Some of us choose to do battle with our local squirrels at the bird feeders. I confess to being one of them. Both humans and squirrels are creative. The challenge of foiling the squirrels is one I accept and enjoy. They usually win.
Several years ago our daughter bought a feeder for us that was supposed to be guaranteed squirrel-proof. It has a motorized perch for the birds. If a squirrel gets on it, their weight causes it to spin rapidly throwing them off. The Yankee Flipper did a good job. We were entertained for a few days as squirrels hopped on and were flipped off. This video shows one of our locals giving it a ride.
They soon quit trying. Then it became just another feeder. And, last year the rechargeable batteries quit holding charge for long. They only lasted a couple of days. That really emboldened the squirrels. Most of them went out on the rope and hung their bodies down from the wire bracket by their hind feet and ate leisurely. I needed some way to make the bracket impossible to grip. The local Goodwill store had a plastic bowl the right size. I put it in place as you see in this video. It seems to work well. Their bodies are not quite long enough.
There is still the batteries problem. I need to buy a replacement part for the spinner. It is fun to see the squirrels who are passing through and are unfamiliar with the spinner. They get a few rides and then quit. The locals know better. On YouTube are several videos posted by people with the same spinner. One in particular made me watch in amazement. This guy hung on for over 2 minutes. The owners said it wasn’t harmed. It got up and ran in a straight line down the drive. Are squirrels not subject to getting dizzy?
Frequent visits lately of Ruby Throated Hummingbirds and Black Capped Chickadees to the backyard feeders. My records show the last hummingbird sighting is in the final week of September for my eastern Iowa location. Chicadees stay all year long.
The video has been slowed to 70% for the hummingbird and 50% for the chickadee in order to view them more easily. Enjoy.
Our local Goldfinches were beginning to brighten a couple of weeks ago as noted in a previous post. They are now bright yellow and black. This one sat quietly and let me get a few photos to share with you.
by Melanie and Jim
This is a welcome sight and sound. The American Goldfinches Spinus tristis are beginning to molt and show their bright plummage. This fellow sat just long enough outside our back window to get a short video. The rain and molt make him look a bit scruffy.
We have a bird feeder hanging in the back several feet from any trees. It weighs several pounds due to batteries and a motor that spins the perch if squirrels get on it. It is hung from a rope about 3 meters above the ground by a sturdy carabiner clip.
This morning the feeder was lying on the ground. This is the second time it has happened. The only way to unhook it is to grip the spring clip on the carabiner and lift the feeder support wire out of it. You need hands with a strong grip to do that. We suspect raccoons are the culprit.
We have our first snow of the season in Iowa this morning. There is about 3″ on the ground and nearly stopped. I filled the feeders since the birds will find it harder to locate food. This cardinal sat for the longest time in the thicket nearby. I like how he is all fluffed up. Now, he and chickadees, titmouse, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and juncos are busy checking out the new supply.
We watched the progress on the home from our window each day. New building materials were arranged and re-arranged. It seemed to take a long time. Finally, they settled in and seemed content with what they built.
Today, we noticed new neighbors in that home. Tiny Robin heads peeked above the rim of the nest. It was a hot day, too hot to sit on the nest. The youngsters held their mouths open and ready. Mom or Dad stood still. The babies drooped a bit and closed their mouths. A noise or a movement made them gape open again. They will grow fast. We’ll be watching.
Update: This image is one week later. The nest is crowded. Eyes are wide open. Ravenous.
by Jim and Melanie
We stepped out the front door into the sunshine for a walk. Nearby were two young doves. They sat very still so we would not see them. Adult doves fly away in an explosion of sound. These sat there until our return.
How nice if they carried a message of peace and harmony between people of Earth. Such terrible things we humans do to each other. Our thoughts and prayers are with our French brothers and sisters today.
I looked out the front window to see how heavily it was raining. The corner of the garage has stucco covered quoins under the eave. Sitting quietly in a notch was a House Finch, eyes closed and dry, waiting for the rain to stop.
It was a gorgeous morning for a walk. The Sun was bright and the sky blue. Here are a few treats along the way.
Phlox-like flowers in bloom all over