The Peanut Pole (It’s a Popular Place!)

The peanut pole is a recent addition to our backyard bird feeding set-up.
It is a rather thick branch that is strapped to the side of the deck rails that has three holes drilled in it (courtesy of hubby) that are perfect for filling with peanuts.

The Nuthatches have officially declared it their personal snack station. All three types have been showing up on a regular basis. Like this Red-breasted Nuthatch…

…and this White-breasted Nuthatch…

…and of course, the Brown-headed Nuthatch.

Now, the peanut pole is not a sit down diner, but more of a grab and go type of place. Whereas we have drive-thru restaurants, think of this as a fly-thru.

The Downy Woodpeckers have also discovered this delightful new place to load up on peanuts.

And not to let space go wasted, the top of the branch has a perfect Bark Butter notch.

Yep…the peanut pole is definitely becoming a popular place!

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It’s a Labra-ful Life!

Who needs Jimmy Stewart movies when you have two labra-mutts in your life?
And I must say, this duo is a constant source of entertainment!

Tucker turned two in January (we think) and is fondly referred to as our Beautiful Beast.
The DNA testing tells us that he is half Lab with the other half being a mixture of Pit Bull, Bulldog, and a companion/guard/sporting breed combo. Despite his brooding appearance, this fellow is 90 pounds of pure loyal love.

Chaco turned one this week (again, we are guessing!) and is an alert, feisty female who is quick to give kisses and has a happy labby tail. Her DNA testing (If you do it for one, you must do it for the other!) shows that she is about 65% Lab with a chunk of Weimaraner and some sort of Asian breed mix.

Needless to say, outside play time is something they love – especially if I am out with them.
Tucker loves to play with toys…

…and Chaco thinks Tucker is her toy.

They are so stinkin’ cute when they retrieve things together. Whether it be one of the fetch sticks…

…one of the balls…

…or just a plain old stick from the yard. Sometimes I watch them and find myself singing the “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” song from Toy Story.

When we are inside, they are my constant “helpers.” They love laundry folding duty…

…and are never far away when I am cooking. In fact, they stick so close in the kitchen that trying to fix dinner or wash dishes has become a bit of a labstacle course!

And don’t even think about trying to sneak a snack!

Yep…I have a Labra-ful life indeed.

*Tucker and Chaco were both rescued through Labrador Friends of the South, an organization I would highly recommend if you are ever interested. 🙂


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A Sunset Snack

Just before sunset this evening, the lighting outside was especially lovely so I thought I’d throw out a handful of fresh seed and see if any birds showed up.

Apparently, several found the idea of a sunset snack rather appealing because they started showing up before I could even grab my camera. Here are a few I managed to snap shots of.

Eastern Bluebird

Downy Woodpecker

Red-breasted Nuthatch

Pine Warbler

American Robin

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Ah, I am so glad that the days of winter are coming to a close and that the lighter, brighter days of spring are hinting at their arrival.

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Missing Manners

Manners seem to be missing these days – especially when it comes to my backyard Blue Jays!

Oh, they may give the appearance of being the perfect guest, but appearances can definitely be deceiving!

I’m pretty sure they never heard from their Mama the common courtesies that I heard from mine. Like, “Don’t chew with your mouth open.”

Or, “Use a fork and not your fingers…or your face!”

“When you are a dinner guest, don’t make a pig of yourself.”

And, “Don’t eat and run.”

It seems their Mama (or their Daddy) also neglected to say,  “Don’t play with your food”…

…or, “Always leave a place neater than you found it.”

I think when it comes to manners, especially table manners, my Blue Jays must have somehow missed the memo.

Ah well, at last they do come dressed in their feathered finest!

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Feathered Foes

If you were to sit on my back deck for any length of time and observe the birds, it would quickly become evident that there are some who just can’t seem to get along.

For example, just about every time this little Kinglet stops in for a bite to eat…

…a Yellow-rumped Warbler darts down and dive bombs him off the branch.

And this bossy faced Robin, who often stands in his fighter pilot pose…

…allows every other bird to eat…except for the Bluebird that is, who constantly has to glance about to make sure the coast is clear.

And my Red-bellied Woodpeckers have become far less frequent feeders…

…now that my Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker has been patrolling the backyard borders.

And just in case you’ve ever wondered where the “yellow-shafted” part of his name comes from, take a look at the blurry flight photo below.

Pretty sure he is flying off to make sure his “Private Property” sign is still in place!

I know we tend to call these birds our feathered friends, but it seems they often see each other as feathered foes!

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An After Shower Bath

After one of our (many) recent rain showers, I saw this slightly disheveled Mockingbird perched on the side of the front yard birdbath. Evidently, he had already sampled the water and found it satisfactory because he opted to hop back in.

He helped himself to a lengthy soaking, not seeming to be in the least bit of a hurry.

Then, with his bath was finished and his feathers were drenched…

…he hopped back out…

…and headed to the nearby crepe myrtle bush where he shook…

…and shook…

…and shook some more.

Then he gave his feathers one last fluff…

…and flew to the backyard where he helped himself to the freshly filled tray, which is where I had originally been headed when I first saw him.

There is always something delightful about watching a bird enjoy a bath!


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A More Frequent Flicker

The Northern Flicker that I posted about earlier in the season, has (much to my delight!) become a frequent visitor to the backyard feeders. He is still a bit skittish, but occasionally his desire for food will surpass his uneasiness around the camera and he will bless me with chance to snap a few shots.

Yesterday was one such occasion.  I saw him hanging around the edges of the yard when I was refreshing the seed and it didn’t take long for him to venture closer.

Then he landed on the deck rail (which has a seed tray tucked behind it courtesy of hubby’s handiwork!) and proceeded to give a “don’t-even-think-about-it” glance to a watchful Red-winged Blackbird who had also been watching me fill the feeders.

The Blackbird kept his distance, though not without a voice of protest…

…and the Flicker proceeded to feast.

Unlike my Blue Jays, who pack their pouches and then fly off to partake of the bounty elsewhere, this fellow pecks the peanuts apart, moves them from beak to belly, and then repeats the process.

He perched on the rail, using his tail for support, and took his time eating.

Then he turned and flew to the large Oak at the back of the yard and leisurely preened his feathers.

I am so hoping that this fellow meets a female Flicker and brings little baby Flickers to the feeders in the not so distant future. 🙂

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