Tag Archives: bird watching

Because up is easier than down.

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When your human puts an air conditioner in your favorite bird watching window….

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You have to jump up there and perch to make your displeasure known.

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You howl, you mewl, you bat at the offending object… but when your pesky human doesn’t remove the noisy vibrating box?

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You give up and settle in to watch the birds.

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And while up wasn’t a problem, down proves to be a bit more troublesome. Your human is no help whatsoever, laughing at your maneuvers for at least 5 minutes before she thought to film you….

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And for this infraction…. I’m sure there will be appropriate and commensurate revenge.

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For Birders

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While downloading photos from my big camera the other day, I came across these that were taken at the end of autumn.

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Evening grosbeaks are a bird we rarely have visit our backyard.

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But that day a large batch of them dropped by.

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They’re pretty little things…

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And made short work of the sunflower seed buffet.

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Now is it me….

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 Or do they look like the original angry bird?

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Everyone wants a seat at the table.

 

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This little female Baltimore Oriole for example.

 

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She sat there for 15 minutes or so…..

 

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Waiting in vane for dinner to be served.

 

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Then there’s my  sworn enemy  little  rat bastard  red squirrel.

 

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We may have evicted them from their corner post home…..

 

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But it hasn’t stopped their daily visits.

 

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And raids on the deer bound apple slices.

Turn your back if you want you pesky varmint…. we both know what you’re up to.

Woodchucks vs starlings.

 

What’s a baby woodchuck to do?

 

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All he wants to do is peacefully munch the bounty thoughtfully provided by that crazy woman in the house.

 

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It’s bad enough his pesky brother shows up….

 

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But then that pesky bird tries to steal his blueberries.

 

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And before you know it…..

 

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The bird calls in reinforcements.

 

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And things go downhill fast.

 

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What’s a woodchuck to do?

Bird brains.

 

First let’s deal with the peckers.

Because we all know not paying attention to peckers makes them crazy.

 

 

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This is a hairy woodpecker.

 

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Why hairy?

Your guess is as good as mine.

 

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He loves the peanut nugget feeder and is an expert at extracting them.

 

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There.

Now you can say you’ve had a hairy pecker wink at you.

 

 

This is a downy woodpecker.

 

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Why downy?

Your guess is as good as mine.

 

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To be honest, he looks more like a Storm Trooper from Star Wars to me.

 

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Then we have a pair of Mallard ducks who visit daily.

 

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The female strolls around under the bird feeder collecting scraps….

 

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While the drake plops down and takes a load off.

That’s one chill duck.

 

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Big Tom turkey?

 

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Yes, we have one of those too.

 

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And finally, a Baltimore Oriole getting his junk food Jones satisfied with some grape jelly.

It would be nice if he didn’t poo all over the feeder…. but hey.

Who am I to judge?

 

Critter cam.

 

Alright, that’s a lie.

It’s just me snapping shots from the window. But that’s not a snappy title… so get over it.

 

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Our fox is coming every night now.

 

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And sometimes he/she brings a friend.

 

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They’re such beautiful creatures.

 

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And wonderful at keeping the mouse population under control.

 

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As you can see from the bird feeders, it’s Baltimore Oriole time.

 

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They’re gorgeous, but quick.

 

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And catching a good shot is rare.

 

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We put out oranges and grape jelly, which they adore.

 

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Of course, so does everyone else.

A raccoon comes in at midnight and strips the jelly…

 

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And this hairy woodpecker makes short work of the oranges.

 

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Our resident chucker is still here.

 

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Enjoying apples.

 

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And salad scraps.

Life is good in my little corner of the world.

 

 

 

Anyone lose a Chukar?

 

As we were pulling out of our driveway the other day I spotted something odd in front of our deer ravaged Yew bushes….

 

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Naturally I made the husband stop while I ran back inside for my camera.

 

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It was an odd looking bird I hadn’t seen before…

 

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And when I looked it up online, I understood why.

 

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It was a Chukar.

Introduced from Eurasia, the sandy-brown Chukar is a game bird that lives in high desert plains of western North America, as well as in Hawaii and New Zealand. Its namesake call echoes across dry rocky slopes. It runs and scampers up steep terrain with the agility and speed of a mountain goat, prompting hunters to nickname it the “devil bird” for the brutal chase it gives. Dark bars on the sides and a band across the head and neck adorn this red-billed game bird.

 

A devil bird?

Well that’s disturbing…

 

 

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If you look at the map of it’s range in the U.S…..

 

 

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You’ll see it’s a long way from Maine.

Which got me curious enough to do a little research.

 

 

Oh, stop being so dramatic….. you might learn something.

It’s nothing you need or want to know, but still.

 

Depending on where you live, you may have the fortune of encountering a medium-sized game bird called Chukar. You’ll recognize this bird from their inclusion in many North American field guides, though they are not a native species. Chukars, pronounced “chuh-kahr“, are an introduced species, originating from mountains of middle Eurasia, now common around the western United States’ Great Basin north into western Canada. With this history, and a lack of showing any establishing populations in Maine, Chukars should be treated like other escaped domestic fowl.

 

 

Of course. Happy to…

 

 

The American Birding Association put forth Criteria for Determining Establishment of Exotics which Maine’s Chukars don’t meet. These birds are raised and released by commercial hunting operations with no success establishing wild populations. Northern Bobwhites are another game species widely released in Maine. While these small quails have successfully bred in the wild multiple times, none of the populations appear to be growing or even stable enough to warrant becoming established.

 

So basically they’ve taken these poor birds, who have no hope of surviving here, and released them into the wild so they can hunt and kill them. Of course the ones they don’t shoot will probably die of cold or starvation.

 

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Makes me wish I had scooped the sweet little guy up and brought him in the house as a pet.

Humans are cruel.

For bird nerds.

 

If you don’t spend countless hours staring out the window with camera in hand to see if a new bird has shown up at the horrendously expensive buffet of seeds, nuts and suet you arrange on what used to be your laundry pole?

Feel free to skip this post.

 

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But birders will get it.

The other day I spotted a Red Bellied Woodpecker. They used to be relatively rare in Maine and all the field guides say they shouldn’t come any farther north than Massachusetts… yet here they are.

Trying to get an unobstructed shot of one proved a bit more difficult.

 

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Juvenile starlings are notorious photo bombers.

 

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Almost…

 

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Finally.

 

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An even rarer spotting was this Scarlet Tanager.

 

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They’re usually forest dwellers and our place is pretty open.

 

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So I was tickled pink when this little beauty showed up.

 

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Or red, as the case may be.

That’s the wonderful thing about bird watching, you never know what you’ll see.

 

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By now our Baltimore Orioles are usually long gone, but this year I bought a feeder that houses grape jelly so they seem to be sticking around.

 

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These two made me laugh.

They seemed to be squaring off for an orange eating contest.

 

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Granted it doesn’t provide the same excitement of hot dog eating contests…

 

 

But there’s also less chance of projectile vomit…

So that’s a plus.

 

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Bird watching… there’s never a dull moment.

Alright, I lie. There are plenty of excruciatingly dull moments, but when something special does happen?

You smile.

 

They’re a wee bit confused.

 

I put birdseed out for the birds….

 

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Which the deer eat.

 

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I put apples out for the deer….

 

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Which the woodchucks eat.

 

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Granted, they’re cute as all get out when they do…

 

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But do they have to eat the deer grain as well?

 

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Sometimes they climb right in the bowl and polish it off.

Which leads the deer to eat…

 

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It’s a vicious circle.

And proves that our backyard creatures are a little confused.

Like this Baltimore Oriole….

 

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Who tries to drink from the hummingbird feeder.

 

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Yes, you.

 

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The owner of this house spends a small fortune keeping you in fresh oranges and grape jelly…. don’t get greedy.

Of course….

This guy?

 

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Eats whatever…

 

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And whoever he wants.