Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Pecking Order

Today, at the leading edge of a wintry mix storm (I always think this sounds like peppermints and red and green M and Ms falling down) I've been watching birds, between bursts of frantic computer work doing my bit for my stitchers and my freecyclers and my other sites needing my presence. I feel so guilty about being out of action for so long and still not really up for either of the parties I was supposed to be at today, that this is a way of doing my part.

So I noticed the pecking order front and center.  I was alerted by a little glink glink sound, and saw the male woodpecker out there, surveying the buffet. According to Peterson's bird book, he says pick. Not in New Jersey, he don't.  Joisey boids say glink.

The suet feeder is the avian equivalent of the supermarket right before a storm, everyone crowding in to get their share and more.
The feeder is open on all sides, so theoretically any number of birds could play. However what they've decided is that it's One Bird at a Time, Please.  

And I watched with some amusement as the male downy woodpecker brushed everyone aside, including Mrs. Downy, while the Carolina wren lurked in the slats of the fence for her turn, watched by her mate.

 In the tree the pair of cardinals waited their turn, then Mrs. ate first, as Mr. courteously waited his turn.  The bluejay, usually not so hot at feeding suet, tends to skid off and fall down, managed it, and knocked enough down that he could finish it on the deck. Where a little flock of juncoes waited for the big kids to knock down food for them, too.

If anyone incautiously tries to join another bird at the feeder, even his mate, he's bounced right away, with a peck or two.

One thing they all do, which I like to see, is to retire to a branch above and proceed to clean their beaks carefully, suet being a messy food.   There's a great absence of squirrels, which I attribute to the bird feeder across the street, and the pumpkin still resting in my yard out front and attracting all the local squirrel population to tear at it and throw bits all over my path to be tracked into the house.

Okay, birds done, pictures marginal because shot through the window, sorry, now to get onto another purse which already has a destination. 

My fingers are looking a bit scarred.  Sometimes, since I can't use pliers, can't do that pinching action, I will turn the eye of the needle straight down onto the top of my distressed old coffee table, and push the fabric down the needle, to save pulling and shoving. This works.  It has to be done on a distressed table, though I guess any table would soon be distressed if you did this enough.


  1. I'm with you in the enjoyment of watching the birds. Right now we're undergoing an influx of starlings - very big on the bullying of the others. Oddly, even the blue jays take a back seat to them. Our suet is on a lower level so the woodpeckers and the nuthatches are often left to dine in peace...unless a starling decides that suet is more tasty than the seeds.

  2. What fun to be able to watch so many birds on your doorstep. Thanks for the pics and the great description.


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