nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘bird feeder

bird feeder visitors – personalities

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I put my feeders up late this year, but the birds have found them. So far the diversity is low, but the numbers are high. We have chickadees, goldfinches and nuthatches. I know from my bird diary of other years, redpolls, purple finches and blue jays will come later.

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I spend a little time each day watching the birds. And, as in other years, I am amazed at how different are the  personalities of these birds.

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Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) – sings ‘chick-a-dee-dee-dee’ or ‘fee-bee’ 

  •  the chickadee hoards food, storing food in times of plenty under bits of bark or a patch of lichen. Canada’s Hinterland Who’s Who says a chickadee can remember where it has stored its food up to 28 days.
  • the chickadee is a grab and go kind of feeder. They zoom in on a sunflower seed, pick it and leave.
  • chickadees hang out in flocks, and have a hierarchy and a ‘pecking order’. The birds are very aggressive with other birds, chasing away other chickadees, nuthatches and goldfinches.

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Red-breasted-Nuthatch (Sitta Canadensis) – sings a nasal ‘yank-yank-yank’ over and over

  • the nuthatch walks head-downward after it lands and in Newfoundland is called the ‘upside-down bird’.
  • nuthatches are very solitary at the feeder and are easily chased away by chickadees.
  • they get-their-food-and-get-going, not hanging around even for a second.
  • nuthatches also hoard and hide food.
  • Hinterland Who’s Who says these birds carry tree pitch to build their nests!

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American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis)  – sings ‘perchickoree’ and flies in a series of hanging loops, potato chip, potato chip.

  • at this time of year goldfinches are dull olive-yellow.
  • they hang out at bird feeders, staying put until they are chased away. They arrive at feeders in flocks and feed quite happily side by side.
  • although they eat sunflower seeds, they seem to prefer thistle seed.
  • Hinterland Who’s Who says goldfinches go into feeding frenzies before snowstorms, putting on significant weight before times when seeds are scarce.

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Do you feed the birds and what kinds of birds come to your feeders? Do they have distinct personalities?

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Copyright 2018 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

February 20, 2018 at 7:00 am

feeding the birds

with 2 comments

I am late this year with putting out bird feeders. Two reasons: the reported difficulty with disease in bird feeders last year and my general lack of time.

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This morning I made a bird feeder from a coke bottle (my son and I used to do this when he was little) and filled three of our feeders. The old sunflower seed feeders, difficult to clean and too expensive to toss out every few days, are in the trash.

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Presenting my new home-made feeder for sunflower seeds! I may add a simple roof to keep the snow out. I can replace it at intervals to keep it clean.

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The finch-feeder with nyjer (thistle) seed:

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A pile of seeds in our frozen bird-bath, for the squirrels and deer:

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As I came in from outside, I heard a chickadee in the larch tree, so I am hoping they will find the feeders soon.

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one of the illustrations in my book ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ (Chapel Street Editions 2017)

 

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

Written by jane tims

February 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

flutter song

with 11 comments

A well-known space can be transformed in an instant.

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Every day I walk the path from our front door. Our bird feeders are right there, beside the path. Usually the opening door sends the birds scattering. They fly into the trees around our yard and twitter and chirp until I go.

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But last week, just after a new fall of snow, I had a magical experience of being in the midst of the feeding birds. And for whatever reason, they paid no attention to me at all.

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The birds, mostly chickadees and goldfinches, whistle and tweet as they feed. But the prevailing sound as I stood among them was the fluttering and whirring of wings all around me.

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We have other visitors at the feeders, mostly a couple of cat-sized grey squirrels and a family of red squirrels, the descendants of the squirrels that moved in to take advantage of the feeders when we first moved here 37 years ago. The spaces around the feeder vary, depending on whether birds or squirrels are the dominant visitors. It was fun, just for a moment, being part of all the activity!

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 27, 2017 at 10:27 pm

Who ate the sunflower seeds???

with 7 comments

First week of spring! Cold and snowy!

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I woke this morning to find my newly-filled sunflower seed feeders all empty. Three pine siskins and a goldfinch were clinging to the finch seed feeder but the other birds are out of seed. A look at the yard will tell you who was slurping up the sunflower seeds in the night!

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

March 22, 2016 at 9:32 am

words from the woodland – bird song

with 2 comments

I have a lot of projects underway, mostly on the ‘administrative’ side of writing.  I have been ordering and revising a manuscript of poems on abandoned aspects of our landscape ( see https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/first-and-last-and-in-between/ ).  Now, I have reached the point where I really need to set the manuscript aside so I can approach it with a fresh eye in a couple of weeks.  So I will use the days between to order another manuscript of poems about sounds from the woodland.  The poems mostly use animal and bird sounds and songs as metaphors for human communication.

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Some of these poems have been around a while, packaged in another form.  In the last weeks, I have been thinking about the bird song metaphor and now I am ready to consider the poems in relation to one-another.  Perhaps I am responding to the Black-capped Chickadees, chattering in the Tamarack.  Or the Hairy Woodpecker who comes every few days to beat his head against our telephone pole.  Perhaps I am thinking more than usual about human communication (having just learned to ‘Twitter’).

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January 8, 2012 ‘two Mourning Doves’ Jane Tims

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drawing doves

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‘… cease to mourn …’

Virgil, Eclogue I

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grey sighs beneath graphite

or where eraser softens

troubled feathers

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doves lament, disturb

fine detail, mourn

the fingers’ tremble

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pencil strokes beak

and fingernails, kernels

of corn, husks of sunflower

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 30, 2015 at 7:17 am

thwarting the squirrels

with 8 comments

Feeding the birds provides me with hours of enjoyment in winter.  However, bird feed is costly when marauders come to call.  I have watched with dismay as the tongue of a single deer laps up every morsel of sunflower seed.  Or laughed as the squirrel eats peanuts from inside the squirrel-resistant bird feeder.  Lately, a very fat raccoon has emptied our suet feeder night after night.

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Last weekend, we rigged something new to see if we could reserve at least one feeder just for the birds.  The idea is courtesy of my friends A. and D. who showed me how well the contraption works at their bird feeding station.

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The idea is simple.  We stretched a sturdy cord between two trees at a height of about seven feet.  On the cord, we strung six empty 2 liter pop bottles.  We tried all sorts of ways to drill holes in the plastic and found that a screwdriver heated over a candle flame melted a neat hole in the bottom center of each bottle.  Then we put a metal s-hook between the two center bottles and hung the feeder.  The squirrels will try to walk the tightrope to get to the feeder, but when they reach the pop bottles, these spin and the squirrels cannot hang on.

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After one week, the squirrels and raccoon have left this feeder alone.  They still have some food to eat at the other feeder, but at least the seed in this one is reserved for the birds!  As you can see, the snow banks are getting higher and soon the squirrels will be skipping across the surface of the snow to reach the feeder.  Higher please!

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Copyright  2015  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

January 16, 2015 at 7:04 am

falling snow

with 6 comments

 

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busy snow

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pecks at

the window edge

lays cold feathers

along the glass

builds a humped man

around the backbone

of the mugo pine

startles the

grazing deer

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

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Written by jane tims

December 3, 2014 at 7:05 am

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