Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Birds & Butterflies

I didn't get a chance to post yesterday (working on a new knitting project), so I'll combine Tuesday and Wednesday tonight.

I had 2 monarch butterflies emerge yesterday. It was strange how this worked. I think somehow or other they must have been able to sense that the weather was bad over the weekend and delayed their emergence till yesterday, because these two were really overdue. I tagged a female and a male and put them out on the flowers on my deck. Yesterday was the first day we had any sun since last Friday and it wasn't windy, so they were able to sit on the flowers quite a while....long enough for me to take some pictures anyway.

Top (right) and bottom (left) you can the tags on their wings.

Left and right -- just building up their strength a little more before taking off (look close, they're kind of hard to see).

I have a lot of birdfeeders right on the deck. This drives my Spousal Unit crazy because there's always bird seed and bird poop all over the place. He would like to have our deck cleaned and re-stained, but I refuse to take the feeders down, so there!

We've been experiencing hummingbird and goldfinch frenzy for about the last week. Even in all the rain over the weekend, they were flying around and eating all day long.

Tonight I refilled the hummingbird feeders with fresh nectar. Then I sat down in the chair to watch these little guys. I never get tired of seeing them flying around and hearing their little chirps and buzzes. They are so territorial now. I have seen up to 6 at one time fighting over the feeder on the deck. I have a couple feeders on the other side of the house too, but don't get to watch those as much, however, I'd be willing to bet there's at least that many out there too.

Look at this picture....did I catch the hummingbird blinking?

I like this Wild Birds Unlimited feeder because the nice perches encourage the hummers to sit still long enough for a photograph.

I have a dead tree branch attached to the deck railing to encourage birds to perch when coming to the feeders or birdbaths. The hummingbirds will perch on these branches quite readily.

They also like to perch on these Wild Birds Unlimited branch arms (an Advanced Pole System add-on). When I worked at the store I always told people the little leaf was the perfect size for a hummingbird's feet to perch on (also good for hanging a nectar feeder on).

While I was sitting on the deck, I could hear a very agitated chipping sparrow in the crabapple tree right next to me. Oh no, something doesn't look right part of your head missing? Hmmmm, I guess it's either moulting time or a little mite problem. Poor thing, I guess I'd be a little agitated too.

Shortly after this I saw a bluejay with a similar "bad hair day" condition, but he was too embarassed to allow a photograph.

The goldfinches are really going through the seed in this nyjer feeder.
I'm having a difficult time keeping everything dry and haven't done a good cleaning of the feeders yet because they're still predicting rain all the way till Friday. At least with this one, they're eating the seed fast enough it really doesn't have a chance to get wet. A couple times I have seen every perch on this feeder filled with finches--that's a pretty neat sight, but the camera isn't handy when that happens.

I noticed over the weekend that there was an awful lot of chirping going on and when I looked out I saw these three little ones sitting on the top arm and flapping their wings rapidly for their dad to give them some food. Dad was pretty much ignoring them and one finally attempted to fly down to the feeder and get its own lunch.

Don't forget, it's the Songbird Lyrics Game over at Larry's blog. I've only solved 3 so far....


Jayne said...

It's so nice to see something other than house finches. Love your monarch babies and your hummers!

Lynne said...

I love how the babies flutter for food! I'd really like to invest in a feeder system like your. Maybe I should earmark my overtime!
Don't the tags affect the monarch balance in flight? I guess not.
I think Larry's Songbird Lyric Game is a tough one this week!

There's an email comng your way!

ABQ-B-Fly Guy said...

Wow...what a HUGE thistle feeder! I just use a sock here. Great pics of your monarchs with tags! AWESOME

I can't tell you how envious I am of the birds and butterflies you get at your feeders and flowers! I need to move!


Trixie said...

I love seeing your set-up. How did you tag the monarchs?

word verification: yaaik

Mary said...

I could see those Monarchs all over your flowers! You must be so proud! My hummingbird feeder is on the deck that is stained now. We keep our feeding station toward the back of the property outside the fence. It keeps the dogs away from the mess and keeps the birds safe. My spousal unit would protest the mess on the deck, too!

That is one long thistle feeder you have! I just bought the new model - the bottom snaps off for easy cleaning. I love it! I have much of the same set up you have for the birds.

I think you DID catch a hummingbird blinking!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Jayne,
I went for quite a few months this year with only a few goldfinches, but now they're all back again, but very shy--as soon as I open the door they're gone!

Hi Lynne,
When I worked at WBU, the owners gave us a very generous employee discount, so I bought a lot of products and could then share my results with customers. This feeder pole is attached to the deck railing so it can never be made raccoon or squirrel proof, but since I don't have those critter problems, it works out great.
The monarch tags are very lightweight....maybe since I put them on shortly after they emerge, they're able to adjust for flying right from the start.
I agree with you on the Songbird Lyrics Game--the most difficult since I've started participating!

Hi Ron,
The feeder is from Woodlink. It holds about 3 lbs of thistle seed. I have another one about as large in another part of the yard but that one isn't as busy as this one on the deck. Right now they're emptying half the feeder every day! I used to have socks, but for whatever reason never had very good luck with them. I think the visibility of seed in this feeder is what attracts my finches.

Hi Trixie,
I ordered the monarch tagging kit from If you go to my blog archive and click on "Monarchs Tagged" you can see the post about the first monarchs I tagged. It's a pretty amazing deal!

Hi Mary,
My dogs are weird, because they have never eaten any birdseed from under the feeders! I used to have customers complain about this when I worked at WBU. The only thing my dogs are interested in are the bunnies, chipmunks, and squirrels who clean up the seed under the feeders.

nina said...

Our goldfinches are getting pretty bold.
Our sunflower plants are in the veg garden, and even with us working there or picking (tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes...) they perch all over them stealing seeds.
Ha Ha for the bad hair day--does look like he's been chomped!

RuthieJ said...

Oh Nina, that's so neat your goldfinches aren't scared. They are such fun little birds and I sure like hearing them chirping all around the yard.
P.S. BLT's again for supper with fresh tomatoes out of the garden!

Larry said...

Wow-you've got the jumbo thistle feeder-I kind of wish that I bought the longer one too.-I'm going to make the next game easier, but everone's pitching in one or two answers it seems.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Larry,
It's nice to have such a big feeder when lots of finches are coming regularly, but it's a pain to clean out after heavy rains or snows. All my feeders are going to need some attention this weekend.