Saturday, January 31, 2009

Who would have guessed

Yesterday some of the bird feeders were on the ground and the squirrels were gorging on seeds. I assumed it was due to storm conditions, maybe heavy ice or wind. Wrong! The raccoons come out at night and knock the feeders to the ground. It's cold. The critters are hungry and desperate.

Despite the cold it's fun to stroll and observe. I've seen how feisty the pine siskens are, how beautiful the winter coloration of the grackle is, how trusting my favorite hermit thrush is, how big a nut a small bird can carry away, how aggressive a hungry squirrel can get. This stretch of cold weather is very hard on the park residents.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Super WOW ! Jump for Joy !

For the past few weeks I've been seeing park "regulars", the small birds who over-winter here. I have a pal who loves the cardinals, so I'm always on the lookout for cardinals. And this weekend I've got a friend in town from Florida. Despite the snow shower we went off to the park. All was quiet. Freezing. We saw a few cardinals. I got out peanuts and they came for the snack.

Suddenly something else appeared. My first thought was, "Sparrow", but in one second my brain changed , "Wren! Oh my God, a WREN!" And it came for peanuts. It looked, then flew back into the bushes. I waited. The cardinals took what they wanted and the wren came back, a gorgeous Carolina wren. It studied the nut bits, pecked them, drilled them into smaller bits, drilled the nut pieces like a woodpecker, and ate. I haven't seen a Carolina wren for a year and never this close. How beautiful. How exciting! Not one of the "regulars". One sweet little wren. I'm in love.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shoo !!

The Canadian geese have been on the Great Lawn. The Parks Department guys chase them off by waving big black garbage bags. So where do they fly to? Up to the next big lawn.
For a long time I'd only see one little back squirrel. Now I'm seeing a lot and they're no longer shy. Hootchy-Koochy in Squirrel Town??

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Into the bushes

When the hawks are on the prowl the little birds flee........ hide in the bushes, go silent. They can vanish in one second. If I see a hawk I'm careful to toss nut bits into the bushes so that nobody becomes exposed. Images taken on the 25th. It's snowing today.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Freezing visit

It's obvious that the small birds need the delivered food. They know how to find their own food, but in this frigid weather every little bit extra counts.

I'm astonished and maternally attracted to the little hermit thrush, normally a shy bird, but wanting food willing to wait patiently right by my shoulder. I know this hermit recognizes me. He's not bold like the squirrels who will sit on my shoes, tug my pant legs, even bounce off my backpack. He appears and waits and watches and I talk to him while getting the nut bits out.
There's suet on the side of the tree with cayenne pepper rubbed over it. The birds don't mind the pepper. The squirrels can't tolerate the pepper. More suet for the birds.

Monday, January 26, 2009

More sustenance

The birds will toss leaves aside looking for food underneath. It's not easy work. Anything hand- delivered is appreciated. I wonder sometimes if sharing is the right thing to do. We're cultivating some very tame wild creatures. But I must admit that coming upon a squirrel devouring a muffin is good for a laugh.