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Bird Sightings 1

Posted by comettose 7 (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 6, 07 at 21:02

Well - might be time to start the series up again?

No bird pictures on this post but I have a few sightings. I do have a photo of a Luna Moth.

First, which I am excited about is the return of my Juncos. They're B A C K........

And, with the Juncos, my hawk is back. I wish I had my camera as he was sitting right between one of my feeders and the double suet feeder.

Heard an owl about 2 weeks ago in the early morning.

Last Saturday my observations from 7 to 8:00 am brought the following:

White-breasted nuthatch (1)
Carolina Chickadee (4)
Downy Woodpecker (2)
Hairy Woodpecker (1)
Red-bellied woodpecker (2)
Tufted Titmouse (4)
Carolina Wren (1)
American Goldfinch (13)
House Finch (10)
Mouring Dove (3)
American Robin (12)
Blue Jay (2)
American Crow (2)
Northern Cardinal (5)
Mockingbird (1)
Assorted Sparrows (too many to list)
Juncos (30)
Black Turkey Vulture (1) (it swooped in very close to where I was watching) which was unusual.

Gone are the Brown Thrashers, Gray Catbird and Hummingbirds.

On a sad note - I had a Song Sparrow drown in the pond. It was probably brought down by a bullfrog.

Luna Moth (From August 2008 ) I meant to post it sooner but you know how that goes sometimes!

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Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bird Sightings 1

Wow at all your wonderful birds but double wow at your Junco's! I have not seen one yet and i love those little penguin birds :-) I thought they would come in with the others migrants but i haven't seen a one . Maybe soon. I am enjoying the white throated sparrows though. I just love their song, so wistful sounding. Your Luna moth is beautiful and it reminds me of a little fairy. I think i have you beat in the crow department though. We have about 20 every morning in the neighbors pecan tree. I think they sound really cool but my neighbors dont like them to much. They love gathering their pecans and the crows are eating them all. They may not have many pecan pies this holiday season.
Bonnie


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RE: Bird Sightings 1

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 7, 07 at 9:06

Great list, CT! You have me beat by about...ok, most of that list. LOL

I agree that moth looks fairy-like. Almost like it's glowing.

We've been hearing the flickers lately. I love the sound they make!

I also saw what I thought at first were magpies, but I'm fairly certain I was thrown off by the white, under-wing stripe or band of an oriole (in flight). There were 2 of them, chasing each other around, flicking their tails, and they were obviously smaller than a magpie. Their coloring made it appear it was 2 females, but that white band on the underside of the wing sounds like a male, right? The band or stripe reminded me of the white stripe on the wings of WWII U.S. aircraft, but there was only one stripe on the bird. :D We have had hummingbird feeder visits from a brightly-colored male Bullock's oriole in the past, but no sight of that coloration the other day.

Brenda


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Wow is right on the juncos! I'm still getting more and more each day but I don't think I've hit 30 yet. Bonnie, they should be down your way any day now, I heard my first ray-gun calls a couple of weeks ago. My list is about the same as CT's, except no mocker so far this year. I have had a yellow-rumped that appears each day and a pair of yellow-bellied sapsuckers. I also had my first brown creeper sighting last weekend but he got freaked out by the blue jays (which are numerous this year). I've also had several red-breasted nuthatches that show up for a day and then disappear - I hope one sticks around for the winter, they are such cuties. I've spotted the flicker and pileated a few times - much easier to see without the leaves on the trees. My house finches have left (they always do in the winter and I have no idea why) but I've had a few purple finches and a new yard bird for me - a pine siskin. I thought it was a stray house finch but after a closer look I realized the beak was all wrong so I took a few pictures and on closer inspection, there was just a touch of yellow on the wing. So check those house finches closely - this is an irruption year for them - CT, are they reporting them over your way? Here's the picture that I took, check out the beak and the touch of yellow on the wing and the deeply notched tail.

I've also had a sharp-shinned hawk that is really trying to be a hawk but seems a little confused about how to hunt. Instead of the surprise attack that is typical of a hawk he just sails in and perches in the tree like a feeder bird. He did attempt to go after a cardinal in the multi-flora rose but got so tangled up he gave up - the cardinal didn't even flee. I got some great shots of him which I will post soon!

Brenda, I do hope someday you get magpies, such cool birds!


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Pine siskins are rare in St. Mary's County where I live but I'll let you know if anyone from my group reports one or if I see one. I know they are irruptive.

I've not seen my Yellow-bellied sapsuckers back yet. They should make a showing soon I hope! They leave me every spring around March and show up in the fall. Last night was the coldest night here (36 degrees and a partial killing frost in unprotected areas). We still have all our leaves on the trees and with all the rain we finally got lots of color showing right now.

I've not seen a Brown Creeper for over a year. With the land developers and builders tearing down the largest forested areas all around me I expect my bird population will change for the worse. At least to my west there is St. Mary's River State Park which is protected, but other tracks of decent size are going fast:-( I have to admit one day as I rode past the bulldozers I had to yell out my window 'tree murderers'! It keeps one from crying.

I'm hanging tight to my small piece of woods and continue to write articles to our community to plant for wildlife. I'm convinced habitat is the way to long term protection and feeding from feeders secondary.

Great to see a photo of the siskin Jean. That would make some of our members drool with envy.

S


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 8, 07 at 11:16

That pine siskin is so adorable, Jean! I'll definitely have to keep an eye out for them here.

We actually do have a couple of resident maggies here, and the birds I saw really don't resemble them at all. I was thrown off when first seeing one in flight, but I was SO wrong. LOL Haven't seen them again since, though. :(

I will probably be yelling and crying when the landlords decide to take out the cottonwoods behind our house. They keep threatening to do so, because of possible damage to the houses here....but I can't believe the amount of birds that nest and hang out in those trees. :(

Brenda


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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

First time these guys have stopped in. They came with about 50-60 friends. Stayed about half an hour. Haven't been back since. What are they? Upstate ny.
Thanks,
Annette


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Those are evening grosbeaks - lucky you!!! They are another irruption bird this year. Now, could you send them done this way PLEASE????


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Lucky you Annette - you have Evening Grosbeak there. They must be migrating through and stopped for an energy renewal snack. Not a common bird at all. I've never seen one in the flesh or should I say feather (so to speak).
Thanks for the photo!

-S


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Hey Jean - we were posting at the same time! I am always happy when Grosbeaks are seen. We almost never get them here other than the one day pass-through of the Rose-breasted last fall. The Evening Grosbeak is in decline or so I read somewhere recently so it is nice to see such a large group passing through. I hope they make it to their destination in one piece and that their ultimate destination is still good habitat.

Annette - link to other photos of the Evening Grosbeak

Here is a link that might be useful: Evening Grosbeak Images


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Jean - Pine Siskins being are reported all over the county today!


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That's great CT! I'm betting you get some too, keep a keen eye on those finches!


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What bird gave you the spark? My group forwarded this Cape May, NJ podcast which asks the birds what spark bird got them into birdwatching. It's fun to watch and listen what the various people have to say. Look quickly at what the people do or their websites. One guy has a site called 10,000 birds blog which I thought might be worth looking up. Jean - note the credits given to the bird photographers (your name could be there!!!). Well, your name belongs in National Geographic - not YouTube!

I plan to keep my bins with me. I do have many Goldfinches, sparrows and house finch, so if a Pine Siskin shows I want to see it up close and personal. I filled all the feeders this morning with a 50/50 mix of chipped sunflower seeds and black niger. That should bring them!

My spark bird - can't say just one, but if I had to remember back as a child I saw two male Baltimore Oriles fighting in flight for a mate. I find each new bird I see resets the spark.

It is a YouTube presentation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb7zS9wWscg

Here is a link that might be useful: Spark Bird


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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This guy got me hooked :) My Harley baby.
Amaqan


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RE: Bird Sightings 1

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Nov 11, 07 at 13:49

Annette, those evening grosbeaks are incredible!!! They're supposed to be out here year-round, but of course, I've never seen one, let alone 50-60! You're so lucky! I think I would pass out if I saw so many at once. LOL

Harley wouldn't make me pass out, though. Just drool. :D

Hey, I've been keeping my "bins" handy, too, since Jean's pine siskin post! Hard to use them while keeping my fingers crossed, though.

Brenda


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And I actually got to watch the spark bird video without long pauses while it buffered (we just upgraded our satellite service!). I've fed the birds for years without really paying much attention to them - My mom always fed the birds so it was a tradition for us. But I would say the first bird to get me really excited was a Canada warbler - it was the first bird that I had photographed with my new camera and I didn't even realize what it was until I uploaded the picture! That fall I got up early every morning to see what other warblers might come my way and I was rarely disappointed - it was very exciting. And I have yet to see another Canada warbler :^(


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 13, 07 at 8:12

Cripes, I forgot about the "spark" thing! LOL

Since my bird watching is so recent, I'd say a barn owl did it for me. Flew right by when I was on a pre-dawn walk with Red. Even Red showed reverence by "pawsing" his "let's drag Mom down the road" workout. :D

Brenda


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I'm finally getting around to uploading the sharp shinned hawk pictures. This hawk has become a real problem - he has yet to catch one of the feeder birds (that I've witnessed) but he likes to hang out with them. He spends hours perched in the tree - if I walk out to scare him away, he comes right back. I think he needs to fine tune his suprise attacks, he just sails in and lands, and then looks around hoping to find a bird perched in the tree or on the ground. He did try to get a cardinal in a multi-flora rose but he got so tangled up in the branches he gave up. It's been fun watching him but he can move on now!

Sharp shinned 1
Sharp shinned 2
Sharp shinned 3
Sharp shinned 4
Sharp shinned 5
Sharp shinned 6
Sharp shinned 7
Sharp shinned 8
Sharp shinned 9


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Nov 15, 07 at 9:23

Oh, my goodness! I wonder...do all juvies do that before learning that they must sneak up on their meals? He is SO handsome! Pic 3 is hilarious! "Don't you poop on me..." LOL

Pic 8 is my absolute favorite!! And a nightmare of many other birds, I'm sure. :D

I hope he's eating something SOMEwhere!

Brenda


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Does his beak look right to you? The bottom half? I thought on picture 5 it looked like the top and bottom didn't meet up (maybe just the angle though).
I guess if nothing is wrong it should catch something but if it just sits there and no birds come around you would think it would leave. Maybe it's mother was a cowbird and it was raised by sparrows - that's it - he thinks he is a sparrow.

My hawk sits in my tree near the feeder. It does sit very still and I presume it is waiting for the birds to forget they saw it fly in and come back to the feeders and wham.

I've also seen my hawk sneak-walk along my fence to edge closer to a nearby evergreen that was haboring birds that not 10 minutes earlier flew into the evergreen to escape the big divebomb attack that missed. Here they were - thinking they made it to thick cover only to have Mr. Hawk move along the fence and then wham - it spirals the tree like greased lightening from top to bottom and I'm pretty sure nailed a Junco.

You could shoo it away or watch for a few days to see if it gets weak and skinny and in need of rescue. Do you know any rapter people you could ask? Also, how old do you think this bird is? He has got to be near adult at this time of year. Gone from the nest for a while - so if he could not eat I would think he would be long gone. He is probably munching down and you just haven't caught that action yet.


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The previous summer I had a pair of juvenile coopers hawks that would do the same thing - they quickly learned to master the surprise attack though so I'm sure Mr. Sharpie will catch on. His beak looks okay to me and his weight looks good so I'm not worried about him. They are migrants here and usually clear out by January but I always have one that sticks around all winter. Much as I hate having them prey on my feeder friends, they are amazing birs. They are very agile for their size. Someday I'll have to take a picture of the birds in the rose bush taking cover, it's amazing how many birds will run to it for cover.

Saw-whet owls are showing up in Ohio in amazing numbers, I'm going to start checking my cedar trees. Check out these pictures and blog

Here is a link that might be useful: Saw-whet owls


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Their back! a.k.a. I hate my camera.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
They came around yesterday...dozens of them. About 30 came back today. Shouldn't they be somewhere warmer?
Annette


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Nov 17, 07 at 9:30

Jean, Mr. McCormac is SO right! "An almost shockingly 'cute' animal." The pic where it's being petted, like a KITTY, is the cutest thing I've ever seen! I would give ANYthing to see one (or twenty) of those here. :D

You would think they'd be moving on to warmer locales, Annette, but look what they'd be missing! It looks like you're keeping a nice supply of num-nums for them. :D They're so beautiful.

Brenda


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Saw-whet owls are adorable. Happy you have them there and hope some fly into your camera range.

Evening Grosbeak are mostly in Canada so I think the cold you are having there is a piece of cake for them (and they like the chow).

Jean- I was reading way down on your link and saw this:

"The snail that apparently is a host of the trematode is the banded mystery snail, Cordts said. It was first documented on Lake Winnie eight years ago by fisheries biologists.
"Its been concentrated on the west side [of the lake]," he said. "Its numbers have really exploded."

How did the banded Mystery Snail get into the Ohio waterways? I hope the home aquarium/pond trade had nothing to do with it. Sad to hear so many birds are dying by eating the infected snails. Grrrrr - when people let loose non-native creatures into the wild, in particular when they can survive the climate and introduce new diseases that devastate local populatons of various creatures.


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Evening Grosbeak are mostly in Canada

well there you go, I am only minutes from the border. They're not lost...only visiting:)
Annette


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RE: Bird Sightings 1

They breed up in Canada and winter in various places. Roving large flocks at feeders is a typical sighting of a bird I've never seen here in Maryland. The link states they eat copious amount of sunflowers seeds! Better stock up! I wish I would get one. The possibility is good this year one may show up at my feeders as they winter as far south as Georgia for those in the Eastern part of Canada.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell - Evening Grosbeak Info


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Here is a better Cornell link. Talks more to ranges during breeding and winter season.

Here is a link that might be useful: Better Cornell Link


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Annette now that they've found you, I'm guessing they may be regular winter visitors - what a treat! But that snow made me shiver - I'm not ready for that yet.

CT - I'm not sure about the banded mystery snail, I wasn't even aware and apparently you read more of the blog than I did.

Here's my surprise for the day :^)

Here is a link that might be useful: My first (and probably only) WIN!


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Yea JEAN! What a lovely, crisp photo of the Fox Sparrow in the snow. Way to go!!!!! I'm so happy and excited for you. -CT


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 20, 07 at 9:09

That's SO WONDERFUL, Jean!!! Congratulations, lady! You deserve it! This is the first of MANY; I would BET on it!

I want that for my Christmas cards next year. :)

Brenda


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Thanks ladies! And today I found out that it was published in the Nov/Dec issue of the American Gardener (magazine that is published by the American Horticultural Society) so of course I had to order a copy :^)

Here is a link that might be useful: American Gardener


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RE: Bird Sightings 1

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Nov 21, 07 at 8:41

Even better, Jean! What a great Christmas present, too! :D I'm so happy for you. *proving it by performing my infamous happy dance*

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 1

I watched the birds at my feeder this morning and I've decided I really, really like those silly nuthatches because the way they walk all over the tree trunks in any direction. I wish I could walk down a tree trunk head first.

I also noted a pair of Downy Woodpeckers and they were at first jockeying for position at the suet but then the male backed down and the female ate first. For the first time I saw something strange in a woodpecker - the male went to the base of the trunk while waiting his turn and then hopped on the ground acting like some common sparrow. I've never seen a woodpecker on the ground like that. You could tell he was not keen on it as it kept flitting back up on the very base of the trunk and then back down again. He didn't venture far from the trunk either - no more than 12 inches and then back up again. I think he settled on the idea that being a ground feeder is not his thing.

I noticed many of my Juncos are quite dark, almost a slate blue black with a high sheen. So many of them now because I put lots of food on the ground. They sometimes hang out in the dried up Joe Pye Weed. I suppose they are picking out seeds?

I still have that giant Cottontail (or Hare like Jean said) and it is huge. Bigger than many toy dogs. It comes out at night into the back yard to search for seed and I also throw out vegetable and fruit pickings. I only get a quick glimpse in distance fading glow of the back door porch light.

Still no Siskin...


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CT - are they reporting red-breasted nuthatches there yet? They are here in numbers this year, I've only had a few brief visitors but my sister has a regular pair.

I was surprised to hear your downies haven't fed from the ground before. My downies and red-bellies regularly feed from the ground, the hairies are a bit more skiddish on the ground but will occassionally.

I have an over abundance of blue jays this year - I already have 14 of them and the winter season is just beginning. I wonder if the dry season had an effect on the spread of west nile this year. But still no papa smurf.

I had three pine siskins today, two females and/or young and a bright male. They are not regular though so I am wondering if they are still migrating through.

Had five purple finches today, the most I've seen in awhile, 3 females, 1 adult male and 1 young male with orange coloring instead of the purple. That's the second time I've had the orange variant.

Heres the orange variant ...

And a male going after the honeysuckle ...


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Red-breasted nuthatches have been seen but not by me:-(

I only have two of the white-breasted.

Speaking of orange variants in finches. I had two orange variants in the House Finch. No purple finches come to my feeders - in fact I've never seen one in the wild but we do have them. They are not terribly common anymore in this area or so I heard somewhere.

My bluejay population is just the opposite - hardly any now but back in the spring there were large groups that would move in.

I am still getting two American Crows every day. They ground feed most times.

This morning, before I got up for work, I saw dozens of Junco, 8 Mourning Doves (since I added cracked corn), and that crazy rabbit was racing all over the place -dashing at top speed back and forth and in large circles. He would then stop and do it again. I cannot believe how fast they move and how quickly they can fit between the pickets on my fence. I bought a 5 lb. bag of rabbit food and put some out a dish last night. It got rained on so I'll replace it today. Maybe the rabbit was all excited about the food:-)

Lovely photos Jean - so pretty. -S


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Congratulations on your win, Jean! And a national contest too -- no small potatoes there! I'm so glad you're getting published -- the world needs your photos!

And yay for crows, commettose. We're just now getting some back in our neighborhood after a few years' absence.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Nov 27, 07 at 7:52

I've been hearing crows here for the last couple weeks, too! I saw one fly away from the cottonwood tree behind us last week. It was a big ol' sucker! LOL

There was quite a large flock of Juncos at my folks' house over the holiday. They were in the veggie garden area, which has gone to seed since the cooler weather arrived. They were so quiet, I jumped when they flew off, not knowing they were there. I'd say at least 30 of them were gathered. I love Juncos!

I'd love to have purple finches, orange variant or not. I'm still hoping you see Papa Smurf again some day, Jean!

Brenda


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Jean, I totally missed your great news about the win. How marvelous! It's time you got the attention you deserve. Congratulations! Keep entering those contests. Those kind of wins would look great on a resume. Sandy


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Congratulations Jean!!!!! :-) Im grinning so hard my face may split! What a wonderful picture too and i am so happy for you. You deserve lots and lots of wins, your photos are fabulous.
I love the beautiful parrot Mr. Harley too. I would love to scratch the little red polka dot feathers under his eye without losing a finger of course :-)
Hi Brenda! Did you see Jeans purple finch picture. Little hot pink birdies with cool white eye stripes. I just love them. I have never seen an orange one though.
Jean im having the same problem with a juvenile female coopers hawk and she is huge. I run out and chase her and clap and she circles and comes right back! Ahhh it drives me nuts. She waits till i feed them and wham here she comes. I think she thinks the woman in the white sweeter every morning means its the dinner bell. I dont understand why she doesnt come until i feed them because they all sit around and beg with hungry eyes and i give in and then here she comes. Why not get them while they are begging. Then she scares them all off and Mr. squirrel comes and eats all the food. I just cant win! LOL....I totally feel your frustration. They are beautiful birds though aren't they and i love your pics of it looking up at the sky like a birdie will just drop in its lap so to speak. LOL...
Im with CT about not having any red breasted nuthatches. I have the cute little white breasted ones and they do a funny dance at my downy woodpecker. When they met the White breasted nuthatch opens its wings and spreads its tail and does this weird swaying from side to side making a weird noise. Very entertaining but what the heck is the little thing doing. Trying to hypnotize the woodpecker? LOL...
I love birds they are so great. Happy Holidays everyone :-)
Bonnie


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Pretty Redwing Blackbird

Hi again everybody, i just saw the prettiest Redwing blackbird and i wanted to know if anyone else had seen one like this. I know it was a redwing because of the red and orange at the wing shoulder but this one had orange feathers down his back and under his tail by his vent. They were probably black feathers all edged in orange but from the outside they looked orange. Like little orange scallops on shiny black. I have never noticed ones back and bottom to have orange scalloped feathers before. Have i just missed it or is this a special bird? The sunlight was shining right onto his back and it glowed orange. I thought maybe a northern oriole but then there was the orange and red on the wing shoulders and when it called it clucked like a red wing. I haven't seen any around since last June so could this be a winter plumage? Sorry y'all im new to birding stuff so maybe it looked normal and i never noticed its fancy orange back feathers. Anyway it was the prettiest redwing i ever saw. It made my day :-)
Bonnie


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I'm not sure what you saw as it does not describe the Red-winged blackbird except for the red epaulets which are very visible in flight but mostly hidden otherwise except for a sliver. They are not red or orange on the back.

Regarding the Baltimore or Northern Oriole - you cannot mistake them for a black bird as they are almost all bright orange with a total black head. The RWB is almost all black with just the wing color.

Maybe you did see a unique or special blackbird with strange coloration. It's hard to say but the typical Northern oriole and Red-winged blackbird are both distinctive IMO with strong field marks. Also, I would not consider the RWB song a cluck but a strange ethereal sound I cannot even describe. Cornell will have their song recording.

Here is a link that might be useful: Baltimore or Northern Orioles


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Bonnie - here is the link to Cornell on the RWB. It has a good photo and the song is described as a gurgling "oak-a-lee." Call a dry "chek" and "cheer."

How big was your bird?

Here is a link that might be useful: Red-winged Blackbird


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Hey CT. I really think it was a Redwing blackbird because he did have the red and orangish patch on his wings. It was smaller than in the picture on the Cornell site. His body was mostly black overall but he had those cool orange colored scallops on the end of his feathers on his neck, back and vent. He didn't sing for me he clucked like to call others. To me it sounded closest to a Red bellied woodpecker cluck or chuck. You know the noise they make when they hang around the feeders. I think i saw a rare bird because i have been looking at the other sites about the redwings and i never saw a picture of back or vent feathers being orange scalloped. This is just so cool. I have got to get a decent camera to share stuff like this with you all. I hope he comes back today i swear it was the prettiest blackbird i ever saw. Usually with blackbirds they have the blue iridescents but he was orange. Like a sunset. So pretty, thanks CT.
Bonnie


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Thanks ZC, Sandy and Bonnie for the congrats! And not to diminish the win, but it was mostly birders taking photographs of birds - when I win a contest of photographers taking pictures of birds I will be ready to quit my day job :^)

Bonnie, I'm not really familiar with red-winged blackbirds - they are in the surrounding fields but not often at my house. So I googled it and found a picture of a juvenile red-winged blackbird showing some orange on the tips of the feathers ...

Immature red-winged blackbird

My only other thought would be a rusty blackbird that does go through a pretty amazing transformation in the fall, the white eye is distinctive though ..

Rusty blackbird

Rusty blackbird


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RE: naturescapes

Heres a nature photographers forum that I often frequent, I don't post just drool over some of the photographs. You have to join to view the full size photos but it is a free and I've not received any spam from them and it really is worth the few minutes it takes.

There are some amazing shots of birds but check out the landscapes and other categories too - very inspiring!

Here is a link that might be useful: Naturescapes


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Nov 30, 07 at 12:26

Bonnie, I have to know! Is it an immature red-winged, as Jean mentioned? It sure looks like your description! Hope you get to enjoy him for a while longer. :)

Brenda


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Hey Y'all. The bird is definitely a redwing and it may be the juvenile and it was really pretty. The second picture of Jeans rusty blackbird, the back feathers are identical of the bird i saw but the head of the rusty blackbird is all wrong and to much orange. I beleive it is a juvenile Redwing blackbird with the beautiful back of the second rusty blackbird photo. Does that make since? LOL... If you look close at the back of the second pic of the rusty blackbird you can see the orange scalloped feathers. It looks like black lava with small red cracks in it just like those feathers but its head was all black and it had the redwing patches on its wings and it was in the evening sun and it just glowed so pretty. I haven't seen it any more but im so glad i got to see it. Thanks Jean for the pictures to help describe what i saw. What a cool bird. Bird watching is so fun and im so glad y'all have the experience! LOL...


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When I went to bed last night around midnight I looked out my window for the two rabbits that live on my property. One is the big male and the other I've watched grow up all summer from when I first saw it when it was about 4" long. Now it is full grown rabbit but not as big as the other one.

I didn't see any rabbits but continued to watch as sometimes they are hard to see unless they move when all of a sudden the smaller rabbit raced across my lawn and around the backside of the pond. Something brown was in hot pursuit and for all the world they were both moving so fast I could not tell if the second creature was another rabbit or a cat or what??

Then the chase abruptly stopped, the rabbit froze in place near my picket fence, and the other creature veered off and up and flew right past my window, not 2 feet from my head. I had a bright back porch light so this scene was well illuminated. It was an owl! It was so big it had to be a Great Horned. I'm glad he didn't get 'my' rabbit. The last time I saw the small rabbit it's white cotton tail was slipping through the fence pickets and I heard it move off as it rustled the leaves on the woodland floor. .....................................

This morning at 7am I had pairs of just about every bird that visits my feeders but one pair I've not seen before at the feeder area was the Northern Flicker. I've seen them fly by in recent months. One flew down and had a drink at the pond and then they both took off. Neither stopped at the suet or seed feeders.

Other sightings (the usual suspects):

2 Carolina Wrens
2 White-breasted Nuthatches
1 Hairy Woodpecker
2 Red-bellied Woodpeckers
AND HURRAY - 1 Yellow-bellied Sapsucker (a small one)
2 American Crows - which kept swooping in and chasing off the squirrels but never stopped to eat.
1 Northern Cardinal (female)
6 House Finches
3 Goldfinches (No siskins yet)
2 Carolina Chickadeedees
5 Tufted Titmouse (or is that TitMICE:-)
10 Mourning Doves
Too many juncos to count and various sparrows.

You know what I've not seen since last spring is the Eastern Towhee. I had a pair for two years but they have been absent this season. Maybe it was the drought.

Probably due to all the woodlands being cut down up the street. They have 4 townhouses up already and plans to build a total of 275 of them (jeez) - they completely leveled out a BIG section of heavy forest with mixed pine and hardwoods. There used to be native Mountain Laurels all along the edges and so many big hardwood trees (beech, hicorky, oaks, gum, maple, you name it) All gone.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Dec 3, 07 at 8:26

Wow, what an awesome sight, CT! I'm glad the rabbit made it, since I love hearing about their adventures at your house. :D I hope the owl found some num-nums elsewhere.

The yellow-rumped warbler (a.k.a. Mr. Sunnybottom) has been a regular here since Oct. I look forward to hearing and seeing him every morning! He's not too shy, and he loves the "peen butten"/nuts & berries mixture on the tree. :)

I thought I caught a glimpse of a female Bullock's oriole the other day, so I quickly got some grape jelly out there. Haven't seen whatever it was since, but the jelly's still there. :(

Brenda


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I found this website by browsing for photos of an GH Owl in flight using Yahoo images. I found one photo and it led me back to the website of Tommy Simms. He has some excellent photographs and funny commentary here and there. I only browsed the wildlife series. If you have the time - take a look. CT

Here is a link that might be useful: Tommy Simms Photography


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A photo taken at the Brandywine River Museum of a Boy and Hawk. The museum houses Wyeth and other American artist work. It also has a train garden, outside they had crafts people selling handmade period items and homemade food and honey, etc. There is also a restaurant which is good. My son and I enjoyed the area of Chadd's Ford, PA. You can visit Longwood Gardens, plenty of antique places, a winery and old farmsteads and churches.

Here are a few photos and a link to the museum.

Boy with Hawk and Doves Bronze Scupture. I really love this sculture.

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Bronze Pig Sculture - Outside and behind the museum down near the water. This pig was lifesize - and huge.

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Old Spring House. This was on a farm near the museum that was used by General George Washingon. It has a stream running under it to keep the food cold.

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An old barn on the same property. Wonderful stone work. Lots of stone walls and buildings in this area as the ground is loaded with them.

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Here is a link that might be useful: Brandywine River Museum


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I forgot - in case you want to go I highly recommend staying at the Brandywine River Museum. It is right in the thick of things. We visited Longwood Gardens, Winterthur, of course the museum in my photos, the Chadd's Ford Winery, and the various Battlegrounds. We didn't have time for much else as we only stayed 3 nights.

Link to the B&B in the event you consider a trip to the area. The link is one click from the main site so you can see some of the attractions to the area. If you go in nice weather you can expect to see birds and other wildlife at Longwood and Winterthur gardens. The conservatories at Longwood are a plant lovers paradise! I was ooooing and ahhhing every other turn.

I feel like a tour guide - but I wanted to share as this short trip was loaded with fun things to see and do and culinary delights as well (without breaking your pocketbook).

Here is a link that might be useful: Brandywine River Museum


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Great pictures, CT! While I appreciate the artistry of the sculptures, it's the old spring house and the old barn that really appeal to me. And after working on my little stone wall all summer I know understand better the skill and artistry that it takes to build a stone foundation!

How exciting to watch that owl in action. You said you heard an owl a couple of weeks ago, did it sound like a great horned? Another possibility would be a barred owl. I thought I read somewhere that barred owls are more likely to be on the ground but I can't find that documentation now.

I eyed the cracked corn today when I was buying sunflower chips thinking maybe I could lure those crows down out of the trees but I was afraid I would end up with starlings. What birds do you have feeding on the cracked corn?


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Dec 4, 07 at 8:45

Great owl shot on Tommy's site, CT! I scanned the others, and the landscapes left me breathless.

Love your pics, too! Thanks for sharing! I admit that I'm always interested in architecture of any sort, and I really enjoyed the pics you took of the old buildings. PA is such a beautiful state, and all of the garden pics I've seen posted online are simply gorgeous. Near the top of my wish list is to visit there some day and spend a lot of time exploring. And if I win the lottery.....maybe move there. LOL

Yesterday was one of the best bird sighting days EVER! No new sightings, but as I was standing in the yard, a hawk flew from behind me, and to the right, up into the walnut tree near the top of the creek, which I was facing. Still not positive if it was a sharp-shinned or a Cooper's, but it was only about 30 feet away in front of me! To me, that's close. LOL He then waddled and clambered over to the neighboring oleander, sat silently in there for a sec, then thrashed around some more and flew off to the left and behind our house. Nothing like an encounter to get the ol' juices flowing! LOL

Later in the day, I heard an unfamiliar bird. I swiveled my head to look out the front window, and I got a quick glimpse of a black phoebe before it flew off! I was telling DH, who was behind me in the kitchen, "Don't move, a bird, a bird, don't MOVE!"...so he walked in to see what I was yacking about. LOL!!! Ack!

I can't wait to see what might be out there today! :)

Brenda


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Correction - staying at the Brandywine River HOTEL (not museum). I'm getting senile!

I have one mix that has cracked and whole kernel corn in it and it is favored by Mourning Doves, crows, rabbits, Blue Jays, and I'm not sure if the Juncos or Sparrows eat it, probably not. I don't have any Starlings (knock on wood). They have not been around - I used to get this pesky two or three that would bring in a few of their pals, but for months none. The starlings are suet pigs here.

I saw a pickup truck one time in a parking lot that had 20 or 30 crows hanging out, some in the bed, and others on parking lot lights. I walked over to the truck thinking I might see something gross like a rotting deer skin or head or something but the truck bed floor was covered with ears of hard field corn. The crows were really liking it.

My crows come several times a day as they always announce themselves, but they are terribly skittish. Move the smallest bit (inside the house in the window) and they take off. Sometimes they don't land. The other day they were swooping at the squirrels on the ground but would not land. One day they did land (both of them) and one flew up to the suet and was eating great gobs of it with each bite and the other one was walk/hopping over the yard eating from the ground. Then a squirrel came and chased the one on the ground and they both flew away. The squirrels are king. The other birds leave when the crows show up except woodpeckers and wrens (who are both very brave). If you put some corn cobs out your crows will probably come to them if the squirrels don't carry them off first. It does not have to be cracked corn for the crows. They swallow the whole kernels just like blue jays can. Whole kernel corn might be harmful to other birds that try to eat it though - like the doves which adore corn.

Great sighting on the hawk Brenda. I can never tell which it is either unless they land in a nearby branch and I study them with book in hand. I usually look at the shape of the tip of the tail first to see if blunt or rounded, then the shape of the head. The few I've seen have mostly been Sharp-shinned, but one time I was leaning towards Cooper's. I only get a few chances where they land and I can study them. Mostly they are overhead being mobbed by other birds or outed by crows.

I think my owl is a Great Horned as I've heard them hooting but I've also heard the Barred owl also with that characteristic hoo-aw on the last hoot of the series. I am pretty good with owl calls. It did not land on the ground. The only thing that saved the rabbit was it ran up to the fence and the owl had to stop and fly upwards or do a nose dive into the fence.

It came down on the rabbit at a steep angle from somewhere behind or around the side of the house and the rabbit was running so fast towards the fence as they can slip through the pickets. The rabbit froze just as the owl gave up and rapidly flapped upwards and then leveled out and flew past the 2nd story window where I was watching.

I'll tell you my fist impression, because of the great size, was it was a big Red-tailed hawk but then I thought what the heck is that doing flying at midnight in these tight quarters. The wingspan was long and it flapped it's wings a few times as it flew past my window. It looked like a hawk with no head which led to me to believe it was an owl and a big one. Without better field marks it really could have been either the Barred or Great Horned as both are big enough to fit what I saw. It didn't make any sound but a whooshing of wing beats as it passed. I only had 3 seconds to look at it and I was as startled as the rabbit I think. The darned thing almost hit my window it was so close. I had the window open but there is a screen there, but had there not been I probably could have stuck my arm out and touched it. I had no time to study any field marks, only the impression it was a huge hawk with no head that flapped it's wings a couple of times and then it was gone. The color was many shades of brown with darker brown on top and almost buff on the bottom. Lots of pattern to the feathers. Now I cannot remember if I saw ear tufts or not....darn it!


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Jean - more stonework buildings. I wish I had stones like these just lying around in the soil waiting to be used! Nice pond stones.

Another barn:

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A two story house:

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An entire church made out of the same local field stone:

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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Dec 5, 07 at 7:41

Oooo, I LOVE that last pic, CT! Cemeteries are so fascinting, and the church is absolutely gorgeous! Another dream of mine is to do a whole book of photographs of cemeteries around the country, the smaller the cem., the better. Those stones, and all of the stonework, are really incredible.

I don't know that I'll ever truly ID my hawk, because every time I see one, I'm like a deer in the headlights - mouth open, eyes wide, too shocked to look away but unable to pay attention to details. :D

Brenda


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I am a fan of old cemeteries too. Here are two of the headstones a tad closer. I imagine who these people were and what their lives must have been like. William and Jane. William lived to a ripe old age for the times - over 78 years dying in 1858. I like that way the old memorial stones expressed the life in number of years, months, and days.

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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Dec 6, 07 at 7:45

Those are GREAT! Wow, over 78 years of age in 1858! He was a healthy one. I'm into that whole genealogy stuff, so my imagination always runs wild in old cemeteries. :D

Brenda


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Oh, I love old cemetaries too, especially private family ones. My sister has done extensive work on our geneology and has gone to Scotland several times to research the blood lines, including old cemetaries and churches. Somewhere I have a picture of the old Lindsay castle, now there's some stonework!

We had our first snow and I decided to stay home to watch the birds. I hadn't been up but a few minutes when I heard three window crashes all at the same time. I went running and there on the deck was a cedar wax wing and a starling. I don't know what the third one was, apparently it flew off. As I ran out, the sharp-shinned hawk took off. Both the waxwing and the starling seemed okay, just stunned but no bleeding or broken bones. I moved them both to a safer location and watched them recover and fly off. I haven't had any window crashes in a long time and I hate that sound! I have no idea what the waxwing was doing, they so rarely come close to the house so I have to believe that the hawk chased them quite a ways. The rest of the day was quiet, no more hawk attacks and the feeder birds were out in full force, no new birds though, not even the pine siskins and red-breasted nuthatches. But my oregon junco has returned for the third year! He was featured in North American Birds last year but I never got a copy of the magazine.

Such a handsome fellar ...

Heres an interesting article on eBird about the numerous irruptions this year - looks like we all have a chance to see some of these birds!

Here is a link that might be useful: eBird irruption reports


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

Ohhh, I LOVE Juncos! They look like they're decked out for the ball in their fancy winter best....furs and all (sorry, PETA...LOL). :)

I'm so sorry to hear about the window crashes, Jean! Very glad to hear the birds were ok, though. I haven't had any for a few months, thank goodness. The goldfinch hits were more numerous than usual this year. :(

Brenda


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A common redpoll was seen at a feeder today in a location just west of me - I am really excited that I might get to see one here! I just hope those evening grosbeaks make it down here!!!


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I've never seen one Jean - take your camera! Funny when a bird is named 'Common' anything when they are not common!

The Uncommmon Redpoll!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Dec 15, 07 at 7:31

Uncommon is right! What an awesome sight that would be! Hey, he's on the back cover of my Audubon Bird book, too. Handsome devil.

Brenda


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I was birdwatching again today. The usual suspects of course along with two more rare visitors for my property.

I spotted 8 Cedar Waxwings eating American Holly berries. They swallow them whole after a fast dash to grab one. I love their smooth look, and that face mask from the front looks like a pair of those crazy pointy sunglasses. These had a spot of red on the side and yellow tail tips.

I also had a Hermit Thrush show up late on the ground under the feeders.

I watched a White-breasted Nuthatch wrestle a large peanut from a cage type feeder. He had a beak full!


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Congrats on the waxwings! I had three the other day that came in with a flock of robins trying to find the last of the honeysuckle berries. And I saw them on one of my feederwatch days so I got to count them! I just wish the pine siskins would show up on the weekends so I could count them too. And still no redpolls :^(

But I did have a new yard bird this weekend. I had put out some cracked corn just to see what would eat it (sunflower chips are getting too expensive to do alot of ground feeding with it). These two birds showed up within an hour of putting the corn out. I was quite surprised to see my new visitors. I'm having a tough time finding these birds in my Sibley bird guide, anyone have any ideas????


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They are not so common chickens. The first looks like a White Laced Red Cornish (or a Cornish cross) and the bottom one maybe a Black Star hen. They must have escaped from a nearby farm or something.

At least I think they are chickens. I just got my Murray McMurray Hatchery catalog in the mail today and they have page after page of chickens you can buy and the Cornish chickens stand tall like that buff one and there are several black varieties but most have feathers on their feet. Very cool Jean! Maybe you can catch them and put them in a coop with nest boxes (or eat them) LOL


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The dark one might be an Australorp hen. The Red or Black Star chickens are not considered a 'type' but are called Sex-Link chickens. The Red Star hen matures with reddish-brown with flecks of white.

How big are these chickens? I wish I had chickens - I want to raise them but they don't allow them in my community! I hear a Rooster in the summer about 1/2 mile away on a property that is NOT in a HOA controlled community.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 1, 08 at 8:22

LOL!!! Welcome to my world, Jean. I get visits from the neighborhood gangster chickens...roosters, actually. Tres Amigos, Three Stooges, I can't decide. I love it that they eat critters, but...dang, they sure can tear up the plants when they're kicking around. I usually let them have some fun (and drink from the creek), until they get too rowdy, then I run them out. You haven't lived until you've had a backside view of a chicken running like the wind. Hilarious!

Oooo, Mom is awesome! For Christmas, she gave me Bird Songs - 250 North American Birds in Song featuring audio from Cornell! I didn't even have that on my list, but the way I go on about birds, I'm not surprised she noticed. :D

Brenda


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LOL at the backside view! So just how does one go about catching a chicken??? And unfortunately there just seems to be one now. It seems rather skiddish which seems a little weird since I know it can't possibly have lived in the wild for too long. And I'm not having any luck finding the owners. If I can catch it I have a friend with a farm that is full of adopted animals so I think he would take it.

And I think that the cracked corn just might be a mistake, I am overrun with starlings.

Brenda I have one of the Peterson's sets of songs and listen to it in my car - I can just imagine what people in the next car might be thinking if they hear it!

So what did Mom think of the barrel and pump???


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jan 3, 08 at 9:21

Hmmmm, not sure how to catch a chicken, Jean! Maybe there's a live trap out there somewhere, but...they're usually pretty skittish when it comes to entering enclosed areas. I wonder if there are chickenboys out there who herd them instead of cows. LOL I forgot to comment on how nice those chickens look. Well-fed and healthy looking!

This Bird Song book w/audio is gorgeous, but not real practical, I guess. Many of the birds are from back east, Hawaii, tundra...so I'll probably never get a chance to ID them. Also, the songs of most birds I DO know don't sound familiar at all. LOL Since they're so varied, I've just not heard that particular version of their song, I'm sure. :D I'd love to drive around to the sounds of birds, though! LOL

I'll post on the Bench thread about Mom's Christmas gift! :)

Brenda


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If provided a nest box they will roost at night, but since these chickens have been running wild they won't recognize it as 'their' hen house/roosting area.

Plenty of people that have chickens let them roam about during the day and they go back to their evening roost (akas their hen house) at night. Most chicken predators work at night with the exception of hawks. Otherwise, you need to protect them from foxes, raccoons, weasels, owls, etc. by locking them at night inside predator proof pen and with a covered area. At least this is what I've learned after reading up on keeping chickens.

I love those free-range coop and pen on wheels that you can move around in your yard to let the chickens scratch up new bugs and poop in new places on your property. At night they go upside the building part of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Portable Hen Hutch for Raising Organic Eggs


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Hey that chicken coop is too cool! I want that! Every once in a while I think I want barnyard animals and then my husband brings me back to reality (sigh)

I haven't seen either of the chickens lately so I can only hope they made it back to their coop safely. I never heard back from my neighbor (who I think they might belong to) but then I'm not really surprised (long story!)


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It's true Jean - your husband's reality. As a business you can make money but for 10 hens at home each dozen eggs would be about $300 a pop until you paid off the coop at $899 and the freight to a home at $365, not to mention buying the chickens. Started 17 week old laying poulets are about $12 each but the shipping on them is $49 (they do come with their shots however). Then there is the feed and having to work it each day to keep everything extremely clean and fresh. You have to keep chickens away from wild birds and their droppings, not to mention the predators, but oh the romance of having a barnyard and a self sustaining life (without the hard work of course because you are rich enough to hire a few people to actually run the place). He he he...

My co-worker had chickens and their chickens lived outside during the day and sometimes at night, but had a shed they could go into if they wanted. They lost some to predators and sometimes the eggs were just laying around on the ground and other times the hens would lay in thick shrubby growth at the edge of their woodlot (in the brambles). Betcha egg gathering was the pits there! She said they shot a opposum one time that was raiding a favorite hen's nest - the hen woke them up screaming her bloody head off and running to beat the band (they are fast she said) and with the flashlight they saw the possum on the nest eating the eggs. Boom - bye bye possie. Awww...... poor possie - he only wanted some fresh eggs too!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 8, 08 at 8:41

I read a story recently of a local farmer of free range chickens who was dealing with some scumbags shooting his stock. He lost at least 600 chickens! And they still haven't caught the culprits. On top of that, the dog, who deemed itself protector of the chickens, was frightened by the shooting. It ran off and into the path of a vehicle and was killed. Such a sad story. The man may have to go out of business because of it. :(

Brenda


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man that is an awful story - I cannot imagine why they cannot catch a person that is shooting at chickens. He needs to pen them in but still have them outside on the grass. Free range in the pen - that is all that means when you buy eggs that say chickens are 'cage free' - 'free range'. We tend to conjure up notions of birds pecking round the farm stead. He is probably losing tons of them to predators in addition to the 'shooter on the grassy knoll'

Poor dog - I hope they catch the nasty culprit and hang him by his toenails.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jan 9, 08 at 10:00

I guess one of the farm workers was returning to work one early afternoon and saw 2 men tossing dead chickens into the back of a pickup. After that, the shootings really started. It's a large piece of property at least 1/4 mile off the main road with no signs, so the killers had to know it was there. The owner said the chickens were refusing to roam the property, anyway, as they usually would, too scared to leave the protection of the coops. I haven't heard any updates for at least a few weeks, but I really hope they're working on it.

On a lighter note...*sigh* I can't believe I almost forgot this!! During the power outage, DH and I were visited by a VERY handsome Cooper's hawk! He flew into the (now leafless) walnut tree, perched there for a long time, then scooted down the trunk and into the oleander. He then flew out and onto the phone line right in our yard! It was so hilarious, seeing him trying to balance and wobbling around!! LOL He flew off eventually, only to return to the walnut tree a while later. He then swooped down toward the ground in the yard, and I heard the sparrows chattering from the wall o' jasmine along the fence. He must have found some feathered num-nums. :D

Brenda


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WooooooooHooooo!

Three Snowy Owls so far this winter. A male and a female about 3 miles apart in one day back in January. Then I saw another male about 75 miles south of Camp Nappy on a power pole while traveling on an interstate highway last week.

Only 13 more to match last years Chimney Swift count! Awwww. My dear sweet little Chimney Swifts. Hope they are safe and warm. :-)

C with 3 Owls!


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 27, 08 at 8:20

You're a lucky lady, Chicka! What a beautiful owl! I would love to see Hedwig out here, but I won't hold my breath. :D

Brenda


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Yep - Snowy Owls only a dream here too! Lucky you C with 3 owls. I'd like to see a Barn Owl but they are not common in Maryland but conservation efforts are ongoing.

I found a cottontail rabbit tail in my yard (with no rabbit attached). I hope whoever did that didn't get the rest! I brought it in and my son was grossed out that I would do such a thing. It was a ball of fluff, white on one side and light brown on the other, with only a tiny little place where it used to be attached.

I'm hoping I spot a rabbit with no tail soon or I fear my owl, a neighbor cat, or a hawk may have had lunch. There was no other sign of an attack, so if a big bird got it, it carried it off I suppose. I am sweet on my two yard rabbits. I know they are just common rabbits but they are my rabbits! lol One big fellow that stays in my woods by day, and that young one from last year.

When do cottontails breed - it would be soon around here I would think. I'm leaving the gardens wild and wooley as much as possible for hiding and breeding places for everybody. I cannot get my darn neighbor to keep her cats inside and I've not had the heart to set my trap for them either. I wish people would be more considerate, but she doesn't give a darn and her husband is downright nasty about it all the time. I bought my own trap but it is still in the box. I love cats and birds.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 29, 08 at 10:03

I can't stand it when people let their cats roam here, either, CT. Whenever I let Pookie out in the yard to catch some rays or sit by the creek, I always have to make a lot of noise, in case there is a cat lurking out there to attack her. Usually, I go with her out in the yard, but sometimes not.

I found a blackbird head out in the yard the other day! ACK!! Probably a red-winged. My family gets grossed out, too, but I couldn't help but save the bird's head. LOL Not in the house, but in a flower pot out in the yard. It's kind of like a tribute. :) I also save owl pellets inside in a woven bowl. A Native American friend of mine once told me they were sacred or something, so I always feel lucky when I find one. :D

Hope your rabbits are ok, CT!!

Brenda


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