Fierce by Tygh
Fierce, a photo by Tygh on Flickr.

She is much tougher than she looks.

I made a mistake tonight. A pair of chickadees hijacked a nest box from some Nuthatches a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, I hadn’t seen anyone come in or out of the box for a couple of days and so I was concerned that there might be a problem. I imagined an abandoned nest, perhaps some dead chicks or a parent. So I staked out the nest box for a while. I watched for what I thought was a long time and I saw no activity. After a while, I went outside and tapped on it and listened for any movement inside. Eventually, I stood on a chair and tried to peek into the entrance hole.

When I was pretty sure there was nobody home, I lifted the box down and carefully removed the lid…

… and there she was.

At first I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. I saw the edges of a nest and just darkness at the center of the box. Once I could see a little better, I saw her tail and her head. She was not moving, she was hunkering down. I thought she might be dead, but something told me that she wasn’t. She was defending her precious clutch with astounding discipline.

I quickly put the lid back on the box and hung it back where I found it. Then I looked at the box for a while making sure that she didn’t leave her eggs. She didn’t.

I am so sorry for disturbing her. If she is going to use that box again, she is going to have to feel safe. I hope that if the nestlings fledge that she ultimately remembers that the box was successful and forgets the brief but serious invasion of privacy that she suffered this evening.


Viscious by Tygh
Viscious, a photo by Tygh on Flickr.

For the past couple of days, the number of starlings around our house has dramatically increased. These birds are extremely aggressive.

One or two of them is no match for a swash-buckling woodpecker, but when they have numbers, they simply take over.

I went through three times the normal suet today despite trying to be a scarecrow all afternoon.

Not So Fluffy

Not So Fluffy by Tygh
Not So Fluffy, a photo by Tygh on Flickr.

Today was a nice, sunny day which made it harder than usual to concentrate.

I got a picture of a new visitor to the backyard this afternoon. I don’t know if he is here because I keep taking the healthy and strong competition out of the neighborhood, but this sorry little guy has taken up residence in some pretty choice territory.

He doesn’t have a bushy tail. Alopecia seems to have set in back there. He also has a bum right rear leg. As a result of these two conditions, he scoots along the top of the fence with a very low profile. He uses the gimpy leg to hook himself to the metal post as he leans toward the feeder to get a bite.

I was going to trap him like the others, but I can’t really bear it. He doesn’t eat the suet since he can’t reach it, and he is sort of a pathetic underdog.

I’ve even tried to catch him in the trap, but since he doesn’t sit on his haunches like other squirrels, he has been able to trigger the trap without latching it. If the trap doesn’t latch, he just slips out the way he came in.

Maybe I should call him lucky.

On the water


I was in San Diego for a conference last week and took an extra day to go out into the bay on a sail boat. As we floated by a station used for processing bait, I saw these two characters poking around and looking for a snack.

Great Blue Heron and Egret Scrounge for Food

It was a great day out on the boat. The wind was strong enough to move us along at a nice clip. There were a lot of sailboats out around us as we cruised around. I had a fantastic time.

Hardwood Throughout

Hardwood Throughout by Tygh
Hardwood Throughout, a photo by Tygh on Flickr.

The nuthatches failed. They were evicted by chickadees. I was heartbroken when it happened, but I didn’t feel right intervening. Instead, opening up some new real estate – hanging a couple of additional nest boxes – seemed like a better idea.

Here is one of the new ones that went up in case the nuthatches were still around. Check out the highlights:

  • Spacious 8 in2
  • Vaulted Ceilings
  • Hardwood Throughout
  • Green Space
  • Feeder Access

It really does have some quality attributes, now let’s hope we get some takers.

Our House

Home Sweet Home by Tygh
Home Sweet Home, a photo by Tygh on Flickr.

Here is a little nuthatch who, along with his or her mate, has claimed a small nest cavity hanging from our front porch.

This box has been used by chickadees before, but never nuthatches.

I don’t know if it means anything, but this guy is a bit ragged. You can see a little bit of a cowlick at the back of his head, and if you look closely, some of his feathers are a bit out of place. I’ve seen nesting birds show signs of fatigue and maybe bad hygiene, but it’s generally after the nestlings have hatched and it is time to feed them all day long to the point of exhaustion.

Fortunately, there is abundant food nearby, but I am hopeful that he hasn’t picked up anything that will put him at risk when he’s needed most.


Taste by Tygh
Taste, a photo by Tygh on Flickr.

This is Noam probing for a treat. He is pretty comfortable with humans. I am always amused by his excited reaction when he gets a little snack.

He and his brother Steve both respond really strangely when they find socks and band-aids on their human friends. They don’t like these things for some reason and they try to remove them.