Thursday, April 16, 2015

Trained Gray Squirrel and Blue Jay Friends



Wild Gray Squirrels and Blue Jays training to wait for me to open the door in the morning to be fed peanuts. First I trained the squirrels to wait and come 

but it didn't take long for the extremely intelligent and observant Blue Jays who I occasionally hand feed to adjust their busy schedules and gatecrash the squirrel feeding session. It can get a little hectic for about 10 minutes in the morning, but they are a fun bunch to jump start the day. The entire family of squirrels and Blue Jays join in and for the most part its orderly. This is a recording of a mornings activity. See Hand Feeding my Blue Jay Buddy at:

Be extremely careful if you attempt to hand feed squirrels they are farsighted and notice their eyes are on the side of their heads and they will accidentally bite - notice that I only hold the very end of a peanut and keep my fingers away to make it easy to grab. I would suggest never extending an open hand with food in it to a wild squirrel! I also do not recommend over-feeding squirrels - just give them a bit to supplement their diets and maintain some discipline so they wont become dependent.


Trained Gray Squirrel

Squirrel Taste Test Challenge


Squirrels entered into a Backyard Taste Test Contest must choose between roasted unsalted peanuts and tree-ripened juicy sweet Loquats. Watch and find out what four out of five squirrels prefer!

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Squirrel Taste Test Challenge

Flock Of Grackles Takes Off



A flock of Common Grackles calling noisily starts to settle into an isolated bare deciduous Chinese Tallow Tree to roost for the night, but then think better of it. The American Robins and Mourning Doves lower in the tree ignore the panicky grackles and stay put.
This unique invasive deciduous tree is a magnet for birds - more on this tree in the future!
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Flock Of Grackles Takes Off

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pileated Woodpecker Pecking And Eating Ants


Close-up female Pileated Woodpecker pecking and eating Carpenter Ants. The largest of North American Woodpeckers - they use their large head and long necks like a hammer to amazing effect and the noise sounds like someone hammering in this close up video. Always exciting to see these impressive birds I was fortunate enough to hear this one and get close while being screened by heavy brush - only about six feet off the ground I was able to get eye-to-eye with this amazing bird.

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Pileated Woodpecker Pecking


Amazing Trained Hopping Squirrel



Run Squirrel Run. Squirrel only runs on stepping stones! My trained Gray Squirrel Buddy waits for me to open the back door each morning and then runs to get a peanut - always careful to stay on the path. He runs back and forth all the way for each peanut! One might say I have trained him well, but he is smarter than that - he has trained me! Filmed with a cell phone so a bit shaky in places. A more thorough training video is planned.

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Amazing Trained Hopping Squirrel

Blue Jay Couple Gathering Nest Material



Mating Blue Jay couple building a nest are gathering material over two days. Both parents participate in gathering material and building the nest. They are very slow and picky about what they gather and appear to give the subject great deliberation. Notice especially on the first half of the video that they each have different kinds of materials. They both give a barely audible contact chirp while they gather and are very careful about revealing the location of their nest. Typically flying a circuitous route back to the nesting site in case a predator is watching. They are extremely intelligent backyard birds.

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Blue Jays Gathering Nest Material


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Amazing Wild Baby Screech Owls Fed By Parents



Eastern Screech Owl parents feed wild caught food to the three owlets in the nest box. The owlets can now swallow entire frogs and lizards and have to fight for position at the entrance and in a manner seem to take turns eating, but have to be pushed out of the way at times. Watch for one owlet who doesn't like Cicadas and lets it go only to be attacked by it later! Highlights from the live broadcast of April 7th, 2015.  

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Wild Baby Screech Owls


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Screech Owls - Silent Hunters of the Night Mini Documentary


Short documentary on a pair of Eastern Screech Owls hunting prey on silent wings to feed their three rapidly growing owlets in a nest box in Florida. The entrance to the nest box is like a busy air terminal

Screech Owls - Silent Hunters of the Night Mini Documentary

Painted Buntings Spring Migration North From Florida


Painted Buntings - the most colorful songbirds in North America are passing through the Backyard on their way north to breeding grounds around the Sea Islands of coastal Georgia and South Carolina. We had four that were permanent winter visitors but this time of year travelling migrant buntings continue to pass through on their way northward. Usually by early to mid April they are all gone. Continuing a trend of recent years there have been fewer of  the spectacular mature males as in this video.

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Painted Bunting


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Eastern Screech Owls Quarrel Over Big Lizard


The Screech Owls have a minor fight over a large lizard! If we could only understand owl calls. On a short break outside the nest box Ms. Owl naturally assumes that Mr. Owl is landing next to her to hand of what looks like a rather tasty and heavy bodied lizard lacking a tail (it's too long and short legged to be a large frog or toad) - But Mr. Owl pulls back and intends to keep it for himself leading Ms. Owl to give him a sharp bite on the head and the cold shoulder. All is quickly forgotten, however, as there is much food for all. It is clear though that this year's male Screech Owl is a very discriminating hunter and eater, focusing on large exotic nocturnal reptiles and amphibians.  

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Eastern Screech Owls Quarrel Over Big Lizard