July 8, 2011
Suet craftiness. Also: Flickr Friday
For those of you who put out some version of suet or Zick Dough or Bark Butter for the birds, and are too broke and/or too cheap to shell out $$ for a feeder, well... walla, as we say here in California.
Step #1. Find a gnarly old piece of wood. The more canyons and craters, the better.
Step #2. Scrounge around in the garage or the pantry or wherever you keep little containers of small, used and useful items until you find an old screw eye.
Step #3. Put screw eye into one end of the wood. Fill canyons and craters with your preferred suet mix. Hang the thing in a tree. Done!
Took my gang here at the cabin about ten minutes to discover the new food source. Now it's popular with nuthatches, chickadees, grosbeaks, jays, woodpeckers, flickers... all the usual suspects.
If you are in Big Bear this weekend for the PaddleFest or the Corvettes West Big Bear Bash or just to escape the down-the-hill heat for a few days, swing by the Discovery Center on the north shore and check out the swallow nests. (Great [dog-friendly] gift shop, too.)
There are nest boxes scattered here and there, and a few nests in trees like this defunct juniper:
And coming out. Yep, a Violet-green Swallow ;~)
Here's a much, much better photo of a gorgeous Violet-green by Donald Metzner on Flickr. He writes, "When this guy turned and the sun came out from behind the cloud, it was like he just lit up, amazing colors[...]" And those wonderful long wings. A beautiful bird:
See more of Donald Metzner's terrific photos here, at Flickr. Also on Flickr, Larry Jordan of the most excellent Birder's Report has a series of photos of an adult Violet-green feeding a nestling. See Larry's post on the Violet-green's cousin the Tree Swallow here, with wonderful photos.