Tuesday, August 24, 2010


This poor robin has had quite a summer.  She laid her eggs in the spruce tree and when the babies were about a week old - a hawk decided to have them for lunch.  She laid another set of eggs and this one she managed to keep one chick.  Then she moved to the hazelnut bush and built another nest and the hawk came back for another meal of robin chicks.  Thankfully the other robins in my yard were a little more successful in getting their chicks hatched and fledged and hopefully to return next season.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hummingbird and Butterfly food?

Flowering plants are also very good bird and butterfly food.  My second favorite thing to do is gardening and as I also want to attract the birds and butterflies, I try to plant things they like as well.   The only thing I find really hard to do is get the pictures when the hummingbirds and butterflies are feeding.  I never seem to have the camera in my hand when I need it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Blind or very young

Two immature redpoles showed up on my lawn yesterday with only one eye open.  One of them almost looked like the eyelids were fused shut and the other one just looked like he couldn't open it.  Having never encountered such a thing before I don't know if they are just too small or if there is something genetically wrong with them.    They were not the least bit nervous until I actually picked one up as it did not hear me or see me coming.  When I let it go it just hopped away a little distance and sat there.  They were able to fly and eat so I guess I will just watch them as see what happens.  If the eyes open I would never know anyway because there are so many babies around that all look the same. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


With so many seed eating birds and chipmunks around for the summer it is no wonder I have strange plants growing in my flower gardens and beside my newly prepared stone walkway. One good thing about it is there are now a lot of free sunflower seeds for the birds and the chipmunks.  Every summer I put my indoor house plants on the deck and I am still getting sunflower plants growing in the middle of winter from the seeds that have fallen into the pots or were buried there by the chipmunks so the winter birds get a chance to eat the seeds right from the heads instead of from the feeders. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Water for birds

The small fountain on the left is the one the birds use when they want to drink or wash their feet.  They will even have a shower in this one.  Naturally they won't do it when you have a camera in your hand  but they do use it.  The small wall fountain on the right is the one they drink from because it is closer to the seed feeders above and to the left of this.  I am sure they would appreciate a bird bath too but there is a small creek close by and they don't really need a birdbath any closer.  The only thing I have noticed is that both fountains need to be cleaned fairly often to prevent the seeds they drop in from sprouting.  For that reason I clean them both once a week and only use clear water.  I am sure that a vinegar solution would work too but the clear water does fine.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


This hazelnut bush was covered in hazelnuts this year and also included a robins nest.  We will keep that one for a later post.  The hazelnuts grow in pods or fibrous husks with a single nut encased in a very strong out layer or shell.  It is very rare that I get to see them when they are ripe because the birds and animals always know when they are ready to eat before I do.  Usually by the time I notice they are almost ready to pick, the birds, chipmunks and squirrels have already taken them.  I think because they were so abundant this season they did not manage to eat them all before they fell to the ground.  Some also had a small worm inside and I am sure the birds knew that they were not going to make a good meal.  Isn't nature beautiful!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bugs in the sumacs

It seems every summer the sumac seeds were disappearing before the birds could get them.  This year I decided to investigate and found several of these beetles or insects on the flower stalks. I even tried to find them online but to no avail. I am not much of a beetle or insect person so I have no idea if that is what is eating them or not.  Interesting things anyway - whatever they are.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Mourning Dove

Some people think mourning doves are noisy and annoying.  I think mourning doves are a real joy to have around.  Many years ago, I happened to have the opportunity to raise one by hand.  All it had was pinfeathers but it soon decided that family life was great.  Lots to eat, lots of attention and lots of things to keep occupied.  It did however, decide that it was time to get back to a natural life.  It returned the next year to raise a family of its own and we now have a large number of offspring at our feeders.