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View Diary: The Daily Bucket--To Every Time (77 comments)

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  •  It's fledgeling time hereabouts, (12+ / 0-)

    the youngsters of all kinds of birds learning the skills of their kind while everything is lush and abundant. I'm still hearing some wailing of babies in the trees demanding to be fed, but much less...more and more they are out foraging for themselves now. Less dependence on the feeders too.

    Here's a young Red Crossbill in a cedar. They mostly go for the seeds in fir cones, extracting them with their tongue once they pry open the scales.

    I'm keeping the birdbaths full and clean. It's getting so dry out now. I have a big one for big birds (robins etc) and a small one for the little guys. That one's right outside my kitchen window, really fun watching the youngsters out there. Always very alert. If I move suddenly they're off. Best I can tell, along with the goldfinch these are Purple finch youngsters (the white eyebrow more distinct than in the House finches). Saw more Purples this year than usual. Lots of House finches of course. No Pine Siskins at all this year, unfortunately. A few have been spotted elsewhere in the county but not this island. Maybe next year.

    birdbath finches

    Sunny and dry again in the islands, PNW.

    •  No Pine siskins here either (10+ / 0-)

      Interesting how different each year can be from the one before.

      Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

      by Milly Watt on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 11:23:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We haven't seen any Pine Siskins (10+ / 0-)

        here, either come to think of it (north of PDX, south of SEA). Any idea what that's all about?

        •  I understand they are cyclic. (9+ / 0-)

          Here's some info from Slater Museum of Natural History:

          The winter of 2012-2013 has seen record number of Pine Siskins (Spinus pinus) in the Pacific Northwest. Numbers in the thousands have been reported on some Christmas Bird Counts. What's going on? It turns out that siskins are cyclic, on the average peaking in a given area in alternate years, and the peaks on occasion are very high. Thus they have a two-year cycle. The cause of this cycle is usually thought to be food availability, which varies in both space and time.

          Siskins are among our smallest birds. They are members of the finch family Fringillidae, a family of interest because of its adaptive radiation into the seed-eating niche. The biggest species eat large seeds, the smallest very small seeds, and so forth. Pine Siskins eat a great variety of seeds of weedy herbaceous plants in the summer, but in winter in the Pacific Northwest they are strongly associated with red alders (Alnus rubra). Alders bear their seeds in small conelike structures, and the slender bill of the siskin is well adapted to extract these seeds. Flocks of siskins visit alder trees and spend quite a bit of time working through the abundant cones. These flocks can be of surprising large size, up to and over 100 birds, but are usually smaller.

          I wonder of there's something syclic about the production of alder cones then, since the Siskins depend on them primarily?
          •  Baby feeding..bwren ya there?... (5+ / 0-)

            crows now all fledged and silent, as different than the raucous screaming they did back in June and early July.

            Mockers babies are heard again, after the spring fling with a baby saying  'eeeeettt! every block for a while..so probably Nest Dos.

            House Finches seem done and in a big mob for now.

            House Sparrows again all mobbed up with 20-30 happily chittering around the block.

            Terns on the seashore, I think there just has to be babies, the cries are different from two adjacent terns seem flying together, one dove five times right off the breakwater just before the Pelicans flew by, a tourist with a fancy schmancy camera was trying to film it...sometimes you just have to watch. The terns cries on the beach may be adults looking for their baby, often with a fish hanging out of their mouth like a seegar.

            BCNight Heron babies still really noisy and violently mobbing any returning adult. I watched an adult turn the tables and chase a baby hard around the harbor, the baby sqweeking loudly, he found the bait barge, so he's on his way.
             Mission accomplished.
             Now go fish.

            Snowie babies at the harbor rookery also noisily greeting and mobbing adults, beak grabbing and upchurkleing seen..but baby Snowies are all about..just smaller, faster and goofier. At the beach, in Devereaux, Goleta slough estuary many babies are seen as well as likely Great Egrets, just skinnier and faster then the larger presumed adults. We  counted 16 Snowies and GE's in a 5 acre swamp near the airport.

            The baby Cormorants in the Goleta rookery are in the water all around there, I saw 5 chasing an adult that landed in front of the baby pilings, they grabbed the adults beak and all tussling stopped after a minute of the struggle when the adult dove...they rinsed and repeated that as well.

            And finally, as a reward for the most bored and faithful who have got this far, my Peregrine baby story.

            My brother lives near bwren, and the Peregrines have nested under the bridge there for years, he is always thrilled at their acrobatics and grace.
              He once saw a baby that had fallen ( a big problem for the babies, hitting the water on their early flights)( one cold morning some homeless street kids brought in a baby Peregrine soaked from it's swim, they got it to the wildlife rehab place.)
            This P-baby had swum to shore and was on a rock. Brother watched and then didn't see it, it had flown back up to the nests and the worried noisy parents.

            (Bwren knows where this is, the boat launch under the bridge is the place to see them. don't tell where. :)

            But the best part, the training feeding part:

            He saw the three of them circling high up, one had a small bird, it dropped it in front of the flappy begging baby who failed to catch it, the other adult tucked in and dove and caught the falling prey(!), and again dropped it to baby, it missed and they caught it again...brother didn't see them after that if  baby ever caught it...but cool huh?

            This machine kills Fascists.

            by KenBee on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 03:27:03 PM PDT

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            •  Really cool, seeing all the skill-learning (5+ / 0-)

              out in the open like that. A real upside to birds living on the beach (as compared to these finches and such in the trees). It sure does sound like your birds had a successful nesting season, all those legions of babies. That image of the terns with the fish looking for their babies is priceless. It's a tricky balance, making sure the chicks survive but pushing them to become independent and provide for themselves. They are so good at it.

              I'm very intrigued by those peregrines now. If I ever plan to go down to the city I'll have to badger you or bwren about which bridge and boat launch. Last time I was in the city was a year ago at my daughter's wedding. I don't get out much. Haven't been off the island since May (except the eye doctor on San Juan Island once) and my biggest regret is missing the Pelagic cormorant nesting season at the Anacortes dock. I suppose I could just spend a day, pay the $7 (senior walk-on ticket) and take a ride over and back...

              •  Update: walked the breakwater (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                LIcenter, OceanDiver

                saw the beauty of the sunset sky: lemon glow gold, red orange purple pink and greys.

                Saw terns fishing and diving, porpoises cane up in the small breaking surf right in front of us..and didn't come up again anywhere nearby...so maybe instyead a shark getting rolled while after sand sharks in the surf, dunno.

                MsBee wandered off after sunset looking at one boat's very tall mast. She said she had seen The Osprey land on it's top spreader but we couldn't see it anywhere, finally we went another 100' and there was a small raptor, certainly not a big flappy Osprey..more crow sized, but with bulky shoulders, no neck and we couldn't see the tail and wing ends behind the mast.

                Then it sapped a wing out and snapped it back in place..snap snap. a lonnnng wing.

                Then some nice Oregon ladies came by with binocs (all three my camera batteries dead) and we could see the nasty rip your face off bill and the executioners hood of a Peregrine Falcon.

                In spite of my week's detailed and tedious book and photo studies of Wandering Tattlers and Whimbrels and Black Turnstones, and the continuing BCNHeron and sEgretrookery watchings.......MsBee wins the week for bird fu talons down.

                None of those can quite rip your face off like a Peregrine Falcon.

                ...........................

                Because people steal fledglings and nestlings I am not going to post the location of this well known Seattle nest by bwren, I'll kosmail it you both.

                This machine kills Fascists.

                by KenBee on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 11:35:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Gives me chills, kenbee, seeing that (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OceanDiver, 6412093, KenBee, LIcenter

              all play out in my head from your words.  Hunting lessons are so cool to watch.

              Only two Barred Owlets this year, both from the northern nest, and they stayed hidden for so long that we didn't see or hear them until they were well feathered and flying - almost as if their parents had told them,  "Stay away from the humans." They were still getting regular meal deliveries a week ago.

              Today one of the Bald Eagle kids from the northern nest worked on its flying skills - a sweet soar in from over the lake and then a quick rising up, talons forward to catch a branch, which it completely missed. Eagle kid tumbled a bit, then grabbed the next lowest branch with one talon, spun around, righted itself, and soared again out of sight.

              Just thinking this morning that I miss the early morning bird chorus. Mostly looking at bee mimics of late, and taking care of the Old Dog.

              "Sometimes when things are beautiful, I just want to fall down." - begone's 4-year old grandson

              by bwren on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 07:57:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Amazing narrative and lots of sightings, KB (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OceanDiver, LIcenter, KenBee

              and of course I read to the end, the feathered raptors are owning a niche in the PNW downtowns.

              “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

              by 6412093 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 10:52:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  my screen background is a picture of one in Portla (0+ / 0-)

                Portland perched ahigh on a building edge and challenging the camera to a Kek-off.

                I still jump sometimes when it displays....

                This machine kills Fascists.

                by KenBee on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 02:42:09 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  How thoughtful, O'diver (10+ / 0-)

      to maintain two birdbaths.  

      That's an interesting pic of the crossbill, I can even see the unique shape of its bill.

      “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” ― Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

      by 6412093 on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 11:38:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No pine siskins in north Kitsap, either (9+ / 0-)

      Usually full of them at the feeders in the winter, but not this year.  Juncos filled in for them, though.

    •  No Pine Siskins here in Seattle, either. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OceanDiver, LIcenter

      I miss their voices, but have been here long enough to know that they have their own schedules.

      "Sometimes when things are beautiful, I just want to fall down." - begone's 4-year old grandson

      by bwren on Thu Jul 31, 2014 at 07:58:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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