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River Road Ramblings 11/14

After we started feeding this fall, a few bluejays (which might have been natives who knew us from last winter, or ones migrating south from farther north) sneaked in quickly and quietly, I think watching for the hands that open the sliding door and the mouths that make a lot of noise. (Do they feel the injustice of it all-the hands holding seeds for the chickadees but chasing them away?)

A few weeks ago when the seeds were all gone from the roof, I heard a babbling, squawking bird noise, and there was a jay looking in the glass door and fluttering its wings by its sides, the way young birds just out of the nest do when begging for food! It looked as if it knew what it was doing--but it didn't work.

If you are not too busy scaring away your bushy tailed birds and the bluejay hogs, look for the brown creepers which hang out with the chickadee, nuthatch, and woodpecker crowd. They are almost always there, skittering up tree trunks looking for tiny insects, eggs and spiders. They look a bit like a small brown mouse, but after climbing one tree they fly down to the bottom of another and jerk their way up again. Their breasts are white and if you can find a good picture you'll see that they have yellow stripes on their wings. They are about the first bird to sing in the spring, a very high but musical song. And they build an amazing nest behind a hanging piece of bark on a dead pine. I've watched more than one disappear behind bark where they have built a hammock shaped nest. Up to eight eggs are laid--that has to be one crowded nest. Fledglings roost on a branch in a tight circle at night, heads to the center. Now there's a prize winning picture for a photographer as I don't think it has ever been done.

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