BIRDS Too Anyone ?

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by Dana09, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Hi,
    As they are the most lively thing in my yard at this time of year I notice what they do in my garden as they kick up what is lying on the ground as a mulch of leaves and clippings. I go out and rake it back into the underbrush of my few shrubs and plum tree.
    Whether the birds are looking for insects, their eggs, gravel or seeds who can say?

    Sometimes they use a spot of dry earth on the edge of one of my veggie beds to have dust bath in. And use the now naked branches of the mock orange to sit in and preen after a bath on a winter afternoon, protected from winds by the fence. Water helps to spread the oils along their feathers and goes toward keeping them warmer on cold days which is why they will bathe in icy water on a frigid day, and more bathing goes on in winter altogether than in the heat of summer.

    A winter survival story I read about a robin told of how it stayed nestled in a Christmas wreath on someone's glass storm door so they could see it snuggled in there, a little warmer while their winter was going thru a harsh spell.

    Right now we are pretty mild, around freezing lows and near a 7C high, with no real snow here on the coast.
    But how the hummingbirds survive seems a miracle, they being so small. I saw one here xmas eve day feeding on the jasmine nudiflorum, so survive they do!

    D
    pics are hummy 24th Dec, a Pine Siskin and a Gold Crown bathing last winter
     

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  2. PennyG

    PennyG Active Member

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    Those are great piuctures Dana~~!
     
  3. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I haven't got winter, but I do have seasonal migrants! Oddly enough, Dana, some of your hummies come to me for the winter; I see them in my garden occasionlly and it weirds me out a bit - they're very far from home.

    The birds that are most active during my rainy season are the flycatchers and kiskadees. They're quite fun to watch, since they're very acrobatic flyers.

    I've also got the little jewel-tone tanagers, like the Blue-capped in the photo below. They are noisier than starlings!

    And last but not least, sparrows. Which are everywhere.
     

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  4. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Hi Lorax,
    Seasons Greetings across the many miles!
    Seems as tho the more colour a bird carries, the more noise it makes. Seems odd somehow that you would have sparrows too, so mundane but with beautiful sound when the song sparrow sings in springtime.
    What a blue beauty that is and I'm wondering if that is an avocado tree with fruit in the last sparrow pic. I've never seen it except as a small start from a pit.
    Do say hello to the absent hummies. Just as well they are with you as there are very few flowers to feast upon here now tho the viburnum is almost popping its blossoms open and the pieris stands ready to bloom too.

    D
     
  5. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    It is indeed an avocado tree with fruit on it! It's my neighbours' tree, and it produces huge fruits with big pits and green skin. They're quite tasty.

    Our sparrows, which are crested (the pic doesn't show it) are excellent singers, and I know that I can count on at least them no matter where I am in the country. I'll agree with you on the most colourful birds being the noisiest! The red flycatchers (I'm going to have to stalk them with my camera one of these days) are bizarrely loud for such small birds, and the jewel tanagers the same. By contrast, our big drab birds are almost silent!
     
  6. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Greetings to you all and a good new year to you all and may the world also have a brighter time and our politicians get their butts into gear to work on it's problems in a constructive way.

    "I'll agree with you on the most colourful birds being the noisiest! "

    I wonder where you would class the WHITE sulpher crested cockies. (Cockatoos) we must have had 50+ invade the valley early this morning. The noise is tremendouse as they wheel and dart among the trees. We are up on the rim of the valley looking down over the tall (60+ feet) Eucalypts. They are so quick and agile like fighter jets. If this lot land like they did next door in the birch trees (about 30) they did a really good whip n snip job. I think they were eating the catkins but then again sometimes they just seem to do the destructo job for the hell of it. Bit like a gang on a rampage

    Liz
     
  7. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    I'll see your white sulphur-crested cockatoos, and raise you a flock of 25 BLACK Yellow-rumped Caciques. I have never heard such a racket! At least they're less strident than parrots...
     
  8. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Not sure what I am playing for but they sound loud if you are willing to raise me on the cockies. THEY ARE LOUD particularly when they sweep over the 2nd story of the house and I am half asleep under it. Fortunatly they never stay longer then half an hour or so. The big funerial black ones stay for hours and mournfully cry. You would swear the grim reaper was on his way. At least they are a bit more tuneful than the crows. Seemed to have dozens this year. The Magpies were not happy with them invading their territory. A lot of ariel combat for a while.
    Beautiful day 28c clear and warm with cobalt blue sky for those of you in the cold :)

    Liz
     
  9. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Beautiful images!

    I have been enjoying the antics of various woodpeckers, who love the suet. White-breasted nuthatches, downies, and the spectacular red-bellied (who has a bright red HEAD). Also have chickadees, slate-gray juncos, and the usual gangs of sparrows and starlings. Carolina wrens show up suddenly from time to time...for tiny birds they sure do make a LOT of noise! Do their usual 'tea-kettle' call, but also produce some very sweet tones, and a GROWLING vocalization (usually when they are having arguments among themselves).

    And then there are my daughter's 3 parakeets, to supply noise INDOORS! These parrots are everywhere!!! Liz, I laughed at your desc. of the avian activities in your part of the world. Ha!
    lorax, that Blue-capped tanager is gorgeous.
     
  10. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Happy New year all. The birds are in their elements. Had some lovely thundery rain last night. Washed the festivities out but it bought the temp down from 38 to a pleasent 20 c. Even have mist on the hills opposite. Watching one of the local parrots on the birch out side. If he starts stripping he will be reminded to do the neighbours trees instead. They can be very destructive in a short time. This one is blue and red.

    Liz
     
  11. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Happy New Year!

    The red flycatchers are in my plum tree, nibbling all of my unripe gold plums. Little beggars!
     
  12. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    I get the larger, pileated woodpeckers visiting my quiet yard when the weather is rough.

    And the smaller orange shafted flicker who is clinging to a bamboo stick while checking out the seeds in the jars for the nuts he likes, through the glass of the patio.

    The smaller still, is that a downy? does not visit here that often, not enough woods.

    The dead cottonwood tree is attracting the larger pileateds as it is starting to lose its bark, making it's removal to find bugs easier.

    D
     

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  13. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    And sometimes more than one at a time.
     

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  14. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Lovely looking birds. Do they really knock loudly as in cartoon when looking for grubs. Here the big parrots just chew the hell out of the trees getting to the grubs. The rest just chop anything half ripe. Figs however they don't touch but there are 2 others that come. Currawong (rain bird) largish and a minute little thing called a white eye.

    Liz
     
  15. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Holy Dryocopus, Dana!!!! Jeez loueeze! Your pileateds are HUGE! You must have some pretty substantial trees up there to support those behemoths. WOW! Interesting that they are solid black on their backs, rather than the usual b/w 'laddered' effect many w-peckers seem to have.

    Yep, I think that you've also got yourself a male downy. Hairy w-ps are similar in appearance, but larger.

    Liz, I daresay that the pileateds are every bit as loud w/the hammering as in cartoons! I base this surmise on the clamor created by my smaller visitors. Multiply that by TEN TIMES as big a bird...hand me the ear plugs, quick!---A couple of summers ago, one persistent (but, perhaps, not too bright) w-p chose to pound EVERY MORNING on my neighbor's metal tool shed.---All w-ps seem compelled to announce their presence by uttering their 'yank-yank' call---repeatedly---before swooping down to a branch. Then they do the peeking around the branch, first one side, then the other, then the first side again---before finally descending upon the suet feeder. How all this is evolutionarially adaptive I hazard no guess! Seems to me that every predator in the surrounding half-mile would know a w-p was in the neighborhood, and then have plenty of time to nab them whilst they engaged in the side-to-side thing. ---Reminds me of Ed Norton on 'The Honeymooners': Ed would invariably go through a lengthy, ritualistic set of movements before engaging in just about any activity, until Jackie Gleason's character would lose it and shout "WILL YOU GET ON WITH IT ALREADY??!!'

    Used to have yellow-bellied sapsuckers, too, but haven't seen any for years now.
    Do see a yellow-shafted flicker once in a while. Would like to see them more often, as they eat ANTS, and are most decorative in appearance.
     
  16. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    yellow-bellied sapsuckers, They really are real. I always thought they were an expression ala film/cartoon. Things one learns on this list. :)
    Liz
     
  17. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Oh they're real. When I lived in Canada, there was a family of yellow-bellied sapsuckers living in the fir tree on the corner. They used to feed in my apple tree. Lots of noise for such small peckies - you'd think they were crow-sized things, but they're barely as big as robins.

    We've got big woodpeckers down here, too (bright yellow and green ones), and you can hear them pounding from miles away. Ours don't make the yank-yank call, though; they tend to make this odd giggling sound (tee-hehehehehehehe) followed by Shreeep!

    Here are some of our coastal birds - a Blue Footed Booby (named Pancho), a snowy egret on a downtown beach, and a family of Peruvian Pelicans.

    On the jungle side of things, a Palm Tanager (drab looking, very squeaky voice, absolutely marvelous flyer), and a Hoatzin, possibly Ecuador's wierdest bird. These things still have little claws on their elbows, and they're clumsier than heck. If you find a flock of Hoatzin in the jungle (you have to go fairly deep to reach the habitats, but once you're there it's almost guaranteed you'll run across them), normally at least one will fall out of the tree at your feet, then look at you with a sort of dazed and offended impression, and proceed to climb back up. They're great fliers, but they don't take off or land all that well. They're about the size of turkeys.

    I wish I was fast enough on the draw to capture some of our hummies. They're absolutely incredible.
     

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  18. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Happy New Year All,
    May your gardens grow well and the birds come to visit only to tend your plants very carefully. The parrots sound almost as dangerous to a garden as rabbits or deer!

    Mom told me that she once saw a huge woody with yellow on it - something I couldn't even find in the Audubon or Peters guides. It was after the fierce storm that tore apart Stanley Park and I wonder where that bird came from. The Downies also drilled holes in the bark of the old cottonwood you see the large woodies on and they do drum loudly on the trees when they peck and the chips do fly.
    One quiet afternoon as I sat by my glass door I had a black apparition approach toward me making the hairs stand on my body until I saw it was only a huge woody who came to land about 8' away on a post of the patio. Very vampire-like or something, so big and black, very scary.
    Maybe they just have confidence in being able to defend themselves and don't fear announcing themselves as they do. The families with young ones sound funny in the spring as they sort of warble or yodel very loudly in the neighbourhood as they fly thru.
    I'd be very afraid if a few big black ones decided to become unfriendly!
    The flickers announce their territories in Spring by drumming on the power pole metal transformers and used to wake everyone up at the cottage far too early as they beat on the chimney's metal cap.
    Lorax, I did a thread in photos of hummies you might like to visit. The only way I can get really good pics of them is by using my video camera and taking out good frames later. Otherwise almost hopeless as the human eye just can't see what they are doing so fast and their movements are unpredictable.

    http://www.botanicalgarden.ubc.ca/forums/showthread.php?t=57734

    Happy celebrations today.

    D
     
  19. lorax

    lorax Rising Contributor 10 Years

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    Hahaha! Anything is possible if one is only patient enough. Dana, I was griping about our hummies? Here's one! This is a Sparkling Violetear, one of our non-migrators. It's also one of the higher-altitude hummies. I couldn't catch him in flight, but luckily in Quito's rare air, the hummies take extended rest periods. I'm going to keep stalking them, though, because I'd really like to share the trainbearers (who have exceptionally long tails) with you.
     

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  20. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Redwing Turdus iliacus on Cotoneaster frigidus berries in snow.
     

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  21. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Great photo, Michael! What an expression on this bird's face. "Hey, you! Smile when you say Turdus!"
     
  22. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Thanks! Same bird, looking left:
     

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  23. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Great also. I admire: 1.your fortitude to get these photos in such icebox-like conditions, and; 2. your obviously quiet approach. Even with one o' these new-fangled cameras, you had to have been pretty close to this fella.

    Is this a scene from your own property, or elsewhere?
     
  24. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    I wish!! All done from the comfort of indoors, through the window ;-)

    The birds are about 6 metres away (as close as my 'scope will focus!), oblivious to the camera & 'scope setup. For the methodology, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digiscoping

    Fieldfare this morning; slight thaw overnight so all the snow on the branches has gone (still plenty on the ground though).
     

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  25. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Yes Lorax,
    For such a fast moving bird they sure have a marvelous ability to slow us down and find our patience. Nice looking hummy. None like that up here. Very many years ago I once found a dead hummy in Toronto, a Calliope hummy, the first hummy I ever saw and none live till I moved to the island tho I saw feeders up around the norhtern edge of the great lakes when I drove thru in '88.

    The hummies take a break here after their morning feeding and rest in the sunshine. I have had people say they have never seen hummies sit for as long as they do in my film clips of them as they nap in my yard. I thought it was because they feel at ease in my cat-free yard and they stand guard on their favourite flowers to chase off any other hummies who may wander in.

    And thanks for the Redwing who looks nothing like our redwing blackbirds.
    Lots of snow for you this winter making those berries look so vivid.
    Seems our robins stayed around very late and my hawthorn berries are gone early. Haws are tasty fruits once the frost hits them.

    D
     

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