Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cooper's Hawk vs the House Sparrows and Butch the Opossum Steals the Peanut Butter Jar

There is a Cooper's Hawk in the trees right of center.  I wouldn't have known either but I saw her fly into the trees from the feeder area carrying a House Sparrow.

Nature taking it's course but I'm just as happy as a flock of approximately 73 House Sparrows has taken over the feeder area on this side of the house and they have run off all of the native birds.

I've never had that happen before.  In my previous experience the House Sparrows and native birds coexist at the feeders.  Not this group.

The Cooper's eats her snack.

She checks me out.
Then she's back watching the feeding area.
She hides her face behind the orange leaf and peers at the feeding area.
Cooper's preens her chest.

Then she's back staring at the sparrows.

Next up-Butch the opossum
Butch arrived tonight circa 2:15 AM in the rain.  He was just finishing lapping up the sugar water in the shredded carrot bowl when I discovered him.  He then chewed a strip of sweetened carrot.
Note how the longer coarse hairs of his coat catch and hold the rain drops.
He then lifted his nose and headed for the peanut butter jar. While we're thinking about it, look at his nose.  As Opossum's have out of the usual mammal characteristics so goes their noses.  Their noses are open on the sides.

Butch took one lick of the peanut butter...
...grabbed the jar by the rim and walked off right.  Just as he disappeared into the dark I heard the cracking of plastic.  Butch was off for a tasty peanut butter treat.

Happy Hawking!
Donegal Browne

Monday, November 21, 2016

It Gets Dark and the Dog vs Opossum Fun Begins

Back at the opossum buffet, the sun is setting but still no action.

 10:37 PM  I peered out the window, Butch the male possum had arrived and had eaten the meat, potato, and toast.  I ran back to get my camera.  

Suddenly there was fierce barking right outside the window.   In the 20 seconds I was gone the neighbor's dog had arrived and was harassing Butch.  Butch was stock still peering at the dog from his higher perch by the window and the neighbor was screaming at her dog from her back porch.

It was mayhem.

I ran out my back door and shooed the dog away.

Butch was gone.  Pinky if she was around had made herself scarce.

Next day I went back to just straight bird seed mix, sunflower seeds, and a few slices of orange.

New Rule.   Nothing on the buffet that might attract neighborhood dogs or cats.

Yes I know it rather screws up the range of possible food items but better that then tempting the opossums in as well as any free range neighborhood carnivores.

   Butch arrives and begins methodically chowing down on seed.
Note that Butch could care less about me or the flash on the camera.

Squirrel the cat arrives, takes one look at Butch....

......and begins scratching at the window like a mad thing.  
He doesn't care about Squirrel either.  Butch just keeps chewing.  Turns out opossums are rather smart and particularly bright when it comes to mazes for instance.  

And they have definitely figured out window glass.

And though there is plenty of seed on the lower level Butch keeps eating the seed that is the closest to the window.

One can just hear him thinking Na na Na na Nah!

This makes Squirrel even more berserk!

Eventually Butch has his fill and ambles down to the Crow stump to check out the pickings there.  Evidently not enticed he gives me a parting look, gets down off his haunches, ambles under the fence and is gone for the evening.

Butch is definitely no push over.

Donegal Browne