Monday, February 16, 2009

Then Came the Snow

This male bluebird has some scapular feathers that are always out of place. We call him "Shoulders."

After the ice storm on January 27, we had a series of snowstorms. Fortunately the cold temperatures meant the snow was light and drifty. A wet and weighty snow would have meant much more damage to trees and more downed powerlines. As it was, the ice had already knocked out our power—we'd be out a total of three days—and canceled a week's worth of school for the kids.

Here are a few more images from the snowy aftermath of the ice storm.
Everyone's home was covered in ice and snow.

Even the clip art bird on our Birding Area sign looked cold.

Fluffed up against the cold wind, a female bluebird stares me down. The feeders needed a refill.

When horrible weather sets in, we let our guard down and permit even the hoggish European starlings to get a meal.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Bluebird Party

There were nine eastern bluebirds perched on the tower the other morning. These birds are forming loose family flocks for the fall and winter. We've rarely seen them in the past few weeks. After the last brood of summer fledges, our bluebirds disperse to forage away from the over-hunted area near the nest site.

I think they were coming by to see if the suet dough or mealworms were out yet (no, not yet). It's nice to have them back (lazy freeloaders that they are!).

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Time to Feed the Dogs

Fledgling eastern bluebirds come to our suet dough dish with their parents every day. When the dish is empty they give us their sad, hungry hang-dog look. It makes us rush to put just a bit more in the dish—though in these insect-rich summer days we cut way back on the dough we dish out.

I swear I heard a whimper and a soft bark from the bird in the dish as I took this photo.

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tough Times for Bluebirds

There have been some very mild late Februaries here in southeastern Ohio. This is not one of them. The bluebirds' normal food sources—fruits, berries, the occasional grub or nearly frozen grasshopper—are covered in snow and ice or simply gone in the case of many of the grapes and pokeweed berries. So they are seeking out alternative food sources. I watched them today doing what Julie described to me a week or so ago—eating sunflower bits from a tube feeder.

Bluebirds are not habitual nut eaters. The sunflower bits have no shell to deal with and are small and fairly soft. The bluebirds were on the feeders every chance they got, until the starling mob descended and took over.

I made sure to keep the suet dough feeder by the kitchen sink window full of food. The bluebirds know to watch for the re-up there and they come in right after the first daring tufted titmouse.

I'll bet the bluebirds are as eager as I am for spring to get here. I caught myself starting to eat a handful of sunflower bits tonight. . . hey—it was cold and my traditional source of food is not available.

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