Project Feederwatch – November 2017

Project Feederwatch – November 2017

 

I’ve been eagerly awaiting the start of Feederwatch season here in my new habitat of Central Oregon. Our new yard has been a challenge of sorts for hanging bird feeders because of the other critters that have decided to partake of the seeds and suet. It was a mystery to me how I could fill up my rather large feeder late in the afternoon and then awake in the morning to a completely empty feeder! I didn’t realize how fast the deer could drain the feeder.

squirrel in the feeder

Then there are the squirrels that just help themselves.

My husband came to my rescue by fabricating rather tall poles for the feeders to hang on and so far this has solved my problems!

So what is our setup?

I have three different feeding stations, one in the front yard and two in the backyard.

The front yard feeder seems to attract the little birds like chickadees and nuthatches. I read somewhere that when the temperatures drop the birds like a suet feeder, so I added that when I took down our hummingbird feeder. There is still a bird bath but I’m not sure how I’m going to keep it from freezing. I saw at the Wild Bird store you can buy a little heater so if it’s within my budget, I will get one the next time I’m there.

Suet and Seed feeder

Closer to the house in the backyard, I’ve hung a new suet feeder and a new cylinder seed feeder. I haven’t observed many birds at the new style of feeder so I’m wondering about location. We may move the feeder back to the fence line closer to the trees if we don’t start to see the bird traffic to the feeder increase.

Feeders in the snow

This is where all the action happens! We see lots of birds at this feeding station, both at the feeders and under the feeders. I have mostly black sunflower seeds in the hopper feeder and I rotate the variety of suet I use in the suet feeder.

Here are our Project Feederwatch results from our first count:

Scrub Jay -2

Mourning dove -3

Chickadee -5

Junco -5

Varied thrush -2

Red breasted nuthatch -2

Hairy woodpecker -1

Spotted towhee – 1

House finches – 6

Pine Siskin -1

 

In addition, we heard and then observed a Red-tail hawk in one of the pines in back of the house and two ravens flying overhead. They don’t officially make the Project Feederwatch list since they were not in the feeder, but I made a note of their appearances in my records.

I will be posting monthly Project Feederwatch data as the season continues.

Learning About Birds 3D cover

 

Don’t forget about the Outdoor Hour Challenge – Learning About Birds ebook that is available to both Ultimate and Journey level members.

Learning About Birds ebook Bird List @handbookofnaturestudy

Weed Bouquets and Autumn Time

My Autumn Weed Bouquet

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Our neighborhood is mostly evergreens with a few deciduous trees mixed in. The view from my back window is over a slope leading down to the river and it has very few trees and lots of shrubs and grasses. The grasses are what most people would call “weeds” and in between those grasses there are a few wildflowers like yarrow and asters. The river is lined with willows, the shrubby kind and not the trees. For what it’s worth, I find the view from any of my windows beautiful and refreshing.

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As the winter snows have already started, I’m seeing fewer and fewer short plants as they get buried and mashed down by the snow and ice. There are still a few plants surviving so I took the opportunity a week or so ago to cut some of the autumn weeds for a bouquet to have indoors. It was pretty late for gathering much but I still managed to create a bouquet that makes me happy. Once again, it is a matter of perspective in determining whether a plant is a weed or something amazing to look at as part of an autumn bundle in a vase.

Weed bouquet

My winter weed bouquet from years past.

My husband and I debate about the definition of a weed, an on-going discussion in our family. I say a weed is something growing where you don’t want it to grow, like in a flower or vegetable garden or in the middle of your manicured lawn. But, if the plant is growing, like most of those in our yard, in a natural landscape, I try to leave it as part of the habitat.

In my eyes, my autumn weed bouquet is as pretty as any flower shop bunch of roses.

Invite your children to gather some of your autumn weeds to be indoors as part of your nature display.

Other Entries of Interest and Inspiration

Poetry in Your Nature Journal

Winter Weed Gallery – from my archives, showing lots of winter weeds

 

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Seasonal Tree and Leaves

Autumn Tree Observations Leaves @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Seasonal Tree Study and Autumn Leaves

From the Archives and from the Autumn 2010 ebook

Oh how I love this time of year and its colorful trees and shrubs! This week we can all enjoy a closer look at the leaves that make those autumn-colored landscapes. Our family has enjoyed this leaf comparing Outdoor Hour Challenge in past years because it brings into focus the individuality of each tree’s leaves.

Here is a sample of the activities suggested in the challenge linked above:

Compare Leaves from Two Different Trees
• Leaf shape and leaf margins.
• Leaf arrangement on the stem.
• Leaf color, texture, and size. (You can measure if you wish.)

This leaf study will lead very easily to a nature journal entry. You may wish to gather a few leaves to bring inside for a little journaling time. Give your children the option of using whatever art supplies they wish to use to create a meaningful nature journal entry of their own.  If you own the Autumn 2010 ebook, there is a notebooking page for you to use in comparing two leaves for your nature journal follow up time.

If you would like to own this ebook, it is part of the Ultimate Naturalist Library for members. You can find more details on how to get your own membership here: Join Us!

Autumn 2010 Cover ImageUltimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy