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hazelrunpack January 28th, 2010 09:56 AM

The TJTwitter
Welcome to the TJTwitter--the place to come if you need a wild bird fix (and, I might add, the brain-child of Chris21711 :thumbs up).

To start things out, I'll tell ya about the black-capped chickadees yesterday. I've been counting for ProjectFeeder Watch for a number of weeks now and have been seeing anywhere between 6 and 12 chickadees per count. (You use the maximum number you see at one time in your count.) Yesterday, the two winter groups seem to have joined up because hubby and I counted no less than 18 chickadees hanging out in the sumac and on the feeders :cloud9:

I love those little guys :flirt:

Chris21711 January 28th, 2010 10:16 AM

I love those little guys too Hazel, when they see me coming with the seed pail to fill the feeders it's like their internal radar goes off and a slew of them come flying in....some patiently wait, while others decide that I'm taking too long to get cracking and go into the pail and take their pick......we have oodles. I have never tried to count how many, but will....[SIZE="1"]just to see if I have more than you :laughing:[/SIZE]

One thing I have noticed for the longest, always the Cardinals are the first to come in the morning and the last ones in the evening, it never fails, sometimes I can hardly see them there is so little light.

hazelrunpack January 28th, 2010 10:22 AM

:( Our cardinals seem to have disappeared this winter. We normally have a pair but they just aren't coming to the feeders this year :shrug: I'm hoping they've found another feeder and will be back for the breeding season--I know lots of people down at the lake put seed out, so they may have gone down there (about half a mile as the crow flies...what an apt expression for this thread :D) to partake of the bonanza. :fingerscr

Chris21711 January 28th, 2010 10:32 AM

I used to see the Cardinals flying from one tree to the next but hardly coming to my feeders the last 2 or 3 years I've been successful in attracting them, the most I have counted at any one time has been 8, needless to say I have a big grin on my face :D

Melinda January 28th, 2010 10:41 AM

are turkeys considered "wild" birds? we have four that come a few times a day to feed with or without the deer, one tom (mature male), one jake (young male) and two hens (females). my one female has developed a limp and there isn't a thing I can do about it, she worries me and daily I check for her to make sure the wolves/coyotes haven't gotten her, but she is a very strong flier.

Chris21711 January 28th, 2010 10:57 AM

[QUOTE=Melinda;878989]are turkeys considered "wild" birds? we have four that come a few times a day to feed with or without the deer, one tom (mature male), one jake (young male) and two hens (females). my one female has developed a limp and there isn't a thing I can do about it, she worries me and daily I check for her to make sure the wolves/coyotes haven't gotten her, but she is a very strong flier.[/QUOTE]

I for one consider them "wild"....for the last few years I noticed Turkeys crossing the road in front of our house, in the early fall I counted 13 crossing together, 1 tom, 2 hens and the rest were young ones, all in a line, very orderly :laughing:...I sure hope nothing happens to the one hen with the limp.

Do you know if it is usual for the young ones to hang around with the matures...if it is, I find it odd that you only have the one young one, I hope that nothing bad happened to the rest :pray:

Melinda January 28th, 2010 11:45 AM

I've been told it is usual for the young to hang around the "flock" until the females mature and then she goes off with a tom and make their own flock with a few other mature hens

ownedbycats January 28th, 2010 12:26 PM

Our cardinals just showed up for the first time in months, and brought chickadees with them :D The male doesn't mind me taking pictures ( I swear he checks me out and goes, "Oh, it's just that noisy clicky thing again.") The female is more skittish and disappears when she sees me, camera or no camera. I'm glad to see them but I hope they nest somewhere other than our hedge this year. As far as I can tell, not one of last year's babies survived.

hazelrunpack January 28th, 2010 01:36 PM

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Turkeys are definitely wild birds, Melinda. We have a small flock (3) of toms hanging around this winter and another, larger flock of hens and (apparently) young-of-the-year. The toms put in an appearance more than then the hens--we'll see the hens more as spring approaches. The toms are pretty skittish, but occasionally I can sneak a pic of their retreat :D


The look so Jurassic parkish to me. :laughing:

Melinda January 28th, 2010 02:18 PM

cool pics!! yes they are pretty jurassic looking *L* and interesting.

this was this morning, they share with the deer.


at times the yearlings (deer) play chase with the turkeys.


Chris21711 January 28th, 2010 02:19 PM

I went out in the crappy weather to fill the feeders :yell:...I had talked myself into doing tomorrow that there was enough feed....I then felt guilty [SIZE="1"]self guilt being the worse kind there is :frustrated: [SIZE="2"]Soooooooooo Hazel I tried to do a Chickie count and the little blighters kept moving on me, but I counted 16, give or take a couple :cool:[/SIZE][/SIZE]

[B]ownedbycats [/B]why do you not want the Cardinals nesting in your hedge this year?

hazelrunpack January 28th, 2010 10:52 PM

Pretty interesting, Melinda! I've never seen any of our turkeys hanging out with the deer... The deer seem to prefer the dogs. :rolleyes: They'll hang around just outside the fence and watch the dogs go crazy. Evidently the dogs are more entertaining than our turkeys, which really are a pretty boring bunch! :laughing:

No other extraordinary bird counts today, Chris! They retired early to their evening roosts, too--I'd love to know where they go and how they keep warm in our subzero temps!

ownedbycats January 29th, 2010 08:07 AM

Our hedge is a really thick cedar hedge. The birds all love it because it provides shelter from weather. However, those thick branches also provide a kind of easy access highway for the neighborhood cats. the adults are allright, they fly a couple branches over and play catch-me-if-you-can, staying just out of reach. Babies are helpless though, until they learn to fly. The adults did a pretty good job of defending their babies despite that, one even made it to the point of fledging, but then we saw the adults with no baby:(

Chris21711 January 29th, 2010 08:41 AM

I deleted my last post because I figured it would take up too much room for us dial-uppers,

I did say Melinda that I would love to see the pics you posted of the deer and turkeys for real :D

[B]ownedbycats [/B]I wouldn't have thought that cats could climb a thick hedge :confused:

This morning I can't see out of our south facing windows they are all iced up :yell:....yep we have real old windows :o.....once the sun has been on them for a few hours though, then I can see and it is sunny albeit freezing :frustrated:

Melinda January 29th, 2010 08:47 AM

well come on down/up?? to cornwall Chris, *L* every morning at 7-9, then around 1 pm and again for a last glimpse at around 7 pm.

Hazel, the deer will watch brina and if they see she is tied (no fenced yard here) they will just continue eating, but if she jumps at the end of her rope then they get nervous and prance away....but only till they see me bring her in *L*

Chris21711 January 29th, 2010 09:16 AM

:laughing: daughter is going to Petawawa in June, is that near Cornwall?

Melinda January 29th, 2010 09:28 AM

its about 5-6 hours away Chris, my nephew lives there, army base, but she should see tons of deer around there

Chris21711 January 29th, 2010 09:35 AM

:confused: I'm lost again, that is more or less how long it takes to get to Montreal from here :confused:

Melinda January 29th, 2010 09:41 AM

and Im about 20 from the quebec border and about 3 hours from quebec city *L* I'm terrible with directions. now I have to go check how far to nephews *L*

Melinda January 29th, 2010 09:43 AM

I stand corrected, it says (google map) that it takes 3 1/2 hours to get to Petawawa from Cornwall

Cornwall is 4 hours and 50 minutes from where you are...We've been up that way visiting the nephew in you ever go to oshawa general games?

Chris21711 January 29th, 2010 09:50 AM

ok thanks, I'll look later on a hard copy map :D

Chris21711 January 29th, 2010 09:52 AM

:yuck: no hockey games for me :laughing:...Oshawa is about 1 hour SE of us.

Love4himies January 29th, 2010 09:57 AM

Awwww, Melinda, you get a double :cloud9: with the turkeys AND the deer.

We used to have lots of wild turkeys, but every year, there are less and less in the area. I am wondering if it is because of the huge coyote population we have had :(.

Chris21711 January 29th, 2010 10:07 AM

L4H up until a few years ago they were pretty well non existent around here, the Ministry reintroduced them to these parts....I don't see zillions but certainly more than before. Maybe you could touch base with them and the same sort of programme could be applied in your area.

hazelrunpack January 29th, 2010 10:46 AM

We have coyotes and wolves, L4H, and our deer and turkeys are thriving! Snowy winters seem to be harder on them. The farmers around here complain about the turkeys all the time--they don't mind them picking over the corn fields so much, but they object to their white-washed outbuildings! Turns out turkeys are real poopers :eek: :laughing:

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2010 02:57 PM

I just heard a downy woodpecker giving its descending multinote rattle call! First time I've heard that call since some time last summer :highfive:

So even though it's still only in the teens F here (-10 C), the woodpeckers are Thinking Spring! :D

Love4himies January 30th, 2010 03:33 PM

[QUOTE=Chris21711;879312]L4H up until a few years ago they were pretty well non existent around here, the Ministry reintroduced them to these parts....I don't see zillions but certainly more than before. Maybe you could touch base with them and the same sort of programme could be applied in your area.[/QUOTE]

We used to have so many around a few years ago, then every year there was fewer and fewer. :(

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2010 03:51 PM

That's interesting, L4H. Turkeys were long extirpated from WI until the 70s or 80s when they were reintroduced--and they've really taken off! (no pun intended :o) In fact, if anything, they're becoming a nuisance--lots of turkey/windshield hits, for instance, and crop damage in some parts of the state. They also seem to be negatively impacting some of the other woodland birds, like grouse--even here, where the wolves and coyotes prey heavily on them. I wonder if there's some other control factor in your area? Is it being built up heavily? (Although, urbanization did not stop them from moving into Eau Claire--we used to have them near our old neighborhood.) How much snow do you get in winter? They don't seem to do as well in years where we've had heavy snows--are you in the snow belt around the lake?

Winston January 30th, 2010 03:52 PM

Love this thread! I am hoping it will teach me about birds in general. Its funny I know alot about peregrine falcons but nothing else really!

So whats a good book to get learning about the birds in my area.?

I have 2 Blue Bruce trees on my front lawn that house many birds. I have cardinals, blue jays, and the beige colored doves. I had a hawk take a bird too last year! but I only saw him once! Then there are these little browny colored ones that I am guessing are chickadees cause there are a million on them! But again no nothing about them????

Oh an I have had woodpeckers that ahve red on them too!

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2010 04:13 PM

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omd, Winston! I just checked to see where Hamilton was on the map for the first time and I think you're actually farther [I]south[/I] than we are! :eek: I never would have thunk it. :o

What you need is a field guide for eastern birds. There are a lot of good ones out there. My favorite is the Golden version: [I][size=1]A Guide to Field Identification[/size] [size=3]BIRDS[/size] Of North America [/I] It seems to be quite tolerant of dog spittle, being left out in the rain, being dropped into poison ivy, etc... (:o I can be a little hard on field guides.) Nice slightly plasticized cover that can be wiped off if necessary. It's also a nice small size--it fits in a pocket of my photo vest.

You can also get guides that show actual photos as opposed to drawings, but I find they can be a bit confusing. A drawing can show all the field marks that aid in identification, but it's much harder to catch them all in a single photo.

As for your birds, the beige doves are probably mourning doves:

Here's a chickadee:
I'm sure you have some of those.

The little brown ones could be house sparrows if they have black bibs, or goldfinches if they have black-and-white wings, or even house finches if some of them have sort of reddish heads...actually, there are a number of birds that might fall into the little brown bird (LBB) category.

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2010 04:30 PM

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I forgot about the woodpeckers :o

All the eastern male woodpeckers have red on the head. The most common are the downy, the hairy, and the red-bellied (which doesn't have much of a red belly :p). The pileated also has a red crest (that's the Woody Woodpecker type :D) and the red-headed woodpecker (which migrates south for the winter from these parts) has a totally red head.

The hairy and the downy look pretty similar to each other but the hairy is half again as big as the downy. The hairy also has a proportionately longer bill than the downy does. The next two pics show the same suet feeder with two different female woodpeckers, one a downy, the second a hairy.

Look at the bill size--the downy's bill is proportionately shorter. And although the absolute size of the downy's image is bigger, see how the bird is dwarfed by the suet cage? The hairy sort of wraps herself around the bottom of the suet cage. The downy looks like it could crawl into the feeder; the hairy wouldn't fit very easily :D

This last one is a red-bellied:

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2010 04:37 PM

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Just for good are some other birds you might be seeing--the nuthatches.

White-breasted nuthatch:

Red-breasted nuthatch:

Okay, I'm done now. :rolleyes: I tend to blather on about birds. :o

(Chris, if those pics are too big, let me know and I'll remove 'em!)

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2010 04:38 PM

Gol dang! :eek: And they [I]are[/I] big! :o I gotta play with my editor some more... :o

Chris21711 January 30th, 2010 05:11 PM

Pics are fine Hazel :thumbs up....I'm patient :)

Love Winston's LBB......You didn't put any LBB's up Hazel, I have none :o

Yesterday evening I had 6 male Cardinals and 3 females from what I could see, it was getting dusk already...Question: IF there are more males than females, how do they go about finding mates :confused:....then when they do, if they do, do you think they will stick around or move elsewhere?

Winston January 30th, 2010 06:58 PM

Hazel thanks for the pics! I will save them for reference! The woodpecker was 100% the red bellied but I have to say much bigger??

I just went downstairs and checked through my old books! I am crazy that way I dont like to get rid of books..anyway I found this really really old book probably from the 70's...called National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America....actually I googled it and her eis a link to it...covers is almist exactly the same...I forgot I had it! its gor pictures and lots of good stuff!

I will have to try to get some pics but its so hard..the 2 trees are about 50 feet high and very bushy! you can hardley see them but boy you can hear them! especially in the spring...we sometimes have to close the windows...they start early in the am!! :D



ownedbycats January 30th, 2010 09:33 PM

Chris, I'll have to post a picture of the hedge to show you (complete with birds:D). It is a 6 foot and counting cedar hedge, meaning each individual plant is a small tree, with closely placed, fairly thick branches. The branches are closely placed enough that if one won't hold a cat's weight they will balance on two or three or four. Next time Seuss decides to go on a climbing expedition I'll get pictures of that, too, showing you how he uses several branches when one isn't big enough..

hazelrunpack January 30th, 2010 09:47 PM

No LBBs, Chris, cuz I have no pics. :D At least not of what Winston likely has... Ours pretty much just migrate through. I have some pics somewhere of white-throated sparrows and juncos, maybe even a fox sparrow...if I can find them, I'll post them, too.

As to how they find mates if the gender ratio is skewed, some of them don't...but there can also be a fair amount of infidelity even in monogamous species, so a lot of them will lurk and await their chance to flirt with the ladies when their mates are away forgaging (or flirting with yet other ladies :rolleyes:) There may likely be other individuals that will move into the area as spring arrives, too, so your bachelors may yet be able to find a lady-love of their very own (give or take a few dalliances that happen on the side :laughing:)

Winston, I have that field guide, too! It kept falling out of my photo vest, though, cuz it's a little taller than the Golden one. I'd lean over to look at some plant or other and I'd hear this plop as it fell out and landed in the patch of poison ivy I always seem to be near :laughing: But it's a pretty good guide.

The red-bellied woodpecker is just a few cm longer than the hairy, and it's stouter, so yes, it is bigger.

What kind of birds fill your hedge, ownedbycats?

Jim Hall January 31st, 2010 08:17 AM

sparrows all kinds never saw a b/w though cool

hazelrunpack January 31st, 2010 10:09 AM

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Here a few LBBs for you Chris and Winston.

The first two are yellow-rumped warblers--one in the sun at the top of the spruce and one in a more usual place, hopping around in the pine.

These are both from October, during the migration. Yellow-rumped warblers are among the earliest to arrive and the latest to leave each year. They'll be back in April.

hazelrunpack January 31st, 2010 10:23 AM

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A pine siskin:
Except for the heavily streaked breast, it's very easy to mistake them for goldfinches--they're about the same size and the pattern on the wing is similar.

Siskins are pretty common, we see a few every year--but last year there was an irruption of pine siskins and common redpolls. We were inundated with both species! Very exciting!

Redpolls (notice the red on the head that helps distinguish them from pine siskins and goldfinches).
We probably won't see another redpoll for 2 or 3 years still the next irruption.

And here are some American goldfinches in winter plumage at the feeders for comparison.

All three of these species are similar in size and often feed together at the feeders.

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