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Archive for the ‘bird watching’ Category

Hi everyone it’s Cindy here. A couple of weeks ago we were woken up in the morning by a banging on a window downstairs somewhere. Charlie remembered the same thing happening last year at about the same time of year and was pretty sure he knew what it was. On closer inspection his suspicions were confirmed. Watch this video to see who was doing the knocking.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

We are so excited to see our Eastern Bluebirds back for another season and are fairly certain that this is the same pair we had last year.

Hello Mrs. Bluebird

Hello Mrs. Bluebird

Our suspicions that this is the same pair is based on the fact that the female exhibited the same behavior of attacking the windows as she did last year. This pair is already staking their claim to one of our bluebird nest boxes (the same one they used last year).

Photo courtesy of Google Earth

Photo courtesy of Google Earth

Above is a satellite view of our house. We have two bluebird nest boxes indicated by the arrows. From the spring of 2010 through the summer of 2014 we had a pair of bluebirds nesting in the Meadow Box. We watched them raise multiple broods and enjoyed close up views when they would all come to our mealworm feeder in the yard. In 2015 we were without any resident bluebirds but in 2016 another pair showed up. This pair picked the Driveway Box to nest in. We were a little disappointed since the Driveway box is not easily viewed from inside the house or even from the back yard.

Another disappointing thing about this pair is that last year they never discovered our mealworm feeder. Even though we put out worms and every other bird in the yard would feed there, this pair didn’t seem to figure it out. They would use the birdbath that was just a few feet away but the activity of the other birds never enticed them to visit the feeder.

They're using the feeder!

They’re using the feeder!

This year they came back well before any natural food is available, like live bugs, so we think that is why they finally found the feeder. We have just finished the warmest February in history for our area and never before have we seen a pair of bluebirds take up residence so soon. We have our fingers (and paws) crossed that they eventually bring their babies to the feeder so we can enjoy seeing them this year. We don’t think they are nesting quite yet as we haven’t seen Mrs. Bluebird bringing any nesting material to the box. It is still quite early and on average too cold for that yet.

Thanks for making a mess of our windows

Thanks for making a mess of our windows

One by product of Mrs. Bluebird’s activities is that all our windows are now full of smudges from her wings. I guess this is the bird equivalent to the dog’s nose art!

We are so excited to have our bluebirds back and will hopefully have some family pictures to show you come spring.

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Disclaimer: We, Millie & Walter, do not condone the use of the following pictures or video on our blog. Proceed at your own risk…you’ve been warned!

Hi everyone, it’s Cindy here! Don’t listen to Millie and Walter. They don’t know what really is cute and what is not. Be prepared for some ultra cute pictures and video.

We have a very large willow tree in our front yard. Over the years many woodpeckers have hammered holes in this tree. Until recently we have never actually seen anything using these holes for homes. On a very rainy morning Charlie saw a mother squirrel bring her babies to a large hole in this willow tree.

Willow with squirrel nest - with words

She made a total of four trips to bring the whole family to the new nest. Since she was moving them during a rain storm we figured the reason was because they were getting soaked where they were.

The following day the sun came out and so did the babies.

Do you think it's safe to go out?

Do you think it’s safe to go out?
I thought mom said to stay in here.

It's okay if we stay close to the nest.

It’s okay if we stay close to the nest.

These adorable babies spent much of the day running up and down the willow tree. Here is a short video of some of the action.

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

Yesterday this group of hooligans was scurrying around the backyard while Millie and Walter were inside. The pups sure had fun were frustrated watching all this action through the windows.

We actually aren’t sure if these are grey squirrels or red squirrels. We thought the mom that was carrying the babies was a grey squirrel (we were viewing during a rain storm from a long distance) but when looking at the babies they seem to have more reddish fur than expected. We do have both species living on our property so it could be either one. No matter what they are they sure are cute and fun to watch.

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Wild Bird Wednesday

Hi everyone! Wow! Did we have an exciting day last week. On Tuesday, May 19th a pair of male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds waged a fierce all day battle for the rights to our backyard. I noticed them first thing in the morning when I took the dogs out for their bathroom duties.

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

Throughout the day I would glance out the window and see them still going at it.

Get off my feeder!

Get off my feeder!

Occasionally they would both land on the feeder and both would take some sips from the feeder.

A temporary truce for refueling

A temporary truce for refueling

But that wouldn’t last long and they would be at it again.

Who will be the first to give up?

Who will be the first to give up?

They were so consumed by their turf battle that I was able to get within about 8 feet to take these pictures. I also took some video of the action that you can see below. The video is a bit long but that was after I cut it down from the 20 clips I took of them. I apologize that the birds aren’t always in the best focus but I wanted to demonstrate how fierce some of the action was. The camera had difficulty focusing on the small birds and instead would focus on the background. If you listen closely you can hear when they hit each other. You can also see that they seem to take turns being the one on the feeder and the one trying to knock the other off.

[vimeo https://vimeo.com/129004352]

If you can’t see the video you can go here to view it.

At times one of the birds would be on the feeder.

Whatcha looking at?

Whatcha looking at?

While the other was on top of the hook holding the feeder. It seemed that the one on top would not see when the other flew onto the feeder.

Where did he go?

Where did he go?

There were brief periods of rest between skirmishes. I caught this picture of them both preening while sitting on the trellis in the perennial garden.

The arrows show where the hummingbirds are sitting.

The arrows show where the hummingbirds are sitting.

I was getting exhausted watching this battle going on. It continued all day long until after sundown. (Yes, I turned off the lights in the kitchen and looked out at about 8:30 pm to see them still going at it) The next day only one male hummingbird remained. I would like to think the loser of the battle flew on to find his own territory.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Wild Bird Wednesday and will take some time to stop by the blog hop host too.

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Hi everyone it’s Cindy here. Today I’m combining two blog hops into one post. First up is Wild Bird Wednesday.

Wild Bird Wednesday

It’s the time of the year when our yard birds are strengthening their pair bonds or finding new mates. Northern Cardinals are year round residents in our yard. Here is a picture I captured last year of a male feeding a female.

Mr Mrs Cardinal feeding

Another of our year round residents is the American Goldfinch.

goldfinches at feeder 3

They don’t have much color at this time of year but eventually the males will be a brilliant yellow.

Now on to Hooking on Hump Day! A while ago I did a post about a blue bird I crocheted from the Holiday Crochet magazine.

Holiday Crochet - Love of Crochet - cover

I have been happy working with the Knit Picks CotLin™ yarn for these projects. I’ve had the cardinal done since before Christmas but I’m just getting around to show it to you now.

crochet cardinal - front view

The cardinal includes a little felt piece on its face that I sewed on.

crochet cardinal - side view

The pattern is very easy to follow and it works up quickly. There are four parts to each bird, the body, tail and two wings.

crochet cardinal - back view

You can see where I added the hanging loop at the back of the head. It is a good place to balance from and hangs very well.

Next up is the goldfinch.

crochet goldfinch - side view

The goldfinch also has a piece of felt sewn on top of his head. One thing I did differently from the pattern were the wings and tail. The pattern calls for you to use yellow and black to create the wings but since I’m more of a realist and a goldfinch doesn’t have gold on their wings I just did them in black. To add the white bars I embroidered those using white floss.

crochet goldfinch - back view

As you can see from the back view I also added some embroidery to the tail.

I hope you enjoyed this mash up of blog hops that I’m calling Hooking on Wild Bird Hump Day! What a great way to combine two of my loves.

Reminder for Boyz Only!

Guys Day logo

Don’t forget to get your zoomie pictures to Walter. If you want to participate send a picture of you zooming around anywhere real fast. You could also send me a link to a video you have on YouTube or any other host. It can be indoors or out, on snow or grass. It doesn’t really matter since in Blogville there are no seasons. You can email your picture or link to video to cindywelch(AT)rochester(DOT)rr(DOT)com. The dead lion is just a couple of days away. Please have them to us by March 20th. Any species can participate!

If you want to find out more of the Guys Day events pop over to Frankie and Ernie’s place for more information.

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Wild Bird Wednesday

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t been around the blogs much the past few days but I was hit with a stomach bug late Saturday night and I’m just starting to feel myself again.

While I was down for the count we had a first ever avian visitor to our yard. I was feeling so bad that I didn’t even get out of bed to see it so I had to rely on Charlie’s photography skills to verify his find.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl on suet feeder

Northern Saw-Whet Owl on suet feeder

He appeared to be sleeping and Charlie was able to sneak up fairly close. With his long lens he got some great pictures.

No other birds are coming to the feeder for a while.

No other birds are coming to the feeder for a while.

He was still in the yard later in the afternoon when Charlie took the dogs out for a play session. The owl was tucked into the scrub behind the feeder and Charlie said the owl kept a close eye on the pups but never moved. The dogs had no idea he was there.

Northern Saw-Whet owl

Northern Saw-Whet owl

By the next day he was gone. Maybe he will return and bring a friend. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology All About Birds online guide we are in the year round range of the Northern Saw-whet Owl. We may never see him again as they are usually nocturnal. Judging by the fact that he never opened his eyes while Charlie was photographing him he certainly seemed to be trying to catch some “z’s”. Maybe we will hear them at night when the weather is nicer? We will keep you posted.

I hope you have enjoyed this edition of Wild Bird Wednesday and will take some time to stop by the blog hop host too.

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It’s been a cold and snowy winter so far. Here are a couple of shots of Lake Ontario taken from Webster Park a couple of years ago. If you ventured to the park this year you would see much of the same. This is what a “Lake Effect” snow band looks like as it approaches the shore.

Winter Storm

Winter Storm

Mute Swans and Storm Clouds

Mute Swans and Storm Clouds

We are participating in the Black & White Sunday blog hop.

nolasugar_bwbadge_pm

We aren’t sure if we have received everyone’s stamps so if you still have some to send just leave us a comment so we can keep our eyes out for them.  If you need our mailing address just leave a comment. We will be collecting stamps all year so if you already sent us your stamps start collecting for next year. Feel free to send them on any time when you have more than you want.

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All photo’s in today’s post courtesy of Charlie.

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Hi everyone it’s Cindy here. Today I’m combining two blog hops into one post. First up is Wild Bird Wednesday.

Wild Bird Wednesday

We were surprised a few weeks ago when we heard our Bluebirds in the neighborhood. They came around on one of our first snow days and were hanging out where our mealworm feeder is so Charlie put some of our freeze dried worms out.

Three of the four Bluebirds

Three of the four Bluebirds

Within minutes we had a family of four hanging out at the feeder. Our guess is that this is the male and female with two from their final brood.

Male and Female Bluebird

Male and Female Bluebird

The funny thing is that after the final brood fledged, some time in August, our Bluebirds left us and didn’t use the worm feeder for the rest of the season. Usually we don’t see them again until early Spring.

Bluebirds are so happy to have some mealworms

Bluebirds are happy to have some mealworms

We have never had Bluebirds hang around all winter but I know of friends in the area that do have their resident pair hang out all winter as long as there is food for them. We have plenty of mealworms so we hope we get to enjoy the family all winter. All of the bluebird pictures were taken through our windows. We can never get close enough and be outside to get these shots.

Now on to Hooking on Hump Day! Just before Thanksgiving I received an email that included a link to a Holiday Crochet magazine from Love of Crochet and knew I just had to have it.

Holiday Crochet - Love of Crochet - cover

Luckily I found a digital download copy that I could buy. The next task, of course, was to acquire all the yarn I would need. The pattern suggested three brands of yarn and I settled on Knit Picks CotLin™ because it was the only one I could find all the colors available in at the time. I couldn’t wait to get started and in honor of our surprise winter visitors I made the Bluebird first.

Bluebird Ornament Hanging on Tree

Bluebird Ornament Hanging on Tree

Instead of attaching a ribbon to hang him on the tree I just used the tail of the yarn when I finished him and made a simple chain to create a loop. I love the cute little branch that is sewn on with the legs. I very happy with how he turned out.

Back View of Bluebird Ornament

Back View of Bluebird Ornament

The pattern is very easy to follow and it works up quickly. There are four parts to each bird, the body, tail and two wings. I can’t wait to get started on the rest of the birds and will report back when they are done.

I hope you enjoyed this mash up of blog hops that I’m calling Hooking on Wild Bird Hump Day! What a great way to combine two of my loves.

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