Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Monday, June 27, 2005


A mini-Christmas in June seems to have become a tradition around our house. Each December we head north to spend Christmas with our families, return home to NC for a few days, unpack gifts and repack for our trip (farther) south for the winter. In April we return to NC with barely a memory of our Christmas gifts.
Three years ago my sister gave us a mini-cooler which plugs into a car's cigaratte lighter. We brought it home, put it away (hey - it was winter - who needs a cooler then?) and forgot about it until June when visiting friends mentioned how useful they were finding the car cooler that they had recently purchased.
Two years ago my neice bought us a blow up float to use in the lake (her first ebay purchase - we were so proud of her). We put it away for warmer weather and didn't remember it until she visited in June and asked where it was.
Today my birds were the recipient of a forgotten Christmas gift - this little bird feeder which they love!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

From our house, I often see a bird guarding my tomato plant (which is 50% of my vegetable garden). From a distance I was never able to identify him.

A few nights ago I was sitting on the dock and was able to take a close-up photo. He didn't look familiar to me, but I was able to identify him as an Eastern Kingbird after thumbing through my Audubon field guide. The book mentioned that they are very aggressive near their nests, so either I was nowhere near the nest, or I didn't appear to be a threat.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

New furniture

Taffy loves his new fleece tent - a warm and comfy place for naps.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

He's not on the South Beach diet ...

When we moved south, we noticed that the "southern squirrels" were thinner than their NY cousins, probably because they didn't need to fatten up for cold winters. Now we don't notice the difference. Either we've gotten used to the thinner squirrels, or (more likely) we've fattened them up with our handouts.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

This is not the first time I've noticed this - when it rains, the geese often hang out on terra firma, rather than in the lake. Maybe when the rain is falling on their backs, they like to keep their tummies dry ????

or maybe it's just a good time for a snack

Friday, June 17, 2005


I spent a lot of time Wednesday evening snapping photos of the hummingbird. This was the one that came out the best. I didn't notice til later that the ants on the feeder show up quite clearly - wish I'd thought about brushing them off before I started shooting.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Life is easy for gouldian finch babies in the nest - it's breakfast (lunch, dinner, and snacks) in bed every day. Once out of the nest, things get a little tougher. The babies don't seem to know (or else they don't care) who their parents are. They just beg for food from any bird that happens to land near them. This persistant fledgling found that if he screamed loud enough and long enough he could get someone else's daddy to feed him.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sunday, June 12, 2005

After hand-raising a Common Flicker last year (a story for future post), I was thrilled to see a pair checking out a nesting location in our woods.

Here's the mom-to-be ...

This is the male flicker. You can tell by his mustache - really!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I've been raising gouldian finches for 5 years now, and haven't yet matched the success of my first season. That year my two pairs raised 22 babies. Almost every egg hatched, and 100% of the babies survived.
Last season went a little differently. I set up 5 breeding pairs in cages. Only 2 pairs laid eggs. Only about 75% of their eggs hatched, and when the parents (both sets) started tossing their newly hatched babies from the nest, I rescued the babies and the remaining unhatched eggs, put them into the nests of my society finches.
I have used society finches as foster parents in the past and they have never failed to accept babies or eggs as their own. But this time they, like the biological parents, tossed the babies from the nest.
The job of raising these little ones was left to me. I enjoy hand feeding baby birds, and have raised quite a few of them, but never tiny new hatchlings. This turned out to be a very time consuming task that I'm not anxious to repeat.
During that time, my sleep deprived brain gave a lot of thought as to what I was really looking for in this hobby and what would be best for my birds. And the answer that I came up with is no more cage breeding. I love watching the birds fly free in the aviary and if they could talk I'm sure they would tell me that they much prefer the freedom of the aviary over the confinement of breeding cages.
So, this year I hung nest boxes along 2 walls of the aviary and the birds are having a ball - laying eggs, raising their own babies, peeking into the other nests (they're very nosy), and chasing away others that get too nosy.


I haven't had much luck with lilies that I've planted over the years, but here are a couple of survivors.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Red-head, white-breasted gouldian finch - "Victor". He's one of the few males in my aviary who hasn't found a wife yet. I don't know why - he's very handsome !

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Thursday, June 02, 2005

From my back porch looking up

The lyrics of one of Lonestar's songs describe the singers favorite view - "from his front porch looking in".
One of my favorie views is "from my back porch looking up". Our back porch has a transparent plexiglass roof, allowing us a beautiful view of the sky and treetops. This is a photo that I took last summer of Lil Shirl, our "tame" flicker, peering down at us through the roof.