Suggestion and Yard Birds

Louis J. Esch <lesch1@...>

First a suggestion: It would be interesting (and useful) if our reports
included the exact time of day that we see the birds. Over a period of
time, perhaps we could recognize waves of activity within the general dawn
and dusk maximums.

And about Yard Birds - I agree with Barb that there's an extra enjoyment in
observing the "special bird friends" that come to us, instead of us going
to them. Even though I've got 101 species on my yard list, accumulated
over many years, I envy Barb's wonderful, extensive yard, and the variety
of species that she gets to see. But even in our little postage-stamp
enclave, hemmed in by tall trees on all sides, a lot is happening.

The ROBIN's nest on the little shelf six inches outside my window is in
use again, as it has been every year, starting within 15 minutes after I
first put the shelf up several years ago. I keep the window open from the
top most of the time, and I say something nice to the female every time I
enter the room. She is so calm now that she stays put even while I open or
close the window just inches from her. The male is much more chary.

The little suet feeder on our Pitch Pine, about 25 feet from the bay window
(in the same room as the ROBIN window) is in almost constant use right now.
The most frequent visitors are the HAIRY WOODPECKERs, with sometimes one
or even two waiting up in the tree while one is at the feeder. There are
CHICKADEEs and TITMOUSEs. CROWs, always keeping an eye on my window, glean
the scraps from the ground a couple of times a day. Unfortunately, one of
them, probably a female driven to extraordinary cleverness by maternal
instinct, has developed the knack of attacking the feeder directly. She
started out using a tender twig that protruded from the trunk, which would
swing down under her weight to let her reach the feast, wings flapping for
balance. Earlier this morning, I clipped off the twig. A few minutes ago
I saw her clinging to the bark itself, right next to the feeder, as if she
were a woodpecker. She looked over her shoulder at me. And grinned! The

The real excitement on this Pitch Pine feeder has been the PILEATED
WOODPECKERs, which have finally discovered the feeder in the last month,
two years after I put it up. The female has reached the point now where
she uses the little feeder efficiently, several times a day. I suspect
that she has young in her nest somewhere in the ravine, and flies off to
puke out the delectable suet soup for them. I've only seen the male at the
feeder once or twice. It's impressive watching a bird that size through a
scope from 25 feet away! You can see every little detail. On their FLEAS!

There's plenty of action on the other feeders, as usual. The latest
arrivals have been the ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKs and a male RUBY-THROATED
HUMMINGBIRD (which showed up on the 9th). I have been hearing ORIOLEs and
a SCARLET TANAGER, but have not yet seen either in the yard.

The fight to discourage Squirrels continues. Last Sunday I put up one of
those "Absolute Squirrel Proof" feeders, my big-spender Mother's Day gift
to Marianne. (Hey, she's not MY mother). The feeder is the kind with the
perch that drops under the Squirrel's weight, dropping along with it a gate
that closes off access to the food and, hopefully, guillotining off the
rascal's twitching little nose in the process. It works! At least, I saw
one squirrel try it, and jump at least ten feet when the gate dropped,
probably frightened by the clanking noise. I think all the birds in the
nearby trees flew off too. So far, the only bird I've seen on that feeder
was a GOLDFINCH that tried to land on the roof, and slipped off.

And so it goes!

Lou Esch

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