Monday, April 18, 2016

in the shade

It was a tad warmish today, even in the shade.
Even in the morning.
Half the herd couldn't be bothered coming up to the barn for their breakfast buckets! There's often one or two who dawdle, hoping for Room Service, but this was unprecedented.
So I fed the "energetic" group their buckets, then split a bale of hay into flakes and distributed it across the Upper West Side. I usually do this in late afternoon, but reasoned that the decision to skip breakfast might be regretted long before then. I didn't want anyone getting hungry. And cranky. And thuggish.

 Speaking of hungry...
 With only a little thistle seed left in the sack, these goldfinches were having a hard time remembering to share. I added more seed, and soon there were three of four finches all eating together.

Here's a newcomer, who was not interested in the feeders
but was very interested in the handfuls of mixed seed I scatter on the ground:
I think this is a dark-eyed junco.
But I'm open to suggestions!

Now, here's one I know!
(Because I looked it up.)
It's a (rather stunning) white-throated sparrow:

In the picture below, the white-throated sparrow is atop the stump, way over on the right side. Can you see it? (Left-click to embiggen.)

But, look again!
On the ground, way in back.
Peeping around the root of the stump.
Can you see it?

It's this little bird: 

 Which is a chipping sparrow.
(Looked that one up also.)

I apologize for the quality of these images; they were taken from 10 - 15 feet away, with two layers of not-very-clean glass midway between the camera and the birds. But I decided to post them anyway, so I'll have a record of which birds are appearing, and when, this year.

These birdfeeders are attracting a lot of high-quality entertainment and I'm going to enjoy it as long as I can.
It won't be much longer, because with this warmer weather, will come the black bears. They never seem to forget where they once - and only once! - found a jackpot of sunflower seeds. I think they have a database.

This is the print of a bear who visited years after I stopped keeping a birdfeeder up in summer:

In case you can't make it out, here's the same picture with arrows pointing to the claw marks and a line at the base of the paw pad, in line with my own paw pad:

It wasn't a very big bear. But a bear doesn't have to be very big to get into trouble, and I like bears. I don't want to be part of the problem of bears - or any other wildlife - interacting with humans.

So I'll continue to feed the birds after the feeders come down, but only by scattering seed that will be eaten up quickly. Not so much leisurely snacking for the birds, or leisurely viewing for me.

On the brighter side, it will soon be time to put up the hummingbird feeders! Those stay up til autumn.

Gosh, I'm talking about birds and bears.
Spring. Definitely. Spring.