Birds times three
Saturday June 08th 2013, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Wildlife

First blush on a plum after two days of heat.

1. The little hanging suet cake has always been a safe spot for the birds that like it.

This past week, for the first time I’ve ever seen after four years of feeding the birds, a jay mastered the art of leaping into the air and grabbing out a patch of suet without smacking its jaw on the cage, which is not big enough for it to land on and they’ve never tried.  This one succeeded at his new work-around. Rise, stab forward, fall, fly back down.

And like squirrels, when one can do it they all can, and like squirrels, they only ask for all the amount they can hide as well as eat, so suddenly I had four scrub jays at once.

One was plenty. They have long bills they menace others with and they are the bullies of the yard–even the squirrels run at the sight of them. They don’t tend to stick around long, but that too was suddenly changing. And the suet cake was going down fast.

I watched. The cage doesn’t hang straight up and down: it’s a bit cock-eyed. The jays only approached it from the side where the bottom is further forward, not where the top would lean over their heads as they dove in.

I was working on a new knitting pattern, marking my spot in my notes with a post-it note, wondering how I could thwart their new discovery…

That’s it!

I put a post-it note on their favored side. I didn’t know if it would adhere to the slightly greasy cage; it did. I didn’t know if it would scare off the other birds; it didn’t.

Three days later it’s still up there, the extra jays have left for parts unknown, we’re back to only one at a time and they leave the cage completely alone.  The chickadees, titmice, and finches reach around the paper or go at it from the other side, it’s all good to them. That was easier than I thought.

2. The neighbor’s towering Australian-something tree has big orange blossoms and I’ve been seeing a pair of ravens diving into them, the branches swaying under their weight. Ravens have a 53″ wingspan–they are not small.

Across the house, across the yard and inside with the windows shut, I heard it and then some and went to go look up through the skylights. Now, to people with normal hearing, bird sounds I guess don’t immediately grab every bit of your attention but to me it was such a novelty.

Twenty ravens! The ones I could see, anyway. Wow. They Halloweened the tree into orange and black, yelling over who got the biggest serving. Several minutes later, two by two for whatever reason they left and their Whos in Whoville moment was over.

Maybe because the lord of the yard had shown up?

3. I saw it happen and went straight to Michelle’s room. She was anguished: “Was that the hawk?!”

“Yes, it was. ”

“It was so loud!”

But in its pursuit of the finch it had hit the screen outside her window before it hit the actual window, and that had to have cushioned the impact a fair bit. I wasn’t sure if the finch had hit at the same time, which would have added to the sound (seemed like it to me); either way, both birds ricocheted off and across the yard and away and were still going last seen.

It couldn’t have been fun but I really think my hawk will be alright from this one. He was flying hard and strong.



5 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Your birds are lucky to have such a watchful and resourceful benefactor.

Comment by Channon 06.09.13 @ 6:36 am

wow — it’s never a dull moment in your yard!

(I admit when I was reading about the ravens the phrase “4 and 20 blackbirds” did flit through my mind!)

Comment by bev 06.09.13 @ 8:47 am

Bev said “4 and 20 blackbirds” and all I saw in my minds eye was Hitchcock’s Movie the “Birds”. I’ll stick with my Robins and Cardinals.

Comment by Kris 06.09.13 @ 10:47 am

I think they’re just crows … which are also quite large (17″-21″ according to Peterson). Now you know why they are called a mob! We’ve had them come by in the 10’s, caw for a while, then suddenly take off. And yes, it can be unnerving. Reminds me of Hitchcock’s movie.

Comment by Anne 06.09.13 @ 11:26 am

When Art Fry invented the Post-It(TM), he had no idea it would come to such a noble use!

Comment by twinsetellen 06.10.13 @ 5:06 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>