Monday, February 20, 2012

Busy backyard

A small flock of starlings has discovered my suet feeder.

Beautiful birds. But greedy!

While they're feeding, nothing else is allowed near the suet. Luckily, they are messy eaters; chunks of suet fall to the ground beneath the whole time.

More starlings clean up the mess ...

But so does the varied thrush, which otherwise does not get any.

There's quite a community here now; the chickadees and house finches, coming mainly for sunflower seed, juncos for smaller seed and suet, assorted sparrows, towhees, and a pair of thrushes for whatever they find on the ground. Robins check the lawn for worms. Besides the starlings, a flock of 20 or so bushtits comes by every day for suet. Occasionally, a flicker shows up at the edge of the evergreens. Recently, it's been trying to collect suet, but hasn't quite gottent the hang of it yet. And I can't forget the squirrels; they stuff themselves with sunflower seeds then go hang upside-down by the suet cage, morning and afternoon.

It's taking them less than a week, these days, to eat one suet pack.

And this was a first: two days ago, I looked up from my desk to see a merlin sitting on the birdbath. He flew away as soon as I got the camera ready. And no small birds showed up for an hour.

I've been working on diatom identification. More on this, tomorrow.

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