Woo Hoo

September 29th, 2007

This morning at 7:30am I had three female Rose-breasted Grosbeaks on the feeder cam. Our first male of the season arrived about 7:45am. Awesome.

Busy Thursday

September 27th, 2007

Had a busy Thursday, however I did get to check the feeders a few times. One returning diner that I have not seen in a while is the Northern Mockingbird. It visited the suet feeder several times today as well as the Red-bellied Woodpecker.

The Mourning Doves were out in full force at the cracked corn tray, sunflower feeders and the feeder cam. Still having a strong turnout of Northern Cardinals at the feeding stations as well. Also in attendance were Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, House Finch, White-breasted Nuthatch, female Rose-breasted Grosbeak and at least one American Goldfinch.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are still making a good showing. Their attitude towards intruders being “everything you see is mine” makes for many exciting chases followed by endless chatter.

Also, it has been interesting to see the birds select the “hot meats” over the black oil sunflower in the shell at the feeder cam. I do not know if I will change completely over to the shelled seed, however I feel the variety of visitors has improved because of it.

I did order a new camera for the feeder cam. It should arrive next week and I hope to begin testing it the following week. I have been using a “bullet style” security camera and am making a switch over to a “professional” style with an auto iris and adjustable field of view. I am hoping for better color and white balance in the end.

Wednesday activity

September 26th, 2007

The hummingbird activity has picked up again as more migrants from farther north are arriving. All of the feeders are having regular visits from the hungry hummers.

The female Rose-breasted Grosbeak was at the feeder cam again today. Other dinners there include Mourning Dove, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Finch and Carolina Chickadee. The tube sunflower feeders hosted mainly the same with the addition of a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

The cracked corn tray feeder had at least two doe White-tailed deer visit along with the Gray Squirrels, chipmunks and Northern Cardinals. Did not get to watch the suet much. I did see a White-breasted Nuthatch grab a quick bite.

The glare on the feeder cam made watching the female Rose-breasted Grosbeak just about pointless. I have spent a good portion of the day surfing for a replacement camera. I guess that one is getting old and the features it once had are failing. No doubt, until I have a replacement camera in place, the best times to watch the feeder are in the morning, evening and on overcast days.

New Guest at the Table

September 25th, 2007

This morning we had our first Rose-breasted Grosbeak of the fall migration. It was a female at the feeder cam around 7:15AM EST. We never have a lot of them at a time, however we always get a few. She was surrounded by Northern Cardinals waiting for her to finish.

A Tri-fold View of Nature

September 19th, 2007

What an experience. I was standing on the deck near the feeder cam trying to get a good hummingbird photo in before it light became an issue. As I was waiting, I was watching the immature Cotton-tailed Rabbit that has started coming to the cracked corn tray. The back yard was filled with Northern Cardinals, eating sunflower seed and also some cracked corn. A Ruby-throat had just been at the feeder and I was waiting for a return visit. A Ruby-throat lands on the feeder with its back to me. This little beauty is about six feet away from me. At that very second I became aware of activity in the yard to my left. It was the doe White-tailed Deer that has the two fawns. She had jumped the fence to eat some of the cracked corn. Her two fawns stayed in the woods outside the fence.

As usual, I was motionless. Picture this……six feet in front of me there Ruby-throat is drinking from the feeder. Off to my left, the doe White-tailed Deer is eating cracked corn out of the tray. About one or two feet away from her back leg the immature Cotton-tailed Rabbit is eating the sunflower seed and the corn that had spilled on the ground. Fantastic.

Earlier today I posted that a Carolina Wren was sitting in front of the feeder cam. It stayed there for quite a while cautiously watching the activity going on in the sky and around it. It looked to me to be immature due to its markings. It may have been sick though. At some point it did fly away.

The number of hummingbirds has decreased since the weather cooled off a little. We had a visit by an American Crow around the cracked corn this morning. They are plentiful around here, just a little skittish. Thanks for making wingbarscafe a part of your day.

A Beautiful Morning

September 18th, 2007

First off, I need to apologize for the site downtime yesterday. I had checked the site around 2pm EST and everything was fine. My DSL line went down around 4:20pm and I didn’t even find out until around 9pm. Anyway a call to my provider, who called the phone company that services the lines, had me back online by 10pm.

The weather has cooled off considerably here and I am looking forward to the Fall migrants. The seed change at the feeder cam tray has been a success. The Gray Squirrel appeared once at the feeder cam and made a hasty exit once it discovered the “hot meats”. The Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, Mourning Dove, White-breasted Nuthatch, House Finch and Tufted Titmouse all seem to agree the change was a positive one as well. I have seen a few of the American Goldfinch at the various feeders this week. I know the numbers will increase again. They always do.

The suet continues to serve Downy Woodpecker and Carolina Wren as the main visitors right now. The cracked corn tray has attracted another doe White-tailed Deer and her fawn. This fawn is very young and is still covered with its protective white spots. Also starting to make regular visits to the tray feeder is an immature Eastern Cottontail Rabbit. I never see it at the same time as the adult though.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird activity has remained strong though migration is obvious. The owners of the various feeders has changed as the males are the first to move on to their winter digs. Of course that means we will see new males appear as they arrive from farther north of us.

From the “This Is Too Cute” department, I get to see birds roosting underneath the deck from time to time. Last night was one of those times. There is a one inch ledge on the underside of the deck that small birds will sometimes roost in. They tuck their head and face into the deck support beam so that all I can see is a small ball of feathers and a tail hanging down. Awwww.

If you get a chance, read the comment on the previous post titled “A change in diet” made by my fianc’ee. I will be giving her a login so that she can post as well. There are times during the week that she gets to see activity that I miss.

A change in diet

September 12th, 2007

I decided the other day to make a change again in the seed at the feeder cam to discourage the squirrels. The safflower was successful, however I lost the variety of birds at that feeder. I bought some hot meats while I was out on Tuesday. Wednesday morning while I was savoring the morning coffee, I walked by the window over the deck to see a gray squirrel enjoying breakfast out of the tray. As was suggested by my friends at the bird feeder store, I have put a heavy mix of the hot meats in with the regular sunflower seed. This should put an end to the squirrel raids on it and the mixture of seed should not alter the variety of bird visitors. By the way, hot meats are shelled sunflower seed that are coated with capsium or other very hot pepper. The birds like it and the mammals get a sensation in their mouth they find unpleasant. And yes, the squirrels have easy access to water after they sample the new entree :-)

Hummingbird activity is still very strong here. I have been watching the male Ruby-throat that guards the hummingbird feeder on the deck. He is well stocked on body fat for his long migration and is he ever good at defending his feeder. He spends most of his time sitting on the feeder hanger. This is a smart move as he does not have to fly across the yard to chase away the intruders. Maybe I will get a nice picture of him before he moves on.

The Northern Cardinal activity is still very strong for us. It seems I am seeing as many of them now as I was seeing of the Mourning Doves. Also present at the seed feeding stations are House Finch, Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee. American Goldfinch numbers are down right now, however that is normal. We have them throughout the year here and their numbers vary as they change where they want to feed.

The suet is mainly being visited by the Downy Woodpecker, Carolina Wren and White-breasted Nuthatch right now. Sometimes I will see a Titmouse or Chickadee grab a little bite there. The cracked corn tray had a new visitor this morning. There was a small Eastern Cottontail Rabbit eating corn off the ground around the tray. I had seen the adult that is blind in one eye the day before. White-tailed Deer visits have been rather sporadic recently as they have plenty to eat out in the woods. The Blue Jays here are still visiting the cracked corn tray on a regular basis.

Brief update

September 8th, 2007

The Northern Cardinals, Mourning Doves and House Finches continue to dominate the sunflower feeding stations. I did happen to see one male American Goldfinch at the feeder cam Friday afternoon. The Carolina Chickadees and Tufted Titmice have probably been visiting the feeders that are less visible.

The hummingbirds were in full force Friday afternoon. We now have four feeders up, with a ruling Ruby-throat at each one. I am told that you can multiply the maximum number of hummingbirds by four or five to get an idea of how many you have in the area. Using that figure, we must have about sixteen to twenty hummingbirds right now.

The White-tailed Deer I mentioned in an earlier post that has the scars on its side has been rather regular at the cracked corn tray feeder. It finishes it meal by drinking out of the bird bath.

I have not spotted as many of the reptiles this year as I would like. I have seen one Anole Lizard and several Five-lined Skinks varying in size from hatchlings to large adults. I have not seen any snakes this year :-( We had a large toad that used to greet me on the front doorstep every night last year. We have not seen it this year. I did spot a frog in the ground leavel birdbath on Friday though. My guess is that it is a tree frog seeing as we do not have a water source around us.

Just stand still, will ya……..

September 4th, 2007

Monday morning I was changing the nectar in the hummingbird feeders. It is a common occurrence to hear a little chatter from one of the little guys (or gals) while I am working with the feeders. Last year I had the pleasure of one of the hummingbirds actually landing on the feeder before I removed my hand from it. Monday was even better, as I became the feeder hanger :-D

I was actually swapping feeders out instead of removing, cleaning and refilling the same feeder. I had my hand on the feeder I was going to remove, when I heard the familiar machine gun drumming of hummer wings nearby. It was a hatch year male Ruby-throated Hummingbird. It hovered around the near empty feeder and darted in to get a few quick sips. Curious or bold, it then hovered up to eye level. I kept my head turned away from it, because silly me didn’t want it to think it had been spotted. Satisfied it was safe, the green jewel began to hover around the full feeder that I was holding. Then came the best part. It landed on that feeder to drink the fresh, cool nectar inside. I remained as motionless as possible during this whole experience.

I know this is perfectly common for a number of people out there. My uncle has reported to me many times of hummingbirds drinking from the feeder as he is carrying it back out to its station. ‘Birds and Blooms’ magazine recently had an article about how to build a very simple hand held hummingbird feeder. A couple of years ago, we had a female Rufous Hummingbird spend the entire winter with us. Since this is not their normal winter home, we called out our local hummingbird experts to band her. When release time came, I gave the experience of the release to my fianc’ee. It lay in the palm of her hand until it realized that it was free again. Once returned to it’s perch, it groomed itself and stayed with us until March of the following year. I will have to find those photos and get them on the website sometime.

Change is good……..this time

September 3rd, 2007

After moving back to black oil sunflower seed in the feeder cam, the variety at the feeder has improved dramatically. In just a few minutes of watching it Sunday afternoon I saw Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, Common Grackle, Mourning Dove, Brown-headed Nuthatch and House Finch stop by. Northern Cardinal have started visiting more often as well. Hopefully the squirrels will not notice the change.

Also of note is a young deer that visited the cracked corn tray feeder. This one had a couple of large scars on its left side. One was a long straight scar above its shoulder and the other was a patch of scar tissue near its hip. This is a residential area and as far as predators go, the only thing I can think of is possibly a coyote, even though I haven’t seen one around here. Other than that, maybe a fight with another deer, running into or falling on something sharp or possibly even contact with a vehicle. The good news is that it had a good weight to it and seemed healthy.

The hummingbirds continue in good numbers. Usually we will have a fair amount of those migrants stop by during September. Over the next few days, I will again try to get more pictures of them. I have a new camera and plenty of film :-)

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    Welcome to WingbarsCafe. The site consists of a webcam focused on a sunflower feeder and blogs posted about bird and other wild animal activity in the yard. Also featured are motion activated snapshots that may give you a chance to get a better look at birds that have been at the feeder.

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