For the record: May 2014 bird behavior
The newspaper coverings I taped to the living room windows blew off yesterday. (I drafted this post on 13 May!) The American Robin is again flying at its reflection upsetting the peace of the house and, I have to believe, reducing its chances to be selected as a mate. Maybe this Robin already knows he has been overlooked, and depression at rejection is driving this behavior. If he doesn’t have a headache, I do.
Tree Swallows are nesting for about the 4th year in the box closest to the vegetable garden. The couple successfully defended their home from a third Swallow, who after buzzing the box for an entire afternoon, gave up and went away. Perhaps that third bird was taking out his aggression on the mated pair because his intended lay dead in a box across the meadow. The eyes of the Tree Swallow had been pecked out suggesting the role of a House sparrow in its demise. House Sparrows are building a nest in a neighboring box.
In 2010, Gary, the carpenter working on my house, reduced the opening of the box to suit Bluebirds. Bluebirds dutifully came to build a nest only to be chased away by House Sparrows who then chipped away at Gary’s new door until it was large enough for them to enter the box. House Sparrows nested there that year laying round after round of eggs that I kept removing. However, after a generally successful campaign against House Sparrows, none appeared again until this year. The box they have chosen is the box with the altered doorway. There are now 5 eggs in the nest.
A pair of Easter Phoebes hopped around on the eave beside the open porch area. They were measuring, I was pretty sure, for nest building. Then I did not see them again until I went out to the folly where a Phoebe nest was tucked into a narrow space between the roof trusses and the back of a photovoltaic panel. Had they used the porch eave, I might have been able to see inside the nest. In the folly, I can only see the characteristic signs of Phoebe nest — brushy material held together with mud like hair falling from a french twist.
A pair of Wild Turkeys have made themselves at home here of late. First I thought it strange that there was only one Turkey. A couple of days ago, two Turkeys were here together. They are fairly unperturbed by humans. Their feathers have the sheen of armor until they shake making them look like dust mops. See the video, if you’d like.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are back and so are the Baltimore Orioles. The Hummingbirds drink sugar water and the Orioles eat the oranges I put out in suet cages. The biggest snackers at this time of year are the Grackles. They’d eat 2 patties of suet a day if I’d put it out. But feeding Grackles is not my idea of attracting interesting birds so I leave the suet feeders empty every other day and feel badly about the Woodpeckers, the Cardinals, the Titmice and the Jays who would also like the suet but eat more moderately.
For the record, I have 4 pairs of Northern Cardinals this year. Two males were dive bombing a Blue Jay who must have his eyes on the eggs in a Cardinal nest. I guess that’s a reason to keep the suet feeder stocked.
Finally in the bird update, a solitary Canada Goose seemed to have been left behind by other Geese who fly in lazy formations while squawking across the meadow. After about a week of watching this bird hang out in a tightly circumspect patch of the meadow where the bee yard will go once the bees return, I came to think of this as MY Canada Goose. For one who comes by a strong dislike for the species genetically, this seemed a marked softening of heart. My Canada Goose took no interest in the Geese flying overhead. I thought that showed acceptance of my bird’s predicament. I developed theories about that predicament: injured, jilted, otherwise defective. It must not have been so injured that it could not fly into a tree to roost at night. It showed admirable good sense not to sleep on the ground in the meadow.
The Canada Goose and I had this routine of what I presumed to be mutual observation down to a science so imagine my surprise when this morning (still 13 May) I saw the Goose with a mate and two ducklings. My camera can’t reach the far side of the meadow so the evidence of the Goose is displayed in its poops on the weed block for the bee yard.
Love the turkey dusting video. I actually like the call of the Canada Goose, but could be spared the poopings! 🙂
Great report. Terrific detail. Keep those videos coming. How is the folly doing? We look for an update.
I suppose we could have been spared the poopings photo, but from a nutrient management view, the photo does allow for some rough calculations about N and P loadings to Susan’s meadow and adjacent salt pond.