November, the month of Thanksgiving, prods us to remember loved ones, near and far.
We're so grateful for those who have mentored, cheered and forgiven us as we've stumbled through this life.
Be kind to each other, the holidays are bittersweet for many.
Let's turn our thoughts now to the birds.
A large flock of 40-50 American Robins came in on 11-9-23. They quickly finished off the remaining fruits of the Blackhaw (Viburnum prunifolium). By a stroke of luck, in one frame these two showed us the methods for grabbing the drupes, on the fly and from the branch.
When there are so many larger birds vying for bathing space, the smaller birds find water where it's available. Two American Goldfinches drink from a depression in a boulder while a Yellow-rumped Warbler waits a turn.
The FOS Red-winged Blackbird, a female, found a safe corner to slip into the basin and drink.
Five Cedar Waxwings took advantage of a break in the action.
A female Northern Flicker used a high perch, an immature female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker slipped in from the side while an American Robin used the basin. The sapsucker finally enjoyed a real bath after the robin took off.
Pine Siskins came in again and the Eastern Bluebirds have been showing up mid-day. We've had no rain for 3 weeks, which always increases traffic at the bubbler and pond.
Our FOS Fox Sparrow foraged in the leaves and stopped by the bubbler on the same day, 11/11/23. Minutes later, about 3:15 pm, a doe raced through the woods, being chased by a buck. The doe doubled back, staying outside of the light fencing behind the bubbler. The buck could not turn as fast, and it came crashing through the fence!
Yes, the buck recovered enough to push on, through the hydrangeas and thorny gooseberry patch, after the doe.
Five American Goldfinches bathed together one day. The Brown Creeper clung to a break in the bubbler rock while thinking about its approach to the water.
Two White-breasted Nuthatches and three immature Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been seen frequently.
The FOS Rusty Blackbirds showed up on Friday, 11-17-23. The flock numbered at least 24, maybe as many as 30. Tough to count as they forage in the leaves!
I was talking with my friend, Sue one afternoon when we heard and then saw nine Cedar Waxwings fly over. The next day, they all needed water.
Look again at the first photo and you'll notice that both birds do not have the red tips on the secondary feathers!
"The "wax" tipping the Cedar Waxwing's secondary wing feathers is actually an accumulation of the organic pigment astaxanthin, a carotenoid that gives red fruits their color. The tips increase in number and size with an individual's age, and immature birds may show no red wingtips at all. Some scientists speculate that waxwings evolved these waxy tips to signal important information — such as age and social status — to other birds within the flock.
The waxwing's striking yellow tail tip is also the result of the carotenoids that color the fruit this species loves to eat. In recent years, waxwings eating the fruits of an introduced honeysuckle have grown orange-tailed tips instead!"
For more fascinating information: Cedar Waxwings
Finally, two male Red-winged Blackbirds came in with the Rusties and robins on 11-17-23.
Our feeders have been up now for a couple weeks. We wait until November because there is plenty of insect food, fruits, seeds and acorns for the birds to eat in our native habitat. Once we have a few nights below freezing, birds start looking for supplemental food.
Eastern Bluebirds have been checking out the latest addition to the Grab 'n Go Buffet table.
There's a new mascot on board to pique their interest!
We'll introduce him next time.