Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pigs cleverly disguised as birds

I finally did take the screen off from one of the windows where the bird feeders sit. Since then, I've been taking tons of photos. Tons and tons. Some are nice and clear. The downside is that the birds now see me more clearly, and I scare them away once in a while when I get too close to the window.

Right now, it's cloudy and rainy outside. Kind of drab. But I'm looking at what is probably about 50 birds at and around the feeders. Not drab at all. Of those, at least a dozen are goldfinches, and when they are finally into their bright colors, that will be quite a sight to see. Can't wait.

And this morning, I've seen 3 robins. Just now, there were 2 males sparring in the yard. They would run at each other and then fly up off the ground just a short ways, and then back off. Then do it all over again. Of course, I took some photos... but they were moving too fast, so the pictures were blurry. I managed to get this poor shot of one of them. Spring is Hereby Official for me.

At the feeders are all the usual, the aforementioned goldfinches, chickadees, sparrows, blue jays, juncos, nuthatches & titmice, as well as mourning doves, cardinals (a beautiful pair, male & female, have been around together lately), purple finches, red-winged blackbirds, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, a cowbird (thankfully only 1), hmmm... I'm not sure I've listed them all. But it seems the word is out, and every day brings more visitors. You can tell I'm really enjoying this.

I keep the feeders filled. I enjoy the routine. Kev has made it handy for me by moving a steel drum into the garage to hold the bags of bird seed. The drum keeps the critters out of it... before the drum, we had quite a mess going for a while when something, I suspect a chipmunk, ate a hole in the bottom of the black sunflower seed bag and spread the seeds all over in the garage.

And speaking of spreading seeds all over... the birds are messy! Another almost daily routine is scooping and sweeping the mess off from the sidewalk. The birds dig into the accumulated seeds and stuff on the ground at the base of the feeders, and in doing so, scatter seeds, mulch, leaves and dirt everywhere. I’ve watched the little birds, like the juncos and sparrows, really go at the ground. Their stance is like this, with legs spread apart:

Then they use their legs and feet and quickly push backwards, scattering stuff for what I think is an amazing distance, given their size. I am also amazed at how stuff much they move in a short amount of time. I have lots of scattering action photos. Because they do this all the time. Industrious little buggers.

I also have a lot of photos of the various birds with seeds in their mouths. Lots and lots and lots. I give you but a small, very small (relatively speaking), sampling here.

And I could not end this post without mentioning another often visitor at the feeders. Ah, yes, the squirrels. I’ve also noticed with the screen off the window, the squirrels are more wary. It seems they are more cognizant of me than the birds. Way more. I call this a good thing. Yesterday, one of them was trying to sneak up to the feeder. He would go a distance across the yard, then stop and check out the feeder. He couldn’t see me that well because I was sitting at the computer. But I saw him. He got about half-way across the yard and stood on his hind legs and leaned to his right... which is when he saw me. Before he took off running, though, I got this lovely photo of him. My niece, Chelle Belle, for reasons she will understand as soon as she sees this photo, will most certainly get an extra chuckle. Enjoy.

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