Thursday, July 09, 2009

Geez, That's a LOT of birdseed, and Carol Vinzant's Squirrels of 2009

The extended Crow family makes a cameo appearance fly-by.

Triborough Bridge and Woodside Fledgling Update
(From Astoria Hawkwatcher Peter Richter)
Hello All,

I managed to find all 3 fledglings and both parents from Astoria Park nest Saturday morning. They all look well, and I saw one fledgling(possibly #3) getting fed by Atlas.

The eyass at the Woodside nest is looking bigger every time I see it. It has lost all its grey feathers, and is now sporting a peach colored chest with brown spot underneath. Only the feathers on the head look like they need to fill out more. It spends a lot of time sitting on the edge of the nest preening and flapping its wings. The father was nearby, and both birds are looking well.


Peter Richter

From: Karen Anne Kolling of Rhode Island

What do you do about the cycle of more birds, supplying more seed, more birds, supplying more seed? I don't want to raise a generation that doesn't know how to forage in the wild, plus I'm buying a lot of birdseed.

A day or so ago I decided to fix the amount I put out each day, filling the feeders three times, but, of course, they ran dry at the end of the day and a mourning dove came up to the window, cocked her head sideways and looked me straight in the eye, you are going to let us starve?

There are a lot of fledglings out there too, mostly sparrows and grackles...Are they able to find food if I do fix the amount I put out each day?


HI Karen,

It sounds like you have quite the flock going. I know the problem with the seed though. Actually I got a little more of a handle on it by the type of feeders I put out, particularly as I have 10 squirrels out there at times. Do you have squirrels--those cute fluffy tailed bottomless pits. :-) Two of my feeders are semi-squirrel proof.

But if you just have birds, what to do? Are you still using the handy glass pie plate type deals? You could use one feeder that can be set to only allow the smaller birds to feed and not grackles for instance. Squirrels and larger birds close the feeder trough when they put their weight on the perch which saves some for the little guys.

If I have to limit the amount of seed, I make sure that some is left for late in the day so that the Mourning Doves, Doorstep and Friend, are sure to get their share as that is their main feeding least at my feeder. Doorstep too has been known to come up to the door and give me "the look". She looks at me, she looks at the feeding spot, and then looks at me again. Though their three fledglings seem to spend a good bit of the day under the feeders eating and I would hate to deprive them.

The doves of course being ground feeders have the patio option here or some people use a platform feeder. Are the spaces between the wood of the deck big enough for the seed to fall through? You might be loosing a good bit that way.

As to foraging, they do learn but sometimes if there isn't anything around they have to go long distances to get food.

I've also read that feeder birds do a circuit of the neighborhood feeders if there are multiple people who feed. They used to recommend not feeding at all if you couldn't do it every day but they now know that if there are other feeders in the neighborhood the birds eat more at the neighbors if you're gone on vacation for instance. :-)

For some reason this year, except for DD and Friend, whose second clutch of the season was THREE chicks, I've had very few seed eating birds who successfully nested so far this season. (Except the House Sparrows who seem to do well no matter what.)

Spring was cold and wet and likely impacted the success rate. The turkeys didn't do well this year at all. I've talked to no one locally who has seen a single poult. The Robins have done okay, as have the rabbits. I had to put the little fence back up around the garden.
But the positive might be that the high bunny crop might bring a Red-tail back to the yard this year.

A treat from wonderful squirrel rehabilitator Carol Vinzant--

I put up the whole set of pictures for this squirrel season from when I first got Hayes to when I released him, Garfield, Chester and Tito


Carol Vinzant

HOORAY for wildlife rehabilitators in general and Carol in particular!

Donegal Browne

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