nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘birds

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

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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

fishing under the covered bridge

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In the community where I live, there is one covered bridge, the Patrick Owens Bridge, otherwise known as Rusagonis River #2. At one time there were at least four covered bridges across the Rusagonis Stream.

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The photo below was taken in 1964 and shows my husband as a boy, fishing under the covered bridge on the North Branch of the Rusagonis Stream. In the photo, he is fishing with a home-made pole. That bridge was gone by 1978 when I first moved to New Brunswick.

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I have always loved covered bridges and I am pleased to announce that my new poetry book “in the shelter of the covered bridge” will be out later in 2017, published by Chapel Street Editions, Woodstock. The book is a compilation of my poetry about plants and animals living in the vicinity of some of the covered bridges in New Brunswick. The work was funded by artsnb and includes some of the poems that won the Alfred G Bailey Prize in the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick Writing Competition in 2016.

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in the shelter of the covered bridge” will include poems about many of the covered bridges in the St. John River valley and is illustrated with my own pencil drawings. I’ll let you know as soon as it is available!

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choke-cherries Becaguimec bridge.jpg

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

blue jay on a fall day

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Our cabin is a great place for relaxing. Sometimes we have work to do, but sometimes we just sit back, read, watch birds or talk.

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Often the birds come to us. I have had a hummingbird hover in the open door, just to check out what is inside that peculiar box on the hillside. We often see waxwings in our big pine trees or catch a glimpse of a goldfinch sashaying by.

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This past week, a blue jay came to call. It perched on our grape arbour for a while and then examined our ATV trailer thoroughly. I don’t think he had a clue he was being watched and photographed.

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dark choke-cherries, scarlet keys of ash

hang, counterweight to summer

blue jays strip the branches, berry by berry

v-beaks and hollow throats

                         (from my up-coming book “in the shelter of the covered bridge”)

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

song of the Hermit thrush

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Every morning I listen at my window for the morning bird chorus. This morning, my first Hermit thrush of the year! It is my favorite of the bird songs, melodic and heavenly, phrases repeated in different keys.  A year ago, I heard the song and wrote the following poem. For the process I followed in writing this poem, see this.

Hermit thrush

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Catharus guttatus

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neither visceral nor guttural, ethereal

tip-toe in tree tops

air pulled into taffy thread

a flute in the forest

froth on a wave

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rain trembles on leaf tips

guttation drops on strawberry

a lifted curtain of mayflower

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I saw you there

hidden in the thicket 

and I followed

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climb the ladder and sing

then step to the rung below

heads up, thoughts of the new day

parting of the beak

pulse at the throat

hairs lift

at the nape

of the neck, fingers

warble the keys

between middle and ring

catharsis

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Published at http://www.janetims.com July 1, 2016

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Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

May 31, 2017 at 7:10 am

woodpeckers in the grey woods

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If you are new to my site, you might not know that we call the woods behind our house ‘the grey woods’. The woods are mainly balsam fir and black spruce, with grey birch and red maple. Here is a map of our property (about 19 acres).

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Woodpeckers are a common bird in the grey woods. We have Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus), Hairy Woodpeckers (Leuconotopicus villosus), and Downy Woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens). The woodpeckers love the older trees in the woods. They also peck at our wood-shingled house!

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Here is a Hairy Woodpecker hard at work in a balsam fir. He is hard to tell from the Downy Woodpecker (especially when you can’t see his beak) but the Hairy woodpecker is larger (about the size of a Robin) and sometimes his red cap is divided into two parts (seen clearly in this photo).

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 29, 2017 at 7:32 am

morning bird chorus – ephemera

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When I was a child, one of the things I prized was my collection of ‘bird cards’. These were an advertising give-away from ‘Cow Brand Baking Soda’ (Church and Dwight Limited, Montreal, Canada).

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I would spend hours looking at these, putting them in order of the ones I liked best, thinking about the birds depicted. The Meadowlark was a local bird I had seen many times and his call was as familiar to me as breathing – he always made it to the top of the pile! Today the winner would be the Cedar Waxwing who sits in the tops of the pines at our cabin, or the Goldfinch who spends all winter at our feeders!

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Today I still have two packs of these cards. They are in sets of 16 in a paper envelope. The card sets are called ‘Useful Birds of America’ and the front of each card shows an image of a bird by artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), an American ornithologist and artist. On the back, there is a tip on how to use ‘Cow Brand Baking Soda’, the bird’s common name, its scientific name and a charming paragraph about its appearance and habits. The card concludes with a short message still relevant today:

For the good of all, do not destroy the birds 

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 3, 2016 at 8:22 am

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