Friday, February 27, 2009

Northern Flicker nest box

Last year we built our first Northern Flicker box. Almost immediately, we had a Flicker move in and start excavating (we had packed it with wood chips). Unfortunately, the Starlings soon moved in and the Flicker finally gave the box up. We were extremely disappointed to say the least.
Well this last year, we learned a few things and built a new Flicker box a few days ago. The first one we built had no deterrent for Starlings. They could just fly right up and hop in the box. So this year, after some studying and reading up a little, we changed things a bit. First, we sloped the front of the box inward, so that the entrance is on an incline. Secondly, we put a small shield of plastic above the opening. Both of these additions are supposed to work as Starling deterrents.

So now, we sit and wait (not so patiently) for a Flicker to move on in and start the nesting process. Fingers are crossed, lucky coin is in my pocket and our shoelaces are tied twice on the left side. I don't know what more we can do.

Take care!!

Here is the Flicker and Flicker box from last year. A pretty basic and straightforward design. But nonetheless, he moved in quickly. It was actually an intergrade that moved in.

Here is the new box with the "Starling Proof" additions. We shall see.

This new box is about 10" taller and 10" deeper. It still ha s a 7"x7" floor, but the box itself is quite a bit larger.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Busy, busy yard!

Hello to all! Sorry for the infrequent posts, but we have been so busy with our other blog that the time just slips away. No more excuses though! I vow to post at least 3 times a week! Yep, you heard it here first. 3 times a week. I expect you all to hold me to it, too!

Anyway, the Varied Thrush showed up today! That is the latest in the year that we have seen him in the yard. Exciting stuff! Other than the Thrush we have seen; Warblers abound, Finches a plenty (House, American, Lesser and Siskin), Junco-Mania and a Robin-Go-Round. It's been a great time to be a birder! Here are some photos for your entertainment (hopefully).

The male Varied Thrush hanging out with some unsavory characters!

Such a gorgeous bird and such an unexpected visitor near the end of February.

The Spotted Towhee was hanging out all day long. Another rare occurrence. Usually, he comes in the yard for an hour our two in the morning and the evening, but not in the middle of the day.

Towhee looking pretty photogenic on the fence.

Then, the Towhee hopped up in the Curly Willow for some even better pics.

A well camouflaged Golden-Crowned Sparrow.

A White-Crowned and Golden-Crowned Sparrow just hangin' out.

The Lesser Goldfinches are looking as beautiful as ever!

Here's another Lesser just waiting for a spot to open up on the thistle sack below.

A Downy Woodpecker grabbing some suet. It's hard to tell from the photo, but this Downy had a yellow spot on the back of the head, instead of the normal red coloring.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the male Anna's Hummingbird to come around the other side of the feeder so I could get a better pic. Such amazing colors!

One of the 6 different Song Sparrows that were in the yard today.

Another Song Sparrow...

...and another...

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

After the Great Backyard Bird Count

Hello everybody!

Here's hoping that you had a great weekend and, to those of you that participated in the GBBC, the best GBBC yet!

Here are a few of the photos we took over the weekend. We have been absolutely swamped since last Friday. Between counting for the GBBC and about a dozen other projects that we have going, it's been crazy!

Anyway, here are the photos. Hope you enjoy!

A Townsend's Warbler getting ready for a big bite!

This Townsend's couldn't figure out if he wanted to land on the suet or not.
Here is one of the 3 or 4 Red-Tailed Hawks along I-84, between Lloyd Center and 102nd Ave. We see them everyday so keep your eyes peeled!
A Cooper's stopping by for some lunch (luckily, the restaurant was closed)

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Friday, February 13, 2009

KATU and the Great Backyard Bird Count 2009

KATU came back this year and is doing another story on the Great Backyard Bird Count. Carlos Faura was the reporter and, like last year, Karen Munday from Portland Audubon Society was here to make sure we didn't say anything stupid (just kidding, Karen).

The report runs tonight during the 6pm newscast. They were here for 2 hours but the segment is only 1 minute 20 seconds.

Hopefully, this will garner a few new participants in the GBBC and maybe even hook a new birder or two! We will post a link to the story after it airs tonight.

Karen Munday being interviewed in our backyard. The camerawoman Patricia was a Godsend! She was like a director on a movie set. She knew exactly what and how to do it.

Patricia putting the mic on me. Not that anything that comes out of my mouth is usually worth hearing!

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The Great Backyard Bird Count!

Today is the day!! I wish everyone the best of luck and let's have the best count ever!! Let's go Portland!!

If you haven't checked out the Great Backyard Bird Count, there is still plenty of time! Just visit this link Great Backyard Birds Count and have a look. It's fun, easy and completely free!

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Flora and Fauna Nature Company

Let me first preface this post with this: We were not paid, nor are we getting anything from the Flora and Fauna Nature Company for writing about them. They have always been good to us and so, a few days ago when we were buying some seed, I asked the owner if I could post about his store on our blog. He said sure. I just wanted to get that out of the way! And, now more than ever, I think we need to be supporting local businesses.

For a long time, Michelle and I went to 5 or 6 different bird stores for food, feeders and supplies. Trying to find the cheapest supplies that we could. Then, last year, this little gem opened up right down the street from us and so, of course, we had to stop in. They are located at 10055 NE Glisan St., Portland, OR 97220. Their phone number is 503-252-BIRD (2473) and they are open Monday-Saturday 11am-6pm and Sunday from 11am-5pm. It's easy to find and well worth the trip!

It's called the Flora and Fauna Nature Company. Don Holman is the owner and shop keeper. He is one of the most friendly people you will ever meet and his customer service is impeccable! We is extremely knowledgeable about all things bird and his little store has quite an array of supplies and goodies.

There are 2 reasons that we go there and nowhere else now. One, because of Don. He impressed us right away and continues to do so every time we see him. Reason two is that he has got about the best seed prices in the Portland Metro area! believe me, we have been all over the place. Going to one store to buy suet and another for black-oil and yet another for nyjer. Don beats them all!

He also has a Value Seed Reward Program. Every time you purchase 10 bags of the same seed, he will give you the 11th one free. That goes for any of the seed he sells. For instance, we purchase 50# bags of nyjer seed. I think we are on our 5th one. By 5 more (which we will do by late summer) and we will get a 50# bag free. So, not only is the seed less expensive than other stores, 69.99 for a 50# bag of nyjer (as of 02/09/09) but then when you factor in the free bag, it makes it even cheaper. Like I said, that goes for any of the seed he sells. He has a large selection of your typical seeds but then he also has quite a few specialty blends. They keep track of the Seed Program in their computer so you don't have to carry a card with you.

Also, you get coupons in the mail, ranging from $5 off your purchase to 20% off any item (we have used that 20% for nyjer and a WingScapes Bird Cam). And, they've started offering free delivery for orders over $50 (for any delivery in the Portland-Metro area).

They have everything you could want, and if they don't, Don will try to order it for you. They have everything from seed to feeders and birdbaths to books. Please stop by and give a local business owner your business! Thanks to all and see you soon!

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Sunday, February 8, 2009

More pics from the yard

Here are some photos from the last couple of days. As always, we hope you enjoy them and have a great week!!

A Red-Breasted Nuthatch. We have seen him starting to excavate a nest we have for him in the yard. How cool would that be??

One of the 433,629 Scrub-Jays that visit the yard daily.

A Downy Woodpecker being stealthy.

2 Chestnut-Backed Chickadees grabbing some suet.

Here is a Chestnut-Backed Chickadee on one side, but if you look closely, you can just see the top of a head of a Downy Woodpecker on the backside of the suet.

Chestnut-Backed Chickadee tongue!

A House Sparrow checking out our tool shed. I think that might be too big of a nest box for him. We shall see.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pics from the yard!

Here are a few pics from the yard. We have been busy with our other blog lately and I am really trying to get here and post on a regular basis. We hope you enjoy them and we wish everyone a great Wednesday!

The Yellow-Rumped Warblers are very thick in the yard. Sometimes up to 6 of them at a time.

The Winter Wrens will be departing soon. They are one of the hardest little birds to photograph (photograph well, I should say).

We had 5 Steller's in the yard the other day, too. That's the most we've ever seen at one time.

Look how dark this Junco is. He was pure black. Very cool looking.

Obviously, not from the yard. This was taken at Laurelhurst Park. It's a Hooded Merganser.

I think we have an entire family of Golden-Crowned Sparrows living in our brush pile in the back of the yard.

A Female Northern Flicker

Big flocks of Bushtits have been coming in the yard a lot lately.

Black-Capped Chickadees are always a welcome guest.

More American Goldfinches have been in the yard than any other time this winter.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Please take a look... our other blog...

We are trying to revive our community through action! Hope to see you there!

Seth and Michelle

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