Archive for the ‘Birds and Bees’ Category

More Lesser goldfinches at the feeder

Saturday, January 25th, 2014
Lesser goldfinces at the feeder

Lesser goldfinches at the feeder

January 21 – Squirrel Appreciation Day

Friday, January 24th, 2014

January 21, 2014 is National Squirrel Appreciation Day. According to Global Animal, the holiday was founded in 2001 by Christy Hargrove, a wildlife rehabilitator in Asheville, North Carolina.

Here in West Linn, we have two different kinds of squirrels at the bird feeders. The native Douglas Squirrel

Douglas Squirrel

Douglas Squirrel on the “non-squirrel-proof” seed feeder.

and the non-native Fox Squirrel.

Red Fox Squirrel and Oregon Junco Loves Sunflower Seeds

Fox Squirrel and Oregon Junco

I’m “on the fence” with my relationship with the squirrels. I can’t say I would call them disgusting rodents, but sometimes they are such pests at the bird feeders.

But that little Douglas squirrel is just darned cute! Though, it does have an annoying way of pip-barking non-stop for long periods of time. I have often wondered why one would persist with such repetitious and sharp vocalizations.

I would not be feeding squirrels intentionally, except I put out sunflower seeds for the birds. I have purchased different styles of feeders in the past, and have been moving towards those feeders and assessories which are designed to be “squirrel proof.” Right now, it’s 50/50 with the feeders which are hung in the maple outside my bedroom window. Obviously, the wooden feeder shown above with the Douglas squirrel on the roof is not one of those so protected. But it does seem to be a favorite to all.

Besides the squirrels, I have seen black-capped chickadees, lesser goldfinches, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, a wren, song sparrow, juncos, towhees, flicker, downy woodpecker, bush tits, townsend warbler and yellow-rumped warbler (Audubon’s). Also, a hummingbird resides in the big rhododendron, attracted to stay by my two sugar-water-filled red saucer-shaped hummingbird feeders. It often comes here at the same time to feed together with mixed-species assemblages.

A black-capped chickadee rests in the maple tree.

A black-capped chickadee rests in the maple tree.

Happy Birthday To Me

Friday, January 13th, 2012
my birthday hummingbird in hand

my birthday hummingbird in hand

This morning was a frosty 26 degrees. I ran out in my jammies to put birdseed in the empty fly-through feeder. I heard the distinct whirr of hummingbird wings overhead and looked up. This tiny female Anna’s hummingbird had come to perch at our red saucer-shaped feeder for a much needed breakfast energy drink and was literally knocked from feeding by a sudden agressive fly-by from a more robust and chirping red-throated male. Hummingbirds go into a torpor on a cold winter’s night, so when they first awake at dawn and “get out of bed” they have a very cold body temperature and they have to work hard to warm up. This bird did not seem to be getting a very warming start. And now it clumsily tumbled off backwards and fell fluttering down onto the English ivy at the walkways edge where I was standing. And laid there still, in shock, looking so cold. I stooped to cup her into my hands with her head sticking out, being mindful of her splayed wings and tail, intending to offer warmth and security, not to capture her. I could feel her rapidly beating heart and her initial trembling, but she seemed to almost immediately simply relax. I held her cupped for many minutes, standing out there at the feeders. Three other hummingbirds, including the attacking alpha male culprit, all perched nearby in the maple observing me intently, emitting little chirps and clicks.

Anna's hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

After a time, when I opened my hands to encourage her to fly away as she should, warm steam arose in the frigid air. But she continued to grip my finger with her tiny feet, and perched casually looking about, I’m assuming choosing to stay in that warm spot. I delicately stroked her tiny feathered head, adoring this close-up moment, and peered closely at all her viewable tiny features and her tiniest of feathers. But I was getting very cold myself and honestly worried about the implications of my human intervention with this wild life, so I had to encourage her to hop off onto the huckleberry bush by our kitchen door, and then she flew off slowly like a big bumblebee. It’s a hummingbird’s life, and I hope she makes it through the cold weather.

My Frigid February

Friday, February 25th, 2011

The coldest day is also the sunniest. The dawn was hot pink. I had to go out and bring in the hummingbird feeders to thaw. The birds will be late getting out of their beds this morning, I think, because it is 25 degrees.

Squirrels Are Such Pests

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Bad Squirrel

It is a constant battle keeping the squirrels from wrecking havoc with the bird feeders. It’s an expensive endeavor, feeding the birds, and I don’t want to add “squirrel” food to the bill. So generally I have to rush out several times a day to chase one off. This one got it’s picture taken instead. I like to hang this feeder high in this camellia because the hummingbirds seem to feel safe here, and often sit and elaborately preen, even though in full view at my kitchen and sitting room windows. But this location makes it way too easy for the squirrel.