Birds – May 21-24, 2014

Last we visited Disperser’s back yard, the swallows were more interested in the bluebird box than the tank-like Disperser-constructed tree swallows nest box.

By the way, if one is interested in building their own nest boxes, this site not only has lots of information about various birds, but this page gives the dimensional requirements for various species of birds (HERE).

For people looking to identify birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology . The useful thing is that if you find something that looks like a bird you are interested in, there is a tool down the page that points you to similar species. One can usually narrow down to the correct species in short order.

Anyway, swallows, new box, not used . . . it turns out I figured out what the problem was. You see, the original location was on one of the fence posts (see photo below). The problem is that in the last two years aspens shot up right in front of it, and blocked the direct flight into the box. The solution was easy . . . move the box.

Bird House, Bird House,

I tried to keep the box from actually being in the yard since I occasionally mow the dang thing, and it might disturb the birds (as is they give me the evil eye when I hurry past).

birds, clouds,

He looks pissed off, but he was doing a happy dance inside. His lady, you see, found her nesting site. Of course, it took some convincing.

This is the sequence that sealed the deal (the lady is inside the box – visible in the larger view or in the SmugMug Gallery HERE).

"So, what do you think? Is this nifty, or what? Look! it even has a small ledge making it easy to hang outside. Watch me leave and come back!"
“So, what do you think? Is this nifty, or what? Look! it even has a small ledge making it easy to hang outside. Watch me leave and come back!”
"What did you say? I was inside . . . where did you go?"
“What did you say? I was inside . . . where did you go?”
"See!? a lot less tiring when we have to feed the youngins!"
“See!? a lot less tiring when we have to feed the youngins!”
"I don't know . . . this looks weird." "Oh, come on, honey. Look at this construction."
“I don’t know . . . this looks weird.”
“Oh, come on, honey. Look at this construction.”
"A box like this will be with you till the day you die." "Because it's a death trap!"
“A box like this will be with you till the day you die.”
“Because it’s a death trap!”
"What? No! . . . look at this thing. It's even got metal bits hanging here and there."
“What? No! . . . look at this thing. It’s even got metal bits hanging here and there.”
"I mean, how cool is that!?" "Yeah, but I'm sure that it used to be over there . . . tell me this: how does a box move from one place to another, uh?"
“I mean, how cool is that!?”
“Yeah, but I’m sure that it used to be over there . . . tell me this: how does a box move from one place to another, uh?”
"Oh, come on! It's obvious! The Great Sky Bird built this just for us! I'm gonna fly for a bit now."
“Oh, come on! It’s obvious! The Great Sky Bird built this just for us! I’m gonna fly for a bit now.”
"I love that bird to death, but 'Great Sky Bird'? You moved this didn't you?" "Guilty as charged, but I'm only wanting to give you guys the best."
“I love that bird to death, but ‘Great Sky Bird’? You moved this didn’t you?”
“Guilty as charged, but I’m only wanting to give you guys the best.”
"Well, I suppose . . . it is clean, and I do like the outside perch. I also noticed you cut grooves in the inside wall making it easier to climb."
“Well, I suppose . . . it is clean, and I do like the outside perch. I also noticed you cut grooves in the inside wall making it easier to climb.”
"Oh, what the heck! I'll take it; it will make the old man happy!"
“Oh, what the heck! I’ll take it; it will make the old man happy!”

I swear, it went down exactly like that. They moved in, and I’m pretty sure they are actually nesting since the female is almost always inside the box. The male sits perched on the hummingbird feeder hanger as she plays homemaker.

Tree Swallows Tree Swallows,

These were shot a few days apart, and I tried to capture them both (she’s peeking out the hole – you can see her easier in the larger view or the original).

On a side note . . . Doves are beginning to piss me off something fierce. Specifically, the Eurasian Collared-Dove.

Eurasian Collared-Dove
Eurasian Collared-Dove

Just after sunrise, they like to perch on the roof right above our bedroom, and do their calls . . . it sounds like they are inside the bedrooms with us. 

birds, clouds,

They don’t let up, so now we play a little game I call “shoot the rubber band at the annoying dove”.

It means I have to get up, but seeing as I can’t sleep, I might as well make their lives a bit more miserable. I figure I am just paying back. The game is played like this . . .

. . . I get up, grab a couple of rubber bands, and go out on the deck. It’s about a 20-25ft shot, but I learned how to shoot rubber bands in the design room of the Cadillac Motors Company, way back in 1978. I am very accurate. Accurate enough to aim at their feet (don’t want to risk hitting them in the eyes). They usually take off and go on the roof of one of the neighbors. I don’t have my camera with me when I do this, but here’s some shots I took at a different time.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds, Really, I don’t mind the sound throughout the day (hour after hour after hour), but early morning is a bit annoying, especially when I was up very late.

Hey! Look!  . . . a goldfinch . . . wait . . . It may be a goldfinch transitioning from winter to Summer colors.

birds, clouds,

I did not get a good photo, but the marking on the wings and back are those of the goldfinch.

Violet-Green Swallow

What the heck is that! It’s beautiful!

Why, Bob, that’s the Violet-Green Swallow.

birds, clouds,

I’ve never seen these here, and now I see them flying all over the place. I don’t know where they are nesting, but I wished they had picked my yard . . . alas, they just come by for the gorilla mulch.

birds, clouds,

A beautiful bird, it looked to me as if he was eating the mulch . . . 

"Ah . . . here's a tasty morsel."
“Ah . . . here’s a tasty morsel.”
"This stuff is good!"
“This stuff is good!”
"I could sit here and eat all day!"
“I could sit here and eat all day!”
"Oh, WOW . . . spaghetti!"
“Oh, WOW . . . spaghetti!”
"What? . . . don't you like pasta?"
“What? . . . don’t you like pasta?”

Let me return a moment to the nesting pair in my amazingly-constructed box . . . this is the female.

birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds, birds, clouds,

To me that looks closer to a violet-green swallow female, but not quite. For comparison, here’s the tree swallow female from last year . . . 

2013 Tree Swallows

20130504_1_DSC6333-2

Again, look at the difference . . . 

birds, flowers, birds, flowers,

I don’t know what to make of this since the two species are not known to cross-pair (that I could find).

The male looks the same as the one last year . . . 

birds, flowers,

. . . but this female has a different look . . . 

birds, flowers,

I will be interested in seeing the fledglings.

The Robin just looks on . . . 

birds, clouds,

Clicking on any picture should open a larger version in a new window or tab – unless WordPress messes up again. The original sized photos can be seen in the SmugMug Gallery HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ o o o o o o ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Fading
Fading

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