Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Blacks Have Scared Everyone Off

My favorite avian guests, Finchy and Filly, have not been around a lot lately. I was a bit worried they might be gone, but I also had a theory about the cause of their disappearance.

When word got out in the animal kingdom that I was putting out free food, all sorts of new guests starting arriving. What started as one finch and his mate soon included cardinals, blue jays, mourning doves, red-winged blackbirds and squirrels. Which was fine, because all were welcome.

Lately, though, I had been seeing mainly blackbirds, and in large numbers. They tend to make themselves known when they arrive because they are noisy, messy (and possibly picky) eaters that like to knock the seed around with their wings and beaks. So, they’re not ideal guests, but ok, they’re birds.

One day I arrived home and saw a number of birds eating seed on the ground below the window, where the excess (or refuse) falls. The blackbirds were ok with each other, but when other types of birds would land they’d peck at them and run them off. That got me thinking about my missing friends. Could it be they’d been strong-armed, er, strong-winged out of town?

A few days later I again arrived home and noticed a blackbird in the feeder – with Filly in there next to him. Finchy was on the ground eating whatever he could find down there (I intentionally dump extra for those that have a hard time getting to the feeder). No sooner had I noticed the situation than the blackbird turned on Filly, open-beaked, and scared her away.

While Filly fled to the roof gutter, Finchy actually flew up to the feeder and tried to confront the blackbird. It was a valiant effort to defend Filly’s honor, but since Finchy was several times smaller than his opponent, he had to retreat to the roof as well.

I knew it! The blackbirds are goddamned speciest bullies, and they’re scaring off my friends! (What did you think this post was about, huh?)

This time, I went upstairs and rapped on the window, scaring the blackbird off. (In true bully form, they are one of the easiest birds to frighten. The mourning doves just kind of look at you and coo softly.)

As I had hoped, within minutes Finchy and Filly were sharing the feeder and making the "excited" little chirping sounds they often do when enjoying a free meal together. They stayed for quite a while and got their fill without harassment.

I enjoy feeding creatures from the area, but not when they’re going to intimidate my friends. I swear, some of them can be such animals!

Neither foul weather nor dangerous heights
can stop Mr. Squirrel from getting his fill.


K9 said...

/bark bark bark



Bird said...


good work bogs - we gentler and kinder birds (relatively speaking - terns are also known to fight over fish rather agressively) appreciate you.

liberalbanana said...

"My" mourning doves must've flown off to Hollywood to continue filming on their "Mourning Doves in Papasan Chairs" movie because they've been MIA since those 100 degree days... I hope they didn't die, but I'd be lying if I told you that I miss bird shit all over my balcony.

Pete Bogs said...

k9 - c'est what?

bird - my pleasure...

banana - the bird mess isn't an issue anymore since they screened in my porch... now I've got the window feeder, so any droppings just fall to the ground... I'll be watching for your birds on the big screen - I love those NC-17 films!

CROAK said...

I have the same problem with the currawongs (black birds). They boss the lorikeets and rosellas out of the way. Even the doves are a bit angsty so I have to watch to make sure all get their fair share.

Great stuff, bogs

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

the massive flocks of blackbirds are most likely grackles....mixed perhaps with euro starlings and the occasional red winged.


Jack K. said...

Does Grackle = a black bird?

I do believe it does. lol

That's the problem when you open an avian cafe. You have to accommodate all sorts of patrons.

Pete Bogs said...

k9 - I get a pretty close look at these birds and they seem to be red-winged blackbirds.... yellow and red under the wing, but otherwise black... that's what some wildlife-knowledgeable friends say anyway...

jack - true, true... you can't expect manners from wildlife... still, my feeder, my rules... if I see them intimidating my friends again I will run them off...

K9 said...

/bark bark bark

then thats pretty good! i ike the red wings! the grackles are messy and choosy with the seeds so i thought...but still you have the F and F so im pleased for you.