Press-Republican

Lifestyles

June 2, 2014

Watching the birds, live and on video

I was sitting in my backyard one sunny afternoon last week watching two small ducks swimming in the lake.

I assume they were brood brothers. Suddenly, one of the ducks took off and flew into the tree that sits along the bank.

I’ve never seen a duck sitting on a tree limb before. Apparently, the other little duck hadn’t either. I’m pretty sure I heard him tell his partner, “If Mom sees you up there, she’s going to peck your tail feathers.”

The first duck flew back down and joined his buddy, but it wasn’t long before he was back in the tree again.

I did a little research and found out that wood ducks do perch in trees. They have strong claws and can grip bark, and they also nest in trees.

I’ve never seen any adult wood ducks at our place, so I don’t think they were juvenile wood ducks. I suspect the little guy was just showing off. I don’t know about his brother, but I was impressed.

I’ve been watching the birds that are coming to my suet feeder. I am getting grackles, house sparrows, tree sparrows and woodpeckers.

I have a hummingbird feeder about a foot away from the suet, and it’s amazing how those little hummers chase the bigger birds away. I did see one of the woodpeckers get a drink of nectar from the hummingbird feeder, though, when the hummer wasn’t looking.

A word of caution here: If you have bird feeders and/or hummingbird feeders, be sure to keep them clean. If the food isn’t gone in two or three days, dispose of it, clean the feeder and refill. Even the nectar in the hummingbird feeder can get moldy after a couple of days and can harm the birds eating from it.

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