Raking Leaves

If only we could train them to do the whole yard.

Every fall the leaves fall from the trees and cover our yard like many other people’s. We tend to collect some of the leaves to use as mulch in the backyard garden. The rest are usually allowed to remain where they are once mowing season ends. We are just not motivated enough to do anything with them. However, this feeling is not universal. A well cleared spot always develops in the middle of the front yard. The birds do not like leaves under their birdfeeder. For them, the leaves get in the way of more important activities.

Tail Identification: May 16, 2018

Hiding on the far side of a feeder doesn’t always work.

With bird feeders, and seed blocks especially, you really begin to learn how to identify birds by their tails. Some birds spread their tails out while others neatly stack them. Then there is the positon that they hold their tail in (up, down, straight out). After a bit of time, you become familar enough with your local birds to be able to make a pretty good guess at identification from just the tail. This particular picture shows some of the body as well.The bird in question is a Tufted Titmouse. The above picture is from one of our other feeders a couple of years ago. In the case of the Tufted Titmouse, it is the color combined with the mostly stacked straight out position that typically gives it away.

Popular Seed Block

There is something in there that they like

A couple of years ago we started hanging a Pennington Seed block on a pole outside one of our windows. It seems like every bird in the area, including a number of surprising suspects has come by to try it out. Above is a Northern Mockingbird. At first it was only one, but the first one convinced its opposite number that there was something good here, and since that time I have frequently seen pairs of Mockingbirds visiting the seed block.

Here we have a Tufted Titmouse and a Red-headed woodpecker on the seed block at the same time. Once it is eaten down, we move what is left to one of the tray feeders, and it typically doesn’t take very long for them to find it and finish it off. The recent snows had an interesting side effect. Normally, the local chipping sparrows prefer to eat from the ground or trays. They will also use standard perches. They would come over and land on top of the seed block’s cage and try to reach the top of the seed block. However, when the snow covered everything else, they discovered it was possible to hang on to the side of the cage and get at the only visible seed (everything else was under snow). Since that time, several sparrows have remembered this, and they have continued to cling to the cage to eat. This has led to a second variety of jailbird.I am sorry about the lower quality. I didn’t want to scare it off, and the sparrows seem to be a bit “nervous” about eating here. Don’t worry, it had no trouble getting back out again without help.

Snow: December 11, 2017

Our local birds look a bit worried, or at least hungry

This is a problem that the birds that visit our birdfeeders do not usually have to worry about. Seeing snowflakes is rare enough in this part of the country. A couple of days ago we were treated with enough snow to leave a couple of inches on the ground, and quite a few upset birds. As it stands today, the last few sheltered patches of snow in the shade are losing their fight and are melting away.