Wednesday, November 23, 2005

November 23, 2005
It's a very cool (low 60's) cloudy, gray November day. I just watched a brilliant red male cardinal eat eleven sunflower seeds in a row. He hops onto the perch, instantly grabs a seed, hops down to the fence, eats the seed, hops back onto the perch. I never saw quite this behavior with the other feeder.

This new feeder is working out very well. The woodpeckers don't even seem to try. Though the finches do try, they don't get anywhere. I've had tons of cardinals and pyrrhuloxias, sometimes even fighting over it (especially the first few days). Only problem is sometimes it sticks. The cards and adult pyrrhuloxias seem to have figured that out. Flutter your wings, jump on it again, stick your beak betwen the door and the wood. The other day a male pyrrhuloxia was here with his son (gray beak, but adult plumage). The little one couldn't figure it out. I think he was too lightweight. I felt sorry for him.

My winter hums seem to be at least one, maybe two Costa's, and at least one Anna. I sure do miss the beautful Broadbills.

I am thankful for the beautiful birds in my yard and in the world.

Friday, November 11, 2005

November 11, 2005
Well, yesterday I spent nearly $170 at the Wild Bird Store for suet, seeds, and the new seed feeder. The guy at the store advised me to rubber-band the opening open so the cardinals would get the idea, but I didn't want the woodpeckers to get the idea, so I didn't do that. A female cardinal showed up just before sunset, and she knew immediately what it was, even though it looks very different and is in a different location. She flew right up onto the perch... and couldn't feed! I had set it incorrectly!

So I called the store and he told me what to do, but by then it was almost dark and the cardinal didn't come back. However, she was out there this morning and feeding! I'm so pleased! I saw a couple of finches trying, but--as it's supposed to do--it shut them out. I haven't yet seen a woodpecker try.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

November 9, 2005

Well, the damned woodpeckers have destroyed the new feeder. No way I can get it to work. I called The Wild Bird store which has handmade, wooden cardinal feeders and explained my problem. The owner told me he is sure that his feeders will withstand manhandling (birdhandling) by woodpeckers, plus he stand by his products, so I'm going to get one, even though they cost something like four times what the plastic one cost. Gulp. But I can't stand to see the cardinals and pyrrhuloxias have to leave empty-beaked.They look so frustrated when the feeder doesn't work for them.

In other news, we've had a small wolf spider in the house, which I have been trying to protect from my cats and husband. It really gets around; I see it on the ceiling in different rooms. The other day it was in the foyer, in the crack between wall and ceiling, just resting or sleeping. They do that by stretching half their legs out on each side, in a bunch, so they look sort of like a bundle of twigs. I'm going to try to find it doing that again and photograph it.

Watching a flock of quail on the Riverwalk this morning I realized how the flocks form: in the spring, they all split up (except Mama and Daddy, who presumably stay together), and all the children go off and find new mates. Then these new pairs spend the summer raising broods, and however many young quails are left stay with their parents for the rest of the year, learning more about surviving in this harsh environment. Then in the spring the whole thing starts again. You can tell how successful a quail couple has been by the size of the flock.