Thursday, November 08, 2007

Battle of the Bath 3 or Mr. Junco gets a bath or else!

But first, one of the overwintering Blue Jays finally allowed me to get a lens on him. I hadn't realized that they had feathers over their cere.

And besides that they've got whiskers like some of the swallows. Look for the black hair-like feathers near the hinge of his beak. The Jay is finishing his molt and there is a view of closed pin feathers, and above them a feather just emerging that looks like a fern. (There does seem to be intelligence in that look, don't you think?)

Now to poor Mr. Junco who's stopped by for a wash. He's dipping his beak in preparation for going in.

Unfortunately Mrs. House Finch arrives. He looks at her pointedly.

She leans in for a drink and Mr. Junco scolds. He was there first after all.

Then they're both off like a shot as Blue Jay takes precedence with he bombs in calling loudly.

Mr Junco hurries back and jumps in.
But leaps out when the female Cardinal arrives. He stares pointedly at her as well.

Then Mrs. House Finch arrives yet again and both smaller birds stare at female Cardinal.

Those two are off and suddenly Mr. Junco looks up. Ah oh.

He's double teamed Mrs. House Finch is back again accompanied by a Goldfinch. They converged from two sides.

Then Mr. Junco's back and going for the moment that he has to himself.

He scopes out the area.

Then goes in head first, legs and wings flailing.

Guess who? It's Mrs. House Finch once again. Though she looks like she'd have been willing to share. She has a "why did he leave" look on her face.

Then I notice Chewie staring at me between blades of grass.

When I looked back at the bath, the Mrs. had gone and two male House Finch are having a staring contest. They have their little finch beaks raised belligerently at each other.

And there she is back again, displacing the boys.

Now Mr Junco is back giving her a piece of his mind.

Then he raises his little beak. But before too long...

The doves move in, but not for long....

Only the Crows and the Jays argue with the squirrels. Speaking of squirrels, One Eye Squirrel came for some sunflower seeds today. His territory must be a distance off as he's not an every day visitor. He was sitting on the top of the picnic table and another male squirrel gave him the aggressive jaw quivering vocalization. One Eye returned the sound and then leaned down and bit a chunk of wood off the edge of the picnic table, jaw still revving. Then another bite, a few steps, and another. After that display, they split the patio in half and kept to their own portions.

In the meantime, the doves have come back for their bath.

They go at it with vigor. I'd just put another batch of warm water in the bird bath not long before.

She notices me.

And then does the exposed wing pit portion of the bath, a move done by most species in the dove and pigeon families. I've always tried to figure out exactly what the advantage is. In the sun, I thought it might be warming the underside but they do it no matter the light. Here it is well on it's way to sunset.

Friend notices me and flees while Doorstep finishes her session.

She checks to make sure I'm still in the same place.

He's back to keep her company.

She takes off. He watched her go and slumped a little. As if he didn't know why she'd left. Well, things are different in and out of breeding season.

The family begins to gather for baths and the nightly meeting of the flock. I see two more on the ground

Then realize that there are three near the patio foraging as well. Wait, that's eight. They seem to have gained a new friend. Perhaps a possible mate for one of the kids come Spring. We'll see.
Donegal Browne

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