Something Old, Something New

This post will combine a couple of things I do.  1) Take notes and count the birds I see at my feeder and 2) notice activities around me that I have never seen before.  Today’s observation was a doozy, too.

The count is simple, but plentiful.  Today, just after dawn, I notice a chilly, overcast morning.  About 38F.  It’s still too dark to take photos of the birds and get any detail, so I just walk past the window.  I hear several birds chirping outside so I know they are around the feeder.  However, when I pull up the shade, I was a bit shocked at the volume I saw.

4 Robins bathing in the icy bird bath.  A Carolina Wren poking through the Dogwood tree’s bark.  Several Chickadees, Eurasian Tree Sparrows, a half dozen Mourning Doves on the ground (whereas yesterday I must have seen 15-20 of them), a couple of Grackles (damned Grackles!), three Goldfinches, a couple squirrels (tree rats) playing tag, and a mix of House and Purple Finches.  I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but this was quite the surprise since I thought it was rather quiet for this much traffic. 

I went outside to let the dog potty and noticed all the chatter.  Boy, was it loud back in the park by the creek behind my house.  Lots of birds flitting about.  I couldn’t identify much because of all the ruckus cannibalizing itself.  However, when I went out the front door to take the kids to school, I notice more ruckus in my Sweet Gum tree.  Holy Cow were there birds in there!!  I must have seen an additional dozen finches, chickadees, and a couple robins up there.  And, here is where the observation part comes in….

This weekend we put up our Christmas lights (I know it’s early, but the weather was in the 70’s and being in a new house I had no clue what I was in for so I took advantage of the warm weather….we aren’t turning them on yet.).  And, for the past few days I have noticed the gumballs are dropping seeds…..something I have never noticed before.  I knew the balls popped open like pinecones at some point, but had no idea how tiny the seeds were and how many of them there were.  I also had no idea how sensitive the gumballs were to touch and releasing their seeds when ripe.  Well, now I know.

I got up on the roof to put the lights on the gutters.  And, the second I touched the tree on accident, I got rained on by the seeds.  It felt like sand falling down my shirt.  I was picking those things out of my hair the rest of the day.  So, what did I do?  Of course, I did it again!  I wanted to figure out how this tree works.  So, I grabbed a ball from the tree and tapped it and watched the seeds come out.  It was pretty cool because I’ve only seen empty balls on the ground before.  I thought, “I wonder what eats these seeds?  Birds, squirrels, both?”

Birds do for sure.  That was the ruckus this morning.  Apparently, it’s gumball picking season.  Those Goldfinches were hanging upside down on the balls.  The Chickadees were doing the same.  The Sparrows were on the ground with the doves picking up the leftovers.  With a buffet like this, who needs my feeders?  I’ll tell you who…….the Grackles. 

Damned Grackles!


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