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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All In the Family

 I spent quite a bit of time outside on the patio over the July 4th weekend. It seemed to me that there was an awful lot of bird activity and noise and every time I would try to get on with my reading, something else would catch my attention.

On Saturday was a lot of activity under the pine tree.  During the week, the birds (or squirrels) had knocked two suet feeders down and there were lots of bit and pieces left behind on the ground that they were picking through.

Among my visitors was this male Northern Cardinal.

A little while later, I snapped this photo of what I thought was just a single mockingbird. It wasn't until I saw the photo enlarged on the computer screen that I realized that it was a mockingbird feeding its young. ( Please excuse the weeds around the tree, they didn't get pulled until the next day!)

I also got some photos of juvenile Northern cardinals scratching around in the border.

 On Monday, the mockingbirds were making a racket outside and as I watched them I realized that I was being granted another peek into the secret life of birds.

Over on the fence were some hungry juveniles - that's where the noise was coming from.

While they squawked noisily, dad (or is it mom?) was grabbing mouthfuls of suet from the suet feeder (much to the disgust of the red bellied and downy woodpeckers) and flying over to feed the hungry young.

Then it was back to the suet feeder to restock for the next round.

The mockingbird worked tirelessly for quite some time before the young ones quieted down and they all disappeared in the wild lot next to the house, presumably for a nap.

I was tired too, just watching them!

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


Lancashire rose said...

It's interesting that the birds are eating the suet. When I was young we used to put out bacon rind for the birds and always had a cocoanut hanging off the trellis. Finding suet is no easy matter as I find out when I am ready to make the Christmas pudding and the mincemeat!

Kathleen Scott said...

You're so lucky to have baby mockingbirds! Thanks for sharing your weekend birding. Baby birds are the most fun.

I've never seen mockingbirds eat suet before. Do you make your own? Share the recipe? Mockingbirds usually eat insects, with a side of berries, particularly in winter. Planting American beauty berry bushes is a sure mockingbird draw.

Jayne said...

No, I don't make my own suet Kathleen. I get the "Year Round" suet cake which I can find here in the local WalMart (in the same aisle as the horse treats!!). It seems to do well in our heat and the birds love it. I originally thought only the woodpeckers would be interested, but the mockingbirds regularly eat it. The blue jays love it too and just this weekend I saw a cardinal get some and feed it to its young. Unfortunately I didn't have the camera handy for that, or for the amusing sight of a white winged dove trying to balance long enough to grab a bit.

Jayne said...

Jenny - when my mum and dad come over for thanksgiving, we always end up with bacon rind and bacon grease left over from breakfasts. We always dip a pine cone in the bacon grease and hang it out for the birds.

george&greta said...

Hi there Jayne,dont blame us for the bacon rind
and fat no-one forces you to join us for breakfast you always did enjoy your food.
love you,Mum&Dad

Jayne said...

And you expect me NOT to eat it when it smells so good? Hahaha, surely you jest? Love you too! See you in November.