Sunday, April 30, 2000

2000 April

  1. Snow today! The Juncos are digging little mines through the snow to the seed on the ground beneath. They are little claim-jumpers, and will abandon their own digs to evict a neighbor who seems to be having better luck. I have also noticed that Juncos are aerial acrobats, conducting high-speed dogfights through the leafless branches of the maple tree with amazing agility. I have also seen individuals swoop down on the other members of their flock, smack into the bole of the tree. But they hit the tree with their feet, pause there for an instant, then pop down to the ground.
  2. A Jay came down to steal a peanut missed by a squirrel. It had a long fiber or string in it's mouth: probable nesting material. It hopped to the ground next to the peanut, dropped the fiber, picked up the peanut, then tried to pick up the fiber too. Failing this, it left the fiber and flew off with the peanut. A minute or so later, it returned and flew down beside the fiber on the ground. Glancing around (for more peanuts?), it picked up the fiber and few off.
  3. Mystery LBJ, resting at feeding station for at least ½ hr:
    • Sparrow-like and -sized
    • Mottled brown back & wings
    • Breast: gray, lightly mottled
    • Eyebrow: prominent, from beak to back of head, yellow between beak and eye
    • Crown: one stripe, narrow, tan, from beak to back of head
    • Gorget: white
    • No yellow on breast
    • No chestnut epaulettes
    I have identified this as a White-Throated Sparrow, White-striped form. (Peterson's p.278) 21 Apr 2000
  4. Grackles and Starlings are semi-regulars now.

  5. Heavy rains today, Good Friday. When picking up peanuts, experienced squirrels give their heads a little shake, perhaps to verify the contents by its rattle. It seems that there are more squirrels exhibiting the "wobbly" symptoms. Perhaps this is some contagious disease?

  6. Squirrels have excellent sense of smell. If I toss a peanut, and a squirrel comes within 2 feet of it, he will usually find it. I'm sure it's their sense of smell, because they don't seem to have very keen eyesight. The White Throated Sparrow must have told all his friends, because now it is not unusual to see small flocks of eight or so at a time.
    Doves make that cooing sound without opening their mouths. Their throat just puffs up a bit.