[Tweeters] Flicker, Grosbeaks, and Coopers Hawk

jimbetz at jimbetz.com jimbetz at jimbetz.com
Sat Jun 18 07:55:08 PDT 2022

Hi again,

Our backyard continues to be a busy place - a seed feeder, a
nectar feeder, and a suet feeder (without suet right now). I
often see more than 6 birds at once and have counted as many as
16-20 at one time. So far they have not discovered the new
grass seed where I'm attempting to "recover" some of the lawn.
My neighbor also has two hummer feeders on their balcony and I
can see them coming and going from that as well - but it is
too far away to ID the birds without binoculars.

That flicker (same one - probably) is coming back to the seed
feeder repeatedly (several times a day now). It sits and pecks
furiously at one of the holes spraying most of what it hits out
to the ground - but gets a few seeds in its beak. Stays 3 to 5
minutes and flies off.
Both Evening and Black Headed Grosbeaks are frequent visitors
to our seed feeder. And today I caught two of them going in
and out of a low bush at the corner of the house - they may
have or are building a nest there? We are seeing them "all
day long" now and no indication of leaving. I can almost
recognize the individuals and am starting to think "maybe I
should name them". *G*
The Cooper's Hawk previously reported has been returning
once or twice a day. It swoops in very near the seed feeder,
slows down almost pauses, turns away and lands of the fence
about 15 to 20 feet away and stay only 2 or 3 minutes. I
didn't see it happen but there are new feather tufts in the
backyard not more than 10 feet from the feeder. The two times
I've seen it the other birds stayed away longer than they do
when I, for instance, go out thru the sliding door that is
under 10 feet from the feeder ... so they fear the hawk
more than me. No surprise. When I go out and come back in
the birds have often started to return before I can put the
seed supply away and take off my hat and gloves.

Regulars are Purple Finches, House Finches, House Sparrows,
White Crowned Sparrows, and Spotted Towhees. Many have young
with them now that they sometimes feed and sometimes let the
young fend for themselves. There are so many Goldfinches I
often feel like I'm miscounting them - in all variations of
coloring from bright yellow to just a hint (probably young
versus mature?).
We get occasional Brewer's Blackbirds, Cowbirds, and a
persistent Chickadee that comes and goes several times a
day. It's been over a week since I've seen a Stellar's.

I'm getting the occasional squirrel under the seed feeder
which I promptly run off ... darn thing keeps coming back
though. It has not, yet, tried to climb up to get to the
feeder itself ... easier pickings on the aggregate under.
We also have some doves that visit the ground under the
feeder several times a day - they stay longer than most of
the smaller birds. I love the sound of their wings when
they fly - and, of course, the cooing.
We also see Violet Green Swallows - but they aren't
nesting on our house this year so we only catch them catching
bugs out in front of the house. And, of course, we see
ravens/crows, vultures, and raptors soaring out in front
of the house as well ... the Cooper's is the only one we've
seen - so far - that is coming right up close.

There are birds coming and going all day long and very late
(almost too dark to id them). They don't seem to start
coming to the feeder until after the dawn chorus is mostly
Many of the birds have obvious young and/or are obviously
"paired up" - including the hummers. Others seem to be
spending more time "competing" for their space than just
simply eating (running other birds off). I have not
noticed a "species" that is more aggressive - it is more
of an "individual bird" behavior. It does -seem- like an
individual that is running the others off is less likely
to do so when the other bird is its own species.

In fact, they are consuming about 7 pounds of seeds a
week, sometimes more. This is "the good stuff" as the
owner of Skagit Wild Bird Supply calls their 90% mix sold in
10 pound bags for something like $17 per bag. It has less
Nyjer than the other mixes and attracts well. I know I
could get seed for less by buying online ... but these
people in West Mount Vernon are nice and very helpful about
any questions I might have.
I still haven't figured out where to relocate our two
nest boxes so they will get used. I know some places that
would work ... but I want to be able to see the birds that
are coming and going from the boxes. They have been up for
over 15 months now and still zero activity - as far as I
can tell the birds do know about them - they just don't
consider them suitable locations.

- Jim in Burlington

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