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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The feeding station isn't just for birds. Gray and sometimes eastern fox squirrels, opossums, chipmunks, raccoons, cottontail rabbits and white-tailed deer all partake of the offerings here.

I put out enough corn to constitute a treat for the deer who know about it. Maybe four cups a day. I enjoy watching them come in so timidly.

Here's Boss Doe, snow on her coat. She's looking a wee bit pregnant, a bit rounded.

Please don't miss her eyelashes and face whiskers, the longest of anyone's. She's also got some impressive white chin whiskers.

The bucks are looking a little disconsolate, now that they're dropping their antlers.

Besides the slightly Roman nose characteristic of bucks, he's got a nice pedicel scar just above his eye.

Pedicel scar, a little closer. Pretty how the snow is frozen in mid-descent by my wonderful Canon 7D.

I'm greatly encouraged to find a high count of 30 cardinals at the feeder so far this year. Last year I had to work to find seven! I will probably never know what happened to the cardinals in 2013-14, but many people reported steep declines.

30 will do. Favorite cardinal shot in some time. Look at the snowflakes clinging to his whiskers. It's a whisker post.

Yes. I'm looking at you. I'm the Seed Lady. You know me.

All these photos are taken from my drafting stool, just looking out the studio window. When we bought the house in 1992, there was no studio. And there were no trees or shrubs. No birches, no spruces, no arbor vitaes. Nothing had been planted near the house but for one dahlia, and a trumpetvine that had sprung up and climbed up under the shingles. That, we eventually got rid of.

Everything else we put here, and all the wildlife has come in because of it. This is just the span of an hour or so on February 16, 2015.

As I watch and shoot photos, two deer come in. One looks familiar, very familiar. Barely bigger than her yearling son behind her. I know that doe.

It's ELLEN!!

this taken 1/29/15, her first appearance this winter. Hi baby doe!


Our house was once my mother's house and my childhood home. As a child, we had a typical suburban yard. But as I grew, I managed to wheedle my mom into planting more trees. We left a lot of volunteers to spring up as well. When I inherited the place, the first thing I did was get rid of the lawn. Now it is a place surrounded by trees, shrubs, with ground cover and paths instead of lawn. We also dug a pond and put up birdhouses around the periphery. We get so many different creatures coming into our yard that it's like we're in their Michelin guide. We, too, have had a banner year for cardinals. On a snowy day, there are numerous red dots all over the surrounding trees. It's nice to be able to birdwatch just by looking out any nearby window. Our compost pile is also a big hit with the local creatures, and that is inevitably the first place I spot Catbird when he returns to the area. (He's among my favorites, with his jazz-singer voice and little yarmulke.) We've also had WAY more chickadees and titmice than we normally do. I'm glad they are doing so well!

Posted by mimimanderly February 22, 2015 at 3:57 AM

Trumpet hate.
I like that you name and know your deer.

Cool post. Love that you saw Ellen. And all those cardinals!! Am curious about the word you used to describe the buck's facial scar: pedicel. I had to look it up and I don't see how it describes his scar. Can you help me out here? Maybe naturalists have taken the word as their own with a definition different from Merriam-Webster's.

Depending on how cold it is we get the standard winter birds, raccoons,opossum,deer and flying squirrels as well as the aerial challenged black and grey squirrels

Our high count on cardinals is 11. We rarely see them in the other seasons but they know the buffet is open at our place.

We do have problems with the deer eating directly from the platform feeders, hard on the hardware.

Meat lady, seed lady, dough lady - thank you for another wonderful post and a look into the yard this snowy winter. Love the cardinal image with the greenery, snow in action and that look your direction. Thank you. Kim in PA

Posted by Anonymous February 22, 2015 at 5:01 PM

dream weaver <3

I was so hoping to see Ellen! Love that crooked-faced girl.

I was convinced from the start that the low number of Cardinals was due to the plentiful natural food available last year. The bird number at the feeders were low in general until the very end of the winter when their resources finally ran out.

Posted by Lee Hermandorfer February 23, 2015 at 11:56 AM
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