Angry Birds


First step:  pull plants for access
 
The urn fountain, so popular with the birds, suddenly stopped working.  Uh-oh.  Unlike my usual procrastinating self, I jumped to.  The birds were angry.  
Temporary urn look:  beached whale
 Was there a leak?  Was the pump malfunctioning?  Was it just in need of a clean up?  I set up a temporary arrangement for a few hours so the birds could still access a shallow dish of water.    This also enabled me to observe the water level to determine if there was a leak in the basin. 
Pump worked okay:
 No leak.  As it turned out, the problem was nothing more than the pump getting clogged up by gunk at the bottom of the basin, gunk that had slowly built up over time.  A hasty clean up and reassembly.  A Scrub Jay was particularly incensed about the situation, flying in several times to complain.  GRAAAAWK!  Unfortunately, no time for bird photos.  

Bird observations:  a hummer arrived, hovering at the exact place and height the urn normally occupies.  He hovered, hovered, confused.  Baffled.  Where's the water?  I wonder if hummingbirds work by some internal GPS location rather than by visual clues.   The Scrub Jay, in contrast, landed on the dry urn in its beached whale position and looked around, tilting his head this way and that.  Then, at me he glared, and GRAAAWK!  He likes his bath around 1:00 pm, and I was in the way.    

The reassembled fountain refilled with water, the pump plugged in:  it worked.  Success.  It was still working as the sun set, and it was working this morning in both senses--the water was running normally and a cloud of wet birds scattered when I opened the front door to have a look at the urn.  All's well again.  No more angry birds.   

Then time for some replanting.  
 The rocks that were in the basin to help disguise it need to be cleaned.  Yuck.  Not today. 
 I went through the pulled plants.  A million 'Fred Ives' to de-stem and re-root.  I cleaned up and split up the clump of 'Bella Rossa' daylily.
 I dug out the small Gaura that was overwhelmed by its two better watered companions and planted some of the 'Bella Rossa' fans  There's already some 'Bella Rossa' on the other side of the largest Gaura that looks great, so more will be better. 
 A lizard had to stop and investigate.  He liked the soil. 
 The Gaura went here, where it will get irrigated. 
 Another piece of 'Bella Rossa' went here. 
 'Fred Ives' is too vigorous for the space.  It had become difficult to maneuver around all the plants.  I'll try some Sedum 'Coppertone' instead of 'Fred'.  The sedum is a slower grower.
A few more pieces of 'Coppertone' to add, a whole lot of 'Fred' to re-root and relocate, pebbles to clean, but it all worked out okay.   

Comments

  1. Blue jays have a massive sense of entitlement.
    The hummer's response is intriguing. After reading about the on-the-fly computation needed to allow them to hover (in this fascinating post: https://gardenriots.com/2019/05/29/hummingbirds-in-the-real-world-evolution-physiology-and-relationship/), I'd guess it was operating on sheer muscle memory.

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  2. I'm glad the fountain problem wasn't more significant. When our fountain stops, it's usually due to a clogged filter too, except for the time a raccoon stole the filter. We had trouble finding a replacement filter to fit but, after a 2-day search, I found the original where the errant raccoon had dropped it. We reinstalled it with protective covers. My own fountain's in serious need of cleaning but, as it'll be off for a time when construction starts, I've put it off until it's decommissioned. Cleaning is a yucky job.

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    1. The yuck factor is not as bad as a koi pond. A rat trap went missing--I found it about 50 feet away. What happened there I'll never know.

      Every time you mention your various Raccoon problems I am so thankful they don't seem to like my garden! Keeping my fingers crossed they never develop an interest. A neighbor down the road told me they ate all her koi, and more than once.

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  3. I am very familiar with that scrub jay insistence. . . I wish they had a slightly less grating way of letting us know they’re irritated. Nice work on the repair!

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    1. Thanks! It wasn't so bad as I expected.

      The Scrub Jays do have a pretty harsh call. I was surprised that the Hooded Oriole's voice was also squawky, though not at the scrub jay level. I guess it makes up for the Oriole's extraordinary beauty.

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  4. Ha, I can just imagine the angry birds. It is funny how birds look right where they think the bath should be, or always was before. The hummers do that with their feeder too. If at the beginning of the season they return before I get the feeder out they hover right where I normally hang the feeder. I then get busy and get one out there. They have me well trained.

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    1. You are right! The hummers do that with a feeder as well.

      And the birds do have us well trained. Dogs are even better at it.

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  5. It's amazing how much creatures of habit even birds are, right down to the exact time of their usual drink.

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    1. It wasn't until I started spending so much time outdoors that I realized wild creatures have their routines just as humans do. I used to see a particular coyote going for his nightly hunt at the same time every day, taking the same route down our street.

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  6. Glad that things have returned to normal ( https://youtu.be/hQZ6zzLpoNQ )and your birds are happy once again.

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    1. "I really feel quite happy now." :^) Thanks for the smile, Outlaw.

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  7. I've got to get in gear. A hanging dish bird bath is not the same as a bubbling fountain. A good day's work by you!

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    1. Choosing an easy to clean fountain is so very wise.

      It did feel like a day well spent. And no more GRAWWK!s

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  8. I have a woodpecker who objects (loudly) whenever I am within 20 feet of the peanut feeder. I get chirped out of my own garden. It is of course nesting time and I am hugely looking forward to seeing the babies. Nevertheless, he has to remember whose garden it is and, perhaps even more importantly, who provides the peanuts.

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    1. He has trained you to provide peanuts. Clever bird!

      There's at least one Acorn woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus, in the neighborhood here. They are good at hiding--can just hear the pecking and the calls. The nest is just down at the bend in the road.

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