6/20/2008

Have a blue weekend!



I have this DVD and it rocks - hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Funny Friday: Cats, dogs & kids Zzzing

Wren feeder cleaner - anyone want one?

As part of my general bird feeding strategy I recommended keeping your feeders clean. Well I never expected what I found today. As you may recall, I had a very determined House Wren that was trying to annex one of my bird feeders. Instead of evicting him and leaving him homeless, I brought in some new accommodation. I found one of those funky houses that people give you for Christmas down in the basement and I moved it next to the feeder. Yip, I’m a nice guy. So now the Wren can live in the fire house next to the crack feeder - perfect!



Look at this neighborhood - Wren perfection achieved!


All was well and the Wren moved all the sticks that I threw on the grass into its new digs. Bingo, problem solved. Not soo quick there Mr. Flash. This morning I look out and I see that the Wren is actively enforcing my Crack in Moderation (CIM) policy by chasing any birds that try to get to the Zick dough in the peanut feeder. Although I realize that Nancy Reagan isn’t happy about CIM, I know my House Wren will keep any over indulging woodpeckers away from the feeders. I smile and think how well everything is falling into place at the Owlbox estate…[cue scary music here] BUT suddenly I see the House Wren disappear through the FEEDING hole in the BIRD FEEDER, reappearing with some BIRD FOOD. I then see my CIM enforcing officer return for several trips, each time coming back with a beak full of bird food. Needless to say, I’m NOT happy.


CIM officer cleaning MY feeder

6/19/2008

News Flash: Zick dough is crack!

It turns out that my post a couple of months back was spot on. It appears that Zick dough is in fact crack for some birds, especially the Eastern Blue birds. These birds seem to gorge themselves on protein rich food sources such as meal worms and Zick dough. Julie Zickefoose reports that in her experience Blue birds may have health issues (gout) if they eat too much Zick dough frequently. For more on this story from the famous Julie Zickefoose click here.

Based on Julie’s experience I would recommend offering Zick dough infrequently, especially if your Blue birds pig out on it. I offer mine in my two Woodpecker feeders and also a small amount on each of the platform feeders. The platform feeder dough gets gobbled up by the Crows, Jays, Titmice and Chickadees within a couple of hours. The dough in the woodpecker feeders generally lasts about 1-2 weeks which shows me that the birds are eating it in moderation.

This doesn't have Zick dough in it? Wassup wiff dat?


I think it’s important to mention at this stage, that research has shown that most birds do not depend on bird feeders as their primary food source and if that food source disappears that won’t starve, so don’t feel bad if your feeders empty out. Julie's case clearly illustrates this as the Blue birds returned to eating wild food once the Zick dough was no longer on offer. Again, I would say have fun with the feeders - keep them clean and take lots of pictures.
Here's another story on attracting wildlife from a very interesting blogger and fellow owl lover, the Camera Trap Codger that may be of interest to you.

Blue birds: deja vous

My Blue Birds always raise two broods in a season although they always switch nesting boxes, never using the same one twice. This year I wanted to do a little experiment and as soon as the babies fledged I removed the pine needle nesting materials. I wanted to see whether the Blue birds would use the same box if they had to build a new nest. I was delighted to see that my experiment worked and within a few hours the Blue birds were back at it bringing in new pine needles. They didn’t waste any time and added four little eggs within a couple of days. It doesn’t look like the incubation has started, so I’ll be interested to see whether the clutch stays at four or whether they’ll add a couple more eggs this time.

Four or more?
I swung by the Tree Swallows to see whether the eggs hatched and they have. The babies are cute as buttons although I didn’t manage to get any photos. Nope, I’m not suffering from Guzman’s forget to snap photo syndrome, I was just intimated by the rapid swoops that BARELY missed my head. I haven’t bought a Packers helmet yet and I kinda like my noggin where it is, so I rapidly left the nesting site and snapped a few pics from a distance. As soon as I backed off one of the parents delivered a juicy looking bug - yummy!

What you looking at punk?

6/15/2008

Happy Father's Day!


Check out the shades - we know how to spoil them with the good stuff!

ID revealed: Mystery nest



The mystery nest belongs to a pair of noisy Gray Catbirds. So far they are doing well and I expect the eggs to hatch later next week.