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Swift Current - our yard & neighbourhood

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  • M A
    Birds have been mostly the usuals around here the past ten days or so... but we ve been enjoying what we ve been seeing and getting in the yard and
    Message 1 of 3 , Jul 11, 2003
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      Birds have been mostly the "usuals" around here the past ten days or so... but we've been enjoying what we've been seeing and getting in the yard and neighbourhood:-)

      The Mourning Doves, Am Robins, House Finches (we have many H. Finches - adults, feeding fledglings, and displaced teenager fledglings from the first batches!  They've been hanging around our yard - and sunflower seed feeder!  Very noisy but so very welcome!)  Yellow Warbler, American Goldfinches, Brown-headed Cowbirds, House Wrens, Cedar Waxwings, Yellow Warbler, House Sparrows, & Grackles have been back and forth in our yard as well. (They love the birdbaths and the mister we have spraying the Mountain Ash so they can have "leaf baths"!!! The smaller birds really love the leaf baths !) We also have been getting 2 Gray Catbirds visiting the birdbaths, as well as partaking in the leaf baths!!  In the "mister bath" category I think the three that love it the most are the Gray Catbirds, Cedar Waxwings, & Yellow Warbler!!  They really get into it!  (I want to rush out there with a back scrubber!  Ha ha!)

      The Tree Swallows have been returning to our yard to roost during the day and to "play house", going in and out of the three nestboxes we have for them.  (We only had one family of 5 fledglings, but had provided them with a choice of nesting!)  The past couple days, the Barn Swallows have also been around, usually a couple of them sitting on the next door neighbour's eavestroughing!  They wouldn't still be thinking about nesting now, would they?

      The House Wrens have been hauling huge mouthfuls of bugs and worms to their wee ones the past week as well... With the amount of protein being hauled in to them, they should be growing by leaps and bounds, and we should be seeing fledged Wrens very soon now:)


      The Western Kingbirds are nesting in one of the evergreen trees next door... they must have nestlings now because both parents are spending time together, catching bugs and defending the tree noisily and aggressively!  (The Grackles have flown away from the tree yelling as the Western Kingbird nails them in the butt, also scolding and yelling!!!)  Things have been very interesting (and noisy) with them next door!  They will sometimes perch on our back fence, doing their preening, then some bug catching from there!  I LOVE IT!


      The Least Flycatcher likes to sit and do his che-bek che-bek from the top of a tree across the street.  Some days, he does it all day long!  (Energizer "bunny-flycatcher"!)  We have also been seeing the Northern "Red Shafted" Flickers in our yard off and on over the last ten days...  (and if we don't see them, we hear them nearby!)  We hear the RB Nuthatch somewhere nearby as well, but we haven't actually seen him for a few months around here.  Just passing through the neighbourhood I guess!!  (Darn!)  The Merlin has been making his presence known off and on over the last few mornings...  I haven't seen him, but I have heard him.


      Last weekend, the Chipping Sparrows returned to our immediate neighbourhood as well... now we hear them more than we see them, but we know they're around!


      The Common Nighthawks have also been around in the evening... I have been going to sleep with my window open, with them usually being the last thing I hear until wakeup at 4:00 AM!

      On July 3, we found a dead female BH Cowbird in our lawn near the birdbath -- we're thinking it was probably a window hit fatality that didn't die immediately on impact (the birdbath is only a few feet from the house!)  Haven't found as many window hit fatalities in the flowerbed this year - maybe because we haven't washed our outside windows yet?  (Eeek!  I hate to even admit that, but we've been too busy with other priorities on the weekend - me trying out the new binoculars every chance I get!  Ha ha!)

      On July 3, we had a flock of 10+ Franklin's Gulls fly over our house and neighbourhood, and on July 6 - 8, we had a few (3 or 4 at least) California Gulls hanging around the neighbours' garbage bags (Monday afternoon, they were busy tearing into the bags and spilling garbage all over, and were back at the same neighbour's Tuesday morning before the garbage trucks came along!)  The Ring-billed Gulls were trying to get in on the smorgasbords as well.

      It's time to get ready to go to work and have that much needed cuppa java, so had better get going...  Right now there are 6 House Finches fighting for position on the little sunflower seed feeder by the opened living room window!!  Lots of noise and squabbling (and 2 are trying to sing!!)  The Least Flycatcher is still singing from atop his tree, and the Western Kingbirds are chattering in the backyard!!  What a wonderful way to start off one's morning!

      Happy birding... May the Flocks be With You!!

       Mary Ann, Larry, & Ryan - Swift Current
      http://www3.sk.sympatico.ca/dudrl/

    • Scott Wilson
      ... Hi Mary Ann, Neat idea, new to me. What kind of sprayer are you using? Just a lawn sprinkler? Thanks for your entertaining reports. It¹s nice to be
      Message 2 of 3 , Jul 11, 2003
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        Re: [Saskbirds] Swift Current - our yard & neighbourhood
        the mister we have spraying the Mountain Ash so they can have "leaf baths"!!! The smaller birds really love the leaf baths !)

        Hi Mary Ann,
            Neat idea, new to me. What kind of sprayer are you using? Just a lawn sprinkler?
            Thanks for your entertaining reports. It’s nice to be reminded of how much can be seen in the backyard. Yesterday the cat (on a short leash...) was being scolded by something with a very loud metallic “TCHICK!” alarm call. I think it was a juvenile Brown thrasher.
        Scott in Regina
      • M A
        Scott, I believe the mister/dripper we have is a Whispering Pines one (see http://www.wpines.com/BirdBathDrippers/126_Drip-or-MistLarge_300x200.jpg ) -- it was
        Message 3 of 3 , Jul 12, 2003
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          Scott,

          I believe the mister/dripper we have is a Whispering Pines one (see
          http://www.wpines.com/BirdBathDrippers/126_Drip-or-MistLarge_300x200.jpg
          ) -- it was around $65 CDN about 3 years ago (I picked it up at a
          wonderful little naturalist store in downtown Saskatoon.) The first
          couple years we had it, we were pretty much convinced it was a waste of
          money, but then read somewhere about misting leaves of a nearby tree for
          the birds that don't like bathing by submersion. We thought we should
          try pointing our mister/dripper toward the nearby Mountain Ash tree (the
          mister sits on the edge of one of our birdbaths). A little adjusting of
          the nozzle (it has a regulator to adjust the flow of mist or drip) and
          we were in business, and the birds love it!!! A couple years ago, even
          the little female RT Hummer enjoyed the leaf baths on her brief stopover
          as she winded her way southwards... It has certainly provided us with a
          lot of feathertainment the past couple years as well as giving a little
          helping "wing" to our feathered friends:-)

          I keep thinking we don't have anything in our yard, then when I start
          listing what is here each day, I realize there really are birds coming
          into our yard and neighbours' yards. This morning, we were being
          treated to a lot of noise and jostling about by the young and adult
          House Finches. Our House Finch population has really exploded over the
          past several weeks.

          Ryan just looked out the back bedroom window and had a small treat -- it
          looks like our little House Wren family has just fledged!! A little wee
          one was on the ground then managed to fly back up into the tree... still
          a little shaky, and oh so soft looking. Even their beak isn't quite as
          long as the adults yet. Sure hope the neighbourhood felines keep out of
          our yard!!! We'll be on cat-watch this weekend!!! (Grrrr!)

          We also had a juvenile Chipping Sparrow or Clay-colored in our yard a
          few minutes ago, on the ground near the one birdbath in the backyard...
          didn't get a good enough look at it (the juvey House Finches came flying
          in for a drink, so noisy and pushy!)

          Right now, there are 4 Am Goldfinches (2 f/m pairs) in the sunflowers
          that are just starting to bloom (the sunflowers are growing volunteer,
          in the garden area, from the seed spillage over the past year!) We just
          water and try to weed them a bit... letting Mom Nature take over the
          rest of the duties.

          Ryan just announced there was a Downy Woodpecker going up the Martin
          pole... and sure enough!! There she was - a female Downy Woodpecker!
          Larry thought he heard a Downy WP last night when he was in the
          neighbour's yard... I guess he was right! THIS IS exciting - we don't
          often see a woodpecker, other than Flickers, in our neighbourhood. We
          do see them, but it is a rare and exciting occasion whenever we do:-)

          I was whining yesterday morning about not seeing the RB Nuthatch we've
          been hearing yank yanking in the neighbourhood -- guess what was on the
          Martin pole (it is wooden so no doubt has some bugs and spiders on it)
          while I was home for lunch yesterday afternoon! Yup! A RB Nuthatch -
          kind of scruffy looking, though. Would it possibly be going through a
          molt right now??

          We're off to check the Southwest Naturalists' bluebird run just north of
          the City this morning... We've never attracted a bluebird to these yet
          and probably won't as they're in farmed, agricultural areas. (This and
          the run south of the city is where we took down 21 houses and relocated
          them to the Sask Landing this past January... No bluebirds in the
          relocated houses this year, but they are providing great nesting sites
          for several Tree Swallow and House Wren families! Not a bad thing -
          better than where they were, providing homes for House Sparrows!!!)
          Hopefully we don't find House Sparrows inhabiting the ones we check out
          today. Might have to consider moving more houses to Sask Landing.

          Gotta go buy some lottery tickets for this weekend's draw as well... I
          can think of a lot of things I could be doing and enjoying if the big
          one kicked in offering me an early, comfortable retirement!!! Ah!! A
          girl can dream:0)

          Happy Birding,

          - Mary Ann, Larry, and Ryan - Swift Current
          http://www3.sk.sympatico.ca/dudrl/



          --- In Saskbirds@yahoogroups.com, Scott Wilson <scott.wilson@u...> wrote:
          > > the mister we have spraying the Mountain Ash so they can have
          "leaf baths"!!!
          > > The smaller birds really love the leaf baths !)
          > >
          > Hi Mary Ann,
          > Neat idea, new to me. What kind of sprayer are you using? Just a lawn
          > sprinkler?
          > Thanks for your entertaining reports. It¹s nice to be reminded of how
          > much can be seen in the backyard. Yesterday the cat (on a short leash...)
          > was being scolded by something with a very loud metallic ³TCHICK!² alarm
          > call. I think it was a juvenile Brown thrasher.
          > Scott in Regina
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