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A Few Acres for the Birds and Critters to Play

Once again the bluebirds have come to check out the birdhouses as the weather gets colder in November. They are usually seen in pairs (this year 2011 we saw two distinct couples). We have noticed over the years that they seem to wait for sunshine to go house hunting. This day the sun was out but had yet to melt the frost from the birdhouse roof.
... more bluebird info and photos

In 2011 the American tree sparrow returned to our yard on Thanksgiving Day. He's been back at that feeder on that same perch every day since then. We have yet to see the "stick pin" spot on his chest, but his other feather coloration and "mismatched" dark top and light bottom beak makes him highly recognizable. It helps that we were watching for him since the first snow.
...more American tree sparrow info and photos

Homemade Bark Butter

I have spent some time researching and experimenting with suet alternatives. I call all its variations Suet $ents (obviously playing on the words less cents and more sense). Hope you might like to try the recipe. The woodpeckers especially have given it two zygodactyl feet up.

...recipe with photos

 Click to Enlarge

On October 27, 2011, our area of upstate New York had our first snow fall for the upcoming winter season. While driving visibility was poor, it created a winter wonderland the next morning. By the afternoon of the 28th most of the snow was gone and the birds and critters resumed business as usual.

 Click to Enlarge
Click to Enlarge 

The morning of October 28th brought the threat of a heavy snow storm due later in the day. So, it was an enormous surprise to first hear then see hot air balloons rising above our back tree line. Our local balloon festival is in June, so this was an unusual sight. Most of the birds took cover, but the Canada geese were brave.

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 White-breasted Nuthatch

The afternoon and evening of the 29th gave us the second snow, much deeper. Birds that haven't used feeders after summer baby making and tending, gained a new appreciation for full feeders, new Suet $ents rings, and clean and fresh birdbaths plugged in for heat. (We were very busy preparing for the coming winter storm by doing fresh birdy stuff on the 28th.

 Downy Woodpecker
White-breasted Nuthatch
 Downy Woodpecker
 Tufted Titmouse
Black-capped Chickadee 

The spring and summer of 2011 had been very wet in this neck of the woods. Trees and bushes grew rapidly and unchecked by normal yard work. Benign neglect is a great opportunity for birds and critters to eat natural foods and insects, while hiding from predators and cameras. Because our shrubs and perennial flowers grew densely, particularly at ground level, we saw fewer birds passing through our yard on their way to elsewhere. As the summer progressed we saw fewer of our faithful regulars, as well. The natural habitat was lush with food and over-hanging protection, so feeder dining slowed.

Benign Neglect 2011 Gallery

Start Over

... more benign neglect info and photos

 Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Because of our abundant vegetation, we were astonished to discover a first time visitor. It took us several bird books to determine what our new little bird was. At first the tiny red spot on the back of his head looked like a stray reflection or photo anomaly. This adorable, small egg-like bird is a male ruby-crowned kinglet, stopping by on his journey from his summer home in Canada to his warm winter spot further south.

...more info and photos




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