Wednesday, February 27, 2008

for the birds

earlier this winter, I was a bit concerned as the number of birds coming to the backyard bird feeders dropped off considerably. normally the two feeders which we fill with mixed seed and sunflower seed are emptied by the birds on a daily basis. the reduction of the number of birds visiting the feeders was so alarming, I thought maybe there was something wrong with the seed. at one point, I even took the 50 pound bag of the black oil sunflower seed back to the nursery where I purchased it and exchanged it for another bag. I was convinced that there was something wrong with the seed. finally, a couple weeks ago the birds returned - now and it's back to bird business as usual. however, things aren't quite back to normal, we have one new bird coming by for occasional visits. however, this bird isn't interested in the various types of bird seed served, rather given her breed I'd say she's more interested in some of the diners - other birds or even squirrels.

this isn't the first year our back yard has been frequented by raptors. last year we had a red tailed hawk who made regular visits. in fact, one visit I was able to capture a picture of him taking off with his meal. you can see this to the right - I don't know if you can see it, but he has a pigeon in his talons.

this winter one of the raptor visitors is a peregrine falcon. for some reason, I find the fact that a peregrine is dropping by even more exciting than the hawks that come by. maybe it's some long held yearning to be a falconer - remember that wonderful movie ladyhawke? often peregrines migrate to warmer climates in the winter, however, it seems with human encroachment and perhaps global climate change, more birds are taking up permanent residence in locations which were once just summer territories.

our house is situated fairly close to the rocky river reservation, one of the parks in the cleveland metroparks system - or as locals call this group of parks, the 'emerald necklace.' because of it's massive shale cliffs and all the bridges that span the park, the rocky river reservation is an attractive habitat for peregrines. however, I guess at this time of year, they enjoy eating out and visit feeding stations of homes nearby.

I don't think I'll ever know the answer to the mystery of why the birds stopped coming by our feeding station here on avenue c. maybe it was bad seed or maybe it was something else. but whatever, the birds are back and we find much enjoyment feeding and watching the backyard birds.

speaking of watching. head's up to everyone in the united states tonight is the night! as part of the american masters series, pbs will be airing the documentary pete seeger: the power of song.

photos: top three pictures taken 25 february, 2008; bottom picture taken 24 december 2006 ~ all from our house on avenue c. don't forget you can click on picture to enlarge.


WAT said...

Okay! Thanks for the reminder on the PBS Seeger special tonite. I will do my best to watch and be schooled on a folk singer I really know little of, but he sounds fascinating.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

here goes lee, looking for an internet link to PBS!
The raptors: every vineyard and orchard has its appointed one around our town. Every Saturday when we drive into the neighbouring town for Market, we see them at their favorite stake-outs. Good shot of the guy on the fence, btw.

Len said...

I have set up TiVo to record the Seeger doc on Saturday. Thanks for the tip off.

A couple of years ago, I was driving through a residential neighborhood near where we were living and, as I turned a corner, a great shape seemed to drop out of the sky in front of my car and just hang in the air. It was an owl, a huge majestic owl, and dangling from his talons were the floppy remains of a now spiritless squirrel. It was one of the most extraordinary and disquieting moments of my life.

The owl just glided down the middle of the street about thirty feet in the air. It was a beautiful and terrible sight, one that I doubt I will ever forget.

Barbara said...

I love big birds. I made my first visit to Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania last year and watched beautiful birds catch the updrafts in this flyover.

Steve said...

Maybe the birds didn't come around because they knew a raptor was lurking nearby?

Pete Seeger is awesome! I love his album "God Bless the Grass." One of my favorites!

kimy said...

wat - hope you were able to check out the seeger show, if not I think pbs has some podcast thingy so you can see it through the computer. he is a fascinating person and long a personal hero.

lee - raptors are friend to farmers and vintners by helping keep the rodent population in check (eek! no, I'm advocating rodentcide!)

len - thanks for the owl story. it's eat or be eaten out there!

barbara - I really enjoyed your post on hawk mountain and look forward to visiting. turns out it's very close to where my extended family lives in pennsylvania - although I've heard of it for years, never visited.

steve - seems like the little birds and big birds all came back at the same time! along with bad seed I did think that maybe one of the predators was keeping everyone away, but that wasn't it. hope you caught the seeger show!

jenclair said...

I missed the special and feel the loss!

Ladyhawke is one of my favorite movies. I'd certainly love to have a peregrine falcon visit my garden! We do have a hawk that circles regularly, but that is just not the same.

Cergie said...

I put some goose fat in a cup for my garden's birds and the neighbour's cat came and washed the cup with her tongue

Now, birds can find insects, I saw a fly outside already

dennis said...

Dennis likes birds.