We enjoyed Kevin’s note on the A-Sip Restaurant. We have a similar one here in Burns, open in the winter only. Our Bye Bye Birdie restaurant has been perching room only lately. We serve Kale quail, dove on cracked corn, and sunflower stuffed grosbeaks.
A wintering red-tailed hawk, adult northern goshawk, adult Cooper’s hawk and today an adult Merlin showed up for brunch. Two juvenile Cooper’s and one juvenile goshawk also visit weekly.
Their favorite meals are some of the 200 California quail eating our garden kale and sunflower seeds all day long followed by Eurasian collared-doves eating cracked corn and unfortunately an occasional evening grosbeak this year, since over 70 showed up for the first time ever.
California scrub jays provide the raucous entertainment, weighing each peanut, taking the heaviest ones first before the squirrels steal them. We only lost one jay to a rare visit by a northern harrier one winter.
We sip coffee and watch the interactions between species. Cooper’s hawks will call as they harass the goshawks, until perching just a few feet away forcing the goshawk to leave. Cooper’s hawks will also chase the squirrels, but eventually the squirrel will run the Cooper’s out of the tree. The Merlin perches on top of the tallest trees and the red-tailed hawk favors the power pole. Great horned owls move in at night, testing their skills on roosting quail.
Even though Eurasian collared doves are invasive, they provide an important addition to the menus for the raptors, especially because they are here year round. Over 60 visit the feeders on cold snowy days.
It takes 73 minutes for a goshawk to eat an entire dove. We watch from just 25 feet away, as the hawks use plucking posts we provide. The backyard is a carpet of feathers instead of fall leaves.
Currently we are losing a minimum of one quail per day and one dove every three days. At this rate, their populations will be halved by the end of the winter when the raptors leave for breeding territories.
We gave up on all possible tricks to avoid window strikes and installed vertical trampoline, made out of cherry tree black netting stretched at an angle from the gutter to below the large reflective windows. The raptors still spook birds into the netting and pounce on the disorientated bird but at least the raptors do not hit the window. Binocular and camera operations are not affected by the thin stretched out netting.
Other winter species include:
a roosting white headed woodpecker
4 northern flickers
several white crowned sparrows
a song sparrow
One mountain chickadee
15 house finches
6 California scrub jays
An occasional black-billed magpie
a dozen juncos
A few American robins
A dozen house sparrows
a few American and lesser goldfinches
One or two pine siskins
A weekly visit by a prairie falcon hunting the horse pasture.
A few hundred starlings chasing off cedar waxwings feeding on the last of the Russian olive berries. Love that tree and all the birds that feed on it.
And a few common ravens and bald eagles flying overhead.
With a spotting scope on a good weather day we can add another 20 species on the distant sewage ponds and 30,000 “white geese” in March.
The only challenge to all this is hauling back 2000 pounds of bird food from Bend and Vale each year and trapping mice.
Happy winter birding!
Rick Vetter and Joan Suther
Sent from my iPad
“Even the worst handwritten field notes are better than the best memory or technology“ - Sergej Postupalsky
> On Nov 17, 2019, at 10:24 AM, Kevin Smith <kevinsmithnaturephotos...> wrote:
> News from the A-Sip Restaurant,
> For the past weeks we have enjoyed the presence of an adult Cooper's Hawk coming in to our deck-side restaurant here at Crooked River Ranch. Although we serve IBBB (Itty-Bitty-Brown-Birds) and LBJ's (Little Brown Birds) as well as flickers and jays we have never actually SEEN this adult accipiter catch anything but not for the lack of trying. It seems to come in on a schedule near 10:00 AM and rest on our power pole just long enough to scan the feeders on our deck, then the surrounding grounds. Lucky for us/and them I have installed the best 'window-bonger' protection available so we have not lost any 'customers' trying to escape the marauder. I installed this bird protection almost 20 years ago and though the little guys and gals bounce right off it like playing on a trampoline I have not found a way to protect our smaller windows and doors.
> Other birds coming to our feeders at this time of the year include but are not limited to
> American Kestrel (and fly-overs by other raptors)
> California Quail
> Eurasian Collared-doves (it used to be all Mourning Doves but no more)
> Common Raven
> Steller's and Western Jays
> American Robin
> Townsend's Solitaire
> Western and Mountain Bluebirds
> Oregon Juncos
> House and Cassin's Finches
> American and Lesser Goldfinches
> and House Sparrows (Dang!)
> Don't forget to join us for the Winter Raptor Routes.
> Kevin Smith