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Bill Babler

Nature Abounds This Morning

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We have lived here at the lodge for 16 years now, my how time flies.  We love the birds and critters and I always have at least 1/2 dozen bird feeders up at all times.    I have some with song bird seed mix that I make myself, some with Niger seed and some with suet in the Winter.

One of Becky's bigger seller here are Squirrel Buster bird feeders, as she sells dozens of them a year as they are totally squirrel proof and people just love watching the birds, and the antics of the squirrels as they cannot get a seed out of the feeders and just get so frustrated.

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We have had a total plethora of birds this year.  We have been reading about the number of decreasing song birds this year, but our feeders have been full of most of the usual culprits and then lots of strange visitors, including the Robins of a few days ago.

Today we were treated with Pileated Woodpeckers at our feeders for the first time EVER.  They are very elusive and extremely sensitive to movement.  We have heard them and seen them on the trees in small numbers for years, but have never had one approach the deck or the feeders.

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This morning there were dozens of them here, chasing and chirping, and we had them on not only the suet feeders but the seed feeders as well.  It was a wonderful site and we felt truly blessed to have them visit in such huge numbers.

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Wow ! ! !  How fortunate to see dozens of Pileateds at one time and location..  We've only seen two at a time together while chasing each other around the base of a hardwood tree.  Had no idea they would ever gather in flocks like that.  We've seen an occasional single at our suet feeder only. 

Last year I took MDC's advice (maybe never again ) and stopped bird feeding from May 1 through Nov. 1 and, yeah, it cut way back on the Varmint problems ( numerous Skunks, Possums and Coons) but the large variety of songbirds we had previously never re-appeared at the feeders.   Now it's mostly sparrow-type birds plus  Carolina Wrens, Dark-eyed Juncos (snowbirds), Tufted Titmouse (which will fly right up on the one feeder when I'm re-filling it ), just one pair of Cardinals and several Blue Jays.  Doves on the ground and the Three-Amigo Crows that hang around. 

We also followed MDC's request to stop feeding the Deer two years ago due to the CWD in Stone County and hardly ever see a Deer anymore in the Baxter/Lampe area.  Our neighbors around here say the same thing....like where did they all go ? 

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If you stop feeding them, they will leave and its really hard to get them back. I think the resident birds are creatures of habit and if you stop and they go elsewhere you really have to work at getting them to return.  Even when and if we go on vacation we have someone fill the feeders.  Thanks Phil Lilley, he has done it for us before.

Yes we have never seen PW's except singles and pairs, it was fantastic seeing them in a flock this morning and they are still here.

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We have 2 pileated that I've seen on and off for last 7 years.  I've never actually seen one still on a tree, always flying through the woods or across the road.  Makes my day every time I see one.

Great pics.  Thank you.

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Started putting bird feeders out a couple of years ago. Must admit that I didn't even plan on getting such a kick out of the birds when they come to feed/visit. A small creek runs by at the base of my property line and is lined with woods. Makes for great habitat for critters and birds. Two years ago we got a pair of Red Shoulder Hawks that nest in the same spot each spring right behind the house. It's fun to watch them patrol the area and search for their next meal. We have three dogs: two Boxers and a Pomeranian. Wife always is worried about our little 8lb female Pomeranian becoming that next meal so I make sure the two goons are out there with her for security.

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14 hours ago, abkeenan said:

Pic from my back fence last May.

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What’s all that green stuff?  Looks kinda cool. 
Seems like I’ve seen something like it before but can’t remember for sure......

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