I happened to be inside to see a bird fly straight into the window. I’m quite sure it was a young robin. There are two being attended by frazzled moms right in the vicinity of the house, and one overactive and very friendly baby woodpecker that’s always on top of us – very cute. But this wasn’t the woodpecker, it was a substantial dark bird, so I’m sure a robin.
The bird came straight at the window full tilt, and then slammed into the screen, spreadeagled like a cartoon of a bird whacking into a window (not a funny cartoon!), then instead of errrk, cartoon squeaking down the glass… SPROIIING! The mesh rebounded and threw it back, the bird tumbling and recovering in the air. I didn’t even have time for my mouth to fall open, watching the whole thing in an instant.
I allowed myself to have a part of a day where I just did something that I just wanted to do, instead of needed to be done (like solar re-wiring, or boundary maintenance). And it was even more glorious than imagined. I made three flower boxes, and seven birdhouses, although I didn’t get to any decorative ones, just the robust functional ones the birds actually use.
They’re headed for the garden fence posts, etc. Probably too late for this year’s nesters, but who knows. Spring birdhouse maintenance is going to become a day project.
I saw a tree swallow! The first I’ve seen here! Exciting. She was swooping over the hens, eating on the wing. Spent the day. I hope she’s nesting! Possibly in a snag, in an old woodpecker hole maybe. Perhaps in one of the first run of birdhouses that’s still up, all over.
I want to let my art out, and I’m looking forward to having some of the basic life support systems finished and dialed enough to do some purely decorative things. There’s a paucity of room for artistic expression around here, when there’s an old shed to take apart, an invasive species that needs constant battling, and irrigating the greenhouse means carrying water when it rains. Priorities, you know. But a good day of fun stuff is surprisingly “filling”.For instance, the windows are past due for some attention (caulking, painting), while I’m accessorizing them with flower boxes. One of these days, we’ll paint, and finish the siding.
I was shifting recycling at the house door when there was suddenly a great flapping of wings. And then 20′ away on the our path, there was a young duck couple!So cute! She’s so very well disguised. They were obviously young, obviously a couple, and so confused, wonking away. wonk. wonk? wonk!
Why did they land right here? I know the paths are just big long puddles these day. They pattered back and forth, following each other around, and then, woosh! They burst back into the air.
I love pussy willows. I was distraught that I cut a big patch down, not recognizing it, and heartened to see how it’s vigorously grown back elsewhere it was chopped off in the past (and I have a fair bit). The plant is hard to recognize out of fuzzy season.Philippe Petit has a problem still. Some days he seems fine, some days he limps. Poor guy:(The Silkies are getting out more. As I predicted, the little silver adventurer is often first outside or out on her own. Cutie. And the Colonel is often leading the way out (and the flock ignores him and stays in).The hens are using the great outdoors quite well, free ranging again, but they like the familiar comfort of the greenhouse still, and settle back in inside early afternoon.
It’s time to celebrate the total success of the mesh window protection I used this winter, to protect the wild birds from window collision. Not one casualty. We got used to the screened view, and it was totally worth it. I saw birds sometimes rocketing straight at the window and pull up and veer at the last moment, so clearly they could see it, and it was never tested for its possible bird rebound properties. That I know of.
We have snow on the ground. The guineas are utterly scandalized that going outside is not enjoyable. They were just getting into it.The goldfinches have changed colours as though it was as easy as swapping out their winter jackets for a windbreaker, and not like it involves growing a new set of feathers. Overnight, they’re suddenly bright yellow. Too cute. Sitting chicken sleeping standing up, face tucked in. Swaying. The flash didn’t wake her.
And this:this is the amphibious chicken. She can’t drink out of the water without standing in it. I’m sure it’s great for the health of her feet, but nobody else’s health. She’s causing me to cart a lot more water.
That is unsanitary!She doesn’t care.
Goodbye Toffee…Toffee is off to a new home tonight! Very exciting. He’s going to have 14 of his own ladies. He’ll be standing real tall tomorrow:) I’m glad. I would have kept both him and Philippe Petit because they show all signs of being quality roosters, but both he and Philippe will both be happier without the other brother around. They’ll both be feeling like they won the lottery, went to chicken heaven, waking up with a whole flock to themselves. I wonder if Toffee will miss his first girls. I think he’ll be amply consoled though.
Little bird tracks. Probably Juncos. A rabbit passing by. And then lots of bird feet, cleaning up the seeds. Only the chickadee is cool with me this close. But he’s real quick about it.Flight!Eating in the tree!
The Great Backyard Bird Count results are in. That was fun (I almost forgot it was counting weekend and missed my prime bird time).
Times like this I love that we don’t have power to go out, because it surely would. We’re getting a storm more appropriate to January, not March. After a month of no snow, lots of sun, and temps so warm I was able to feed my bees (so glad of that now), wham! Dumping snow, howling winds.
Sticky snow, that looks so cool stuck on the windward side of everything. The house is being battered by wind, but really, sound is dampened by the think blanket of snow on all the trees.
And in the peaceful woods, there’s a chickadee bopping around. It popped out of one of the laden spruces, which strikes me as an excellent choice of hideout:And in the middle of it, some birds still avidly feeding. From bed we watch the horizontal snow, and birds riding it out on the waving branches, beaks into the wind.
I woke up to a blizzard and a handful of birds plaintively crying and fighting over the bird feeder. Right at dawn- early birds! Hey, it snowed! There’s no food. Only so many birds can get in the feeder at once. There was snow, and wind, and we had to go out multiple times during the day to refresh the food on the snow for the birds who were struggling in the wind. They would sit in the tree all facing the same way so the wind didn’t ruffle their feathers, hanging on and riding the bouncing branches until there was too big a gust
The snow is thin and light and perfect for showing the tracks of hopping song birds. Bird crop circles. Why the interest in these small stumps? (view from our upper deck) The Juncos are a mystery. They like to go under our house. They even fly in, zooming under the window, and their footprints tell a story of great interest in the space under our house.
Why? We have only two theories. That they are getting grit from the bare dirt under the house for their little bird gizzards, or that they are taking seeds under there with them, to eat them where they are not standing in the snow. And why just the Juncos?
Meanwhile in the GH, work has started on the dirt bath bale. They are secretive about it though, almost as though they think they’re being naughty, and I haven’t caught anyone in the act.Except this guinea. Just leaving! So it might be the guineas.But it’s getting hollowed out.
There’s a lot of birds here to eat these days. Often I’m sure there are more than 100 birds here at once, although they are hard to count on the hop. Much easier to count in a photo though. So I did. In the photo, there’s +/-134!!! (I counted twice). And the photo is cropping out the outliers and the sentries and ones hacking seeds open in the trees and the ones hopping around on our porch and under the house.
So this is how I go through six bags of seeds every winter.
The regular swoop cycle is funny. The birds are all on the ground, foraging, and someone sounds the alarm, and the birds all swoop up into the trees. But not really all. There are always a few that stay behind, unperturbed.
I’m not leaving the buffet! That’ll be another false alarm. Bob’s twitchy today, I’m sure it’s nothing again. Then the birds all settle back down out of the trees again to toss seeds peacefully for a bit… Then someone squawks at a wind gust and it happens all over again.