Tag Archives: birds

We All Scream For Ice Cream

27 May

A week or so back I found a freezer-burned carton of ice cream on the bottom shelf – Pumpkin Pie flavor, if that gives you any idea how old the stuff was.

I took it out back and left it beside the dish we use to feed the foxes. The carton was gone the next day;  not surprising, as they will frequently carry off plastic carry-out trays or the like to eat at their leisure. Today I had a bunch of stale bread to toss out to the critters – deer will eat bread, as do the birds and squirrels – and as I was coming back I noticed a flash of orange in one of the trees.

Apparently the raccoons had taken the carton away and climbed the tree to eat the ice cream in peace and quiet. The tree is about thirty feet from the dish so I wasn’t likely to see it there, and it was also on the back side of the tree. The carton was in the mulberry tree on the far right of the photo, about four feet off the ground. (We feed the foxes in an old angel food pan, dropped over a stake pounded into the ground. Food dishes are among the things they have carted off, and we got tired of searching for their dish.)

Can’t blame them.  I feel the same way about ice cream. Keep your paws off!

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23 Jun

The Squire, quite frankly, is as deaf as an old shoe. Oh, he swears I am too soft-spoken, but the truth of the matter is the man just plain can’t hear.

We have five birdfeeders in our yard, plus one we sit on the ground for the squirrels. It’s bad enough the blue jays try to eat us out of house and home, but the bloody, bloody grackles also swoop down and grab whatever they can get their beaks on. I don’t mind them coming in the winter when it snows and bringing their side-kicks, the starlings, along with them, but it annoys me when they hang around all summer, too.

To the best of my knowledge, grackles were the only critter that could make my dad angry. When they lived in Bel Air, he would occasionally sit on the patio and snipe at them with a B-B gun. “I know they are God’s creatures and they need to eat, but they just don’t know when to quit. A bunch of bloody vultures.” He trained men to go overseas during WWII, so I suppose that’s where he learned to shoot (it never occurred to me to ask) and he seldom missed. It wasn’t a constant thing, but from time to time he’d pop off two or three.

This morning I was fussing about the grackles in the front yard  and mentioned that my father didn’t like them either.

The Squire turned to me in utter bewilderment. “Your dad didn’t like jackals?”

The Birds and The Bugs

11 Apr

We saw our first goldfinch yesterday, so I stopped while I was off to the doctor and bought a finch feeder. I had originally planned on hanging a “sock” inside the globe and buying a new feeder for the big birds, but none of the stores carried anything even remotely like what I wanted, so I just got a finch tube and hung it from the same tower as the other feeder.  So far, only the goldfinches have eaten the Niger seed.  The purple finches seem content to eat “regular” birdseed, and oddly enough the squirrels are not the least bit interested, which suits me down to the ground. We have also had a redheaded woodpecker eating at our feeder the last two days. I will probably get some mealworms and toss them into the pot.

I swear, we spend more on animal food around here than we do on people food!

Speaking of “down to the ground”, this morning a squirrel was sitting on the tower, pushing the globe feeder back and forth, spewing seeds everywhere. Three of his buddies were sitting in the grass, scurrying around to eat what he had tossed to them.  Little stinkers.

Now, I am looking for a place to hang the hummingbird feeder. Last year the ants cleaned me out, but I have purchased a funny little up-side down cup sort of thing that goes between the feeder and the hanger. The inside of the cup is well laced with ant poison (Terro). In theory, the ants crawl down the outside of the cup and then up the inside, and before they can get to the feeder they are trapped.

I hope.

Ants! This morning, The Squire went into the bathroom and found the inside and the outside of the bathtub crawling with ants. We always get more in the bathroom than any other place, and while I’m glad I don’t have them swimming in my tea kettle, it just mystifies me. What’s in Bon Ami that they find so appealing?

And of course, there are stink bugs to contend with. We pull down the shades to go to bed at night, and out tumble two or three. I was sitting in the living room reading and one crawled up my leg. Every window sill has its own collection. They are not dirty, like roaches, and they don’t sting or make a mess, and Heaven knows I’d rather have them than ants, and even though everybody has them, it is disconcerting when you have company for dinner and one flies across the table. I even plucked one off the rector’s alb during communion one Sunday. What’s the etiquette on that?

And We Had Snow

22 Jan

It started snowing about 9 AM yesterday and kept it up until about 9:30 last night. We got about eight inches here. Brutally cold, but the birds were out in force; I filled the feeder outside the den window three times – and nine pounds of seed. We had “good” birds; juncos, titmice, four or five kinds of sparrows, red wing blackbirds, mourning doves, chickadees – and a towhee, which we had never seen before. Maryland is just on the northern limit of their year-round home. Today, all we have are “junk” birds – starlings and grackles. I know they are God’s creatures and need to eat, too, but so much squabbling and yelling, pushing each other out of the way. You’d think they were humans.

No sign of the squirrels, either yesterday or today, so I suppose they’ll be out in force tomorrow. I didn’t bother to go out to feed the foxes last night; I figured they’d stay denned up, but when I went out just now (2:30) to empty the compost I took their food out with me, and found where they’d been “schnoveling” in circles last night, looking for their dish.

The Squire met two other fellows over at church this morning and cleared the sidewalks, and another member came down and plowed the parking lot.

We had a nice surprise when a neighbor of ours showed up a little before noon on his tractor and did our drive! What a blessing that was. I’ll climb the hill tomorrow morning and take them some fresh bread.