Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Critter Happenings

The birds and squirrels have found the feeders we put out just after Christmas.  I have had trouble getting photos of them, but have managed a few.

Around January 12, I was tickled to see this bird on the thistle feeder.  I think it's a dark eyed junco.

I included this one because I like the rake and ladder with snow on it.

A few days later, I saw a bunch of tracks when I got home from work.  If I'd have had my camera with me, I could have taken photos without my tracks with them.

Out the back door, I had trouble figuring out what kind of tracks these are.  They made me think of cats, but were laid out single file.  I just looked at images of squirrel, opossum, and cat tracks in snow, and these look most like the cats' to me.

Around the corner, where the gate to the driveway is to the left, just out of the photo, I'm thinking these tracks may be from mourning doves.  I did hear the whir of dove wings a few days ago as I was approaching the gate.

 I hope the birds were not still here when the other critter was, if it was a cat.

Look how nicely the tracks follow the shoveled path on the deck.

Another sign of critters is that the safflowers are being eaten when I'm not looking. 

This is what we see when we come home.  The sidewalk we usually use to get to the back door is to the right.  I have been seeing sparrows and juncos flitting about in the "habitat" we unwittingly provided for them.  They keep hiding, so I have had trouble getting photos, even though I hear them in there.

This is the view from the back of the house.  We didn't do as good a job cleaning up for the winter as we have in the past.

I want to find a spot for this bicycle in the yard somewhere in the spring.

I'm thinking about covering some of the items on the deck to keep them from being ruined by the birds, if it's not too late.

Just last week, I was excited to see a bird had finally found the window feeder I had gotten for Larry for Christmas.  I was wondering if he had put it too low, and the birds didn't feel safe eating from it.  A co-worker told me it's a black capped chickadee.  I looked them up, and I think he's right.

It comes, takes a few seeds, then flies off.  If it sees me, it may not even stop for the seeds. 

When I got home from work today, Tuesday, I saw that the suctioned part of the above bird feeder was still on the window, but the rest of it was not.  I went out to investigate and take more photos.

First, I stopped by the double suet feeder.  It looks like it really is squirrel proof.   I saw a pretty white bird with black and red on it when I came home from work a few days ago, which flew off when it saw me.  I think it was a small woodpecker of some kind.  I looked and saw some of the suet had been eaten. 

I've been noticing a little more of the suet eaten each time I check, so either the bird has been back, or other birds have also found the suet.  One of the cakes is almost finished.

 I was glad to see that the holder for the bird food was on the ground and not carried off by the squirrel(s).  Still, I would rather have had it stay on the window.

When I returned to the driveway, and was about to enter the back yard, I saw the birds hanging out on the deck.  I stayed put and used my zoom to get some photos of them on their various perches.  I heard a bird calling out as it was flying away, and thought it must be a chickadee.  When I listened online I figured out I was right.  They seem to be more shy than sparrows and such.  But even the sparrows fly off or hide in the stuff on the deck when I get too close.

This photo didn't turn out clear, but I included it because I had fun watching a bird land on the handle, causing the basket to tip while this sparrow kept its balance.  It didn't stay put long enough to be in the photo.  (Randy pointed out to me that these are house sparrows, not native to the U.S.  I should have mentioned that.  I am not thrilled to have them, but don't know what to do about it.  They seem to co-exist with other kinds of birds here, but maybe they do bad things that I don't see.)

 This bird watched me as I took pictures.

Two more sparrows came and landed near the one above.  I wasn't able to get all three of them on it.

A squirrel showed up all of a sudden, dashing off out of sight before I could get a second photo taken.  It sure is coordinated!

 This dark eyed junco was in my next door neighbor's yard.

There sure a lot of perches for the sparrows and juncos on the deck!

I've been seeing rabbits hopping about when I come and go without my camera.  I also heard the whir of dove wings when I went out recently.

Oh, and I recently mentioned I haven't had any dreams about gardening yet this winter.  Since then, I have had 2 or 3.  The main one I remember was that we lived in an old white house with a porch.  In front of the porch, was a patch of lettuce that some neighbors had just helped themselves to.  I was in a toot to go out and pick some before they came back.

I hope this finds you well.  I am behind in my blog reading.  There are too many to keep up with, but I keep trying to anyway.


  1. Sue, you are so lucky to have so many birds frequenting your garden! All the cats who roam around our neighborhood keep they birds from coming near our garden :-(

  2. Sue,

    Cool on the Junco, you should get lots of them, mostly ground feeders. Sorry to tell you your sparrows are House Sparrows, non native to the US.

  3. I love seeing footprints left by critters too. I just put out a suet today for the birds for the first time. I hope they find it hanging on my fence.

  4. Love dark eyed juncos--a staple of our winter birdgarden. And I love, love love the bird tracks in the snow, like frozen needlepoint. My latest post is on snow buntings, which you may well get there too!

  5. Lovely fotos with birds, greeting from Blgium

  6. So cool to have so much wild life around. For me just the other day finally a bird visited my little garden. So far only one big crow had came

  7. That last picture of the house sparrow is just super!

    We used to have dozens visit the feeder, but so far none this year. I wonder why. Those and starlings used to take way too much of the seeds.

    I think the birds will get more used to you being close to the window feeder. I just stand there very still while they are on the one just outside the window. They don't seem to mind me much anymore.

  8. What a lot of bird visitors to you frozen gardens. Great pictures Sue.


  9. Your sparrow shots gave me a giggle. I have a fenced in backyard so perhaps that allows more safety for the birds to visit my feeders. I have almost finshed 100 pounds of sunflower seed. One squirrel proof feeder I have they have figured how to take the lid off. I need to put it in a better location.I like this new look, it is a refreshing color.

  10. The little tracks in the snow are so lovely and from the great numbers, there seems to have been a fair amount of activity in their making, almost like a little dance of dare was taking place between the cat and the bird.

  11. I enjoy watching the birds in the winter, too, Sue. I also have a small feeder with suction cups attached to my living room window, but for some reason the birds seem to avoid it. Maybe it's the cat sitting on the back of the couch on the other side of the window that stops them:)

  12. Love those little juncos! Really, I think any bird with puffed up winter feathers is instantly my favorite. Great track photos, too.

  13. Brr~It looks gold out there Sue~ Nice photos of your garden critter tracks~iy does look like the bird and cat met head on! I sure get frustrated by the activities of squirrels but, I have to feed the birds! gail

  14. I love your bird visitors. You provide such nice treats. No wonder they love coming.

  15. love the photos of the bird tracks, I hope the cat didn't find one for a snack. I miss my chickadee's I haven't had the time to feed my fathered friends, since I started school.

    But visiting you today and seeing your little chickadee's brought a smile to my face.


  16. We have the cage feeders also but not as much activity as last year without them.
    Love that you're not real tidy...feel at home.


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