Tag Archives: hummingbirds

Bye, Bye, Blackbird

1 Apr

Whenever we have a snowstorm, the various blackbirds – redwings, starlings, and grackles – will flock to the feeders because they are unable to find their normal diet of bugs and grubs under the snow. As soon as the ground is clear, they fly off.  While they are coming to the feeder they are absolute vultures, eating – or wasting – everything in sight.

As a rule, we don’t have them hanging around, but because the only snow worth mentioning came in mid-March, the blasted things have decided to stay. They can clear out a three pound feeder in less than two hours, and leave the cardinals looking utterly bewildered.

At least they are willing to eat the cheap stuff from the grocery store, and I am more than willing to let them. I’ve had to bring in the finch feeders, as the blackbirds will rummage in them, tossing the Niger seed on the ground and eating the tiny chips of sunflower seeds. The finches won’t eat off the ground, and nobody else seems to like thistle seed, so it is a wasteful and expensive situation. At this point I’ve just decided to pull all of the feeders and hope to starve them out.

 

Indigo Buntings and Outwitting Ants

23 May

This handsome fellow has been hanging around our feeder for several days, but it has taken us a few tries to get a decent shot. This is a male indigo bunting – the female is all brown and could easily be mistaken for a wren, except that the tail is straight, not upright. She’s probably been around, but we haven’t noticed.

indigo bunting 2People (scientists) keep saying animals are color-blind, but that doesn’t explain why the females are always much more drab and often invisible.

hummingbird feeder  If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know we have been plagued by ants inside the house. Anybody who feeds hummingbirds has probably watched in frustration while the bloody buggers climb up the post and drink the nectar you put out for the hummingbirds. Well, I think I have it solved.

I found a spray can top with an “inner circle” and punched a hole in the center, and strung a wire loop through the hole, long enough to reach beyond the top of the plastic lid. I filled the outer ring with water and a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent. Not much, just a drop or two. When the ants crawl up the pole and down the wire loop, they cannot get past the water barrier. The soap breaks the surface tension of the water, and the ants drown. Be careful that the rim of the lid doesn’t touch the wire at any spot, or the ants will bypass your little trap. Some hot glue, blue tack, or even used chewing gum placed either inside or outside the cup will help keep it upright.

And there you are. An ant-proof hummingbird feeder.

Nature Watching

28 Sep

We have two hummingbird feeders and three regular bird feeders right outside the den window. This is part of the reason I never get anything done.

Even this late in the year, we are still getting hummingbirds, tanking up, I suppose, for the long trip south. After the squirrels have eaten the seed and peanuts we put out in the morning, they know just how far away to start their running leap to land on top of the guard, and then hop up onto the feeders, dangling upside down to eat the seed there. I’m not sure of the reason for this, exactly, as there are now plenty of acorns, which can be collected without the calisthenics. However, with all the bending and stretching, we have noticed at least one female seems to still be nursing, even though it is pushing the first of October. A little late in the year for that, girl.

The Squire and I are trying to pin down a new bird. The bird has a particularly raucous cry, which sometimes wakes me in the morning, but The Squire can’t hear it without his hearing aids. He has marvelous eyesight, but I can’t see the bird without my driving glasses.

Teamwork.

 

Why I Never Get Anything Done

7 Aug

Great BlueWhen I opened the bedroom curtains today, this Great Blue was standing on the patio, apparently surveying the breakfast menu in the pond. He stayed put long enough for me to dash downstairs and grab the camera and get this shot. It is a bit fuzzy because I took it through both the window glass and the screen.

My computer sits right in front of the den window, so I can keep an eye on the various types of finches, butterflies, plain old birds, and hummingbirds which come to the feeders.

We have two hummingbird feeders, and by some sort of common consent, one is used almost exclusively by the honey bees and the other by the birds. Given the dearth of honey bees lately, seeing so many jostling around the feeder is really nice. The hummingbirds move so quickly it is hard to tell what they are – definitely not Ruby Throated, so either Rufous or Calliope. Both have green backs and lighter undersides, but beyond that I can’t tell you anything. But they are really tanking up. We also have chickadees, which is really unusual for this time of year. Some of the oak trees are already dropping acorns – not green ones, but big fat brown ones, fully ripe. This is not normal for the first week of August, folks.