Bird Feeder Notes 2017
There have been several changes made to the bird feeding corner off my deck. The sunflowers were prolific and they allowed the winged visitors to hide and wait turns at the feeders. I'm glad to say there were so many coming that they had to wait turns or feed off what was thrown out of the feeders to the ground.
I had one goldfinch that would come and hang upside down to pick the seeds out of the sunflowers as they got old and their proud flowers no longer kissed the sun.
The Chicadee was back and would flit to the new feeder shaped like a well with a red roof to pick out his prize and then flit off down the alley. He would make a few swings by before he would leave us again for another day. The house feeder holds up to 5 lbs. of feed and you know when to fill it when the bottom works it's way up flush with the well.
The Blue Jays quit coming after I moved the feeders around but I think that was because Goldie the ferrel cat was hiding under the deck to get her meal for the day. Before you judge just remember that it's God's law and God's animals that exist to feed each other. From my count she caught two sparrows but she probably got more of them because they just kept coming in flocks.
I found a dead starling on my sidewalk and it looked like it had flown into something because there were no apparent injuries.
The cardinals kept coming through August into early September. I have not seen them lately. It was mostly the female that came but every once in awhile I would see the brownish male hop onto the rock garden border and forage under the feeders. They got shyer as the summer wore on. There were about four to five coming but I've only seen up to three at a time recently.
I was surprised to see a larger bird that was similar to the sparrows. I was able to identify it as a Cowbird and had was able to watch this bird turn into and adult bird over the end of the summer.
The Mourning Doves come and there seems to be about eight of them now. It started out with two pairs and that's what I see when I take a count. I've counted as high as 100 sparrows sitting on the neighbors fence and garage roof when they get scared off and fly away as a flock.
My neighbor across the alley hung two bird feeders and a hummingbird feeder in her yard. When they droves have emptied out my two level feeder, they fly off to her yard when she remembers to put out seeds for them.
The hummingbird came to my Lantana plant several times this summer but I saw it mostly at the neighbor's feeder. My neighbor reports that the one she saw was green.
In the Spring I plan to plant an Autumn Cherry Tree in my yard for the birds to rest and feed where my son's food concession trailer used to sit and ruined the grass. Come back for next year's edition of bird watching which I will start over the winter in January.
There seems to be a whole flock of various species of sparrows that come every day and try to take over the two feeders.
The mourning doves are also coming in greater numbers and taking turns landing on the square wooden feeder.
There are now several cardinals that I see and I've been able to identify that there are two adult males and one adult female that come most often. Then there are a couple of smaller cardinals that have varying shades of red and browns in their feathers.
The blue jays are now coming in pairs and bringing along a fledgling that squawks at the adults begging to be fed. As soon as the adult flies away it follows. The interesting thing about the blue jays is that they land on my gutters first above and out of sight with a loud thump. If you want the feeder they then descend down onto it to pick out some morsel and bat it in their bill on the side of the wooden feeder. The wooden feeder is splintered along the edge from this ritual.
The newest bird that I noticed is a female cowbird. I only picked it out because it looks like a sparrow with a black bill but has been growing and is much larger than the sparrows now. It is a bid of a bully at the feeder because it has chased some of the bigger birds away such as cardinals and blue jays which I find interesting.
Today we are closing in on the end of July and I have a daily visitor to my sunflowers that just started yesterday. It's the goldfinch and it sits on the sunflower that is past blooming and eats the seeds over the edge.
The birds continue to come and we have new wild life all around us. It's fun to watch the antics of the chipmunk who comes daily and climbs up the shepherd's hook and jumps into the square feeder. Another addition to the neighborhood is a baby bunny who spends time between the three yards across from my window munching on the grass shoots.
This morning I got to see new chicks that belong to the starling family. Mama came wandering through my yard with three of the most darling little ones that didn't have their full tail feathers yet.
My neighbor has hung a humming bird feeder with brilliant red coloring and I see a hummingbird most mornings and evenings making it's way to her feeder. My Mandevila, hibiscus and lantana which I bought to add to my hummingbird attractions.
There are two blue jays that come every day. One is more gray than the other. They land on my gutter above the feeders with a scratching thump and then glide down to the feeder to select the nut of the day. Then they are up and away with their prize. 6/18/17 -- There are now three Blue Jays that came this morning in tandem. They all flew in individually and took off together. They seem to chase each other away from the feeder and the winner gets the prize.
The chickadee is coming but skitters away as soon as it spies me on the porch. The rest of my bird friends seem okay with me being there as long as I don't move.
I have seen a black bird with a fabulous indigo glue head. I've identified it as a grackle and it swoops in and out every few days. I saw an all brown bird the size of a starling that is brown with a curved bill. I believe it is a thrush.
6/18/17 I've seen a hummingbird hovering around my newest plant pictured to the right but I have not been able to get a picture of it. It hovers over the plant just long enough for me to focus the camera and then off it goes again like a jet to the next flower that has caught it's attention.
The bird feeder has become an attraction for a lone chipmunk that crosses the alley, climbs the shepherd's hook and dives into the square bird feeder to raid the goodies. He then flies back down and away to find other places to feed.
The weather has been all over the map this month and that has led me to feed the birds almost daily in my new location. One day is warm and sunny and I have to water my plants early because I don't expect any rain. The next is mild rain turning into thunderstorms which drenches everything. Somehow the birds come out even in the rain, especially the sparrows.
My family of cardinals have all been visiting the feeder daily. Mama seems to come more than Papa but there are variations so I'm not sure if I have more than two. In the past the cardinals have not ventured to the feeder but would grab what was thrown out onto the ground by the sparrows. This year, I saw the female cardinal fly up to the feeder and perch. I guess they like the new location that is along the side of the deck in a hidden corner.
The sparrows and my red headed house finches are daily visitors and their chirping goes on all day long in frequent intervals.
I have seen a few adventurous starlings who come and perch the get at the seeds. My newest blend is Song Bird Blend which attracts so many varieties of birds. The Chickadee flits in and out and I've seen it perched on the bird feeder as well as the tray feeder.
The robins bop along in my yard but they don't visit the side with the bird feeder. We have chimney swifts that swoop around doing their fancy dives but they too don't visit the bird feeder.
The Chicadee comes bobbing along with that up and down flight that they have. It sits on the shepherds hook to see if I'm going to move and then flits on down to the square feeder. Then it's up up and away again with it's prize.
I have a few mourning doves that walk around the rock garden below the feeder gobbling up what is thrown down by the sparrows. When I first started feeding the birds about 5 years ago, there were dozens of pidgeons that would force the littler birds away from beneath the feeder so that they could gobble up the seeds. This year I have only seen one that is distrinctive in appearance and I'm not seeing more than one.
I haven't seen any hummingbirds at my hanging planters yet. Maybe it's to early in the season for them because I have only seen a couple of butterflies so far but my Mandevilla is blooming nicely to attract them.
Early Spring Visitors
As was expected, my first visitors to the new location were the not so skittish sparrows who come in flocks bringing their chicks with them to be fed individually. Its so much fun to watch the chicks fluttering their small wings and begging to be fed. Mama sometimes has two that are both fluttering and peeping for food.
The red headed sparrow has been back regularly and I love to watch this bird that I understand is actually a house finch but mostly resembles the sparrows.
The starlings with their white beaks are also regular visitors. I hear the mocking bird but I haven't seen them at the feeder yet.
The Cardinals and Jay Birds
The family of cardinals that visits daily. There seems to be 3 of them. There are two males that are slightly different in coloring and a female. Perhaps the two sets are back and I don't realize that I'm seeing two femailes.
They come mostly in the early mornings so I need to have the food out first thing to be able to see them.
I hear the blue jays calling out their warnings from the multitude of trees in the area and I have observed them at the square feeder. I've noticed the blue out of the corner of my eye as I use my computer and yesterday saw the beautiful bluejay at the feeder. Wow she is beautiful and standing right outside my window eating as I write this today (5/15/17). There is another visitor that is more gray and doesn't have the brilliant blue coloring. I'm torn between labeling this one as Gray Jay or Perhaps a younger Blue Jay.
The mourning doves come along every day to pick their way through what is thrown out of the feeder by the sparrows. They mostly climb in and out of the box planter that I positioned below the feeder to catch the seeds that fall from above.
I love to listen to their cooing sounds in the early dawn which I mistook for and owl. That's not to say that there isn't an owl in the area.
We first had these bird on our back porch before I turned it into a deck and the perch was disturbed. Mama Mourning Dove would make her nest on the top of a column that stuck out and gave her a perch. I would hear this song as she hatched her babies.
Robin Red Breast
As I sit out on my deck in the seclusion of the early morning, I listen to the various calls of the birds. I never realized what a beautiful song the Robin has.
Not only is this the first bird to come out in the morning but it sits and sings a beautiful song. This bird reminds me every morning of the saying, "The early bird gets the worm." That is because Robins don't visit my bird feeder but are ever present in my yard looking for food.
Strategy for bird feeding and watching
Since I started watching our feathered friends, I've continued to feed the birds in our area over the winter months. Each day I would go out onto the deck, draw up the awnings, and fill the feeder with an assortment of seeds. I like to buy the assortment for songbirds which is rich in sunflower and saffron seeds. If I can't get that I go for a gourmet blend with peanuts and fruits.
In May, I bought a Mandevila hanging planter that would attract humming birds and butterflies since I had seen hummingbirds at my previous plants. I had planted my Red Trumpet Honeysuckle in the ground from last year but the plants didn't survive the winter. I'm trying to find another one to add to the hanging planters.
I've moved the bird feeders to a place closer to a window where I can observe the comings and goings of the birds in our area from my computer right inside the window. If I stay really still they come and go as they please.