Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Real things I saw today, even though it's April Fool's Day

I love being a birder. I think I've said that before.
Being plugged in to the avian world makes us privy to a whole host of interesting things. We can marvel at a new bird, ponder a behavior. I saw lots today.

It started with a new yard bird:

Brown thrasher singing in maple tree
Yard bird #59. Brown thrasher. It was kick/scratching under the feeders, then took off for the big maple.
And it was singing. Glorious.

A yellow-rumped warbler landed right next to my car at Lake Isabella, and just looked at me.
Yellow rumped gives me the stinky eye

RSHA in flight
Three red-shouldered hawks were circling the yard and calling out in their wonderfully screamy voices.

Gratuitous cute kid/dog photo:
Lorelei Hooper Flower
Lorelei was singing, as usual, waving her newly-acquired dandelion. And Hooper leaned in for a sniff.

Nellie was keeping her eye on me, as usual.
Nellie tongue out
"Where's Mom? Oh, there she is. Is she going to get up? I better be ready. Mom? Need me?"

She is my shadow...always near and always worried that I might disappear.

This is Roxy:
She is a Tibetan Yak-Dog.
April Fools. She belongs to Swami. (And she's a Shetland Sheepdog)

Being a long-haired breed, this dog makes lots and lots of loose hair. Lorelei and I brushed her, Hooper, Nellie and whatever cat we could grab and stuffed all that hair into a cardboard tube and hung it outside (birds will use it to line their wee sweet nests)

I wasn't back in the house 10 seconds before someone landed and started plucking:
Titmouse and dog hair
Tufted titmouse

Bearded titmouse
Bearded titmouse

Bearded titmouse pole
It was so cool to watch. I've left hair out there before, but usually I just brush the dogs outside and let the hair float away. This was fun!

The titmouse left and a white-breasted nuthatch took its place.
WBnuthatch dog hair

Each bird would grab some with its beak, then maneuver it around, grabbing some with its feet, then rearranging and grabbing it again with the beak. All this grabbing and rearranging helped them carry as much as possible. Birds are just so efficient.
WBnuthatch 3

WB nuthatch doghair 2


kayceebeebee said...

That is soooooo cool how the birds grab that hair! I'm trying that once it warms up here in MN!

And.... I love the picture of your daughter!

Susan Gets Native said...

I know, right? It's neat to see birds doing stuff besides eat.
Lorelei's all are going to love this...has a little music player in it. It plays "Hokey Pokey".
How cute is that? I wish I had music in my pants.
; )

Lynne said...

I almost shot a pretzel out of my nose when I read
"I wish I had music in my pants."

When we "pluck" Buddy we toss the fur in the back yard and have watched birds grab it and run.

Rachel said...

Love the pictures of the birds with the hair! I need to round up some pets to brush and try that. Your pictures reminded me of the time I was eating dinner with my family and we looked out the window to see a titmouse pulling out hair from our golden retriever's tail while he slept on the deck!

KatDoc said...

I always let the dog hair blow around in the yard, but the cardboard tube idea is smart. Love the "Bearded Titmouse." Is that a new Life Bird?

I thought I heard a Brown Thrasher at CNC a few days ago, but couldn't find it to confirm. Sweet Yard Bird.

Kelly said...

...I saw my first Brown Thrasher of the year today too! That "bearded" titmouse is hysterical!

Julie Zickefoose said...

You couldn't arrange a better kid/dog photo than Showboat Lorelei and Hooper sniffing the dandelion. I LOVE that photo. And the ones of hair-gathering titmouse and Not an easy thing to capture. Where did they go with it? Any bird houses in the vicinity?

NCmountainwoman said...

Great photographs of the birds and dogs. But the one of Lorelei and Hooper is outstanding. It captures the absolute essence of spring. I LOVED it!

Kallen305 said...

Love them all but I have to agree w/ the others that the Lorelei and Hooper photo is fantastic!!

dguzman said...

Cool! I wonder if they would accept bunny fur....

I love this post.

NatureWoman said...

What a cool idea, Susan! Bearded titmouse - LOL!!!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

A couple years ago, I draped scraps of yarn and strips of cloth all over the yard, so birds would gab it and run off to their nests.
It was pretty sweet to look up on a branch and see my pieces hanging there, perfectly woven with the grasses or sticks!

Nice way to dispense the hair, BTW.

Mary said...

After that last post, your gratuitous cute kid/dog photo is what we all need!

I love what you saw today!

KGMom said...

Susan---you are too much. A cardboard tube with dog fur!

Anna said...

Birding is so much fun, and I know where you coming from. The photos are amazing, you have such a variety. The photo of yellow-rumped warbler is so cute. Anna :)

mon@rch said...

Love seeing all these photos, expec the Titmouse and WB Nuthatch. Yellowrumps are such fun birdies! Great job with this one!

RuthieJ said...

Thanks for the reminder about pet hair for nesting material. I just threw some pieces of yarn out this afternoon, but the cat needs another good brushing and I'm going to put her fur out for the birds too.

Bird Advocate said...

Thanks for the tip about donating the hair for nests! That's worth a link for you and a post for me. I have a surplus from hair and beard brushing I was saving for some reason. Now I know why! :-)

Kathiesbirds said...

How awesome to capture this behavior! I love the bearded titmouse! And the wee birdy with her dandylion waving her wings is pretty cute too!