Friday, August 26, 2016

Another Season of Winged Visitors

In April, my winter months proved less than rewarding with my feathered friends.  I put out my seeds all winter long and tried several types of feeders when one didn't produce any takers.  I've totally turned over my feeders to two types that another bird enthusiast told me he uses in his yard.

Bird on Sunflower below the feeders
It's been really frustrating to put out the food and see one or two birds from time to time.  I've heard them singing on the house tops and seen a couple of chicadees stop briefly.  They all seem to come once and not return.  Last week I saw a cardinal on the fence across the alley but it never flew over to the feeders.

My neighbors told me that he has seen a lot of cats congregating under my deck and I also saw one sitting under the feeder one evening just about sunset.  I've put out citrus containers hoping to discourage the felines and hoping that my winged visitors return.  I've done my homework online to find out how to turn this around but if anyone knows a way, please comment so that I can continue to enjoy my friends the birds.

Last year's season was productive and I saw a variation of adult sparrows feeding their chicks.  One night I started to leave the deck when I spied a ball of fluff at the bottom of the steps.  I was horrified thinking that a neighborhood cat had gotten to a chick.  It had the tiniest of tails and was not well plumed yet.

Sparrow Chick
I went back up on the deck and sat for a few minutes deciding what to do about the little creature.  Should I pick it up and put it near the feeder?  Out of the corner of my eye I saw it rise up on it's little legs and hop away across my yard towards the fence that separates my yard from my next door neighbors yard.  I was so relieved because from there it spread it's little wings and flew just a few feet to perch on a fence rung before it made it's way across the next yard.


The other success was my attempt at attracting hummingbirds to my yard without using those messy sugar water feeders.

Fuschia Hanging Baskets
Last year, I started out the season by hanging two fuschia baskets in an attempt to attract the delightful birds to my deck area.  When the fuschia plants started to burn out and the flowers started to become fewer, I decided I had to try another method of attracting those spectacular birds that can fly up, down, back and forward.  They are so small and  zip though the air so fast sometimes you question if you saw them at all.  My attempt to winter the fuscia didn't work out so I had to replace them.

Hibiscus that I wintered.
I had better success with the hibiscus and it has bloomed very nicely this year. One thing about hibiscus is that the flowers are so fragile and I had placed the plant near the area where the other birds visit my bird feeder.  I noticed one of the blooms had been knocked off the plant.  The other drawback is that each hibiscus bloom only flowers for one day and then it closes up to fall off the plant.  It took a couple of days.  This year I placed the plant on the top step to my deck where it gets sun and rain but is within my view when I sit out.

hummingbird at hibiscus

I was finally rewarded at twilight one evening when I noticed the tiniest of fluttering around the hibiscus.  It was a hummingbird investigating the cups where the blooms had fallen off.  Hopefully, it will return to give me bird watching pleasure.
Trumpet Honeysuckle

I replaced the fuscia with a scarlet trumpet honeysuckle hanging planter.  I placed it on the hanger closest to my porch and to my amazement it attracted a hummingbird within a half hour of when I put it up.  Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to take a picture of it but it flitted around all of the open trumpets on all sides of the planter and didn't pay any attention to me sitting less than 3 feet away from it.

Chicadee

The chickadees came back in May but I haven't seen them lately even though I hear them when I sit out on the deck.

Cardinal on solar light
My cardinals are back and see an assortment of fledglings and adult birds that come to the feeder.

Goldfinch on feeder

The goldfinches came early summer but have just started coming back in August.

My biggest accomplishment is seeing a bluejay at the feeder.  They are been elusive in the past and only heard warning the other birds when danger was near.

Jaybird on fence across the alley
This year was a bit of a worry since the neighborhood ferrel cat had kittens and was watching them from a vantage point in my yard.  The kittens were just beginning to play like acrobats when Mama decided it was time to take them away to other places to learn their skills of hunting.  I guess she knew how much I love my bird feeders and friends.

Black Crested Titmouse

It's August 30th and I just spotted a new friend.  I thought I had two chicadees coming until I spotted the crest on one of the birds.  It's a Black Crested Titmouse landing on the shepherd's hook that holds the birdfeeder.

I get the greatest feeling of accomplishment when I spy a new breed of visitor to my gardens and bird feeder.

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