wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Deadly Windows

I wonder how often you think about your windows and skylights and the bird traps they can be.

Yesterday the Captain was doing some jobs in his workshop. He had the regular door and the garage door to that building wide open as he was going in and out a lot. After he’d been in the house for a bite of lunch, he went back out to the workshop and saw this little nuthatch flying against the workshop window, trying to get out.

The nuthatch had come into the shop and then, fooled by the light, thought he could get out through the window. He kept flying at the pane of glass, trying in vain to escape, even though the door and the garage door were both still wide open. All he saw was the window and he couldn’t get through it.

The Captain used a soft trout fishing net to capture him and bring him outside. I noticed that his beak had a lot of spider webs on it. The Captain acknowledged that his workshop window is a bit cobwebby.

Luckily the nuthatch was only a bit stunned, and not seriously hurt. He sat in the Captain’s hand for a few extra seconds after I took the picture and then he flew away. I think he was one happy bird!

Do you have a skylight in a breezeway or in the covered entrance to your house? Check it for trapped birds.

If you hang a basket of flowers there, especially pink ones, you’ll kill countless hummingbirds. Even without the flowers to attract them, hummingbirds can fly in and then not realize that the sky above them is blocked off with a glass pane. They will try and try to fly up and out through that closed skylight, sometimes injuring themselves and exhausting themselves until they fall down and often times die.

This fellow is one of the two lucky ones that I helped rescue from a neighbour’s skylight.

It also reminded me that I should have kept my hummingbird feeder up especially in this colder weather. We have had hummingbirds overwinter here on Vancouver Island in the last several years, so it helps to supplement their diet when their natural food is scarce.

Flying up into the sky,

I was stopped and don’t know why,

Up I flew repeatedly,

But it soon defeated me.

I was panicked, I was tired,

Minutes more, I’d be expired.

Holding on for life so dear,

I saw Anneli coming near.

Up the ladder she did climb,

Capturing me from behind

Softly she held onto me,

Wobbling down so carefully.

Dark and warm and safe I was

Then she let me go to buzz,

Back to my own territory,

Now she’ll tell the world my story.

Please beware the window pane

Skylights fool us time and again.

Please don’t kill us with these traps

You don’t mean to kill perhaps.

But we birds are easily tricked

By the choice of panes you’ve picked.

Meanwhile we’ll be careful too

Knowing what these panes can do.


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Why Didn’t They Migrate?

As I look out my window and it starts to get dark, it is still lighter than usual outside because of the snow. It has been falling all last night and all day today and will probably continue all night tonight. Big avalanches of snow are falling from the fir branches that have now bent as far as they can under the weight of the snow. I hope no little birds get caught in the cascades.

In the previous post I told of having to thaw the hummingbird feeders alternately to keep the sugar water available for these tiny birds. They are very hungry and I’m sure they’re cold.

Here is a very short clip of one of them slurping a last drink before night sets in. You can see the ice beginning to form again in the middle of the feeder.

A hundred times today, I’ve thought about the little hummingbirds and asked myself, “Why didn’t they migrate?”

 


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Lincoln Guards his Lunch

It’s snowing furiously and the wind has made a mess of the yard, littering it with fir branches.

It’s cold enough to freeze the hummingbird feeders. I alternate between two of them, thawing one in a jug of warm water while the other is available to the birds.

The squirrels, Lincoln and Della, have been getting walnuts (partially shelled) and sunflower seeds. But now the jays have discovered the goodies in the woodshed and are giving the squirrels competition.

The video below is about a minute long. I took it from inside the house through the window. The snow is blurring the scene as much as my dirty dining room window is, but I didn’t want to miss the show. It’s not Oscar quality, but it might be mildly entertaining to watch as Lincoln defends his lunch.


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The Chill Moves In

Mrs. Flicker is in a panic.

“Did you say the ‘S’ word? Did you say snow?”

 

The Steller’s jay mouths off as usual.

“Oh, I highly doubt that!”

The rufous-sided towhee is trying to be cool. Soon he’ll wish he weren’t quite so cool.

“Now what did I tell you about that? Getting the flocks all alarmed over something that may not even happen?!”

 

The hummingbird, also rufous, is hungry.

“I’m not taking any chances. Anneli doesn’t put this food out just because she’s bored. I think she’s trying to be sure we don’t starve.”

 

The chestnut-backed chickadee gets busy, eating all he can.

“Me too! I’m eating my breakfast to build up my strength. It’s dee-dee-dee-damned c-c-cold and it might snow.”

Above him, the nuthatch is getting impatient.

“Will ya hurry up, Chickie? There’s not much time before that hog, the starling moves in, and I haven’t had a turn at the suet block yet —– Oh too late. Here he comes, the bully!”

 

The starling isn’t shy. Far from it!

“Errr-hem! Move out you little squirts. That suet is mine, all mine.”

The golden-crowned sparrow does his best, singing about spring, but finally I heard him admit,

“I don’t think it’s working. I might have to move south — and fast!”

 

I hope the birds are wrong, but it sure feels like it will snow. I remember how cold and snowy it was last January, so I have plenty of birdseed and suet on hand, and of course I have walnuts and sunflower seeds for Lincoln and Della.

Last January! Brrrrrrr….

But someday it will be spring again.

(No, don’t get excited. This photo is from last May. I just wanted to remind myself that this cold weather won’t last forever.)

 


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Humming and Buzzing

Who’s that humming such a happy tune? Oh! It’s my friend Humphrey.

“Thanks for planting these red hot pokers,” he says. “I love the sweet nectar in them.”

“My long beak and even longer tongue are ideal for reaching down into  these petals shaped like tubes.”

“But, look out Humphrey,” I call to him. “A dangerous character is heading right for you.”

“Eeeee! Thanks for the heads up,  Anneli. These guys usually mind their own beesness. Still, I have to be careful or I could get stung.”

“Maybe he’ll pass right over my wings.”

“Look over your shoulder, Humphrey!”

“Oh no-o-o-o! Here he comes again. Buzz off!”

(You’ll have to look hard to see what’s over Humphrey’s shoulder.)

“I know you’ll think I’m a coward, but I’m going to hide for a minute. These guys can be dangerous. Their sting can pack quite a wallop for a little guy like me.”

“You can come out now,” I tell him. “I think he’s gone.”

“Thanks for watching out for me, Anneli,”  Humphrey hums between slurps of red hot poker syrup.

“Well, take it easy on the dessert, Humphrey. You’re starting to get a little belly.”

“Ha ha, very funny.” Humphrey sips  as fast as he can, then suddenly stops and glances down to his right. “Oh no-o-o-o-o. I thought I heard him buzzing. Here he comes again!”

“Bzz-bzz-bzz,” says the little critter. “I’m just beeeeing a beeee.”

Do you see him?