Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hummingbird Chasing Other Small Birds

I've been trying to figure out what it means when a hummingbird chases and seemingly plays with other smalls birds. I couldn't find a lot of information on google about this, other than it chases other birds that are near the hummingbird feeder. Not sure if the "other birds" meant other hummingbirds or just other birds, in general. The other small birds are kind of nearby the hummingbird feeder, about 20-30 feet away in a nearby small tree where other small birds perch before they fly to my porch area where the feeders are (near the hummingbird feeder). When the hummingbirds chase them, the birds seem startled and afraid, trying desperately to get away from the hummingbird. I've just been wondering if it was just some kind of playful game the hummingbird is playing, or if it's trying to defend the nearby hummingbird feeder. Maybe it thinks the other small birds are competition for the hummingbird feeder. I haven't quite figured it out yet exactly.

In other news, it's been very busy at my feeders; a lot of common grackles, blue jays and house finches. Today, though, I saw a grackle with a very large mass/tumor on his right talon/leg. I've never seen anything like it before. I hate seeing things like that on birds at my feeders.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Something I wrote on Walden's Puddle's Facebook

I wanted to share my experience of going to Walden's Puddle for the first time today. Well, the reason I went is because I saw a sick House Finch with House Finch Disease, noticeably where the eyes get red and swollen shut, making it very difficult to see to be able find food and defend yourself from predators. The disease has other things that affect the bird, too.

So I make an appointment by phone. Upon arriving at WP, I notice the driveway is very steep and curvy, not to mention the thin creek you have to drive over near the entrance. So I eventually make it to the main house and there are multiple outdoor cages with animals inside near the parking area. While walking to the house, there are multiple birdfeeders all around. It is so quiet out there in the woods. I loved that. You would hear a chickadee or titmouse calling from time-to-time, though, which was nice to hear a familiar sound. I rang the doorbell (because it says to on a note outside) and we were greeted by a very nice woman. She immediately took the bird downstairs while we are in the waiting/main area. There are cages all around, with cute little wild animals in each of them. They looked so sweet. When I went up to the opossum cage, he was laying in his carpeted cat post, but he got up to come take a look at me. I think that was the sweetest thing. I would have loved to pick him up and hold him in my arms. There were squirrels in hammock-like sleeping areas, a very small owl (the first animal I saw when I entered). I believe I've seen it in pictures online before. It's the one with one eye. It's a surprisingly tiny owl. There were so many wild animals in the room, it was quite overwhelming to remember. It was very exciting to see so many wild animals up-close. After I talked with the nice lady and got a few pieces of papers, someone came in with a baby mockingbird. Only seen one online. It was so cute. The woman before I left said I could look at the outdoor cages, so I did. The first one was a raccoon and it came over to me and put it's front feet on the cage. So sweet. It really did look sweet and precious. I then went to the other cages, most having hawk-type birds, which were cool to see up-close. Then I saw the squirrel. He was burying his nuts and food in the dirt that he was given. That was so cute. The last animal we saw was a turtle in a pond near the parking area. He swam over to me, which was sweet, but due to the rocks wasn't able to climb up them to get closer to me. I kind of felt he was being sweet and wanting love. After that I left. I didn't really want to. I would've loved to have stay out there forever.

I do want to donate and volunteer at some point. I had an incredible experience at Walden's Puddle. And I'm glad I was able to potentially save the life of a bird, and that Walden's Puddle are able to help save and cure the bird of this all-too-common disease in House Finches, and potentially stop the spread to others that could be infected by this contagious disease.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Old Video I Took of Mister Kitty Sleeping on My Birdfeeder

The Summer Molt

Yesterday, I noticed two mated cardinals and two grackles were molting. It's always strange to see. I remember last year around the same time or a month or so later I discovered this strange thing happening with my Blue Jays. I had to google it to find out what was going on back then. I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more birds molting in the coming months.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Summer Update

Activity in summer continues to be strong after the spring that briefly lacked in activity; it was quite strange but apparently normal since most birds and nesting and have an abundance of natural food and insects. The hummingbird feeder has been getting more activity, being visited daily by a hummingbird, with apparently a mate that doesn't go to it much, if any, but always meets up and fly together after the hummingbird drinks at the feeder. They did this last year. Not sure they're the same hummingbirds, but I want to say they are.

In some bad news that's happened recently, on July 4th weekend, either Monday or Sunday, I was walking out of my garage and saw a cat get a bird on the ground, I think a robin. I didn't even think, I just ran after that cat. I heard either the bird or cat make a faint cry or gargling sound. The bird was trying to get away. It was horrible to see annd hear. The cat ran off with the bird into the woods. Made me mad and sad. Then a day or two later I found a dead finch by my window. It was under a bench so I didn't notice it probably for a few days until I bent down to refill my ground feeder. The wings were still open, so it probably hit the window and broke it's neck. It had already started decomposing and being eaten by tiny bugs. Other than those two things there hasn't been that much drama.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I was watching a female cardinal feed her baby at the feeder. It reminds me of last year when I would watch a baby cardinal being fed in the morning. Kind of takes me back. Now it's started all over again, a year later. How time flies. I still wonder if these are the same two cardinals that raised another baby last year. I would assume so. The female built a nest near my house this spring but abandoned it before laying any eggs. But it's nice to see the cardinals again at the feeder, especially seeing a baby being fed again. I also saw a fledgling House Finch, fluttering it's wings and wanting food from the parents today. And I've seen quite a few fledgling Common Grackles and a Red-bellied Woodpecker being fed by their parents and getting food on their own.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My First Homemade Suet, Third Batch

I went shopping and picked up more crunchy peanut butter, oats and a tub of a mix of lard (meat fat) and vegetable shortening. I mixed them all together on the stove. Put it in the freezer overnight. I put it out and the birds really seemed to like it, although it started melting in the heat, even though I had it in the shade under a covered feeder. Maybe adding some flour, etc. would help it stay more solid in the heat, I'm not sure. But if it were cooler, this suet I made would be the perfect one. Tastes good, too. I will definitely be offering this in winter.