CFFC: Birds

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge fits right in with my yard this week…birds. I have learned a lot about birds this year as in the birds you wants verses the birds you get. There are two major things that dictate that, the type of food and the type of feeder. Some of these pics are repeats but they tell and explain the reason for their repeat.

Platform feeder with red house finches

This feeder above had belong to my sister so it has sentimental value as well as interesting feeder options. The platform feeder draw those birds who usually feed on the ground.

George and Chippy…again

I enjoy the mourning doves but not so much the chipmunks. Also a big fan of the platform feeders are sparrows. Since they are also ground feeder, they love the platform feeders as well. What a lot of amateurs’ like me don’t understand is that sparrows, while they are cute, they are take over birds, meaning they run everyone else off with their sizable gathering. So I changed feeder types…

Dummy!!

But I didn’t read the fine print of my research. To distract sparrows, you need tube feeders with less perching options. Then maybe they won’t end up inside the feeder. Silly bird. Food type is also important. Your basic mixed bird food also draws in other non-bird feeders to you station.

So I learned that squirrels don’t like safflower seeds and other birds do, so we swapped to that and at least eliminated that particular pest problem. Now to be rid of sparrow problem or at lease tone them down. Switch to thistle seed. This seed is a favorite for finches, juncos and chickadees. The seed stackers are also an option and they come in “hot” flavors to distract squirrels.

So the drawing paper is out for new yard design for next spring to add in other types of feeders while still allowing the sparrows to come play. The air is cooling (finally) so the thistle seed will come out as it adds for the energy nutrients needed for cooler weather. When it really gets cold, we will add out the suet feeders with the extra fat needed for warmth.

But we cant leave our bird story until we also show our zippy friend…

Best feeder

Of all the hummingbird feeder I have tried, I like this one the best. I have one at the house as well as at the church. So regardless of the birds you enjoy watching, remember they are also a gift of creation, so remember to always be kind to all kinds.

Some other pics of birds…

Animals Have Trials too.

We all know this is a fact that the animal kingdom is always in self preservation mode from predators or from “friends of like kind” who want what they have. Greed knows no limits of creature types. Today we are talking about a few creatures that came across my path this week. I am choosing to highlight their paths of possible doom to highlight that kindness can stretch across all specie types. While I don’t have a picture of doomed fate of this butterfly, I did manage to save it from drowning in the birdbath.

His wings stuck together due to be so saturated

After a couple of hours in the sun, he was able to completely dry and fly off to his next error of judgement for his very short life.

I work part time at my church answering the phone so of course I set up bird feeders outside my window. I have share many photos of the antics the birds, squirrels and rabbits do there. They do keep us entertained. But yesterday…well, I am not sure what to say or be able explain how this happened, However, my gut tells me somehow there was a squirrel involved.

He was quite terrified as I approached to release him from his trap but finally I was able to turn the feeder upside down and he scrambled under a bush. Twenty minutes later, with a full feeder, they were all back eating. I am sure he was part of the group.

Now this next creature was not so fortunate in getting rescued as this stairwell of the church is seldom used but alas somehow he managed to get inside of it and find no way out.

Bats really are quite interesting creatures and watching the Zoo shows on TV, it reminds us they are vital to our environment. They eat lots of skeeters. We hope we don’t have bats again in the bellfry of the church. Not a fun thing to deal with.

The last creature, the tiniest of the creatures, is the winner of the fight. After an extended fight over who owned the feeder, there was a clear winner.

See the mark on his chest?

Maybe that is just under plumage but it looked to be missing feathers. Seems the same bird is clearly marking this as his for the better part of the week.

There are so many wonderful things going on around us in nature. You just need to open you eyes to see them. Embrace the beauty you see, help when help is needed and always be kind.

Hummer…Not a Hummer

Today was a day of much needed rain, a good slow soaker. So not much activity at the feeder. But yesterday…

Hello. I am Harry Hummer. I am resting on the peanut feeder keeping guard over “My” feeder

But there was another visitor to the sugar water feeder…

Crafty little creature, Little George.

I could not figure out why he chose to be there, so I did a little research on what mantis eat. This must be the season they are really coming out or maybe they are just extra hungry. Below is a big one that visited the church.

Big George

My research tells me they eat all kinds of insects, grubs and even the occasional small bird. Small bird…a hummer is a small bird. Well maybe Big George, but surely not Littler George. Still I am not taking chances.

Little George getting more into attack position

Research said they eat things bigger than themselves….okay, not having that. So I went outside and shooed him off. I didn’t hurt him, just made him leave that spot. I enjoy my hummers way more than any bug.

I close with a reminder to always being kind. Even a smile can take the hardness out of someone’s day.

CFFC: Nature

Cee’s challenge this week is a favorite – Nature.

There are so many directions to go in….

Nature can unleash a fearful torrent

Nature is a gift from God for us to enjoy each day as we open our eyes to see the beauty that is in front of us, regardless of the season. We people have a nature and the strongest component is kindness.

Always Be Kind

Interesting Bird, Encouragement

Since I have been bird watching, I see that all creatures have slight variations even in the same specie. We humans are short, tall, fat, skinny and various shades of skin tone but…we are created by the same creator, in His image…according to how I believe.

And variation concept is true for the animal kingdom and it is how those who work with wildlife can tell the different individual animals apart, like zebra’s stripe patterns are individual. Again, same creator.

I always thought the one exception to the rule was birds. Yes you can always recognize the bird type but if you look close, there are variations. Case in point, our beloved cardinals…

This is a beautiful red cardinal from early this spring. Rich red body, red top crest and black face and neck area, large triangle beak. We are all familiar with this bird in the US. However…

Today, this cardinal stopped at the feeder.

Same size bird, the beak seems slightly larger but his color is the most striking. He is not a bright red so I don’t know if that is a seasonal change but the biggest difference is his entire head is black. And there seems to be more black than usual mixed in his tail feathers. He is still beautiful. A difference in creation I guess. I think it is a reminder to us that in God’s eye we are perfectly beautiful, even though we may look different. Even identical twins are different in subtle ways.

So I send this out to all who may read it to remind each of us that we are all special in our own creation from God for a purpose only fully known by Him. So listen to His voice as he guides you for the purposes He has just for you, so that you can enrich His kingdom and those around you. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us…

Have a safe and blessed weekend and remember to be kind in all that you do.

Not A Bird

There are many of us who enjoy watching our birds. We learn which foods bring which birds and how to keep squirrels out of your feeders…but when you have a platform feeder, that brings on other challenges. Below you can see that George is non too happy that Chippy is in his feeder.

I am not sure a slinky works in this instance.

The Slinkies work great on the pole feeders. I put one on the feeder at the church and have not seen a squirrel since. If you are having squirrel issues, try adding a slinky to the pole. A lot cheaper than those weighted feeders.

Wish I had seen how Chippy climbed up the concrete blocks but I didn’t. I let him eat for a few minutes and then let Daisy out.

Look how full his fat cheeks are.

Since I lost the majority of my sunflowers in the storm on Saturday, The flowers that had already gone to seed I laid out for the birds. They are messy little critters but I am glad they are enjoying them still.

My favorite visitor to those seeds are the Goldfinches. Their bright yellow color with the sunflowers is amazing.

I am not that great of a photographer but my phone does at least give me pictures to make me smile. So I encourage you to enjoy your birds…and non birds. They are all part of God’s creation and meant for us to enjoy.

And as always, remember to be kind. It blesses your heart as much as the receiver of kindness.

Office Window

I am mostly retired but I do work 3 days a week answering the phone at church. Its enough to keep me from being bored. Today I was very entertained with the wildlife out the window. If you remember, I was having issues with squirrels due to food change. I can assure you that safflower seeds work in keeping squirrels from your feeder. I still get chickadees, house finches, cardinal, titmouse, and occasional sparrows.

But today, something was very scary about the feeder. It looked to be a monster that could devourer…

It wont hurt you guys, I promise.

I guess the slinky did look kind of odd, but it is effective – no squirrels today. I know they are resilient and may come back, so we will see. There were at least ten of them sitting on the outer branches waiting on someone to get brave enough to go first. And finally it did.

Then they all tried to come at once…

May Day, May Day…

But the cutest thing was a parent and a fledgling or maybe it was just a demanding bird begging to be fed…

It was very entertaining. It was a good example of kindness in the animal kingdom. We should all strive to be kind to all things at all times. Kindness matters.

Share Your Desktop

Clare’s Cosmos has a fun challenge I will play with today, even though my pictures are not as clear as they should be. It is a memory that was fascinating to me. I had three hummers fighting over the feeder, zooming and zipping through the air, chattering that I could hear through the window.

Even though these birds were not being kind, we need to remember the beauty in being kind.

An Afternoon with the Birds

It took me a couple of years of trial and error to figure out what food works best for the majority of the birds in my area that also detracts from squirrels. I don’t mind squirrels that much except for two years they ate holes in my feeders. I tired Crisco on the feeder pole. I tried a baffle and I even put a slinky around the pole like in the picture below.

That seemed to work…somewhat, but mostly I changed their food. I now mostly have safflower seed which is a variety the birds enjoy and the squirrels don’t. YAY! The doves love the platform feeder and sometimes you will see the other birds wait on them to leave then they will eat.

So I added other types of feeders to help everybody get some. Here is a sparrow enjoying some basic wild bird food from a feeder that I got at Hobby Lobby and painted myself.

The most fun this afternoon came from the House Finches. The males are a beautiful red and I think who came by was a father and son. The larger of the two was showing the smaller bird the feeder. At one point he walked over and handed some seed to the smaller bird.

The fun part came after this feeding lesson. The younger bird went to the bath and had a good time. I don’t have a super good camera (or expert technique) and while the picture looks a bit fuzzy, that is actually water being slung everywhere. I thought this would bring a smile to someone, for that is the purpose of blogging, at least to me it is; to share the things that make me smile.

Well enough of my armature photos. I hope they made you smile. Remember the power of a smile. Even without words, a smile can show kindness and relieve someone’s hurt.

Smile and Be kind often

Encouraging Signs of Spring

For whatever reason, this spring seems to be dragging it’s butt. In reality it is probably just me, as I am so ready to be outside and working in my flowers. And the seeds planted in the small pots for the community garden are well on their way of needing to be in the ground real soon.

Today we had more rain…with snow mix…tomorrow more rain but maybe a hint of sunshine. I honestly think spring is close. I now see the robins in my yard. A sure sign for me.

Its not a real clear picture…but neither is spring. So onward we go. Then in two and a half months we will be complaining of being hot. I heard an old man say one time that there are three stages of life – you are born, you pay taxes and then you die. How sad is that? I was born in the last century, I paid 2021 taxes yesterday, so all I have left is death???

Guess that old man doesn’t know me that well. I just got started and have yet to dance…so dance we must. And as the breeze flows gently through the air we dance in its currents…

Dance in Moonlight Daffodils

While these have not broken through the ground yet, I look forward to their dance. I planted them last year so hopefully they will dance with me this year. Just a note to remind you while things may seem dreary, you can always dance. Some may laugh, some shake their heads but all will smile. What a great excuse to dance in life.

Have a safe and blessed weekend. Laugh, dance, smile and ALWAYS be kind.

AND…Always Be kind