Posts Tagged ‘Birds’

My World: Woodpecker Buffet

February 1, 2011

Dead tree in the vacant lot next door. January 28, 2010.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

The dead tree in the photo above is in the vacant lot below our house here in the Glade.  We’ve noticed the holes in the tree for a couple of years, but now the holes that were there seem larger and there seem to be more of them.

I’ve decided that this dead tree is really a woodpecker buffet.  Woodpeckers come and get what they want to eat — the different holes simply represent the locations of different insects.  The size of the hole gives an indication of how popular that particular dish actually is.

Betsy is skeptical about my theory, but it makes perfect sense to me.  There’s only one problem.  If the woodpeckers don’t curb their appetites soon, the whole buffet is going to come crashing down.

Why We Need to Sweep the Deck

August 23, 2010

Our friendly helper. August 19, 2010.

Betsy has become a very enthusiastic birder over the last few years.  It all started with a Bluebird family in the box in our back yard, but she now has several feeders on and over our deck.  Most of the feeders are located so that she can see them from her chair in our Great Room.

There are now a dozen or so variety of birds that visit our feeders on a regular basis.  And although Betsy has gotten very good at recognizing the birds by sight or by their call, the birds are not very good about cleaning up after themselves.  I hate to say it, but those birds are some of the messiest eaters I’ve ever seen (and that includes two kids!).

Betsy does a pretty good job of sweeping the deck, but one rainy day last week she got distracted doing other things and didn’t sweep as often as she usually does.  So this ‘friend’ decided to climb up on the deck and help with the clean-up effort.  Fortunately it went away without gracing the deck with its ‘fragrance’.

We really do need to keep the deck swept!

My World: Perhaps We Need Larger Feeders

January 5, 2010

Pileated Woodpecker at a suet feeder, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. December 30, 2009.

This is my post for the My World meme.  It is hosted by Klaus, Ivar, Sandy, Wren, Louise and Fishing Guy.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

We’ve had quite a few visitors to our feeders during this cold spell.  The Pileated Woodpecker in the picture above has been to the feeder a few times.  We didn’t realize just how large this type of woodpecker could be until we bought this house.  Before we we moved up here full-time we had problems with woodpeckers munching on our wood siding.  Fortunately we’ve gotten that problem control, so I don’t mind feeding this guy at the suet feeder.

Bluebird checking out the feeders, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee. January 3, 2010.

This beautiful bluebird is looking over the feeders trying to decide which one offers the best buffet.  He looks as if he’s well-prepared for the cold weather we’re ‘enjoying’.

Excitement in our Backyard

July 27, 2009
A baby bluebird on our deck.  July26, 2009.

A baby bluebird on our deck. July26, 2009.

If you have been reading Betsy’s blog, you know how interested she has been in the bluebird family that has been nesting in our back yard.  We’ve been watching the second brood and Betsy felt that it was close to the time for the babies to fledge.

In the late morning yesterday Betsy noticed the baby bluebird in the above picture on the deck.  He most have flown to the deck from the nest, but he wasn’t very good at flying just then.  He mostly ran around the deck before falling off the edge.  Fortunately he wasn’t hurt.

Were there any birds left in the nest?  A quick check of the nest showed that there were still babies in there, but that they were thinking about venturing into the big world.

Ready to explore the world.  July 26, 2009.

Ready to explore the world. July 26, 2009.

Betsy was able to see the maiden flight of one of the babies.  They didn’t get very far on that first flight, but at least they were out in the world.  Daddy and Mommy Bluebird (and the juveniles from the first brood) kept a close watch on the babies, encouraged them in their efforts to fly, and in general offered moral support.

Daddy Bluebird keeping watch.  July 26, 2009.

Daddy Bluebird keeping watch. July 26, 2009.

But things got very interesting when squirrels got too close to a baby.  Then all the bluebirds started chattering and raising a ruckus.  If the squirrel didn’t leave quickly enough, the bluebirds started dive-bombing it.  I didn’t know squirrels could move so fast once that started.  I only wish we could have captured a picture of that.

Eating Us Out of House and Home

November 7, 2008
Young Goldfinch in one of our feeders.  October 28, 2008.

Young Goldfinch in one of our feeders. October 28, 2008.

I’ve mentioned several times that Betsy has become an avid birder.  She keeps a pair of binoculars by her favorite chair and periodically consults several books and blogs in her attempts to identify new birds that come to our feeders.

We now have six stations where the birds can get food.  Betsy has tried her best to provide the favorite food of each of the different birds in our area.  Judging by the numbers of ‘feathered friends’ on our deck, I would say that Betsy has done a good job.

I guess we’re running a cafeteria for birds.  I will admit that the birds are interesting, and the young ones are even cute.  But they sure can eat!!  It seems that we’re having to refill feeders every time we turn around.

I’m glad Betsy likes her birds.  I just hope we can continue to afford to feed them!

New Neighbors

October 30, 2008
Bluebirds checking out a new house.  October 29, 2008.

Bluebirds checking out a new house. October 29, 2008.

If you read Betsy’s blog, you know that she has become fascinated with ‘her’ birds.  We now have several feeders and keep them stocked with several different types of bird seed.  Betsy keeps a pair of binoculars near her chair in the living room so she can get a good look at her feathered friends.

Yesterday I was splitting some wood when I noticed bluebirds on the bluebird house in our backyard.  I told Betsy about them so she could keep watch on their activities.  I also got the picture above.

Although there are only two bluebirds in the picture, there were at least three flitting around.  At one point we watched two emerge from the house while the male was on the top.  I wonder if they’re moving in?  If so, I hope they like the neighborhood.

A Visitor to Our Feeder

October 8, 2008
A red-bellied woodpecker enjoying our feeder.  October 10, 2008.

A red-bellied woodpecker enjoying our feeder. October 10, 2008.

Since Betsy is down in Georgia with her childhood girlfriends, I have been given the responsibility of taking care of her birds.  My main responsibility is to put out the feeders each morning, bring them in each evening (we have too many critters to keep the open feeders out at night), and to keep the bird bath clean.

I’ll admit that none of those jobs is particularly onerous, but if the feeders aren’t out at first light, the birds get very impatient and very loud.  They make a most effective and annoying alarm clock.

But rewards often come along with increased responsibility.  Perhaps because I am responsible for the feeders this week I have been keeping a closer eye on them.  Yesterday morning I spotted the red-bellied woodpecker shown above in the feeder.  I spotted him as he was shooing away a cardinal — evidently the woodpecker didn’t want to share.  And evidently this woodpecker has a reputation because the cardinal kept it’s distance until the woodpecker left.

Betsy’s Bluebirds

October 2, 2008
A male bluebird in our backyard.  July, 2008.

A male bluebird in our backyard. July, 2008.

As I’ve mentioned several times, Betsy has become very interested in birds this year.  I gave Betsy binoculars and a couple of bird-watching books for her birthday two years ago, but at that time she was mostly interested in hummingbirds.

But this  year her interest has broadened to include just about every type of bird that we have here in the Glade.  We’ve gotten several new bird feeders and Betsy has learned a great deal about woodpeckers, cardinals, titmice, chickadees, robins, sparrows, wrens and flickers.  She’s tried to teach me, but I must confess that I am a slow learner.

I think Betsy really got interested in birds of all types when we discovered a bluebird family in a backyard bird house.  The adult bluebirds (especially the male) are beautiful and they didn’t seem to get spooked by our presence on the deck.  So we were able to watch as the adults raised their family.  We were sorry to see them leave and hope they will return next year.

To see our bluebird family click HERE.

Need Any Holes Dug?

October 1, 2008
A pileated woodpecker hard at work in our yard.

A pileated woodpecker hard at work in our yard.

Betsy and I were working in the kitchen yesterday when we saw the pileated woodpecker shown above through the kitchen window.  We have lots of woodpeckers around the house, but this is one of the largest we’ve seen so close to the house.

This woodpecker is a pileated woodpecker, which is about the same size as a crow.  He’s working on a stump which has been cut down to ground level.  Betsy tells me that pileated woodpeckers go through rotting wood looking for insects.

If you look closely you can see that this pileated woodpecker can really dig into wood!  He’s already got a pretty good hole in the top of the stump and the wood chips and the dirt were really flying!  It was something to behold.

I wonder if I could hire him to dig holes for our roses?

Betsy’s Birds IV

September 10, 2008

A goldfinch at our thistle mesh bag. September 9, 2008.

I’ve written several times about Betsy’s new-found infatuation with birds.  I have to admit that right now the birds rank right up there with the weather as far as Betsy is concerned.

I think Betsy’s favorite bird at the moment is the cardinal.  But for several weeks we’ve had glimpses of a goldfinch in the yard.  We’ve never been able to get a picture of it until yesterday.  The picture above isn’t very good, but we did at least get a picture.  After we got this picture we saw two goldfinch around a different feeder, but couldn’t get a good picture because of the screen between us and the feeder.

The bird is getting thistle seeds from the mesh bag.  Evidently goldfinch are particularly fond of thistles, because Betsy got another feeder and filled it with a mixture including thistle seeds and that quickly got the attention of the goldfinches.

The American Goldfinch is a gregarious bird and can be found in small groups during the breeding season and in flocks during the winter.  Hopefully they will continue to be attracted by Betsy’s feeders year around.