Saturday, January 29, 2011

Small Hawk

Both the Sharp-shinned and the Cooper's Hawk are so similar that I would have to have a better close-up picture than I have. It does not matter if I have this hawk identified, myself and the birds know its a hawk hungry for little birds. This hawk is only about 20 inches long and he shows up all day long. It has been stated that some of the hawks are not migrating and one reason could be they can survive year round if they find a good feeder area. In other words, when I feed my birds twice a day, the hawk knows it is his time to eat also. Early this morning I was just starting to walk around the house when this hawk flew in. He landed high in the tree, I had to bang a metal snow shovel on the metal fence to get him to leave. The pictures below show how he didn't even care that myself and my dog were under the tree taking the pictures, he was more interested in looking for food.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Protecting My Birds

I know the hawk has gotten at least 2 of my Red Cardinals. Last week I saw red feathers out in the field and today I came across this horrible site. I have been trying to spend time outside chasing 2 hawks that stop in everyday, one is a smaller one who has no fear when I stand below him under a tree and yell at him, this other one pictured is a Red-Tailed Hawk, much larger and he can't hide behind the tree branches, which make him easy to spot as he looks over at the smorgasbord of birds at my house. When hawks are present  you should not feed the birds for a few days, but we had such frigid weather and it was cruel not to feed them. But here the hawks have always been around for years.

Red-Tailed Hawk

Indy the German made Weimaraner was bred to be a bird dog....aaahhhhh. He wants a bird so badly and I have to be right behind him to scare the birds away from him. He is so lovable that its hard to imagine he wants to eat these adorable creatures.

This female Downy Woodpecker is up high in the tree away from Indy. One morning I looked out and one of these birds was pressed up against the tree not moving. I knew what that meant, a hawk was nearby. So out I went to scare the hawk off.

Oh the poor little Junco has survived all of the elements, from 5 below zero degrees a few nights ago, the hawks and plus the dog. It has been over a month that he has been here. I put homemade suet in a dish on the ground for the Juncos. Of course it is much easier for this broken leg Junco to eat there.

I feed the bluebirds their mealworms about the same time everyday and this makes it easy for me to have the camera handy. One day I just arriving home at their feeding time and as I got out of my vehicle I heard them and at that moment a hawk was flying in. So I stood outside and kept guard while they ate.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Pair of Bluebirds

Male Bluebird

The male bluebird just flew in to wait for me to put mealworms in the feeder.

He's peering down at Sarah the dog who just walked under the tree.

Female Bluebird

The female is getting ready to go into the feeder to get some mealworms. The feeder is designed so that other large birds cannot fit inside to take the worms. If I place the worms in a dish birds like the Northern Mockingbird and the Robin will be aggressive and won't let the Bluebirds near the dish.

Here she is flying out the other side of the feeder with a mealworm.

New Shipment of Mealworms

I had to order 5,000 mealworms which came in this cloth bag packed with newspaper. The ones I have been trying to raise since last Spring are slowly reproducing. Once you have the worms/larvae stage, they are kept in a tub with cornmeal, oats, wheatbran, etc. They will develop into 4 stages: larvae turns into the pupa, then the pupa will then become a beetle, then the beetle lays the eggs which then develops into the worm/larvae again. The beetles do not fly and the worms cannot crawl out of the tubs. Mealworms are only a treat for bluebirds and they just love them. Bluebirds diet consists of insects and in the winter months they will eat berries to survive and a suet mixture with chopped fruit.

These 5,000 mealworms actually will be gone soon, with some already changing into the pupa stage. I put some in the refrigerator because they will go dormant and can be kept for about 2 weeks. Hopefully my worms will be ready in a few weeks before all of the new ones are gone.

It is really not as gross and it looks.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

An unwelcome visit from the Coyote

Oh the poor bunny! I happened to spot this rabbit's foot as I was walking down the trail two days ago. For awhile I did not know what got the rabbit. It could have been a cat, fox or even a hawk. Walking about 100 yards down the trail I discovered a fresh pile of coyote scat. Just like other canines they will place their scat in the middle of trails and roads there they want to assure other animals this is their territory. Called a "scent marker."

I know this is a terrible picture to post, but it is so identifiable that this was a coyote. Larger than fox remnants, this is filled with rabbit hair and the tip has a long taper. Coyotes will eat berries, fruits and seeds also. Sometimes the scat is just filled with berries. I worry about the neighborhood cats which walk around the edge of the woods. Cats are a favorite of the coyotes. It is just mother nature, but I just don't want to witness this.

A Crazed Donkey

The snow finally started to melt and Dexter dug out one of his balls.

I guess I shouldn't call him a stupid donkey for being able to break open the fence. A few weeks ago we came home at night and found him walking by the garage. The only way I could catch him was to lure him into the house and then get him out the back door into the other fenced in yard. It took an hour to then get a lease around his neck to then put him back in his fenced in area. I had to go out and buy a heavy duty cable to wrap around the poles. He is so bored with all of the snow.