Thursday, November 15, 2007

Looking Like Winter

Red-bellied Woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus
He just flew in and was perched on the edge but when he startled the bather he leaned back. Now he's sitting in the archetypal Woodpecker position with his tail bracing his body. Notice he has whitish feet to match his belly. Which yes, though he's named Red-bellied his belly actually looks grayish white. But if you look very carefully at the photo there is a very very slight blush in the feathers below his neck.

Two American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis, drop in for a drink. One is alert while the other drinks and then they switch. The visiting raptors have made all the usual visitors quite wary. Though they did visit today, as opposed to yesterday's very sparse population.

Mr. Cardinal ventures out of the Spruce in a cold high wind. He checks out the environment and then goes right back into the Spruce.

A House Finch vs Junco standoff at the bird bath. The Junco won. He's smaller but feistier.

One Eye is ready for winter the size of his hindquarters have almost doubled.

A House Finch pair stare in the direction of a flock of twenty migrating Crows who are calling as they fly over. The current local Crows have situated themselves on the wires and are calling back. I don't speak Crow so I'm not sure if they're exchanging news or trading insults.

Fluffy was back last night though I missed his visit. How do I know? (This also answers Edna M.'s question as to what that melon was doing lying in the middle of all that birdseed.) The melon was one that hid from me during the season and therefore became slightly squishy from the cold. When I found it, I moved it to the patio in hopes that Fluffy the possum would munch it and I'd know he'd been around. Ta da, the melon gave him away. Why he only ever eats half I'm not sure. He doesn't ever seem to come back later and finish it . We'll see if it only seems that way by leaving it out there to give him a chance at a second helping.
Doorstep Dove was the only Mourning Dove to visit today. No Friend, and no progeny were seen. She sits in her protected spot, with crisscross branches around her which I assume helps deter predators.
She waited until the very last rays of sun lit the area before coming down to the bowl. (The photograph has been brightened.

She was still sitting there as the sun disappeared. No other doves appeared and as it became truly dark she flew away to roost.
By the way, I don't believe that the raptors have gotten all the other doves. I would have seen something or at least found feathers. I'm assuming the others have just become frightened and have gone to another feeder in the neighborhood. And when the predators show up at that feeder, they doves will be back and perhaps learn to make the rounds of the feeders so their whereabouts will be more unpredictable.
Donegal Browne

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