Guinea Fowl Bird Feeder

April 1, 2010

The chickens and guineas like to gather under the wild bird feeders because some of the little birds knock a lot of seed out. The house sparrows are especially bad at throwing out a bunch of seed when they’re getting something to eat.

Once in a while both the chickens and guineas are there, but more often they take turns.  Sometimes it’s the chickens. . .

Roosters and hens under bird feeder.

"It's manna from heaven!"

And sometimes it’s the guineas.

And sometimes one of the guineas gets impatient, and wants more seed RIGHT NOW!!!  So he takes matters into his own … wings?  beak?
.

.
If the seed isn’t falling fast enough, I guess you give the feeder a little bump and it spills out quicker.  Seed on demand as it were.

There’s always one smart aleck in the bunch.

Fowl Spring

March 5, 2010

It’s March and even when the weather doesn’t cooperate, the fowl – both wild and domestic, think it’s spring time.

I see wild birds out courting and building nests.  A pair of bluebirds were rummaging around in the old garden area looking for nesting materials.

bluebirds

See anything you like?

One of the local cardinal girls tried to give them some advice.

Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis) and female Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

"Are you looking for good building materials?"

Then one of the cardinal dudes decided to help them out.

Pair of bluebirds and male cardinal.

"Okay kids, here's the best way to gather materials."

Evidently he was a little too pushy, because the female bluebird decided to just up and leave.

Pair of bluebirds with cardinal.

"That's it!..I've heard enough."

She eventually came back in time for one of the roosters to wander by and check out what they were doing.

Rooster and bluebirds.

"Well, they haven't got anything to crow about!"

And speaking of nothing to crow about. . . since the days are getting longer, another fowl fact is we’re starting to get more eggs.  This morning I was making some scrambled eggs and used up the last two store-bought eggs.  (EGG-LAND’S BEST!  ALL NATURAL!)

Store eggs vs. farm eggs

Mass produced eggs are a pale imitation of REAL free range eggs.

Well, they may be Egg-land’s best, but those mass produced type of eggs don’t compare with our little farm’s truly free-ranging chicken eggs.  Look at the difference in color between the store-bought eggs, and the rich color of an egg from one of our chickens.

Yep, those store eggs are just a pale imitation.

Changing Weather

March 1, 2010

Yesterday was nice and sunny. The critters enjoyed the bright sunshine and warmth. The llamas, goat, and dogs stretched out on piles of hay while the chickens scratched around in other piles looking for seeds.

Maremma sheepdog and goat enjoying sunshine.

Ahhhh, this is the good life.

The llamas are getting absolutely decadent about having breakfast (or whatever meal) in bed.

Male llama, reddish brown color.

Oh yeah, this is the life all right!

Cinnamon, our little doe goat, stretched out in her pile of hay to enjoy a nap after she was full.

Goat enjoying sunshine.

"Yeah, these post-prandial naps are just the thing!"

Keira evidently agreed with Cinnamon, because she decided to stretch out in the hay and enjoy the sunshine, too.

Female llama stretched out and enjoying the sunshine.

"Hay in your tummy and under your tummy... life is good!"

The wild birds, on the other hand, were a little more active and flying back and forth to the feeders.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) and Tufted Titmouse (Parus bicolor)

Seed seekers in the sunshine.

Meanwhile, a Red-bellied Woodpecker peeked through some tree limbs to see if the way was clear to the suet feeder.

Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) head.

"Can I get to the suet feeder without being seen?"

 But today is a different story, weather-wise.  It’s gray and gloomy again.  And if the weather predictions are correct, another winter storm is moving in.

I took advantage of the warmer weather this morning to refill all the heated water buckets, and pools of water.  If I’m lucky, it will get warm enough to use the hoses again before everything needs topped off once more.

Well golly, here it is March 1st, and I’m still looking for spring!

Are robins a sign of spring?

February 9, 2010

Yesterday it was snowy. I looked up in a tree and here’s what I saw:

Robin on snowy branch.

American Robin in Winter

Yes, right there before my eyes was a robin.  In winter.  In the snow.

So I guess that must mean spring is coming, right?  Cause after all, robins are a sign of spring, right?

Nope.  Not right.

Although some robins do migrate, it’s more a matter of food availability than the weather.  Food is usually more scarce in the winter.  So some robins do migrate… but not all. 

Instead they tend to gather in large flocks during colder months, going to large communal roosts at night.  These flocks tend to stay in more rural areas where there is a better food supply.  Or sheltered in woods.  So although they may not be so readily seen in some places, especially in a more urban environment, there are still robins around.

Robin in winter.

Robin on snowy ground.

Robins aren’t that big on bird feeders for the most part either, being more prone to look for earthworms, insects, fruit and berries.  They will occasionally turn up at feeders for fruit, but since they aren’t there a lot, that may be another reason people don’t realize they are still around.

People probably notice them more in spring because of the breeding dispersal, as the flock breaks up for pairs of robins to go to their own nesting territory.  They are scattered into more places then, and people are also usually outside more to see them.

And of course, there ARE a few more robins, as the ones that DID migrate, come back to the area.  But that doesn’t make robins a sign of spring, since there are some around all year long.

If you want a real sign of spring from the bird world, look for ducks or geese or any other true migratory bird that regularly migrates to and from your area to make an appearance.  When they’re back in the area, ready for another nesting season, spring is on the way!

Another Rainy Day On The Farm . . .

January 20, 2010

Seems like we’ve been having a lot of rain lately. . .

Tufted Titmouse bird (Parus bicolor) in the rain.

Tufted Titmouse in the rain, waiting a turn at the feeders.

..

Cardinal on a branch.

Cardinal on a branch.

. . .

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) eating sunflower seeds.

House (or English) Sparrow eating sunflower seeds in the rain.

. . .

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), also called English Sparrow, on fence post.

House Sparrow sitting on fence post waiting for a turn at the feeder.

. . .

Female cardinal at bird feeder.

Female cardinal at bird feeder.

. . .

Guinea fowl sitting on a gate in the rain.

Guineas sitting on a gate in the rain.

. . .

White rooster and guinea fowl in the rain.

Rooster shaking rain off.

. . .  I think it’s time for some sunshine!