The fall songbird migration has begun, probably due to the dryness around here. I’ve been getting some interesting birdies at the feeder, especially since I put out a small pan of water. That’s been a source of endless entertainment. The smaller the bird, the bigger the splash they seem to make.
It’s endlessly cute to watch the approach. I use the bottom tray from a planter for water, and dump/refill it daily. I also put it up on a deck bench. The birds land either on the bench or a nearby mullein stalk, then perch on the edge to drink carefully. Then they look around and cautiously hop in. The smallest goldfinches barely can see over the rim. They peer around, splash, peer around again, then hop out and shake off.
Those little finch and sparrow birdies? They spread water in 3-4 foot arcs. Not that they waste it–often they’ll sip from the splash puddles before going to the main dish.
But so far this morning I’ve seen goldfinches, house finches, yellow and white-crowned sparrows, yellow-rumped warblers, black and grey warblers, and black-capped chickadees. The finches and the chickadees are regulars, the rest are travelers.
The other day a couple of crows daintily sipped from the tray.
Such a small thing, my bird feeders and waters. But it provides me and the birds much happiness. Besides the mixed seed and nyger feeders (I don’t run suet until the rains set it), I have a not-very-used hummingbird feeder and sunflowers that the birds can work. Plus all the mullein stalks.
And now a scrub jay is drinking. But I must go.
Yesterday morning as we pulled into the driveway after grocery shopping, I spotted a crow swaggering around the front yard, looking pleased with itself. It stopped, intensely poked at something in the grass, then flew off. I spotted something about the size of a peanut in its beak, yellowish. I had to scratch my head because I didn’t think we’d had something like that in the grass that a bird would think yummy. Plus the lawn had been mowed just yesterday. The crow also hadn’t had anything in its mouth when I first saw it.
Then a blue jay landed in the same spot and started picking around the same spot. It flew up when we got out of the car, but flew back. It started frantically picking around the mounds of dried grass, getting madder and madder, sending stuff flying, squawking in frustration. Meanwhile, the crow sat on the powerline and cawed mockingly.
I looked more closely, and realized that the crow had just faked out the blue jay by pretending that a yellowed leaf from the dogwood Was A Really Tasty Treat. Just another crow joke, and an escalation in the ongoing Crow vs Blue Jay wars.
Yesterday was somewhat of a break from Novel Deathmarch. I wrote a wee bit in the morning, then spent the rest of the day doing errands and minor care stuff for a long-term rural friend who is gravely ill and needs help with figuring out applications for high risk health insurance pools amongst other things.
I’m also starting to develop a theory of how one goes about applying regulation theory analysis to teaching and other systems. Is very interesting. A task for August.
Today I intend to engage in full-court Rewrite Deathmarch. I have a block of about four hours before I will need to Do Other Stuff. I have caffeine, carbs, occasional chocolate, fresh fruit, and a raucous bluegrass version of Dark Side of the Moon (Poor Man’s Whiskey, Dark Side of the Moonshine). Netwalker Uprising, here I come!
Snow again this morning, and things look like this:
When I went out to the Nyger seed feeder, a female House Finch and a female Yellow-rumped (Audubon’s) Warbler piteously stayed hunkered down on the seed tray as I approached. The finch flew off as soon as I reached up to take the feeder down, but the warbler, her feathers all ruffled up, wouldn’t move. So I took the other mixed seed feeder down, giving her time to fly off, but she wouldn’t go. She clung to the feeder even as I took it down, and it took me gently trying to persuade her to hop onto my finger to get her to fly off.
I’m not sure if she’s sick or if she’s just at the borderline. She hasn’t come back to the feeder. She seemed to be a young bird as well, so that may be a factor.
It’s snowing intermittently right now. Looks like Addie-the-car will get her first icy commute trial today. Definitely a more sensitive car than her predecessor, as I discovered on the icy, hail-strewn drive home yesterday. Wish I had the snow tires on her but that will happen later in the week.
Meanwhile, I’m glad I’ve had the feeder up for the little twitterbirds. Seed and suet both. Hope the little one makes it, but I know the odds for a little one in migration phase (the Yellow-rumped Warblers don’t live down here, this is the typical migration time for these birdies) can be a challenge.