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Gail's lemonade stand (Store of Cool Stuff)
Cool Stuff
Monday, 14 July 2008
Juvenile robin in the sorrel
Topic: birds

I'm just back from a weekend away, up early in the morning to check out what the plants did while I was gone.  An adult robin is chirping in a strange way, deep in the hungarian lilac bushes.  I get closer to check it out, and hear another different chirp, but I can't tell where.  The adult robin has a worm in her beak, and she seems to try to lead me away, flying over the fence out of my reach.  Then I sense something near my feet.  It's a young robin, about the size of an adult but with incompletely formed tail, and some feathers sticking out, frozen like a statue in the sorrel.  I back away quickly.

So that's why that pair of robins has been grabbing worms constantly out of the garden and lawn for the past week or so!

I hope the young one makes it.  I escort the neighbor cat out of the yard when I see him.  He's old and slow, so I have hope. 

Posted by gail_heineman at 6:45 PM YDT
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Monday, 23 June 2008
Chickadee family feeding in the yard
Topic: birds
This afternoon I heard the familiar cheeping of begging chickadees, but it was not coming from the birdhouse.  There were at least five, maybe six, chickadees flitting about in the thick brush.  They moved so fast, there may be four young, but there are certainly three.  One of the adults is the most bedraggled live bird I have ever seen.  I hope those youngsters learn how to feed themselves pretty soon.  But they are beyond cute, as one landed on a branch a foot away from my face, stared at me, cocked its head and said "cheep".  Cute, and also strangely intuitive.

Posted by gail_heineman at 3:14 PM YDT
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Saturday, 21 June 2008
Chickadees fledged (or are gone anyway)
Topic: birds
This morning I heard them - this afternoon - not.  No chickadees are visible in the yard.  The babies are gone, one way or another.  I wasn't in the yard much today, so I can only hope they all flew away.

Posted by gail_heineman at 12:55 PM YDT
Updated: Monday, 23 June 2008 3:14 PM YDT
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Monday, 16 June 2008
Chickadees, nuthatches, juncos, oh my
Topic: birds

The young chickadees in the house above my kitchen window are chirping more loudly now, sounding more like adults and less like peepers.  The two adults are deliving mosquitoes, delphinium defoliaters, and some long-legged flying thing, arriving with beaks full and bug parts sticking out all directions.  A nuthatch family (two adults and a young one, I believe) have begun using the bird feeder like a McDonald's drive up, flitting back and forth between it and the birch/spruce thicket in the back, peeping their little horns frantically.  At least two juncos are the silent users of yard, hopping through the vegetable garden.

When the chickadees sound the alarm with dee-dee-dee I go out and distract the neighbor's cat, who is more interested in getting picked up and petted than stalking birds, although I'm sure he'd kill all the birds he could catch. 

Posted by gail_heineman at 8:40 AM YDT
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Wednesday, 7 November 2007
Hung the chickadee house
Topic: birds

In Spring 2006 I hung a bird house in the Hungarian lilac.  I did this because some chickadees had moved into the swallow house above our kitchen window that had been used by tree swallows for many years.  When the tree swallows arrived, and saw that the house was in use, I was distraught.

Turns out that the swallows did not nest in our yard that year or this.  But the chickadees successfully fledged from the swallow house in 2006, and the house in the Hungarian Lilac in 2007.  In midsummer 2007 I found the Hungarian Lilac house on the ground - it had fallen partially apart.  

So finally I put the house back together and hung it today.  I figure they might be able to use it for shelter this winter.

Incidentally, the next in the swallow house was made entirely of moss, like something in a fairy tale.  This year the next was made of moss in the lowest layer, but then on top was gray cat hair (from the neighbor cat fights) and bits of yellow fiberglass.  Not as charming, but functional apparently. 



Posted by gail_heineman at 9:57 AM YST
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