Author Topic: Backyard critters  (Read 78664 times)

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Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1875: May 24, 2021, 09:45:29 AM »
I wonder if the cicadas somehow interfere with their feeding

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1876: May 24, 2021, 12:03:19 PM »
Don’t think that’s it as I haven’t seen a single cicada. They seem to be a bit sparse up this way, at least so far. According to what old timers have told me, we don’t get that many cicadas, especially in the mountains where I am.  I’m 3 miles from Catoctin Park and Cunningham Falls, if you know the area, at 1700 feet elevation. Not ideal cicada habitat, I guess.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1877: May 24, 2021, 04:28:34 PM »
Do they typically stick around all summer or are they just passing through? 

The invertebrate house at the National Zoo (RIP) used to have hummingbirds in the butterfly garden - they would sometimes check out your ears if you stopped moving for a while.  I guess ears look like flowers of sorts. 

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1878: May 24, 2021, 04:40:23 PM »
They usually stick around all summer, and there are lots of them! They spend the whole summer chasing each other away from the feeders like tiny fighter jets. And heaven help you if you go outside wearing something red, as you will be thoroughly checked out to see if you’re some kind of new giant flower. That’s why it’s so weird that they seem to have suddenly left our area.

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1879: May 24, 2021, 08:33:22 PM »
Come to think of it... we haven't seen any in a couple of weeks.  Maybe there's just an unusually high supply of wild food? The last hummer I saw was on flowers, not our feeders.

Something odd is going on with our local hummingbirds. They arrived full force in April, as usual, and were sucking up copious amounts of nectar from our feeders, also as usual. This normally goes on all summer.


But, about 3 days ago, they all disappeared! We thought it was us, but the feeders were clean, the nectar was fresh, and our set up was the same as last year. Then my neighbor happened to mention that her hummers had disappeared too! Then, yesterday someone posted on NextDoor that the same thing had happened to them. They said they’d been feeding hummers for 25 years and this had never happened. Immediately several other people from all over northern Frederick County posted similar experiences, so it seems to be a pretty widespread issue out here in the wilds of rural Maryland.


Anyone else having the same issue??  Or are things fine with hummers near you?

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1880: June 06, 2021, 11:47:42 AM »
We have barred owls in the greater 'hood, and hear them a few times a week generally.  I'd probably hear them daily if I spent more time outside.  I got the notion last week to play a call over my small Bose bluetooth speaker, and see what reaction I got.  Initially, nothing, but it was mid-afternoon, I had not heard a call, and the cicadas were revved up.

Around 9 pm I heard one in the distance, so I played the call twice and stopped.  Sure enough, got a vigorous response, then silence.  Then, the call came from about 30 yards away.  I played one more, stopped.  The owl swept past me to alight about 15 feet from the speaker, and commenced to calling again.  So cool!  I told my wife about it, she thought I was being manipulative and bringing the owl in under false pretenses.   :?  All true, but so cool!   Amazed that in 2 iterations the owl had very precisely located the source of the call.  End of story......Not!

Perhaps a half hour later, the owl called, and first a second, then a 3rd one all responded, located around the original landing point 30 yards away.  They were really going at it, one of them sounding very aggressive.  My wife then turns to me, "if those owls keep me up tonight...."     :-[

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted.   Here's the call I used, the first one.






Offline Kevrock

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1881: June 06, 2021, 11:52:22 AM »
Nice. We have bard owls here on the property. I think I posted pictures of baby owls before.

Offline varoadking

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1882: June 06, 2021, 05:37:31 PM »
We have barred owls in the greater 'hood, and hear them a few times a week generally.  I'd probably hear them daily if I spent more time outside.  I got the notion last week to play a call over my small Bose bluetooth speaker, and see what reaction I got.  Initially, nothing, but it was mid-afternoon, I had not heard a call, and the cicadas were revved up.

Around 9 pm I heard one in the distance, so I played the call twice and stopped.  Sure enough, got a vigorous response, then silence.  Then, the call came from about 30 yards away.  I played one more, stopped.  The owl swept past me to alight about 15 feet from the speaker, and commenced to calling again.  So cool!  I told my wife about it, she thought I was being manipulative and bringing the owl in under false pretenses.   :?  All true, but so cool!   Amazed that in 2 iterations the owl had very precisely located the source of the call.  End of story......Not!

Perhaps a half hour later, the owl called, and first a second, then a 3rd one all responded, located around the original landing point 30 yards away.  They were really going at it, one of them sounding very aggressive.  My wife then turns to me, "if those owls keep me up tonight...."     :-[

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted.   Here's the call I used, the first one.



We hear them in the back yard seemingly every night but have never seen them.  Hawks...we see them all the time...

Offline Natsinpwc

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1883: June 06, 2021, 05:41:59 PM »
How do they taste?

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1884: June 06, 2021, 08:24:59 PM »
I've heard they're curious birds. I've been able to get a response to a vocal call, but none ever approached.  This is a great idea.

We have barred owls in the greater 'hood, and hear them a few times a week generally.  I'd probably hear them daily if I spent more time outside.  I got the notion last week to play a call over my small Bose bluetooth speaker, and see what reaction I got.  Initially, nothing, but it was mid-afternoon, I had not heard a call, and the cicadas were revved up.

Around 9 pm I heard one in the distance, so I played the call twice and stopped.  Sure enough, got a vigorous response, then silence.  Then, the call came from about 30 yards away.  I played one more, stopped.  The owl swept past me to alight about 15 feet from the speaker, and commenced to calling again.  So cool!  I told my wife about it, she thought I was being manipulative and bringing the owl in under false pretenses.   :?  All true, but so cool!   Amazed that in 2 iterations the owl had very precisely located the source of the call.  End of story......Not!

Perhaps a half hour later, the owl called, and first a second, then a 3rd one all responded, located around the original landing point 30 yards away.  They were really going at it, one of them sounding very aggressive.  My wife then turns to me, "if those owls keep me up tonight...."     :-[

Anyway, it was fun while it lasted.   Here's the call I used, the first one.



Offline HondoKillebrew

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1885: June 06, 2021, 09:37:58 PM »
I've heard they're curious birds. I've been able to get a response to a vocal call, but none ever approached.  This is a great idea.

That's tremendous.  Thanks for sharing.  I hear them around my house every now and again but didn't know what type of owl they were. 

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1886: June 06, 2021, 09:44:59 PM »
Great video!! Wow.


Just a FYI - The ethics of using recorded bird calls to attract birds is a source of controversy in the birding world. The concern is that because birds interpret the calls as either rivals or mates, the time and energy they use responding to recorded calls is time they’re not spending hunting, feeding young, defending their territory, etc. Best practice seems to be to do it sparingly - no more than a couple minutes at a time.

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1887: June 06, 2021, 10:27:05 PM »
All I needed to attract owls was a ponytail...I've been hit a bunch of times at night in the woods on my bike.  My old helmet had claw punctures!  Guess they think that some of the rodents have headlights now.

I love owls so they get a pass.   

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1888: June 07, 2021, 09:04:13 PM »
That's tremendous.  Thanks for sharing.  I hear them around my house every now and again but didn't know what type of owl they were.

You don't have to be particularly accurate to get a response. You can shout "who cooks for you" in a high, owl-y voice and probably get a response.

Offline hohoho

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1889: June 09, 2021, 01:20:14 PM »
Observed in Anne Arundel county: Coyotes, foxes, raccoon, deer, rabbits, bald eagles, osprey, pileated woodpeckers, crabs, lots of cicadas, no bears.

Offline varoadking

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1890: July 06, 2021, 09:14:16 AM »

They're baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack....

Well...technically the front yard...
Last seen in September 2019...

Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1891: July 06, 2021, 11:22:01 AM »
Winged death

Offline varoadking

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1892: July 06, 2021, 01:35:31 PM »
Winged death

Just got my epi pen refill last week...prescient...

Offline varoadking

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1893: July 07, 2021, 02:20:36 PM »

Nest is gone...those that were out foraging have returned to a sticky death of their own...



Thank you Bee Busters...

Offline tomterp

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1894: July 09, 2021, 08:31:10 PM »
I'm a nature lover but I have limits - hornets are well past my limit, when around the house like that. 

Offline 1995hoo

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1895: July 12, 2021, 08:00:47 AM »
Fox News!!!!!



Offline Ali the Baseball Cat

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1897: July 13, 2021, 12:11:47 PM »
That's awesome  :D

I saw a squirrel dragging a home-delivery NYT down the sidewalk..."All the news that's fit to stash"

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1898: July 13, 2021, 01:05:24 PM »
Might be the same fox in our neighborhood. Three out of seven days, our bagged Washington Post is covered in fox piss.

Fox News!!!!!

(Image removed from quote.)

Offline dracnal

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1899: July 13, 2021, 01:53:10 PM »
Might be the same fox in our neighborhood. Three out of seven days, our bagged Washington Post is covered in fox piss.

Everybody's a critic.