Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Starling Update

Good News! The metal plate has been removed and there is still activity in the Starling nest. There must be another bird lover in my building. Starlings may not be the most desirable birds, but what Critter Control did was cruelty to animals and unacceptable.

Now we have the raucous screaming fledglings to look forward to! Maybe I will have moved before they leave the nest. :)

>' )
( ( \
" |\

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

European Starlings Trapped

Last month I turned in but heard a horrible racket up in the attic. Animals were running back and forth at a frantic pace and then I heard a strange noise in close range. I looked into my walk-in closet and the access panel to the attic was cracked in half. I reported it to the apartment management and they said it was probably raccoons and Critter Control would be sent out. They've been out here regularly since and I saw one of them today and asked if they had caught any raccoons .... yes, 4 or 5. The guy was patching up a hole above the garage where I knew European Starlings were nesting. I asked him if he removed the nest and he said that they all flew out.

Guess not. I came home tonight and a Starling Mom or Dad was at the metal covered opening with food looking frantic. I could hear the babies screaming inside, trapped. I guess most people would say good riddance since they are an invasive species and not protected. But it saddens my bleeding heart. I feel so sorry for any suffering creature. I guess they will be in birdy heaven by the morning with no food or ventilation. They had to be too young to survive in any event.

Starling on the Balcony

>' )
( ( \
" |\

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Apartment Bird #30

I made it to 30: a Brown Thrasher popped in for a few seconds then was off again.

Blue Jay on the Balcony

>' )
( ( \
" |\

Friday, May 15, 2009

Downy Woodpecker vs. House Sparrow

Occasionally a Downy Woodpecker will show up on the balcony to see what's available, but not often. After a long absence, this fellow made an appearance tonight and really really wanted to go at the homemade suet. Unfortunately, he was up against this aggressive house sparrow and they fought it out beak and claw. The Downy held his own!

But something about this Downy looks different. Notice that he has the red feathers on his head, but they don't appear to be completely filled in. Is he a juvenile? Isn't it too early for fledgling DOWO's in the Midwest? Or perhaps his feathers are just ruffled because of the altercation with the HOSP? What do you think?  (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos. No matter how good your camera may be, it's difficult to shoot through [dirty] double-paned glass plus a screen :(

No matter, it was a good show and I'm happy the Downy fought off the HOSP as best he could. If you have an opinion, please feel free to leave it in the comments section.

>' )
( ( \
" |\

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Goldfinches & Apt List Grows

It was dreary and overcast all day, but the presence of American Goldfinches in their full breeding plumage goes a long way to brighten the view. Until this weekend, I have seen one Goldfinch pair, when they were seen. Today, at least five showed up to the thistle feeder and they came back over and over throughout the day.

American Goldfinches

I added TWO new birds to my apartment bird list today. The Swainson's Thrush pictured below is migratory in Missouri. It was foraging in the parking lot and shrubs outside my apartment.

The other I saw is also migratory and a real surprise to see. An American White Pelican was circling the area and looked like it might have flown to the man-made pond on the other side of the building. I was talking to my Mom & wishing her a Happy Mother's Day at the time so I couldn't walk/drive over there to see it close up, if in fact it did land over there.

So my apartment list is now up to 29. Still time to reach the 30-bird mark before I move.

>' )
( ( \
" |\

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Apartment Bird List

As my move to the new house rapidly approaches, I've been thinking about all the birds that I've seen here at the apartment, whether at the feeders or in the immediate area. I was surprised that there were a total of 27 including one life bird: the Great-horned Owls that were courting on the office building roof late one night.

One bird on the non-feeder list was the Common Grackle. That really surprised me since they are so, well, "common" and at the old house they were reliable feeder visitors. The bird deities must have been listening because right on cue I looked up and there was a grackle on the railing! He came back to the platform feeder a couple more times, but I could never get a photograph.

Here's my apartment list, and pictures of a couple birds seen today.

Feeder/Balcony Birds
  • House Sparrow (daily)
  • Song Sparrow (often)
  • White-throated Sparrow (common in Winter)
  • Dark-eyed Junco (common in Winter)
  • House Finch (daily)
  • American Goldfinch (off and on .... regular right now)
  • Carolina Chickadee (fairly common)
  • Mourning Dove (daily)
  • Northern Cardinal (daily)
  • Northern Mockingbird (common now that the home-made suet is out)
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak (migrant ... only once so far)
  • Downy Woodpecker (used to be regular, rarely seen now)
  • Northern Flicker (showed up a couple times)
  • Blue Jay (rare)
  • European Starling (common now that the home-made suet is out) 
  • Brown-headed Cowbird (rare, maybe twice)
  • Common Grackle (rare, just once so far)
  • American Robin (big flock last Fall, but now every once in a while)
  • Cedar Waxwing (big flock last Fall)
  • Sharp-shinned Hawk (half a dozen times)
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird (last Summer, and a couple times this Spring, so far)

Non-feeder Birds
  • American Crow
  • Rock Pigeon
  • Canada Goose
  • Green Heron
  • Mallard
  • Great-horned Owl


Cardinal with feathers fluffed up

>' )
( ( \
" |\

Friday, May 8, 2009

Spring Migration

I didn't expect to see many migrants here at the apartment, but I've heard a lot of songs that are somewhat familiar from past Springs at the house. It's just hard to pick them out in the trees and bushes. Generally, the migrants don't come to feeders. So I was so excited last night when I saw this female Rose-breasted Grosbeak on the feeders.

I kept waiting for the male to show up. The female is a beautiful bird in her own right, but I just love the bold coloring of the male. I kept checking the feeders, but only the "usuals" were coming around. But as I was watching, I noticed a House Finch with wings all a-flutter begging to be fed. A Baby! house finch. Too cute with the downy tufts atop its head.

Not much later, my patience paid off! The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak showed up. He didn't stick around long .... I'm guessing he kept seeing movement behind the glass doors while I was trying to take pictures. This is the best I got through sunny reflections on the dirty door.

Migration will be over by the time I close on the house, but I'm looking forward to the move. The yard has several mature trees and lots of pretty flowers currently in bloom. I hope it will be a good bird environment.

>' )
( ( \
" |\