Posted by: atowhee | October 14, 2015


If you strung all the local Robins end to end they’d reach far beyond our yard and probably past the city limits.  They are nervous and fussy so it is purely theoretical.  You’d never get them to sit still long enough, or co-operate.  The Robins and starlings and the waxwings have descended on our neighborhood.  Dogwoods, hawthorn and a rowan tree are all   fruitful this fall.  The Robins whinny and scold.  The Starlings use their rich vocabulary to whistle at me and each other, proclaim their superiority and generally buzz about. The Waxwings are quieter, keeping their beaks full or simply perched about in small clusters like the berries they adore.

Against the sun profile becomes identity. Big head and beak stuck onto a plump body with a negligible tail–Starling.  Round head, meaty looking body with a moderate tail–Robin.  Slender profile with flatish head and long tail–Scrub-Jay.  Slender bird with crest showing (sometimes), longish tail and smaller than the other treetoppers–Cedar Waxwing.  The latter is also given to some fly-catching sorties and in proper light the adults show off their golden tail stripe against the sky.

Robins and Juncos ate champions of the birdbath I’ve noticed.  I admit to being a joyous voyeur of the avian ablutions.1rob-look (1280x960)First the quantity of water and quality of the bath tub has to be appraised. 2rob-wade (1280x960)The first step is always the first step.  Then the fun begins. 3rob-dunk (1280x960) 4rob-belly (1280x960) 5rob-dunk2 (1280x960) 6rob-splash (1280x960) 7rob-flttr (1280x960) 8rob-splash2 (1280x960) 9rob-tailflip (1280x960) 10rob-dunk3 (1280x960) 11rob-dunk4 (1280x960)THE KILLER ON HIGH

Yesterday morning after this Robin’s bathing finished the garden was silent, empty.  It was a chilly morning so I expected the usual breakfast rush: croissant and espresso for one…scone and tea with milk for another…sticky bun and latte…granola and orange juice…whatever the menu offered…but nada.  Soon the reason became apparent.  Cooper’s Hawk in the top of our tallest dawn redwood, the killer on high.COOP-UPP (1280x960)Once he departed the feeding frenzy commenced.  Here two House Finchesand Purple Funch share, the Purple is in foreground far right.  We got only Goldfinches from this family until fall set it. HOFI - PUFI (1280x960)There are at least three individual Red-breasted Nuthatches that feed at feeders.  One dominates a pair.  Perhaps parent of two siblings?  No real violence, just the dominant one will not let the others land on the feeder until he (or she) had its sunflower seed and departs to dine on a horizontal limb.  This often leads to a honking dual among the nuthctahes. RBN-PLTFRM (1280x960)Bushtits mob the suet blocks.  I’ve been watching them and they apparently haven’t bathed in a lonfg time.  I must speak to their mother about this.B-T AT SUET1 (1280x960)Two first-year waxwings in a pine.  The one on the left is starting to get a little cresty.  Both are getting that golden talk tip required of a properly dressed, adult waxwing. WW IN PINE (1280x960) WW LOOKS (1280x960) WW-YNG PAIR (1280x960)

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