The hazelnuts are ripe.Some are still on the tree.
I hurry to collect them from the ground as the wind knocks them down, before the dogs pick them up and crack their teeth trying to get into them. Hazelnuts are so tasty.
But it looks like there is even more competition for the nuts. The Steller’s jay has figured out that this is the time the hazelnuts are ripe. He scolds me as I pick up his lunch.
Another one gets wind of the news. “Did I hear you say the nuts are ripe? Forget the birdseed in this feeder then.”
“Now I just have to get down from here. Ooooh! It looks like a long way down.”
“Might as well go for it. Nothing for it but to jump. Sheesh! I hope I don’t break a leg!”
“Well, you could fly down,” I say.
“Hmpf! I knew that!”
When the cold weather hit us about ten days ago, I hurried out to make sure my birdfeeders were full, and added some suet blocks to the menu. One of the first to enjoy a meal of suet was this Oregon junco. My sister calls them her little soldiers because of their black helmets. (I took these pictures through a window and using the zoom lens so that accounts for the graininess, but it’s the only way I could get close to the birds.)
But a rather large dinner guest arrived. The steller’s jay muscled his way past the little soldier. He gobbled down a big dinner and then beat a hasty retreat when an even bigger diner flew in.
This woodpecker, a red-shafted northern flicker landed right on his dinner plate. He had his black bib on and came prepared for dining. He looks quite dapper with his polka-dot shirt and a slash of red lipstick on his moustache. No, it’s not Mrs. Flicker, according to my bird book. In bird families it’s the men who get all gussied up and the women who keep a low profile. So here we have Jack Flash and his red slash, holding on for dear life to his seat at the table.
“Is it okay to start eating?” he asks. (Polite young man, isn’t he?)
Oh, maybe I spoke too soon. He’s got food all over his mouth.
“Did you say something?”
I told him he had food on his face, but he didn’t seem to care. He just stuck his face right into his plate.
“This place is a bit too picky for me. Maybe I’ll try ‘Avery’s Restaurant’ next door. They don’t stand there watching you eat, taking pictures like private investigators. I suppose they’ll mail these photos to my wife. But go ahead. See if I care. She’s out to a ladies’ lunch date at the Treehouse Diner with her girlfriends having the Insect Borgasschmord. I’ll get whatever I can get wherever I can get it, and so what if I make a pig of myself? A man’s gotta eat.”
You know that fall is coming when the Steller’s jays show up to squabble over the hazelnuts dropping from the trees. These brightly coloured birds are a relative of the crow, which everyone in bloggerville knows I hate because they abduct and eat the children of other birds. But at this time of year the jays are only here to rob me of the fruits of my labours, so I tolerate their coarse squawking call and focus on their brilliant blue colouring. They do have a reputation of being nest robbers too, but they don’t show up in our area during that spring nesting time.
These sunflower seeds and hazelnuts have me drooling.
Look out! Danger up above.
Don’t even try that trick on me. You just want that hazelnut for yourself.
Well, it’s about time I got some of the good stuff. You’re so greedy all the time.
Go ahead then. Be that way. I’ll take the leftovers, as usual.
Take it then. Just stop nagging me.
Someone’s coming! Quick! Hit ’em with the brick.
Nice butt, by the way!
Awww… you say the sweetest things.