OUR STARVING CRITTERS

It’s possible we are critter central for our little section of Massachusetts. Squirrels and chipmunks hang out on the steps to the deck, on the beams under the deck and in the tree overlooking the deck. The birds flutter nearby. All these creatures tell us they are nearing starvation even as their coats grow thick and glossy and their birdie bellies become perfectly rounded.

Two Titmice arriving for dinner. I swear one of them is flying upside down!

As soon as I finally chase the squirrels away — these days it takes Garry and me plus a snorting, occasionally barking Duke making a direct appearances at the fence and sometimes, the feeder — birds by the dozens fly in.

Three Blue Jays actually attacked a squirrel today. You gotta hand it to the squirrels. If three Blue Jays went after me, I’d run for the hills. This guy just kept eating. Blue Jays are big, strong birds with long beaks. That was one hard-headed squirrel.


I got pictures. I didn’t get all the birds because they are flying in or falling off the feeding in every direction, but I got some interesting ones. I certainly didn’t get all the squirrels. You might think all squirrels look alike, but they don’t. I think I’m going to have to start giving them names.

Fly away Titmouse
One more Blue Jay

Blue Jays are grumpy, aggressive and rather large birds and this year they’ve decided this is the place to be. They have arrived, a blue-feathered air wing.

Dinner time for birds

Today there were as many as five or six lined up on the fence rail. Once I saw two of them on the feeder, but one pecked the other, and then there was one.

Chickadee



Categories: birds, Gallery, Marilyn Armstrong, Photography

Tags: , , , , ,

8 replies

  1. What a gorgeous selection of photos today! I’m sure Duke appreciates being called on as ground support (so to speak), I know Ziggy loves to chase the birds, barking like a fool. He’s no chance of catching them. The other day (Tuesday or Wednesday), there was a starling (I think they were starlings anyway) migration through our area. It seemed like thousands of them were around, and my Japanese plum tree looked like it had grown feathers, there were so many of them sitting on it. Ziggy ran to the tree barking like mad, and sudden the air was full of flapping wings and dozens of birds! I had a moment of flashback to that creepy Hitchcock film “The Birds” too. My neighbor said her young cat (Poppy is now 1 and a bit I think) found the whole thing fascinating and climbed a tree in order to get a closer look (and potential dinner probably), and would not come back down. Hundreds of those birds flew over and it was amazing to watch them.

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    • Dogs never catch the birds — or (usually) squirrels. They really WANT to catch them, but they are not good flyers. I don’t think Duke actually expects to catch anything, but he loves sniffing around. The scent of squirrel drives him berserk. Cats, on the other hand, kill millions of birds every year. Next to habitat loss (cutting down the trees where they live and/or plowing up empty fields where the seeds and bugs they eat live), pet cats are the biggest killers of garden birds. We have a neighbor’s cat climbing onto our deck recently to watch the birds. I shooed him away this morning again, but who knows how often he’s there and I don’t see him? I really LIKE cats, but I also like the birds and the two really do not get along at all. I’ve never seen the remnants of a dead bird so hopefully, he hasn’t snagged anything yet.

      Pet cats are adorable little killers. Because of the doggy door, I can’t keep a cat in the house. So, no cats here. I wish the neighbors would recognize the perils of wandering cats — especially because not only do cats kill, but they get killed by other, stronger predators like hawks, fishers (weasels), bobcats, foxes, and raccoons. A pet cat doesn’t have a chance against a full-grown raccoon. Everything looks sweet and cuddly until you are at the other end of the claws and jaws.

      I’m just hoping the bears don’t come calling. I am NOT ready to deal with bears.

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    • He doesn’t really do much, but he sniffs everywhere and makes little huffing barking sounds. I don’t think he’s terribly interested in the birds — just the squirrels. Squirrels have the sense to hightail it out of the area when he appears.

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  2. They make special appearance for you to get their pictures taken.

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