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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Busy Feeders

What a bright surprise House Finches are when they land on my feeder. They are not unusual, but just such a bright spot among the sparrows.

Some folks say these are just regular crows with red on the wings, but the Red Winged Blackbird is ever so much more polite on the feeder than the "bully birds". There is a softer call from him, too.

Although the Cardinals may eat from the feeders, they most often seem to be cleaning up after the messy sparrows.

This bright fellow has a brother with no feathers on his head. I read that there are some kind of mites cardinals get that strips away feathers on their heads. Also read that it isn't serious and the feathers grow back.
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Polishing up the Garden

I still have two areas under tarps waiting for me to have what it takes to tackle them. Rather like the farmer who lets a field or two go fallow for a season. It just wasn't worth it to fight the weeds (and chiggers). Don't let anyone tell you there aren't chiggers in the North.

Today I finished weeding and adding soil to the vegetable Square Foot Garden. A little late for this year's spring and summer veggies, but the fast growing root vegetables will be fine into the late fall.
The path needed raking after the weeding of the last week or so. With that done I took the patio broom and actually SWEPT the block path in the back and the self-leveling gravel in the rest of the garden. Whew! I turned it over to the birds for a while and will go out again this evening.
ALL of the mulch is down in the rose-zinnia-trellis garden and the table is set for lunch with a friend tomorrow.
Next big chore is taking up the iris. I have started cutting the spent flowers and cutting back the leaves (and weeding). This week I will take the pitchfork and lift all of the iris rhizomes and soak them for a minute or two in a solution of Murphy's Oil Soap to kill any nasties, although I don't see any evidence of slugs, or borer. I also have to get their new bed dug up and prepared. I want to trade some of the blues and purples for some yellows the neighbors have.
Monday, July 13, 2009

Baltimore Oriole-Female and Fledgling

Female Oriole checking the orange.

Female Oriole dipping into the grape jelly.

Female Oriole feeding fledgling on the ground.

I bought this Oriole feeder last Tuesday (July 7) and filled it a day or two later in hope of finally getting some good photos of the Orioles I know are nested in a neighbor's tree. Well, I waited and waited...checked the nectar, orange ($.69 cents for ONE orange!!!) and the grape jelly dishes. The lady at Wild Birds Unlimited (see previous post) told me grape jelly, but I thought marmalade would be better. She said that ONLY grape jelly was recommended.

Today I have seen a female Oriole out and about feeding a fledgling, first on the power line, and then on the top of the hook holding the feeder. But every time I got to the camera they would vanish. I could still hear their soft trilling, though. I moved the tripod closer to the door-wall and closed the glass. It would be less than PERFECT photos, but I would'nt spook the birds off, at least.

Soon I was rewarded with the above photos. YAY. Now to catch the gorgeous male at the feeder.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Next Step

When I moved to this house 8 years ago I brought a large cement birdbath with me. Over the years I have added some feeders and other birdbaths, mostly from the hardware store. This year I filled out a questionnaire to have my yard designated as a wildlife habitat. The plaque is in the mail.

My granddaughters spend hours watching the birds (rabbits, squirrels, etc.) with me and lately their parents have spent a few evenings watching the birds, too. The parents even showed a desire to put some feeders at their house, only 10 blocks away.
So...a few days ago was my daughter's and my shared birthday. Lunch and a shopping trip together is how we usually celebrate. This time I suggested a college town not too far away for lunch. I knew there was a Wild Birds, Unlimited store there.

By the time we finished at that store the family had a lovely green glazed birdbath with a locking bowl and a small bubbler in the middle (not in the online catalog). They also had the starter set of The Advanced Pole System, The large Quick-Clean tube feeder for regular seed and the large Quick-Clean Finch Feeder. In fact I got a pair of the tube feeders for myself, too.MY DAUGHTER'S FAMILY BIRD STATION

MY NEW FEEDERS (and the old seed-cake feeder)

Of course, we had to get seed (non-sprouting) for each kind of feeder, too. There were a number of Wild Bird Unlimited publications for us and for the children as well, and a special Oriole feeder for me.
We went back to my daughter's house after lunch and her husband went right to work getting the garden by the patio and door-wall all set up. Within the hour a bright finch had found the finch feeder. By this morning they had plenty to watch, Jays, Cardinals, Finches, Sparrows and more. The girls and their parents have a little viewing area set up with chairs and table in the shade of the big 42 year old evergreen. Photographing their birds can't be far behind.

I HAVE to get one of those Advanced Pole Systems for MY yard. I have 3 of the regular hardware store hook and pole systems but, now I want the better one.

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Gabby Faye
Michigan, United States
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