Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's Fawn Time

About two weeks ago, one of the doe brought her fawn up.  I did not see it all last week and was beginning to wonder if something had happened to it.  When she first brought the fawn up it was so very little I feel certain it was just a few days old.  It is amazing how much it has frown in just a short time.

Late yesterday afternoon I looked out the window and there it was.  I dared not try to lift the window to get clear shots so these photos were taken through the window.

The fawn kept trying to nurse but all mom wanted to do was eat.  I always look forward to this time of year when you start seeing the fawns.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Yellow-throated Warbler and the Cow Bird

immature Yellow-throated Warbler
After several weeks of hellishly hot, humid and miserable weather, we caught a brief break yesterday and today courtesy of a cold front that came through Saturday night.

Since most of the entire spring passed with very little birding I headed out early this morning. There was fog at the river early but it burned off fairly quickly.

The area I visited is a rich environment for Yellow-throated Warblers.  The feeding frenzy began early.  This year's fledglings begged and squabbled with each other for the parents attention.  Most trailed behind the adult bird and made some attempts at searching for insects.

My attention became focused on one particular adult that hunted with a sense of urgency beyond that of the other adults.

After several minutes of watching it fly off then come back I realized why.  The poor little warbler was trying to feed the insatiable appetite of a bird several times its size.

I really dislike when the Cow Birds show up.  I know that some poor bird is going to be suckered into taking care or a large bird that ultimately usually pushes the other chicks out of the nest.  Knowing the size difference between the warbler and the Cow Bird, I am sure the warbler chicks were pushed out early.  What a shame.

Regardless of how many insects the warbler brought to the young Cow Bird, every time the warbler flew off, the young bird was still begging for more.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Solving the Suet Feeder Problem

I had just about reached the point of taking the suet feeder in being so frustrated with the Grackles and the Jays going through a suet cake within an hour every morning then to top that off, the Cooper's Hawk decided birds feeding was her/his own personal buffet table.

The feeder I had been using had worked well until the Grackles showed up.  The suet cage within the cage did not provide enough distance from the outer to the inner cage.  The Grackles were able to reach through and hogged the space and chased other birds away.

I started with an idea and worked on the fly.  In hind sight, I would do some things differently if I had a do-over but for now, the new suet cage is working.

It has been an interesting watching the learning process of the birds getting use to the new feeder.  The first bird to give it a try was a Tufted Titmouse, the second a Carolina Wren.  Initially, I had two openings on each side and they were towards the bottom of the cage.  Neither of the birds were able to find their way back out and I ended up opening the door to let them out.

I made adjustments and added more openings at the top and middle of the cage.  After watching for a bit, the birds generally enter at the bottom of the cage and exit towards the top.  Also at the bottom hole, I added a wooden dowel through the cage.  This seemed to give a reference point for some of the larger birds such as the Cardinal, Catbird and Bluebird.

The birds, such as the Downy WP that I expected to have the least problems seemed quite confused.  Not sure if because they are still juveniles are contributing to the uncertainty.  They have eventually figured it out yet still check out almost every opening prior to going in.

The Red-Bellied WP was very hesitant to go in at first but eventually, hunger won out.

And has it worked to keep the Grackles out?  You betcha!  I watched for 15 minutes as they went all over the cage attempting to get in.


Sunday, June 7, 2015

Another One Bites the Dust

I have still been busy with the yard projects but things are getting ready to slow down with the ever increasing heat.  I definitely cannot take it like I use to particularly when the humidity gets high.

This morning as I was wrapping up a couple of things while it was still on the cooler side I was trying to photograph a Pileated WP that was checking out the trees when I heard all kinds of commotion in the neighbors yard.    I suspected the Cooper's Hawk as it has been hanging around hunting for the last couple of weeks.  The Blue Jays were really fussing and hopping around in the tree so I was looking hard when I spotted movement on the ground.  I hate I missed the action.

The Cooper's had something on the ground and at first I thought it was a black snake but then realized it was a bird.  I only got a couple of quick shots before it flew off.  It might be bad to say but I am glad to see a Grackle gone.  They must have nested nearby this year because they have driven me crazy trying to get at the suet feeders.