Corn Cob Show Down

It has been an interesting morning in the garden. First, it is wet and cold – again. 8 degrees with a cloudy sky.

Because of the recent rain, all of the old seed and shells were cleared off the deck and put into the bin. Birds can get sick from eating wet mouldy seed. Wet seed encourages bacteria to grow and the diseases can be fatal. I would like to think that birds know better than to eat that wet, sometimes smelly, seed but they do not always, especially if they are ravenous. Over the years we have experimented with many different ways to keep the bird seed dry. Putting a roof or a dome over the feeder works best. Other people recommend mesh feeders so that there is air circulation. I have found that these work best in conjunction with some type of a roof or dome.

The garden birds do not like it when things are cleaned up. Today was no exception! Some of the bowls were left to be cleaned while others were filled. The House Sparrows arrived wanting baths – yes, they take baths when it is 8 degrees C! Others were dismayed to find their bowl empty. We warm the water for them in a heated bird bath during the winter but it is only enough for then to drink with wooden slats placed across so they will not bathe. Thank goodness they do not weigh enough to move those boards about! It is really important to remember as the cold days of fall and winter set in that birds need water to drink. If you put out seed in the winter, they also need water. Yes, they eat the snow but they often need more. See if you can figure out a way to provide it for them.

This is one of the sweetest little House Sparrows. It along with the one above wanting a bath were just darlings.

Grey Squirrel (Bushy) joined everyone on the blocks eating his favourite seeds with big nuts and fruit.

The Slate-Coloured Juncos are still here and they like that fruit and nut seed just as much as the Millet. Sadly, with the wet on the deck and their favourite red carpet, the Millet turns to mush and might make them ill. So it is fruit and nuts today! Hopefully the weather report is right and the sun will be out tomorrow and we will be back to non-seasonal temperatures for a few days so everything can dry.

The plumage of the Slate-Coloured Junco is quite extraordinary when you begin to look closely to the variations of rusty brown over the slate grey.

Mr and Mrs Blue Jay came for the corn cob but were joined later by another Jay. The reaction to that bird seemed to signal that it was an intruder.

Blue Jays are often overlooked. Many dislike them as much as they do House Sparrows. As for me, I adore them both but – because Mr and Mrs Blue Jay have been coming for several years and each summer they bring their surviving fledglings to show us, I am especially attached to them. They eat their corn and love it if they can get a peanut ahead of one of the squirrels.

I found a woman who loves Blue Jays, too. She made a great little video explaining their courtship behaviour. Have a look!

I love the drawing on the top left and the saying: Birds Make Me Happy. As all of us know, that is absolutely true. They bring such joy.

Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope all of you are well and happy. See you soon.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving from my garden to yours

It is 17 degrees C, clear blue skies, and the birds are chirping their heads off. After two days of grey damp rain, everyone is happy to celebrate and we are all thankful for the wonderful weather.

Thanks to the birds or squirrels there are sunflowers popping up around the planters. The Vermillionaires are for the hummingbirds, and the Cosmos for the bees and butterflies. The thicket in the back of the garden is a favourite place for hiding or cooling off.

I am thankful to each of those that live in or visit our garden every day. There are three different Blue Jays, one Red Squirrel (Little Red), three Grey Squirrels (Baby, Scraggly, and Monk), Mr and Mrs Wood Pecker (he is missing from the images today), Mr Chickadee, and Hedwig, the garden rabbit.

The joy they bring is immense. The Blue Jays have been demonstrating the many ways to clear the kernels off their corn cobs before Scraggly takes the entire cob. Everyone else has also had special seed or suet over the weekend to thank them.

It seemed that half of our City was at the local park today enjoying the beautiful weather and having picnics instead of big elaborate dinners. You could hear laughter all around the pond. Sadly, there was one female Mallard that has a broken wing. I am waiting for someone to bring me the proper pole with netting and we will be out to attempt a rescue to Wildlife Haven.

Of things to be thankful for today, is not only the joy that all of the birds have given me but also for those that dedicate their lives to trying to mend them and get them out in the wild again. Wildlife Haven is certainly one of those!

The trip had been to check on the little Wood Ducks. The one below is an adult female in her summer/fall plumage. Note her striking white eye patch and the yellow line around her eye. She does not, however, have the red iris of the male. She has white streaking on her breast. You can see the blue secondaries.

Indeed, it is very difficult to ID the Wood Ducks at this time of year because there are so many variations occurring.

We know this to be a male because of the red Iris. There is stunning secondaries. In this instance, they look iridescent green at this angle. This is a first year male in his winter plumage.

I was looking for the adult male. The last time I checked he was almost finished his moult and it would be so nice to see him in his magnificent plumage before they leave the pond for their winter homes. He is sleeping up on the bank of Duck Island on the left. You can get a glimpse of how gorgeous he is. Indeed, most of the wood ducks were having a nap. Perhaps they do not like all the people walking about, laughing, having fun.

From my garden to yours, I hope that like us you have family, friends, and critters who delight you and for whom you can say ‘thank you’ every day! Wildlife is wonderful.

Thanks for joining me today. Wish us good luck in getting that female Mallard out of the pond! Take care everyone. See you soon.

Blustery winds in Port Lincoln

The blustery winds and water blowing onto the nest have made for a rough morning at Port Lincoln. Still, hats off to Dad. He managed to land one hefty fish that he brought to the nest at 6:49:35. Did he catch another? or return that big fish at 7:59:26? It was a bit chaotic. Right now the nest is rocking and the winds are blowing steady at 34 kmh.

Fish were coming and going and feedings and attempted feedings with the wind and the mist off the water.

The weather really turned and Mom hunkered down on top of those babies. She cannot afford for them to get wet or even damp. It is only 9 degrees C.

Notice that Mom has kept that big fish on the nest.

As soon as there was a break in the weather, she fed the kids!

Even then Little and Middle Bob were cold and tucked under Big Bob after they had some bites.

The bad weather is still holding on in Port Lincoln. Mom is doing her best to keep those babies dry and warm.

I really want to say how impressed I am with this Osprey family. Both Mom and Dad are there for these three and at every opportunity they are trying to get some morsels in them – maybe not a lot but some – because they really cannot afford to have them get damp. Send your warm wishes for the winds to calm, please.

It did get up to 29 C on the Canadian prairies and everyone who had a kayak was out on the river. Yes, that meant that the Green Heron was no where in sight! I will try again this week. The fish are still jumping and there will be no let up in our nice weather so the heron should still be here. Wish I could send some of this off to Port Lincoln.

Mr Squirrel and Mr Blue Jay did make an appearance at the bowls at precisely the same time. One wanted nuts and the other wanted a bath.

It is always wonderful when they arrive about an hour before sunset. Nice to know that they are safe and sound.

Mr Blue Jay was not pleased with the amount of water in ‘his’ bowl. He refuses to use the bird bath. Only this ceramic bowl. Notice the square chipped out. That is from his talons! Every year I have to drag this bowl out. He refuses to go to any other even if they are full.

Notice that the Vermillionaires are still blooming. The hummers love them and there was a sighting in our City today of a hummer so they have not all migrated.

I love how he has his crest up. Look at this image from the front and then the next one from the side.

Mr Blue Jay is quite adorable.

Let us all hope the weather calms completely down at Port Lincoln. That said, Mom and Dad are doing everything they can to feed and keep those babies warm and as full as they can. Everything in the other nests is fine. We will be on hatch watch at the Collins Street falcons in about 6 or 7 days. After that it will be Xavier and Diamond’s hatch. The sea eagles continue to grow and are vigorously flapping their wings. The Bald Eagles are working on their nests in the US. Meanwhile, us Osprey lovers are waiting for news of our favourite birds being sighted on the way to Africa (or Spain).

And did you say an Osprey Plushie? Seriously, I did. When the Dyfi on line shop opens in October they will be for sale. I have never seen one. What a brilliant fundraiser! If you are outraged that they will have all terrain vehicles roaming around Lyn Brenig, get on to their website and tell them so. First the filming crew, then the nest being cut down, and now this. What is the purpose of a nature centre? and if it is funds that need to be raised then why isn’t the government understanding how valuable our wildlife and wild areas are to getting this planet a little more normalized.

Thanks so much for stopping in. Take care!

Thank you to the Port Lincoln Osprey Project for their streaming cam where I took my screen shots.