Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Pictures I Have Missed

We have at least two pairs of Pileated Woodpeckers (and perhaps three pairs) who regularly come to our suet feeders.  We knew they had nestlings because the birds would eat, then grab a mouthful of suet and fly off.  Last week we saw our first fledglings.  They were being fed deep in the woods.

Now the fledglings are coming a bit closer and I've tried time and again to capture them being fed.  I saw one of the "babies" sitting patiently on a branch.  They are as big as the parents, but they seem to have more puffed up tufts of red hair.  And the pupils in their eyes are so big they seem to be dilated.

The fledgling is sitting in full view.  The parent is at the suet feeder.
I've got the camera at the ready.

 Just at the right time to snap the photograph.  The parent flies back.  But instead of landing on the limb beside the fledgling, the parent moves to a limb slightly above it.  The baby moves over behind the leaves.

 The parent is completely obscured by the leaves.
If only the parent had landed on the same limb and just to the right of the bird...

 The little one moves to another limb while the parent goes back to get more suet.

 Another great view.

Unfortunately she moves higher up on the tree and once again disappears behind the leaves.  The parent flew in with the food but only the tails are visible below the leaves.  Just one more photograph opportunity down the tubes.

I'm still hoping to photograph the feeding but the odds are getting smaller.  The little ones will soon be making their way to get the food for themselves.  Even when we fail to get the photographs we want, our birds do give us a great deal of pleasure.  Great rewards for a little investment in feeders and suet.

Lucy and I are a bit more cautious when I take her out for the last time before bed.  Our neighbor spotted a juvenile (probably a second-year) bear not far from our house.  When he got to his own driveway he saw a second bear.  Likely the mother is involved with this year's cubs and is sending these two off on their own.  The neighbor's spunky little Jack Russell Terrier barked and the bears fled toward the lake.  That is good when the bears are fearful of the dogs and humans.  Not a smart move by the Jack Russell, but Belle thinks she is a giant and owns her property.  I suspect our Lucy would have remained quiet.  But I hope I don't find out.

And another reminder that we are wise to bring in the bird feeders every evening.  They are placed inside a large closed garbage container in the garage until morning.


Anonymous said...

Love seeing the Pileated Woodpeckers there. I haven't seen one since we left the Sierra foothills. They are such big, impressive beauties. Really good idea taking in your bird feeders at night. It is safer for you, Lucy, and the bears.

Louvregirl said...

They are very hard to photograph or get close to, we have found. We had one (adult) who woulds get mad at us if we were out on the yard and squawk at us from very high up when we were in its 'territory.' We had to chop down a leaning tree that had its bugs in it and the bird gave us a real thrashing!

Ms. A said...

I was all excited about the woodpeckers and then you said BEAR! Oh, my!

Barbara Rogers said...

Hey, I was close on your name! I should win something for that, eh? Love your woodpeckers, and good luck on getting a better shot. Yes, I think our NC black bears have shown that the nearness of humans has resulted in their being healthier and perhaps more comfortable coming into human territories. Glad to hear you've worked out a bear-proof system for your feeders.

Arkansas Patti said...

How delightful to see families of Pileated Woodpeckers. I think they are so need but have probably only seen as many as you do daily in my life time. Having a neighborhood bear however is another thing. That would make me nervous. Callie would be like the Jack Russell. More bravado than brains.

Arkansas Patti said...

Would you believe "neat".

Ginnie said...

I didn't think too much of your seeing a bear ... but 2 of them together is another story. I would be very careful with Lucy near them...she is smart to stay quiet and far away from them.

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

Robin - Unfortunately there are too many people who leave their feeders out and then complain about the bears coming around.

Louvregirl - Yes, we often get scolded by the birds. The hummingbirds are the worst of all. One of them even dive-bombed me.

Ms. A - We do have bears around. We've seen them walk up from our creek between our house and our neighbor. I do make noise when I take Lucy out at night.

Barbara - Yes, kudos for getting so close.

Patti - We don't really worry much about the bears. We do nothing to attract them to our house, even close the garage door at dusk. No food outside or on the screen porch. We see them occasionally and I do take extra measures when I take Lucy out at night. She won't even run a rabbit or deer, so I'm pretty sure she would not take on a bear. At least I hope not.

Ginnie - I think they were twins who whose mother sent them away at the same time. They were smaller than the usual bears we typically see.