Friday, July 11, 2008

Singing the blues


I've got the blues--at my feeders.


Blue Jays announce their arrival with loud screeches that scatter the smaller birds. They don't remain long--grab a peanut and fly off. Jays are a little like squirrels. They carry their peanuts off and hide many of them to eat later.

Attracting them to your garden is as easy as putting peanuts in a place where they can be seen from above. They also eat sunflower seed. Jays are large birds and prefer to eat from a platform, the one in the photo hangs from a branch or bracket, but a bench or picnic table would be perfect too.

The beautiful blue bird below is and Indigo Bunting. They don't remain in my area all season. This one was passing through on his way farther north where he will spend the summer and raise a family. Indigo Buntings will stop at feeders filled with Nyjer (often spelled differently) thistle or white millet. The tube feeder in the photo contains a combination of proso millet, peanut pieces, sunflower seeds, and safflower. It is a favorite in my garden. The birds prefer it 3 to 1 over plain sunflower.


There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the
way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was
before.
~Robert Lynd



I found a great website which lets you listen to and download brief recordings of birdsong. These are primarily birds found in the north central US. It's been very helpful in teaching me to identify birds by their calls even if they can't be seen.

After downloading, I choose the folder option to play all the mp3 recordings one after the other. It's relaxing to listen to an hour or so of bird songs on days when you're cooped up inside. Another plus, this is very entertaining for my cats who run around searching for birds in the house.

http://www.uwgb.edu/birds/wbba/speciesaudios.htm

************
I realized that if I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
~Charles Lindbergh


Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
~Henry Van Dyke

************

I hadn't heard of Sky Watch Friday until this morning.

Check out Wigger's World

for more info.

A hint of blue. A dramatic sky after last night's thunderstorms.

Have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy the birds in your gardens.

Wishing you all a beautiful sunset.


22 comments:

Rose said...

That is a gorgeous sunset! We had several bluejays earlier this spring, but I haven't seen any lately. I know some people don't like them because they're bullies, but I enjoy watching them. I've never seen the indigo bunting--it's a beauty.
I think I found the same link one day when I was trying to identify a bird I couldn't see. Watching the cats try to find birds in the house--now that's a new idea for entertainment on a rainy day:)
Have a good weekend, Marnie.

Rose said...

That is a gorgeous sunset! We had several bluejays earlier this spring, but I haven't seen any lately. I know some people don't like them because they're bullies, but I enjoy watching them. I've never seen the indigo bunting--it's a beauty.
I think I found the same link one day when I was trying to identify a bird I couldn't see. Watching the cats try to find birds in the house--now that's a new idea for entertainment on a rainy day:)
Have a good weekend, Marnie.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rose. I'm concerned about the Blue Jays. They are one of the most frequent victims of the West Nile virus. Since the mosquitoes are hatching in record numbers this year, we may lose a lot of our Jays. That makes me sad.

It is fun to watch the cats peering behind the computer, peeking under the desk, looking for those noisy birds.
Marnie

Mary said...

Beautiful sunset!!! i love the birds, too. We have many blue jays, and I always love to watch them -- they seem to have such personality. The indigo bunting is beautiful, too. Hope you have a great weekend!
xoxo,
Mary

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Mary. Loved your magazine cover.

Thanks for visiting. See you soon.
Marnie

Sweet Repose said...

Hi Marnie, I always keep my binoculars handy for the illusive songstress' and this afternoon I was lucky enough to hear a meadow lark in the top of my huge walnut tree...and why do they call them meadow larks, when I always see them in the highest trees...LOL. I have a few jays, but don't see them often, I'll try the peanut thing if I can hide them from the 'little rascals' (squirrels).

Have a wild(life) and wonderful weekend.

sharon

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Great bird photos, though I'm really not a fan of Bluejays ... I'm one of those who consider them thugs, albeit very pretty ones.

Fortunately that cardinal couple we have in the spruce hasn't been intimidated yet by them, but we really don't have many coming by.

Now those Indigo Buntings are gorgeous ... sounds like they like the same things as the finches. Alas, around here you can only find those out in the country, and definitely not in the biggest city in the state, lol. But we have our robins, goldfinches and cardinals and are so glad for that.

Now, if those blasted blackbirds would just go away ...

Gail said...

What a great post and listening to the downloaded bird calls is a good way to spend time...it will feel like one's on a big screened porch.

Those jays sure are loud! Aren't they the sentinels of the bird world...they seem to warn other birds when hawks get too close in our neighborhood.

Wow on the gorgeous sunset!

Gail

The Garden Faerie said...

Jays sure do love peanuts! And I love this quote: "Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best." Thanks for sharing.
~ Monica

tina said...

I love blue jays and you were lucky to get that good pic of the bunting. I never see them here.

troutbirder said...

What an eerie sunset. I wish the indigo buntings would stay around but here today gone tomorrow...

Cosmo said...

I love the purple indigos--we get them stopping by the bird feeder this time of year. I have a question about your blue bird platform--do the squirrels hop on it? Or are you willing to share? I'm never sure what to do here--I don't mind feeding squirrels, but they often take ALL the food if we don't use baffles. Lovely photos, Marnie--best, Cosmo

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sharon, You're lucky to have meadow larks in your area. I haven't seen many around here.

The squirrels are a problem!!!! The feeder in the photo hangs from a metal post that has a raccoon baffle. I also have a 4x4 post with a baffle. The 4-legged critters can't climb over those baffles.

Good morning IVG. I know some folks don't like the Jays because they occasionally kill baby birds. I host housewrens in my nest boxes. The wrens are worse about killing nestlings than the jays. That's very disturbing to me too.

As Gail mentioned the blue jays are excellent sentinels. They sound the alarm to warn of approaching hawks, cats, and snakes.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail. Listening to the recordings is like sitting on a porch;)

So far, I've learned the woodpecker calls and many of the song sparrows.

Hi Monica. I love that quote too.

There was a restaurant near here that strung peanuts on a long line for the Jays. The customers enjoyed watching their acrobatics as they got the peanuts off the line.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Tina, I don't see the buntings often either. These stayed around about a week. I think they liked my new feed.

Hi Troutbirder, the buntings are so beautiful, I wish they would stay at least thru the summer months. Like you say, here and gone. I was lucky to have gotten a photo since I'm at work most of the daylight hours.
Marnie

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cosmo. Yes, the squirrels are a big problem. Like you say, they take all the food. I have baffles that prevent them getting onto the platforms. I'll have to post photos.

The squirrels hang around under the feeders and carry off everything that drops (which is a lot).

I have a dozen walnut trees, plus lots of other food sources for them but they want the birds food too.
Marnie

Cosmo said...

I really like the platform bird feeders--so the baffle is over the top of it? In any given hour, our little bird feeder is surrounded by squirrels, rabbits, and crows. The jays are actually culprits--as you say, they're big for traditional feeders (as are the woodpeckers), so they knock a lot of seed out while they're feeding, and then the big birds and the other critters come to feed on the ground. We don't mind THAT much, but the platform feeder sounds like a good idea--leaves more in the smaller feeder for the buntings!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Cosmo. The baffle is on a pipe or post. The post has several arms that feeders and this platform hang from. I also have a 4x4 wooden post with a baffle and the feeder sits on top. I'll try to remember to take a photo of the pole feeding station.

I've used the baffles that go above the feeders. Those big bowls catch a lot of wind. Too often gusts blow baffle, feeder and food down--they sometimes break.
Marnie

Kelli said...

Thank you for visiting my blog, it's nice to meet you! We have several bluejays that visit our yard...aren't they fun to watch?! Ours can be very bossy. :0) Have a wonderful day!
~Kelli

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hello Kelli. I loved your blog. There was so much to see, and such variety. Recipes, decorating, crafts...

Thanks for stopping by to visit me. I will keep checking your blog for new ideas. I can't wait to try the hand made cards.
Marnie

lisa said...

Nice bird shots! I simply MUST play the bird songs for the cats, too funny! Baffles work well for me too, although once in awhile an athletic squirrel will manage to jump FROM THE ROOF onto the feeder below. If I have the feeders farther from the house, they are too close to trees...tricky to get the right site sometimes.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Lisa. It's funny, every now and then you get 'lucky' enough to have a world class squirrel athlete live near you. There is no stopping him. He has the mind of a rocket scientist plus super powers which include flying:) At that point, I just give up and give him his own feeder.
Marnie