More rain is expected today but it’s a little warmer than yesterday at least.
I’ve been forced indoors for the past few days to do my morning computer work, something I’ll have to get used to with Old Man Winter nipping at our toes.
As I sit outside typing this morning, the familiar signs of my backyard visitors are everywhere. There’s a squirrel attempting to snag shelled peanuts from a cylinder feeder in the tree. Coming down off the branch above, the tree rat stretches its entire body down the length of the feeder.
In the tree next to the garage, a Cardinal chirps its happy song, a pretty sound that gets drowned out occasionally by the shrieking battle call of the Starlings fighting over another peanut feeder. I hate their high-pitch noise and wait anxiously for them to start their southern migration. If I could buy them a plane ticket to hasten it, it would be an investment well worth the cost.
Yellow leaves float through the air as they start their final downward spiral to the wet ground beneath. The gusty north wind and heavy rain of yesterday stripped many from the almost-bare branches of the Japanese Maple tree in my yard.
What I assumed to be two young Cardinal siblings – one a ferocious red (male) and the other a pale pinkish colour (female), just landed in the platform feeder. I see the two of them together a lot and wonder if they’re the maturing offspring of Gus and Frank.
Off they fly, scared away by a pesky by beautiful Blue Jay. Did you know that Jays aren’t really blue? It’s true. I found out this fact yesterday from a tweet I read and then did a little research myself.
According to Canadian Geographic, “the bright cobalt colour is the result of the unique inner structure of the feathers, which distort the reflection of light off the bird, making it look blue.” Very interesting.
I bought the Jays a new toy yesterday, with the hope it might also save me some money in the long run. I used to use a peanut wreath feeder for the Jays but found after a lot of use – and I do mean a lot – that the wire coil was getting bent and widening. Every time a Jay would land on, three or four peanuts would fall to the ground, usually scooped up by a waiting squirrel.
I was spending about $50 every two weeks or so buying peanuts to feed the hungry critters with more than half I think going to the tree rats. The cost adds up when combined with the safflower, sunflower chips, shelled nuts and waste-free mixed blends I use in other feeders.
The new feeder (check it out on the live stream at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/11175181) is sort of lighthouse-shaped with a platform on the bottom, which seems to prevent the peanuts from dropping out as the Jays bounce on it. They still waste a few when they pluck them out and then drop them but so far it seems to be working better.
As I sit here, there’s a never-ending procession of Jays grabbing peanuts out of the new feeder, along with the few I scattered in the platform feeder. It’s like a fast-food drive-through at times without the ordering window. Now serving Jay #2; move along quickly please as a lineup is forming behind you.
I also purchased a new feeder that holds suet balls and about a week ago, a new mixed seed cylinder. The finches, woodpeckers, sparrows, chickadees, nuthatches and wrens seem to like the new cylinder, even though it took about a week for them to try it. I’ll let you know how it goes with the suet balls.
Quick update on the progress of Klutz, the Red-bellied Woodpecker I wrote about a few posts ago (http://backyardblogger.com/2012/10/04/kamikaze-approach-of-the-red-bellied-klutz/). I moved the old peanut wreath feeder from where he was used to finding it and to give him his props, he mastered the Peanut+ feeder, which holds shelled nuts, fairly quickly.
He still seems to prefer whole peanuts however and alternates between both styles of feeders as his confidence grows. I regretted not having a camera handy a couple of days ago as Klutz and a Blue Jay both swung from the peanut wreath feeder, neither giving up easily, until eventually the woodpecker was left to enjoy the spoils.
Until later …