Tag Archives: wild birds

magical christmassy snow

There was an unexpected veil of snow settled on everything yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it).

It was warm, too, and that kind of snow that falls in huge, feathery flakes gets heavy.  Awful to drive in.  It’s very hard on my bird protection

Surprise, no birds are outside!  I have to untether the netting when it snows like this and drop it down inside the fence.  I’ve learned to tie quick release knots, so it’s not much slower than walking around the garden.  Then I hoist it back up when it melts.

A very small rabbit has been passing the deck. Recently; the snow is already filling its tracks.   That’s nice.  There’s one large rabbit around, but it’s nice to know there’s a new generation.

The blue jays have resorted to the suet.  I can tell they don’t like it that it spins around when they get on.  The birds have a bit of a harder time in the “deep” (deep for them) snow.  The grosbeaks are still here in huge numbers, in the morning. 

Suet woodpecker

The woodpecker was so absorbed in the new dish at the buffet that he let me get quite close to him/her.  Then, GAH! Didn’t see you there.The suet looks like I’m about to camp-toast some bread.

The new floor chips caused consternation this morning.  I dropped the Silkie ramp and all the hens came pouring out as always, then erkk!  Put the brakes on partway down the ramp, staring down at the chips I’d liberally sprinkled around before opening them.  Traffic stoppage on the Silkieland downramp.  Some of them were just fine with it, but some of them looked like I’d just filled their world with water, and they stuck out their necks, unwilling to jump down.  Funny.  And some of them stayed on the familiar hay, mincing around avoiding the shavings, again like it was water and they didn’t want to get wet.

Cold hiatus

We had snow and cold for several days – -10C cold, and it seems like that’s here a little early.  It’s the kind of cold that you’re not ready for:  don’t have the right coats or sweaters at hand, can’t find the good socks, and it feels horribly bitter and assaulting, even though I know I’ve laughed at much much colder numbers.  You get used to the cold, preferably incrementally, when winter eases in its arrival.

Two years ago today I was pulling carrots. This week I’m wrapping blankets around my beehives to dull the shock of the sudden drop.  It’s “supposed” to warm up again; I was going to give it another week to winterize them.  Hope that’s not a mistake.

Today the cold abated, some of the snow melted, and the bees were actually out of the hives.  Several dead ones outside of Sunflower hive.  The birds are here in droves, already dependent, already the Grosbeaks show up at 7:10 and if the seeds aren’t on the ground, they let me know.  What’s nice about snow is being able to see tracks.  Loads of little hopping bird feet, their tracks as delicate as threads; squirrels sometimes brooming the snow with their tails; concerning cat prints; and rabbit prints, in multiple sizes, which is nice, because it’s been weeks since I saw a rabbit (I saw a big blimp of one today, well fed).

I realized recently that instead of a non-notable rabbit sighting at least every day, I hadn’t seen any rabbits for some time before the bobcat turned up.  I thought he had wiped them out.  But the tracks say there have been a few survivors.  Mostly little feet.  The fattest squirrel.  I’m pretty sure he lives in the fire wood.

This hat sees a lot of action

I was quietly working, when there was a bird-window thump, on the north window.  No one ever flies into the only, small, north window, and it’s not shielded.  Not a terrible, dire, sickening thump, but I thought I should check, anyways.

There was a chickadee under the window, motionless, wings splayed awkwardly, beak and eyes open, feet clutching a chunk of the brown leaves that it fell on.

It went straight into the hat.  All birds in trouble around here get the hat treatment.

I know from watching them recover that they are quite helpless for several minutes, and they can get all their functions back, but they come back in stages.  The best thing to do with a stunned bird is put it somewhere warm, dark, and safe for 20-30 minutes, then give it the opportunity to fly away.

I couldn’t help peeking.  Feeling better?

It seemed to perk up, righted itself, moved around in the hat, but I was determined to give it a full 20 minutes and sat beside it, waiting.

It had other plans.  I saw the hat move, right next to me, but before I could even react, the bird came shooting out, apparently in flight even before leaving the hat.  It flew upstairs.

 

I opened all the doors.  It was collapsed in a windowsill, panting. Not quite as well as it thought it was.

It let me pick it up, and we went outside, and I set it on the railing.  Still having a hard time

After a little bit it fluttered around my head and lit on the clothesline.  Good spot.   It did a bunch of heavy blinking and lots of staring at me, ceased panting, and eventually, flew to perch in a tree.  Moments after that, it appeared to get its bop back.  Happy ending.

More warm days

Almost bedtime. Philippe PetitPuffcheeks demonstrating the hot weather “airplane stance” to perfection.  Ailerons out for cooling breezes.It’s possible I have an olive-sided flycatcher visiting (need positive ID).  It’s a species at risk in NS, and it seemed to be shopping for snacks off the side of our house, possibly wasps.  It was making repeat visits and swooping at the corner of the house.

Remember that “wild” rabbit?  It did not quite allow me to get a picture, but it was taking a dirt bath, writhing around like a chicken, in the sand pile outside our door last evening.  Very undignified.

Window protection saves wild bird

I had a bird finally test the bird protection window screens I’m so proud of.

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.

Awesome!  Exactly like I imagined. It didn’t even contact the glass.

HW got over the aesthetic issues and slight obstruction of the view long ago, so I’m in the clear with my no-kill windows.

Birdhouse factory

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.

With the participation of Apples the house chicken

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.

All done

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 make another birdhouse tree like this.

Guineas passing through!

I have the tree in mind:)

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.

Unexpected visitors

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.

wild bird protection success

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.

 

Snow?

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.