resident here! I hear him/her every day, and even watch its attempts at landing in the yard (not unlike the blackies). Very beautiful, yet comical. :)

Yes, that's the same Sir Thomas, Jean! I hear him out there occasionally saying things, then I see him waddling down the street. I think he lives at a neighbor's house, but I'm not sure. If anyone messes with him, there's going to be a rumble in the 'hood, fer shizzle!

Brenda


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Cool dove Brenda, I would love to see one. I just get the woeful mourning doves but I do adore their calls and they are such gentle, peaceful birds. I did have a homing pigeon and "friends" land on my roof several years ago. They just stayed for a few minutes and then took off for the neighbors roof. I tried to get the band number off the pictures but it was too small. And I read that the owner would probably destroy the bird so I'm glad he got away :^)

I think I know who is eating the orange - a catbird! I had no idea they would eat oranges, they usually go for the walnuts. I saw it on the peanut feeder today, probably a reminder that the platform feeder was empty. Such funny birds with their repertoire of songs. Which reminds me, the mocker has been awol for quite some time, probably abandoned me for a mate (how rude!)


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I have a catbird somewhere - I can hear it! Mockers are nesting across the street, and I have a Robin nesting out back. I sawing them mating on my neighbors roof this morning, now that she is done her nest. No takers on the oriole feeder or oranges. Birds have gotten more infrequent as they get busy with breeding and raising young. Saw one towhee yesterday and one Brown thrasher, otherwise, the usual suspects in dwindling numbers.

I was heading back to work after lunch and saw someone had hit an opposum. I saw a naked baby crawling near the pouch and one up by the Mom's head. So I just HAD to get involved. I put the two in a box with a towel and then went into the pouch and pulled out 6 more. Two were deceased but the others were nice and pink and strong. I had to detach one from Mom's nipple and detangle one tiny foot from her fur. I put the box back in my car on the front passenger side floor and blasted my car heater as I drove back to work. I thought I might cook myself alive, but they need heat.

I called 5 rehabbers right away and left voice mail messsages (that is frustrating to be given another number only to get another voice mail) and so on... I left messages every number.

I finally had one of the rehabbers call me back (same lady who took the owl) not 3 hours before I had them scheduled for euthanasia. I didn't want to put them down, but very young opposum require special feeding. The rehabber, Mary is her name, met me and she had a small carrying case with a soft cloth, with a heating pad already plugged in to her van cigarette lighter, under the cloth. She said she would take them home and put them in an incubator to bring their temperature up. They must be fully warmed before you attempt to feed them. Opossum don't suckle so the feeder is like a tube.

Several hours later, after I would have already gone to the vet to have them put down, I get another return call from one of the other rehabbers I didn't know, but specializes in opossum. I thought that might happen - a day late and a dollar short. I told him Mary had them and he said he would call her to help her out. He and his wife take the really small opossum. Other rehabbers he told me only want the larger babies that can eat.

The way I figure it, if nobody can take them, that has the time and expertise to do it right, than euthansia was the only option. (but I would have hated to do that). But, I was not about to drive away from the dead mother knowing they were there. I had to give them a chance - and luck was on their side that day. I hope their luck and strength remains and they all make it. Mary said she has been successful before with babies that young. They were about 3.5 inches long, hairless, and still blind.

Remember, if you see a opossum hit please check the pouch for live babies. Many female animals are hit by cars each year with their babies inside, but with the opossum you have a chance to get them as they are marsupials. Thankfully I've not had to do a C-section on a dead deer (I would do it if I knew there was a viable baby stuck in there and the mom dead), but I've not come upon that situation with any animal to date (and I hope I never do). CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 27, 07 at 9:46

Wow, CT! What an awesome experience, saving 5 little lives! Good on ya, lady! Not that I've ever seen any opposum, dead or alive, but I would have never thought to look for babies. I hope they all make it while under the care of the rehabbers.

I would LOVE to have a catbird in my yard, but the odds aren't good here. Do they really sound like kitties sometimes? LOL If so, it would be great just to hear one.

I'd love to hear or see a mocker again here. Although, one of my favorite times of day is early-thirty, when the robins are singing their little hearts out. "Welcome to the DAY! Good morning, everyONE!" :D They have been plentiful this year.

Brenda


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NEW BIRD FOR MY LIFE LIST at 7:30 am.

MALE AND FEMALE Rose-breasted Grosbeak! Yipee!

I am so excited to add this bird to my list. I was watching the brown thrashers and towhees under my feeders in the leaves and I turned my head for a second only to turn around and see the most beautiful white bird with a huge rose colored patch on it's chest. It was hanging on to
my cage feeder (nuts, dried fruit, and sunflowers seed mix). What a beauty. The back was black and white. After he flew away I noticed a bird I had not seen before at the tube feeder and it was the female. White breast streaked with tan, white eyebrow stripe and when she flapped her wings to change perches she had yellow in the corner of the
wings. Both had such strong beaks of a pale color. The female beak looked a bit pinker than the male.

Will they stay here and mate or are they still traveling north? I've seen in the Peterson field guide we are barely in the range and on-line I saw some other sites that said 'none seen' breeding in most of Maryland (Southern Maryland was definitely not marked as a breeding
area). Oh, how I would love to see this bird stick around. I wish I had my camera. I've never seen one of these in my life! Very excited!

Jean - do you have any photographs of the Rose-breasted Grosbeak? That color on the chest was beautiful and the white was snow white. Most photos on-line make the bird look ragged and the colors not quite right.


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My Grosbeak Photo

One of my far away pictures. I found out they only stay a few days in our area and will move north.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male). I did get a photo of the female but you can't see much of her as she is behind the feeder part way and not brightly colored. Anway - a life list bird for me today.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


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Looks like you've had a couple of exciting days! I never would have thought to look for possum young, although I rarely see any that have been hit. Good for you for stopping and taking the time to help. Do you get updates from the rehabber?

I have yet to see a male rose-breasted grosbeak in his breeding plumage. I see them most in the fall and they will usually stick around for at least a few days. They are just starting to move into the area so hopefully this will be the year.

I had a male yellow warbler and a magnolia warbler today. The ruby-crowned kinglet is still hanging around. Haven't been able to get anywhere near enough for pictures though. In fact I haven't gotten any decent pictures of anything lately, I think I've worn out my luck.


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Hi gang,

Way to go CT! The 'possums and the Grosbeaks!

Our rose-breasteds (only ones we commonly have here) should be arriving in the next 2 weeks or so. They nest here so I enjoy them all summer, especially when they start to bring their babies in to feed. They love black sunflower seeds.

By the way, catbirds like grape jelly and red sugar water too. (And no, that is not the drugs talking. All of the birds around here have serious sugar addictions, thanks to my neighbor).

Also, my neighbor said she tried un-colored sugar water in her bowls last year. The birds drank it, but also wanted to bathe in it! Can you imagine all those poor sticky feathers? She ran out and set up two 18" plant saucers with water so they could rinse!

:):) Sarah


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 29, 07 at 14:59

Oh, my goodness, CT!! That is one fabulous bird sighting! The coloration on the male is so spectacular! And that beak, oh, my! It's said that they regularly show up on the west coast, so I can only hope. I always have the black sunflower seeds out there, too. :)

LOL @ bathing in sugar water! I can just picture them, in total rapture at the taste, then...."hmmm, think I'll splash a little behind my ears...on me bum...wings...oh, YES!" LOL

I spotted some sort of swallow or similar bird landing in the cottonwood tree behind our house this morning. A young'un immediately greeted the parent. I couldn't see a nest, though, and I was going by eyesight only, so I need to keep the binocs handy from now on!

Brenda


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Guess what showed up today? A male rose-breasted grosbeak! He landed right outside my bedroom window and sat on a shephards hook for my hanging plants watching the activity at the feeder so I got a really good look at the handsome fellar and one picture. I tried to get some of him in the tree but it was dark and windy this morning so they are pretty blurry.

Why they call me a grosbeak

I also had a common yellow-throat warbler, a Nashville warbler and a ruby-crowned kinglet and three hummingbirds. It was a fun morning, and then I had to go to work :^(


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, May 3, 07 at 8:01

Oh, Jean, he is SO handsome! Ok, so I have a nose fetish. LOL I think I would be shaking if I saw one of those.

I haven't had much excitement in the bird department. Two or 3 hummers have been fighting over the feeder, though, which makes me happy. :)

Brenda


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That little bugger was just waiting to eat Jean! Glad you can add a breeding plumage RB Grosbeak to your photo collection. They do have a big beak. I feel a bit used by my two- eating and running like that! LOL They both were here one day eating non-stop. My friend Phoebe wo used to live in NH and VT said they had them in summer and they were quite the piggys at the feeders.

My birds would not budge when I opened the back door even though everyone else flew away temporarily. He and she were serious about a days rest and a full belly to sustain tem on their continued migration!

Oh - I have a Song Sparrow making a nest in a large evergreen by my garage. Little dickens ducked right in when he thought I was not looking, with beak full of fine grass. I do love the song sparrows. Last year they nested across the street.


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Mr. Grosbeak was awol today, and as with CT, I think he ate and ran. What's interesting is the ohio listserv is full of sightings of grosbeaks coming to feeders where they had never been seen before. Now if I could just see a blue grosbeak, but not likely to happen here.

I've been working the last few nights moving 5 yards of compost, they dumped it right in front of my front door and I am trying to get it moved before it kills the grass/weeds. I've been doing it after dark since it seems to be the only time I have and it's actually been a pretty pleasant experience because I am being serenaded by screech owls (who actually have a warbling call, more like a bird than the typical owl sounds). It sounds like they are down by the field along the creek, but still close enough to hear. But tonight when I walked out the door I apparently startled a great horned owl that must have been within 40 feet. He scared the heck out of me! I had to come in and listen to Cornells recording to be sure. So I guess I should include it on my yard list which makes it number 100, a bit anti-climatic though since I didn't get to see it.

I too love the song sparrows, such a wonderful song. I've not had any nest here that I know of - I usually only see them from late summer to early spring. But the white-throateds are still here (a little late for them to still be here) and singing there little hearts out every morning. Their white throats and yellow eyebrows are so much more brilliant in the spring, I'm glad they stick around long enough for me to see them in their breeding colors.


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Holy Toledo Jean - 5 yards of mulch is a lot! I hope you are using a wide pitchfork! I can only handle one yard at a time and I lay down a big tarp on my driveway and tell them to dump there. What I would really like is for them to dump it around back behind my fence on the edge of woods so it can sit until I feel like moving it around, which as tired as I've been lately might be never!

Blue grosbeak were reported here the same time as the RB by two members of my SMAS group. Both were seen flying overhead! That is one I've not seen but from photographs are beautiful. The RB is supposed to breed in your area aren't they, so your awol dude may return??

I love the sound of the Great Horned owl - that is what I hear sometimes quite reguarly, really late at night and sometimes just before dawn. Unfortunately, they have torn down a large swath of woods not a 1/2 mile from my home so I'm expecting less birds. Makes me sick and even more motivated to plant more and more in my yard with nothing but wildlife in mind to support the extra mouths to feed from loss of habitat!

Got a few of my woodland plants positively ID'd tonight on 'Name That Plant' Forum. Still waiting for one Red-leaved, 3 lobed seedling that someone thinks might be a Hawthorn.

Vaccinium stamineum (Native deerberry). I was incorrectly calling them huckleberry. Birds, deer and small mammals snap them up. Each flower will get a berry. I have about a dozen of them (which due to root spread could be the same plant).

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Chimaphila maculata - Striped or Spotted Wintergreen (Pipsissewa). Those are the flower buds in the middle. They should bloom soon, followed by a seed capsule used by small mammals.

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A Carex (Sedge) and one person thought Carex flaccosperma and another C. laxiculmis, but when I did a bit more searching, springboarding from the initial IDs, I found a variant of C. flaccosperma var. glaucodea that I thought looked like it more than the other two. Also - this variant grows more in dry woods. The presence of the first two plants validates my woods are dry shade, even though the humous top soil, as it has a solid clay base. Only when we get extended rainfall is the soil moist, otherwise, due to the canopy of trees it is dry.

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Still not positively ID's but may be a Hawthorn. Anybody here know?

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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 4, 07 at 9:57

Ooo, pretty plants, CT! I love sedges! Never seen one like that - very solid (hefty) and "powdery". I see it's just starting to bloom, too!

The first thing that came to mind with that last one is Viburnum, due to the shape of its leaves, but it's probably not. Beautiful foliage on that one!

We've had a lot of owl sounds in the neighborhood lately - most likely barn owls. Would love to see one! A neighbor recently spotted a RAT (ACK!!!) go under another neighbor's house, too! Get 'em, owls!

Brenda


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 4, 07 at 19:22

I found out what the bird back in the cottonwood tree is! It's an American kestrel! Woohoo! (Swallow?! WHAT was I thinking? LOL) Too far away for my camera, but the binocs let me zoom right in. I watched it bring its baby (or plural) a mouse AND a lizard! The nest is down in a rotted out portion of the trunk...waaay up there. Ahhh, it was the most beautiful bird watching experience I've ever had. *sigh*

Brenda


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Congrats on the Kestrel Brenda! Exciting and not a common bird either! It won't be long before those babies are brought out for some flight training!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, May 5, 07 at 7:48

Oh, I hope to see a piece of THAT, CT! LOL If I had some property, I'd be planting cottonwoods all along the perimeter (far from the house, though, since their falling limbs are pretty dangerous), setting up a bird watching station, and buying a REAL nice camera. I just cannot believe the amount of wildlife centered around that one tree behind the house.

I looked up the owl sounds we've been hearing, and I'm pretty sure it's a barn owl. They're kinda spooky, with all of that hissing and the big white face. LOL I love 'em, though!

Brenda


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Barn owls are rare too Brenda. Our groups has an Adopt A Barn Owl program that seeks donations to track them and provide habitat, including barn owl houses. That is wild all that activity generates around one tree and a cottonwood of all things.

Oh - meant to tell you. The Centaurea montana (Mountain Bluet) plants are blooming. I'll work on getting everyone seed heads to mail off. I'll try and post a photo of a whole plant so you can see how it looks. The other photo was a close-up of that spidery blue flower you liked.

One more thing - that red seedling I posted - someone thought it might be Ninebark 'Diablo' which has red foilage all year (fades a bit in high summer). So, no matter if a Hawthorn or Ninebark, both are native and would make a good addition to my bird thicket project. I wonder if those Cedar Waxwings planted it when they were visting my barberry? I get al kinds of strange plant seedlings. I really should attempt to identify more of them. I noticed when I mowed the back yard today there were many of the Carex glaucodea (Blue Wood Sedge) plants in the grass and I found a few more on the woodland ground too. I found it in my Maryland Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Planting book. They are very powdery. I left the ones I found in the grass, mowed around them, so they can go to seed. I want to collect the seed and put it in a better spot where it spread.

I've decided to not mow part of my back lawn anymore. A patch about 20 feet wide by 40 feet long next to the woods. It is out of sight from my neighbors. I want it to grow wild.


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i would die to even hear a barn owl!


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Look who I found in my woods today. I was taking photos of various plants and was walking into my wooded area when I spied 'my' rabbit resting. I backed out before I scared him. He didn't move a muscle but I'm sure he would have bolted had I stumbled into him without noticing! For once I had my camera!

He is a male rabbit I suppose since he is resting during the day and not in a burrow raising young. He likes to snoop around my pond and eat my plants in early morning and he hides during the day apparently in my woods! He also eats the bird seed I leave out, plus vegetable scraps on the compost pile. Cute little fellow and I hope my neighbors cats keep away!

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I have a Rufous Sided Towhee pair hanging around for two years now. Such cute birdies. Anybody else see them around your place?


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Wow do I have some catching up to do ...

Brenda - wowee a kestrel and a barn owl!!!! I think the kestrels are the coolest of the raptors - I watch them at the park during the fluttering in place and then dive bombing - so cool! And babies to boot!

CT, could that last one be a nine-bark? The leaves remind me of one.

Funny about the rabbit, I also discovered a young one in the garden as I was weeding. Apparently I had him so scared he wasn't going to move until I left, so I took a few pictures and went in the house. Or maybe it was the red-tailed circling overhead that had him worried.

Heres a pic of the little bunny rabbit

I had a blue-winged and Nashville warbler and a ruby-crowned kinglet. I tried for pictures but I am on a bad roll lately.

But I did get a picture of something else today - see if you can guess from this picture....


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CT - what kind of rabbit is that? He looks nothing like the cottontail rabbits we have here. Could it be a hare instead?


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I think it is a cottontail. It has the white tail. Some of them get quite large if they mange to live long enough. Your baby is just darling! I feel sorry for rabbits sometimes - so defenseless and everyone looking to eat them!

I had one other person on Name That Plant (and she is good too) also say she thought it might be a Ninebark 'Diablo' hybrid. Fancy getting an 'all the rage' hybrid planted by the birds. I moved it already but to my butterfly garden. That is probably a mistake but I am going to let it grow tall, instead of severely pruning it like most do with Ninebark. I want to see the cool bark!

OK - a guess on your photo - a close-up of the 'eye' on a luna moth wing?


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 6, 07 at 9:59

I didn't realize barn owls were so elusive! I will cherish ours even more so now. :)

Ooo, I can't wait to try growing the C. montana, CT! I've been having a blast starting seeds this year (my first year attempting). If there's anything on my plant list on my page here that interests you, just say the word!

Wow! I've been trying to talk my mom into getting a 'Diabolo' ninebark (since she has the room for one). They are gorgeous specimens. WTG, birdies! LOL

That's awesome that you've decided not to mow a patch of your lawn, CT! I can't wait to see what results you get from it. Giving back to nature, baby! :D

Adorable rabbits, ladies! Glad they don't much some of my plants, but I love seeing them scatter while walking down the dirt road early in the morning. Ours are pretty white, from what I can tell, not "little nut brown" like yours.

We saw one of those towhees up in the foothills not TOO far from here, Sockmonkey. They are beautiful birds! So chunk-style! :D

Whoa, whatever is in that pic is so hairy! LOL The marking looks like a lipstick kiss and a chin dipped in chocolate. Don't ask me why that looks familiar. LOL

Brenda


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Sockmonkey, I totally missed your post! We have a pair of towhees - I love his song and he sings all summer. I don't get to see them much in the summer, he's always in the top of the trees while she's slaving away feeding the young. They come to the feeders in the winter but just occasionally in the summer. They are great yard birds!

CT, you are right, it's a lunar moth. Found him yesterday and it was a cool day so he was not very active. Did you know lunar moths don't have mouths? They only live for about a month, they mate and then die. What a life!

hers the whole picture of the lunar moth

Today I had a pair of grosbeaks, a different male this time, his "koolaid spill" was larger than the last one. The female wouldn't come to the feeder though. And I had a female bluebird! Nowhere near the nest box though or the house. Since they have typically started nesting by now, I hope she is nesting close by and I get another look at her.

CT, I have one of the diablo ninebarks and my leaves are more burgundy than that, and will look almost black after they leaf out completely. And supposedly they are only supposed to get 5 - 6 feet tall, I hope so or I will be moving another bush.

So maybe someone can id this bush/tree. It's a wild one, don't know if it is native or not. It is tall, at least 25 feet but has a bushy habit. Funny I've never noticed it blooming until this year.

Can you id this?


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 7, 07 at 8:51

That lunar moth is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen!!! Oh, my goodness. I would love to see one of those in my yard!

The blooms on that tree look SO familiar, Jean, but I just can't place them. Hopefully I'll recall after someone posts the name. :D

Congrats on the bluebird! Yet another one I'd love to see in my lifetime.

Brenda


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Jean - the tree is a Prunus serotina (Black Cherry) and they are blooming right now. Major great bird tree. Make sure however the leaves cannot fall where pets or domestic lifestock (those that eat leaves) can eat it as it turns into a cyanide substance when mixed with stomach acid and becomes toxic as hell. Wilted leaves are the culprit. The seed is also toxic, but not to birds.

The moth is called a Luna moth (not lunar). Wikipedia has a good page about them. I used to see them more often as a child when they would fly at night around the street lamps. I've not seen one in a good while but we do get them here. One of my favorite moths because they are so huge and luminous.

I've been looking at Ninebark cultivars, various photographs, and in most of them, the Diablo, you are correct, the leaves look almost black. My leaves look more like a hybrid called Coppertina, but it is most likely a mutt I suppose, a crossbreed maybe from cultivated and wild parentage perhaps. In any case, if a bird planted it, that means a bird ate a berry, so it is a birdfood source plant.

Congrats on the bluebird! If a pair takes your box they will return to it. My box used to face north and had an open area in the front and sides and woods behind it. They bred for 3 years before a squirrel or woodpecker chewed or pecked a bigger hole in the front.


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All you ever wanted to know about Black Cherry and then some! I have a really big one that is covered in blossoms right now. It is about 100 feet tall. Lots of mid-range trees and enough seedlings sprouting everywhere to sink a battleship! It is native in Ohio.

Here is a link that might be useful: Prunis serotina - Wild Black Cherry


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 8, 07 at 10:44

While at work yesterday, DH spotted what turned out to be a male great-tailed grackle! Oh, how I wish I could have been there to see it, too! He said, "It was making all of these crazy sounds." So I looked it up on Cornell, and its voice is awesome!!

DH said he'd take me to the place on one of his days off. It's right in or near a subdivision with a fenced in large pond with reeds. I sure hope I get to see that grackle soon!

Brenda

Here is a link that might be useful: GT grackle on Cornell


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Check out his tail - you could paddle a boat with that thing! I think it's great your husband is interested in birds too. My husband will come look when I yell for him to come see something but he would never notice any other birds.

I just had to sign on from work because I am so excited - I have a pair of BLUEBIRDS!!!!! Both of them were collecting grass, I didn't see them go to the nestbox because it was out of view but they headed that way! I am so excited, I feel like a kid at Christmas. And now, back to work ...


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Funny you should mention paddle a boat. There is a crackle called the Boat-tailed crackle that is supposed to have a huge tail too. I've never seen one live. Congrats on your find.

Settle down Jean.... LOL Yippee, hurray, this calls for a celebration! Hoot and toot toot toot! Confetti in the air!!! Wait until you sneak a peak at the babies:-)


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 9, 07 at 8:49

Yeah, DH said he thought of me when he saw the bird! Awww! :)

Awesome about the bluebirds, Jean!!!! Oh, what a lovely sight that must have been!

I love this time of year -

4:45am - Western kingbirds start their chirping, probably excited about all of the bugs the 90+ degree weather has harvested.

5:15am - Robins proclaim today another beautiful day, and describe the first worm as "extremely delicious!"

5:25am - All other birds in the vicinity chime in with cries of joy as their eggs hatch and little ones begin begging for num-nums.

Brenda


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That's 4:45 on Ohio time right??? I think I'd be throwing rocks at anything that early! But it sounds wonderful!

Bluebirds are still around! They haven't discovered the mealworms yet but the titmice and chickadees are enjoying them.

We had our roof cleaned today so I had to take all the feeders down to be sure they didn't get sprayed. Those poor, silly birds! They were all over the place looking for their breakfast. I figured it was a good time to get them bleached so I put them out in the yard to dry where they were in no danger of getting sprayed and the poor birds were hopping all over the place trying to figure out this new arrangement. As soon as the workers left, I refilled and hung them back up and they were much happier campers!


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I am going to stop feeding the birds because squirrels are getting killed coming from afar to eat at my feeders. In the past I'd see one in the road, but EVERY day now for a week, on a road outside my community, but as the crow flies, a straight line to my yard, a dead squirrel in the road, squished by a car. I know these are not the squirrels resident to my small piece of woods, but others coming in from other nearby woods to feast on the goodies in the feeders. I don't feel right about it, so the only way to prevent it is to stop feeding everybody and have the wildlife rely only on the plant life I can provide.


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Ah CT, that is heart breaking. But honestly I don't think you are making it worse. From what I read, their territory can be from 1 - 7 acres depending on food availability and by providing them with food, you have essentially allowed them to exist in a smaller territory. The larger the territory the more chance of danger so in actuality you are helping them. And even if you don't feed them, they are going to visit your yard but will just spend less time there and more time roaming.

Please don't give up feeding the birds and critters, I know it seems that we do it for our own pleasure but it does help them too - you know how much more activity there is at the feeder on rainy or snowy days. It's a tough world for the birds and the animals and they need all the help they can get.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, May 11, 07 at 10:30

LOL! I do get up early, Jean, so I'm probably the one waking up the birds. :D

I feel guilty when I'm out of town, and the feeders don't get filled (*pointed look at DH*), so I know how you felt about the poor darlings waiting for clean feeders.

CT, I hope you don't have to give up on all of your visitors! My folks don't feed ANYthing in their yard (ok, hummers), but a few years back, the amount of dead squirrels on their street was insane! They live in a rural-ish area on just over an acre, with an open field next door.

Unfortunately, humanity happens, and my folks still have to helplessly watch people speeding up and down their (dead-end) street. The squirrel deaths stopped since that one year, though, so maybe it's an abundance cycle thing?

Brenda


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Thanks Jean, what you said makes sense. If only those jerks that go 70mph on a 30mph road would slow down, and BRAKE for animals much of this could be prevented too. I don't get people that just keep on charging full speed ahead when there is a bird, mammal, turtle, snake or frog in the road. This road has become a cut through for people that don't live on it at all. The county police use it whenever there is an accident, on either of the two main roads it connects to at each end, and this road has nothing but wooded yards and houses on much of it, and just thick woods on the other half (although they are tearing much of that down right now to build more houses). But, because it is residental the speed limit is 30mph.

But, now that people know they can get through (thanks to police redirects due to these same jerk speeders all hitting each other more on the main roads) the traffic is getting huge and they all fly like they really have somewhere important to go (which they don't). Just self-important, non-caring, inpatient people that go 70+mph everwhere they go because THEY are SO special, the hell with everyone and everything else. Over half of them are also on their cell phones (but don't get me going about that!). I am just sickened by it all and it is going to get worse, not better. This is why I like animals better than most people! In general, there are way to many ignorant, self-centered people out there driving tanks for cars and plowing down anything in their path.

I need to move to a small farm in the boondocks where I don't have to deal with the rat race that is happening as suburbia spreads and creeps like a virus, fracturing the land and paving it over. Do we really need one more Jiffy Lube? One more tanning salon? One more huge parking lot where nobody parks? Environmental groups have already proven the St. Mary's watershed is being negatively impacted by the amount of impervious surface as of several years back, but the good ol' boy commisioners keep letting builders build (payola). The schools are too crowded, the roads inadequate, but come on down and build another house and another shopping strip. It' disgusting the blanant environmental violations that go on. Silt in the waterway, paving near the Bay. It's criminal IMO.


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Unfortunately urban spread is inevitable. And in reality, the new trend for smaller lots is really a good thing, although it would drive me nuts. The real problem are the people with acreage, and yes that includes me. If we all lived in condos with shopping close enough to walk we would be doing the environment a big favor. I would like to see developers start offering earth-friendly developments where landscaping is done with wildlife in mind and there are covenants that protect them which includes no chemicals. I don't know if I will ever be able to return to the city but I know it is selfish of me.

And my bad news tonight is that my nest box is empty. I last saw the pair of bluebirds on Wednesday but hadn't seen them the last few days. I am disappointed but hopeful that they are nesting close by and I will get to see them again.

The good news is that the orioles have returned, despite the amount of trees that my neighbor cleared. They were in the top of my red maple this morning. Still not interested in my oranges though. The only summer regulars that I haven't seen this year are the tanagers.


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Thanks Jean. You are right. I live in an area that is designated as the place to concentrate the building. It is still a rude shock once they finally started though - I've been here 10 years this month and no building in the woodlands that surrounded me (100's of acres of woodlands) and now the dozers are tearing it all down so the builders can stick a Bradford Pear on each lawn. But, concentrated development is the correct way to protect habitat (provided they do it - and actually protect the habitat).

I'm not sure I totally agree you living on acreage is bad as you don't rip everything out to grow lawn turf. What is with the American preoccupation with lawn turf anyway? It is a man thing IMO - who can have the thickest, greenest lawn. How many women do you see out there with a level, after mowing and edging and blowing (the power tool thing:-)

On the bright side today (sorry to be such a bummer) I saw a beautiful pair of Gray Catbirds! I don't see them often. They were at the tube feeder which I dumped the last of my 'no waste' mix in yesterday.

I will continue to feed but I am reducing the number of feeders to 4. (one suet, one tube, one thistle sock, and one ground feeder). Ok, and the fruit:-)


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And THANK YOU Brenda! I'm sorry - I didn't see your post until this morning. I must have been writing one my usual novelette length posts when you posted! It just might be a cyclic thing, but darn it, I KNOW those squirrels are headed to my house and it makes me personally feel very responsible for their death. But, Jean has convinced me to continue to help and to lessen their wandering which I know will be more dangerous. The road is a 50/50 crap shoot one time across, and wandering all over the roads and past neighborhood cats is more danger overall. It's still sad though they have to deal with stupid, mean people that have so little compassion for all the other living creatures in which we (less and less) share our one Earth.


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I saw an Indigo Bunting yesterday!! I had Moonie the dog out, noticed a flash of brilliant blue and thought "that is just too blue for a bluebird", and no pinkish chest. Realized what he was, took the dog in got the camera, stood under a tree till I had to pee too bad and he just sat somewhere deeper in the woods laughing at me (I could hear him). I wanted to put his picture on here to impress you all, but the little bugger wouldn't come back out into the yard! Waaaa! Debbie


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Debbie - they are pretty aren't they. I see them on the base where I work but never in my yard. They are on the shy side when I've seen them. A quick glance and they are gone. Not a big or chubby bird either. Sleek and shiny midnight blue.


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The indigos are such beautiful birds! And very camera shy, I've been trying for two years now to get a good picture so I hope you do! But I did get this video, it's pretty poor but it's a riot - you need Windows media player for it, I hope you can see it, it's a hoot!

I had a pair of great-crested flycatchers this morning and I got to see the orioles! They were going for the honeysuckle, not 10 feet away from the oranges that I put out (that they are totally ignoring). Got pictures of both, but without the tripod so marginally decent. I need to do some upper arm exercises so I can hold that long lens steady when I am hand holding. I'm getting ready to start building a retaining wall so maybe hauling rocks will help :^)

Here is a link that might be useful: Indigo and the grass attack


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Jean - that video cracks me up! I am still laughing no matter how many times I watch it. Good catch on video. You should put it on YouTube in the animal/bird section.

Oooh - hauling rocks - better you than me is all I can say. Shudder the thought of hauling rocks around!


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RE: Bird sightings 5

That video is hilarious, Jeanner! I love the color of those guys. Yesterday I saw a little sparrow looking up at some dandelion seed heads as I watched him trying to reach them I felt sorry for him. I kept watching and that smart little rascal just started at the base of the plant and walked up the stem so it lay down on the ground so he could reach it! He did it three times, so it was no accident. Smart birdie! Debbie


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Great video jeanner, also the luna moth! Put a dollop of grape jelly on the orange 1/2 for the orioles.

I have 3 male and 1 female rose breasted grosebeaks now, and my neighbor has 6 pair. Also 3 baltimore oriole pairs and 2 orchard oriole pairs! Lots of color.

I've only seen an indigo bunting twice in my life. Lucky you!


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RE: Bird sightings 5

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 14, 07 at 10:18

Just waiting for the video to load, because it sounds like it's totally worth it. :D

You all have such colorful birdies in your yards! Not that I'm complaining about mine. I would love to see more variety, but I'll keep living vicariously through all of you. :)

That sparrow sounds adorable and hilarious, Debbie! Would have loved to see that, too. I have plenty of dandelions, so I'm ready. LOL

LOL!!!! Awesome movie, Jean! They sure are persistent little darlings. LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird sightings 5

I dunno Brenda, no one else has KESTRELS in their yards!

Debbie, I've seen the birds go after the dandelions too, it's so funny when half the seeds stick to their heads.

I've been working on a new website for my bird pictures (since, oh, about January!). I wrote this one to be dynamic so all I have to do is upload the picture and it automatically gets added to the website. Makes maintenance much easier! Anyway, if anyone would like to help me by testing it for me I'd really appreciate it. I've tested on a few different browsers but not all. The "Favorites" link is the only link that is currently working. On the favorites page you can click on any thumbnail to see the full sized picture or click on the link for the slideshow. You have to have pop-up blockers turned off to work.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bird Gallery


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RE: Bird sightings 5

WOW jeanner, That's fantabulous! Gave me a few names that I couldn't identify like the black and white warbler. Someone "borrowed" my North American bird book and I haven't seen it since. Didn't get a replacement for Mommie's Day either. I have so many Goldfinchs it looks like a lemon tree when they come to the feeder in the tree. Debbie


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RE: Bird sightings 5

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 15, 07 at 9:57

It works GREAT, Jean! I've had your bird files bookmarked for quite some time (because sometimes, I crave a white-breasted nuthatch on my desktop...:D), but this is even better, being able to see them all in thumbnails!

Oh, how I LOVE "mad robin"!!! LOL

(And you're right about the kestrels. I'll stop whining now. LOL)

Brenda


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Glad the website worked, anyone using IE 7? I haven't tried it yet so I don't know if it will work with it.

Okay, the dollop-of-jelly on the oranges is being ignored too. The ants are having a feast though. I think the orioles are just laughing at me :^(

I did have a small flock of waxwings in my crabapple tree, I think they were going for the tent caterpillars - go baby go! I usually don't see them until the cedar berries ripen in the fall so it was a treat to see them again.

Heres a couple of pics ... I never realized before how short their tales were!

Waxwing 1

Waxwing 2

If you can't see the pics, try again later - I still don't have email and now my website is going up and down. Needless to say after a week of this cr@p, I am moving to a new host, PRONTO!


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RE: Bird sightings 5

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, May 17, 07 at 9:21

I'm using IE7, Jean, with no problems.

The goldfinches have thinned out considerably here since last month, when I took the pic below. The wind was flat crankin', so most of them chose to eat on the ground. This was about half the amount of birds actually on the ground, but it was hard to focus my camera with so much action going on. :D I can only imagine how "lemony" your tree looked, Debbie!

Goldies in the Wind

Jean, cedar waxwings are my favorite big birds trapped in little bodies! Because I didn't get such a good look at the ones that visited my yard, I can use your pics for gazing. :) So beautiful!

I thought I spotted the oriole out at the creek the other day, but....it was so fleeting. I'm going to try more jelly, though, just in case.

Brenda


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Jean - that Cedar Waxwing looks like it is missing it's tail. They are not that short unless it is just the angle of the photograph playing tricks. The tail should come out beyond the longest wing feather by about an inch.

BTW - love the website Jean (I use IE7)

Brenda - love the Goldies! I like the mad Robin too Brenda and did you see Papa Smurf has a place too. Jean - how do we know Papa is a Papa and not a Mama Smurf? Have you see Smurfy at all yet?


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RE: Bird sightings 5

CT - you are so right! After comparing it to other pictures, the waxwing in the second picture is definitely missing it's tail. From other pictures of the first one, the tail is there just not showing in that picture. Poor thing, but appears to be doing okay and not being shunned by the other birds. Wonder if it will grow back.

As for PapaSmurf, he has not reappeared. But he and about 8 other jays disappeared about the time when territorial fights started. I still have 6 resident jays. Hopefully in the fall when the territory fights are over I will get to see him again. And no, I don't know if he is a he, but PapaSmurf was the only smurf with white hair and beard so thus, the nickname!

Brenda, that is one tight flock, those would be sardine finches!


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RE: Bird sightings 5

look at all the featherd bumble bee colored birds! i am blessed with 2, count them, 2, goldfinches. oh, i did have their young ones later last year. it took about 2 years of hanging thistle seed to get these guys.

on another note, since i stopped ground feeding i never get juncos anymore in winter :(

instead of my usual resident bumblebees, i have starlings nesting in my shed wall. hmmm. wonder if the bees will ever be interested again b/c i'll bet the starlings will want to use the same place next year. until we got a new mailbox, we used to have a pair trying to build a nest in there every spring (it never shut right and they would open it up).


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Jeez! That flock of Goldfinches was amazing, Brenda! I thought I had a gang! My Indigo Bunting is getting brave. Instead of hanging at the edge of the woods, he actually came to the the feeder by the pond and sat for a little short time on the shepard's hook till I called my daughter to come quick and he took off. This morning one of my resident (for summer) hummingbirds came to the porch to feed and its one leg is mangled and hanging straight down and floppy. Poor little girl, what could almost catch a hummer I wonder? Im getting so many different woodpeckers at the thistle seed feeders now, I wonder if it's because they timbered in back of our house a good bit? Must be, huh?


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Hummingbirds are so small they get hunted by frogs, birds, and even preying mantis, not to mention any regular predator that might catch them like a neighbor's cat. Hopefully the leg will just fall off and heal cleanly and the bird should adapt. Life will not be as easy though.

I stopped the suet and my woodpeckers are hitting the tube type. I've noticed a general decline in food being taken from all feeders except those most accessible to the squirrels and pesty grackles/starlings. Finches (gold and house) are doing fine on the thistle socks and other very small perch feeders. I have two pesty starlings out front that bang into the feeders trying to perch, thereby spilling all the food onto my front porch. Grrrr.....

All - I have some seed heads harvested from the Mountain Bluets. I am not certain I harvested at the right time or not, but the heads were mostly dried up and have been sitting on a paperplate drying further. Time to send you addys to 123susan58@tqci.net


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RE: Bird sightings 5

I had no idea that woodpeckers would go to a thistle feeder! Luckily my starlings have left for the fields so my suet is lasting longer now. And suprising, my wood thrush is scavenging the bits that fall to the ground. I wish I could figure out a way to get close for a picture but there really isn't a good way without scaring it off.

Sockmonkey, how sad about the hummingbird. I would call a rehabber, they might want to come out and try to net it and see what can be done. I would think it would have a really hard time surviving .... but then I have a bullfrog with a missing front leg and he's 4 years old.

Have you seen the female indigo bunting yet? They look very similar to a house finch but they are a very warm brown color with a touch of blue on the wings and they have the distinctive dark upper bill. Very dull compared to the male but still a pretty bird. I had two tonight foraging in the slippery elm but the male was no where to be seen.

Female Indigo Bunting

CT, I would love some seeds - can you save some for me until I get my email straightened out?

A little off topic, but the cedar rust has bloomed. They start out as a hard, brown gall that is about 1" and when they bloom, they expand into these balls that can be bigger than a tennis ball. They look like oranges hanging on the tree. After a few days, they shrink and dry up. Occassionally we see little puffs of smoke coming out of the tree when they release their spores. A really strange fungus!

Cedar Rust blooming


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Cometose, The squirrels beat up our feeders and shake them dry it's all day chasing them off and they don't go far, just sitting in the tree watching and laughing till we walk away. It looks like the leg on the little hummer will fall off, I keep watching for her and she is still feeding well. Our cardinals are coming less and the Blue Jays have gone back deeper into the woods, but those Woodpeckers, I have never seen so many. They rap on the feeder, but they pick out the thistle too and really seem to enjoy it.
I didn't know they liked thistle seed either til this year, JEANNER, YES I've seen the female Indigo now that you've shown me what she looks like! She is around more often than the male. I'd like to know which of the brats around here disappeared my bird book! Grrrrrr. There are a lot of Red Winged black birds at the feeders too, but mostly foraging on the ground.


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RE: Bird sightings 5

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, May 19, 07 at 9:20

Ohhh, the poor hummer! I hope she makes it, whether by survival alone or by rescue.

We had a scrub jay visit in late winter/early spring with what looked like fishing line around it's neck. It kept trying to swallow food....heartbreaking. I tried to sneak up and catch it, but it flew away. The poor thing never returned. I just wanted it to stop suffering.

We've had some VERY aggressive jays this year, and I've caught them silently (spooky!!) raiding house sparrow nests in a birdhouse and under the eaves. I almost chased them off, but...nature has its way, I guess.

The kestrels have been doing a lot of screaming, so I hope they're all safe back there. Not much singing from our resident starlings lately, though. I think the competition is too much for them. :)

Jean, that cedar rust is incredible!! Is it a terrible thing to have, or...? I've never seen anything like it. Maybe a faint memory of you mentioning it before, but that picture is so amazing!

I LOVE the smooching sounds of the red wings! I always smooch back at them. LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Cedar rust is bad for fruit trees. I've never seen it bloom though. Jean - post that one on the Name That Plant - they will get it but at least it is interesting. Someone posted an Elegant Stinkhorn the other day.

I can save the seeds. They are still flowering and I am picking the dried flowers and they keep blooming. They are even blooming around on the side of the house at least 60 feet away from where I first planted them. Brenda, they may be the first plants in your yard to self seed (but not sure about your zone for longevity) but who knows.

I see my pair of catbirds every day. Blue Jays are abundant. One cute thing I saw was a Mom Downy woodpecker that brought a young one to the feeder. They sat side by side and the Mom crushed up some nuts and fed the baby. I do need to buy more suet. I've been out for a week!

I have 5 of those rabbits in and around my woods and gardens and my neighbor across the street has baby rabbits. I also think I have a mole or two (that is a first for my property). I found two places that have openings and tossed up soil with a raised tunnel between them. It could be a shrew but I'm not sure if they dig tunnels like that. I LOVE the wildlife of all kinds - even the moles!

The pond has toad eggs in it so now I can't vacuum the bottom like I wanted to. Last year those tad poles seemed to stay in the pond for a month - then I never saw any baby toads??? I don't have many toads this year. Only a few 'screamers' last week, but they did manage to mate. Last summer I had 40 screamers at once (what a loud noise that was!).

All of my bullfrogs, but two, have taken off. They do that sometimes and then come back. Droopy is gone - he is the one I pulled the baby bird out of his mouth and it was dead so I put it back and he ate it, but I injured his mouth doing that and it droops on one side, hence the name. I won't do that again no matter what. I felt bad though because the Mom sparrow kept lining up her babies on the edge of the pond to feed them. NO NO NO!!! Sort of glad the monster frogs have departed for a while as long as they are safe in water I have nearby (stream, pond and swampy wetland) that are in traveling distance.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 20, 07 at 10:26

I'm hoping you got my email about the seeds, CT. I never know these days if mail will get sent or not. It looks like the plant should be ok for most of the zones (and microclimates) here in Cali. I sure hope it does well, since those flowers are some of the most gorgeous I've ever seen.

My mom's been getting a lot of mole activity at her house lately, too. No damage yet, but there's always the ability for ankle snappage, especially for a klutz like me. :D

Wildlife this time of year is so wonderful, with all of the young'uns and other critters taking advantage of youth. :) and :(...but mostly :)

Brenda


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Brenda, seeds are mailing out tomorrow in the am. I put several hundred in there. I hope they sprout. I am not a seed collector either but they fell from the seed heads naturally after drying out a few days. Lots of new blooms still coming on the plants and I've saved several hundred seeds for Jean too for when her email comes back up.

Remember, established plants don't like to be transplanted (it can be done but they wilt horribly in a few minutes) so I would germinate the seeds in peat pots and bury the whole pot once you get a good sized seedling. I would also try a direct sow to see how that works.

They like moist, well drained soil (doesn't every plant just about - LOL). They will wilt if they don't get some water every week, so a Cali drought with brown grass in the hills will do them in! I thought I remember their hardiness going down to Zone 2 or 3 (so Zone 10 might cook them).


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Brenda - According to the below link they should do fine in Zone 10. My plants wilt without some water every so often, but they are tough plants and self seed easily. The link also says they are drought tolerant, but more robust in the northern part of their range. I'm Zone 7 and we get rain year round. I have them in a well-drained raised bed with amended soil and full sun. I've not noted running stolens. They can be pulled out easily by hand when young or with a shovel if a big clump.

Once established I think they become more drought tolerant.

Here is a link that might be useful: Centaurea montana


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Cedar rust requires two hosts - anything in the apple family and the cedar family. After the gall from the cedar tree releases it spores, it grows on the apple trees which release their spores to form new cedar galls. I planted three crabapple trees which are supposed to be cedar-rust resistant, they still get a little fungus on them but not enough to really hurt them.

CT - I was thinking blue-eyed grass! I don't know what I was thinking but we call that the century plant. I have some too and yes they do reseed easily although I would not call them invasive. I found one growing in our unmowed area with the wild grass. I took them to a plant swap last year at work and one of the swappers brought plants in this year that had seeded from the plant I gave her. Mine are planted on a hot, dry hill and do fine.

I have moles too, lots of them! And I love wildlife too but I draw the line at moles and voles. I don't do anything to repel them though, they are just a fact of life for me. A couple of years before the brood X cicada emergence they got huge! The size of large baking potatoes! Which apparently is not unusual, they start eating the nymphs in the last couple of years before the emergence as they work their way to the top. What I hate is when I am working in the garden and all of a sudden earthworms come up out of the ground by the dozens and I can hear the mole digging his tunnel. Luckily as the soil dries out they tend to go deeper and the tunnels aren't as bad.

Back to the garden!


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RE: Bird sightings 5

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 21, 07 at 8:09

Thanks for the info, CT! From what the Sunset Western Garden book says (which has more detailed zonage than the typical USDA), I'll probably have to give C. montana regular water always, since they do prefer full sun, even here.

I'm definitely going to start some of those inside as soon as I get them, because the plants will want to get outside in fall, right before our rains arrive, especially since they're perennial. I've been using those Jiffy peat pellets, and they've worked great on everything so far (hollyhocks and sweet peas started late this year are blooming now!). I also might try to scatter some seed in fall, as well, and see what happens. Oh, I just can't wait! :)

Jean, that is freaky about the earthworms! I've heard of that happening before, but I've never seen it. Amazing and sort of scary! LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird sightings 5

The wood thrush seems to be a regular (although not a frequent) visitor under my suet feeders. I'm just amazed as this is the first time I have ever seen it even come close to the house. I've had hermit and swainsons feed with the ground bird but never the wood thrush. I was able to get a few pictures but it was dark so all but one were blurry ...

Wood thrush

And the catbird is also a regular suet feeder but he always slides in under cover, steals the raisins from the suet and sneaks away.

Catbird

The great-crested flycatchers are around again this year although not as regular as the phoebe. They have such a pretty yellow breast, I'm still working on getting a front shot.

Great-crested flycatcher

And while I was in the back taking pictures of the catbird and the thrush, the bluebird was out on my front deck! I was disappointed to miss the photo op but thrilled to see her so close. I've been putting out meal worms but have yet to see either of them come to feed and of course I didn't have them out when she was so close. Tonight I put them on a plate directly under the power line where they typically watch for bugs in the grass but wouldn't you know they didn't show up tonight. And I am running out of meal worms!

I had a red-eyed vireo and a swainsons thrush yesterday and I also saw two different indigo buntings this weekend, one is a first year male with quite a bit of brown still. I'm still working on a picture of the male bunting, either one would be fine with me.


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Great photographs Jean! Don't worry - your bluebirds will present an opportunity. Maybe you will get lucky and they will bring the whole family in for a snack!

I had this nasty old piece of half orange still up and I noticed the Downy pecking at it. It probably had fruit flies on it:-) My oriole feeder has been a bust so I am taking it down. The hummers come up to it but they can't figure out how to eat from it. Still have not found my big bag of hummer feeders I put away from last season!!


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RE: Bird sightings 5

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 22, 07 at 13:25

The wood thrush is so delicate and pretty! Those eyes are incredibly dreamy. :) The catbird is beautiful! It looks very sassy. LOL The fly catcher reminds me so much of our western kingbird...without the crest, of course. I've been seeing them a lot lately, which means less critters to fly inside my house. :) Love that yellow breast!

Haven't seen any woodpeckers for a while now, but I still put out the peanut butter/nut/berry combo on the crotch on the big tree. The jays and the maggies have been enjoying it in the meantime. Whenever I forget to put out new stuff, I'll see one of the jays standing in the empty area, head-tilting like crazy, as if to say, "Hmmm, did someone forget their chores today?" :D

Brenda


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That is cute Brenda - a scolding Jay! That is what they do best? Do your magpies steal things?


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RE: Bird sightings 5

bump for bonnie!


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RE: Bird sightings 5

Gorgeous pictures everybody and the video of the indigo bunting and the grass knocked my socks off! I had the pleasure of a male visiting my yard this spring but only for a few days. I also had red breasted grosbeaks and northern orioles for a couple of weeks before they moved on. I was so excited about it my family almost couldn't stand me anymore because thats all i talked about! I had never seen them in real life before and they were sooooo beautiful! I also saw for the first time tree swallows and they were so beautiful too. It was the best spring EVER for me :-) Thanks for sharing!--------bonnie


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