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awatkins
07-05-2006, 02:47 AM
Nancy 06-20-2006

for you birdbrains....
We have a killdeer nest that I almost stepped on in our driveway. Fortunately, it's off to the side. Currently there are 4 eggs. When I walk by to the mailbox, mom not only does her broken-wing-follow-me-away routine, she actually lays on her back and flops like she has a gaping chest wound! Then she summons dad and other relatives to assist.

We also have a sparrow's nest (4 eggs - so tiny!) in one of the hanging ferns on our front porch.

I guess we have birds that like Extreme Nesting!

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:26 PM
Gary:

I love killdeers! In fact, I have a scene such as you describe depicited in the novel I just wrote, and it's not even a nature story. Just wait until you see the baby birds. They are carbon copies of the adult, except in baby fuzz.

Are you sure the birds in your hanging fern aren't wrens? That's the way they like to nest.

I have a pair of dimwitted cardinals trying to decide if they should build a nest in a potted ficus summering on our patio. It's probably the same dumb pair that nested two feet off the ground in a flowering quince and lost their babies to a predator.

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:27 PM
Nancy:

Hi Gary:

We had Carolina wrens nest in our ferns in our old yard in the burbs. I loved them!!

Now we live out in the country and have an entirely different bird population; red-wing blackbirds, meadow larks, really cool sparrows (singing, chipping), horned larks, tree swallows and of course, the big, bad predator birds to name a few.

We bore most people to tears talking about them!

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:27 PM
Fern:

I hope you are getting those killdeer on film?

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:28 PM
Nancy:

Hi Fern:

The spousal unit, who knows how to operate the digital camera, took shots of the nest. We'd need a video recorder to get those faux death throes on film!

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:29 PM
awatkins:

You don't bore me, Nancy.

Kildeers are so funny! I just love the way they think they're fooling you with that broken wing act. We saw some babies in a cemetery recently and they were so adorable. Tiny little puffs of feathers on their itty-bitty, skinny legs, scurrying along behind the adults. Too cute.

I've never seen any on our property, though. Funny, because they're all over the place just miles from here.

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:29 PM
alleycat:

I work at an office park with one lake and several smaller ponds (it's the same office park when the Tennessee Titans NFL team has a facility). Anyway, there are ducks and Canadian geese all around. They even have "duck crossing" signs up. These morning I had to stop for a while to let a duck and her ducklings cross. I didn't mind; it was fun watching the little ones scurry along.

ac

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:30 PM
Schoolmarm:

Last week I was rudely reminded by one of the resident hummingbirds that all the nectar had drained out of my leaky feeder. I was sitting on the deck reading, minding my own business and heard the hum before I saw the bird. The hummer flew first to a dead flower spike on the lilac bush right in front of me, then to the empty feeder, then to a flower painted on the clock behind me, then right up to my face. He hovered, glaring at me, then disappeared. I can't believe I let a critter that small guilt me into a trip to Lowe's, but off I went, and back I came, new feeder in hand. I didn't have it up ten minutes when the whole flock of hummingbirds joined me on the deck, chasing each other around, battling over the best feeding spot. Not one word of aplogy for disrupting my "me" time either!

They've since taken to perching on the wire of the little Christmas lights I have strung along the trellis over the deck. They've been around here for years, but never this bold.

I also discovered that the reason my trendy/tacky fake waterfall-cum-fountain in the garden needs to be cleaned and refilled every three days is that the jays have been using it as a birdbath. I happened to be weeding out of sight and walked up on a happily splashing jay, who gave me a startled "Ack!" and hustled off till I went away. I'd been going nuts trying to find the leak in the system that was draining all the water out. Now I see it's just an over-zealous dirty bird enjoying the shade under the lilac bush and having a bit of a paddle.

Meanwhile, a flock of four wild turkeys--a tom and three hens--have moved into the pasture with the horses. At dinner time they line up with the horses as if they're expecting to be fed. Excuse me, but this is not a free buffet!

My whole place appears to be going to the birds with the exception of the chicken coop where a chipmunk has given himself the job of cleaning up all the leftover corn from the hens' morning snack. He gets his cheeks so full he has the devil of a time forcing them through the wire on his way out. Watching his gyrations, it wouldn't surprise me to find him one day lying on his back, exhausted after failing to push his face through the mesh. He runs a great little cleaning service. We haven't had to sweep out the enclosure since he arrived.

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:31 PM
06-21-2006, 09:37 AM Gary:

I'm convinced hummers are extremely intelligent little critters, especially when their feeder is empty. One morning, I was drinking coffee at the kitchen table when a hummer came to the window and hovered about two feet away, just staring at me. I told my wife it was probably telling me the feeder was empty and sure enough, when I went to the patio to check, it was indeed empty. Within 30 seconds of refilling the feeder, the hummer was having breakfast.

BTW, the cardinals I referred to in an earlier post are now building a nest in the little ficus tree on the patio. The nest is about 18" from the sliding glass door.

Our patio seems to be a gathering place for birds. Last year, a roadrunner visited and spent about 10 minutes there. It sat on a table for a while, then hopped down and looked into the house through the glass. Finally it sat down on the concrete by the door and rested within a few feet from where I was watching it.

I really enjoy having the roadrunners around, since a diet favorite is baby copperheads. I've seen them run by more than once with a beak full of them.

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:32 PM
06-23-2006, 08:38 AM, Nancy:

OT
Gary:

Is that your cool car in your avatar??

awatkins
07-05-2006, 11:33 PM
23-2006, 01:17 PM, Gary:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nancy
Gary:

Is that your cool car in your avatar??


No, actually it's like the one that plays a central part in my novel. I wish I had one, but they are far too rare for me to afford.

I do have a pretty nice little daily driver that I was thinking of using as my avatar...and I might still do it.

BTW, the cardinals are in full nest-building mode on the patio and have no fear. We can sit out there and watch them flying back and forth with nesting material.