We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Now that we are in June, our birds would rather eat bugs than seeds. Regardless, I am continuing the feeder this summer to see who stops by. Today: Purple Grackles, Mourning Doves in droves, Goldfinch, Redwing Blackbird, Cowbird, House Finch, House Sparrow, Blue Jay, Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse. Oh - of course, Grey Squirrels.
Lurking happily in the rose bushes under the bird feeder: 2 baby Cottontail rabbits and a family of Chipmunks. The young bunnies are too tame and trusting for life, so I try to teach them basic survival fear by advancing menacingly when I am near them.
Photo: Mourning Dove. These lovely, subtlely-colored birds with their soft cooing are now game birds in many states, but not in New England. They taste as good as they look. I was surprised to read that they are among the ten most common species in the US. Read more about Mourning Dove at CLO.
Perhaps some of the birders here can explain this. Yesterday evening something happened reminiscent of Hitchcock's The Birds. In the greenbelt (euphemism for gully full of trees) below us, perhaps 50 crows flew in to a high fir tree. They flew in while cawing loudly, in groups of 2 to maybe 5 or 6. This happened over the course of maybe 3 minutes. Difficult to say how many birds there were, but I'll stick with 50. Minimum. Once inside the tree, they all kept cawing for about another 2 to 3 minutes. Full volume, non-stop. They didn't seem to be attacking anything. We saw no eagles or ospreys or anything else that could have caused it. Then after the 3 or so minutes in the tree, they flew off in all directions, still cawing, until all had left. Then back to our usual silence.
Hmm. Thing is, we couldn't see anything that would have provoked it. Owls are fairly rare and we seldom hear them, though hawks and ospreys are common and we do see the occasional bald eagle. Interesting that crows would fly in from all points of the compass to attack a hawk in a tree. Close to a nest maybe? If so, that is interesting social behavior.
I have five feeder poles - three, double feeders. Everyone of them is askew and crooked. A bear wandered out in late February and tore the place up.
For the squirrels, get a Slinky and hang it, pole inside, beneath the feeder. The Slinky will dangle down and frustrate the squirrels to death. It's really fun to watch.
The crows are my favorite because they're so mean and funny. One will plop in the birdbath and refuse to get out. His buddies will caw ferociously but he'll just fluff his black-blue feathers and flick some water on them. Hummingbirds are the meanest, though. Rude little birds
We have concatenations of starlings here that are a real problem. Skookumchuk's story about the crows made me think of it. They'll fly in flocks of up to five-thousand and roost in an area until someone goes nuts and calls the cops. The police bring out a cassette tape entitled: "Starling in Distress". You put it in an outside player and turn the volume up and the gang of 5K sits there and listens as a single starling suffers immensely and maybe dies after 30 minutes. The birds say 'screw this' and fly away and don't come back. Nice compassionate birds. :)
I have so many bunnies. Gray Kitty from next door skulked underneath a pine tree and held two little bunnies in abeyance like statues for what seemed like an hour. I finally let my Yorkie out to break up the stand-off. That was pretty funny with little animals running helter skelter. No one was hurt.
I like "concatenations," nice word. I detest starlings. They will rule the world if something isn't done. In my old Wa. state home we had hummy feeders on both sides the house (with large windows). Between my wife and I we once counted thirty-seven of them at one time. They are mean, not just rude. But their flight was a joy too watch.
My question for Skook is; were they all looking at you?
There are crow rookerys, i.e., nesting places, in the tallest trees. A crow rookery is not a good thing to have close to home as the cacaphony at 4 am can be maddening. One person I know of eventually lost it, from lack of sleep I guess, and shot a crow from a large rookery that was close to his house. He hung it upside down in the tree hoping the other crows would get scared and leave. No such luck and his vegetarian wife was furious.
Except this tree is not a rookery and while we see crows, we never see many. I think they were attacking something and BD has a logical explanation. Except that I couldn't spot an owl or hawk or anything similar anywhere in that tree. Of course, I could simply have missed said owl or hawk. Yet another avian mystery.