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    #26
    Great Tits

    If we could get rid of the f*cking Indian Mynajhs, some of the smaller birds might come back.

    It could happen but you might not like the consequences. Here in Vancouver Indian Mynah's showed up in the the 1920s, within a few years they'd "outnested" the local Bluebirds. I've never seen a Western Bluebird in the city and neither has anyone else I know. In the early 70s, when I arrived Mynahs were fairly common but there have been no sightings in the last five years. The Starlings have moved in instead.

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      #27
      Great Tits

      Do the parrots/parakeets in London look like this?:



      It's a Monk Parakeet, and they live all over New York, especially Brooklyn, the descendants of pet store and cage escapees. I first encountered them when I once went jogging down Ocean Parkway, and on the way back home I was so exhausted I thought I was hallucinating and seeing green pigeons.

      They're here in Austin, too, with a huge colony living in the light towers at the University of Texas's intramural fields. I suppose they like watching people play football.

      I get lots of birds in my yard here: Mockingbirds, Cardinals, Grackles, House Finches, Purple Finches, Cedar Waxwings (in the winter), and lots of doves and pigeons. Sadly, no Tits.

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        #28
        Great Tits

        Strange, AdeC, we have lots of starlings over here, and they tend to act like fish, to stop a predator, natch, they do it for about 3 days, and then they fuck off over Britain...

        same thing over there?

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          #29
          Great Tits

          Renart, I can only remember seeing those in the wild in Fuengirola, where they would sit in trees, wait for the most possible ... something, and then fly out and shit on everything underneath them.

          Joyous (when you see them taking off for wherever, but not so much when you are under it)

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            #30
            Great Tits

            Incidentally, willie, did you mean that spelling of 'Mynajhs?'

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              #31
              Great Tits

              Gerontophile wrote:
              That latter picture is rather wonderful Willie... one of yours?
              No.... I stole it off the web.

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                #32
                Great Tits

                Yeah, I wonder if they shit on the people playing football and tennis and such on the UT fields. There are a lot of them. My daughter went to soccer camp there, and she told me about them, but she didn't mention any carpet-bombing from the birds. They're fun to watch, though. Every time I walk or drive by the fields it's still a surprise to see so many tropical birds flying around.

                Oh, I forgot, my wife spotted a Pileated Woodpecker in our yard recently. They're really impressive: big as a crow with a bright red crest, and they bang on trees so hard that huge pieces of bark go flying every time they peck.

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                  #33
                  Great Tits

                  Gerontophile wrote:
                  Incidentally, willie, did you mean that spelling of 'Mynajhs?'
                  No.... I have fat (no offence meant) fingers. It kind of makes the little bastards sound more exotic, doesn't it?

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                    #34
                    Great Tits

                    Oh, I forgot, my wife spotted a Pileated Woodpecker in our yard recently. They're really impressive: big as a crow with a bright red crest, and they bang on trees so hard that huge pieces of bark go flying every time they peck.

                    They're very common here though I've yet to get one at a feeder and you're right, very impressive. Like most woodpeckers you can get quite close to them if you're careful four or five feet maybe because they can't turn their heads too well. They'll drill two or three inches into a tree faster than a Black and Decker, I'm always amazed that their skull can absorb the impact. I believe they're the world's largest woodpecker now the Ivory Bill's officially extinct(?)



                    Strange, AdeC, we have lots of starlings over here, and they tend to act like fish, to stop a predator, natch, they do it for about 3 days, and then they fuck off over Britain...

                    same thing over there?


                    Perhaps. On summer evenings you'll sometimes see thousands of them collecting at the edge of town before flying somewhere, but some are certainly resident.

                    They've not been around very long, only since the late 50s I think. They were a plague to fruit farmers and during the 60s the provincial government paid a bounty on them (50 per pair of claws.) At about that time flocks estimated in the millions were seen in the US. Since that time they've either integrated more successfully or are perhaps receding in numbers, I'm not sure.

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                      #35
                      Great Tits

                      I used to get woodpeckers in my garden but haven't seen any for a few years. Still get small birds (robins, wrens, tits, finches) but I've not seen jays recently and actually, haven't seen the blackbirds for months.

                      Magpies and squirrels have the upper hand out there now, and they are both nestrobbers. There's quite a lot of noisy trouble between the two.

                      I've got a squirrel proof bird feeder but the birds don't seem to have found it yet, or maybe I've got the wrong food in it. Any tips welcome .. like the seeds for goldfinches, which I will look into.

                      Aahh, my cat loves the bmibaby ad on the right hand side.

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                        #36
                        Great Tits

                        I deliberately chose my feeders to exclude the local Jays. They're spectacular looking but they'd wipe-out everything I put out out there in minutes:



                        I buy shelled, cut sunflower seeds, and suet cakes of various kinds. Except during migration though there aren't many song/garden birds to speak of hearabouts La Signora really misses the English dawn chorus. We've loads of raptors and water fowl but large high-growth trees don't really encourage small birds.

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                          #37
                          Great Tits

                          I see the War On Magpies and the War On Squirrels are still going, then. I wonder which one we'll win first.

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                            #38
                            Great Tits

                            Do the parrots/parakeets in London look like this?:
                            Similar but not identical. The beaks on ours are redder than in your photo, and ours don't have the grey face. Probably a more vivid green, too.

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                              #39
                              Great Tits

                              AdeC I would fill my garden full of feeders just to see a Jay as lovely as that one.

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                                #40
                                Great Tits

                                They are quite splendid, which is probably why they're the Official Provincial Bird. They have twin blue eyebrow stripes which, to me, give them a kind of 'don't mess with me' samurai look they're more visible in this picture:



                                But, being crows, they're raucous and pretty aggressive most of the other birds just piss off if jays are regulars at a feeder. My neighbour has a couple of hazelnut trees and, come October, the battles between the Jays and squirrels for produce make the 100 years War seem like Woodstock. Then there's the banging on our bedroom roof at 6:00am as they try and open their plunder. They are great but we see quite enough of them, they don't require encouragement.

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                                  #41
                                  Great Tits

                                  Amor de Cosmos wrote:
                                  Oh, I forgot, my wife spotted a Pileated Woodpecker in our yard recently. They're really impressive: big as a crow with a bright red crest, and they bang on trees so hard that huge pieces of bark go flying every time they peck.

                                  They're very common here though I've yet to get one at a feeder and you're right, very impressive. Like most woodpeckers you can get quite close to them if you're careful four or five feet maybe because they can't turn their heads too well. They'll drill two or three inches into a tree faster than a Black and Decker, I'm always amazed that their skull can absorb the impact. I believe they're the world's largest woodpecker now the Ivory Bill's officially extinct(?)
                                  Yes, they're the largest other than the Ivory Bill. Lots of Ivory Bill "sightings" are eventually shown to be Pileated Woodpeckers instead. Pileateds have a weird range, it loops from Central Texas eastward then up through the Great Lakes and East Coast, across Canada and then back down the West Coast and Sierras. Anywhere there's coniferous forest, I guess. You're somewhere in Canada, right?

                                  They've got extra tissue inside their skull that protects their brain from being damaged by the pecking. There's also a membrane that closes over their eyes to protect them from flying bark, and their tongues have sticky barbs and can extend four inches past their bills to snare insects crawling around on the trees. Remarkable bird. (My daughter did a school report on them, which is why I know these facts! We've seen lots of them just east of here at Bastrop State Park, which is a weird little isolated loblolly pine forest ecosystem surrounded by plains and deciduous woodland, but we were surprised to see one in the city.)

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                                    #42
                                    Great Tits

                                    I'm in Vancouver. There's a lot of forested parkland within the city so we do see them in the streets sometimes (they work on the hydro poles in our back lane now and again.) Occasionally I've seen as many as three or four at a time almost like a small flock which I've never noticed with any other woodpecker, is that a characteristic do you know?

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                                      #43
                                      Great Tits

                                      I thought they only paired up. Maybe you saw a couple and its kids? But I might be wrong about that. I'll see if it says anything about flocking in my National Geographic bird book.

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                                        #44
                                        Great Tits

                                        What a great thread.

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                                          #45
                                          Great Tits

                                          The parakeets near where I live in SE London are fab. They fly around mob handed and really cheer the place up. Walking home on an otherwise drab day recently, I saw a bunch of them come screeching across the sky before settling down in the trees outside where I live. Just the memory of it puts a smile on my face as big as the one at the time I saw them.

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                                            #46
                                            Great Tits

                                            I'm being harrassed by a Magpie. No, really.

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                                              #47
                                              Great Tits

                                              I love magpies

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                                                #48
                                                Great Tits

                                                I've got nothing against them, personally, but it appears that one (or at least I assume it's one) has a real problem with me. Every morning, without fail, it is sitting in the tree outside my flat. Every morning, without fail, it gets remarkably agitated by me opening the front door and walking down the path. I can still hear the bastard squawking and clattering about when I reach the end of the road, a good 60 yards away.

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                                                  #49
                                                  Great Tits

                                                  I've had a similar experience. There was a crow that would follow me to the local store by hopping along the hydro wires, screaming abuse for three blocks. It would wait outside then follow me home doing the same thing. It went on for a couple of weeks.

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                                                    #50
                                                    Great Tits

                                                    I can't find anything about Pileated Woodpeckers flocking in groups. My book says they form long-term monogamous pairs, but that sometimes the young stay with them for a few months after they're out of the nest to learn to forage, so I'm guessing that's what you saw, AdC.

                                                    As for bird-on-human harassment, the Mockingbirds around here sometimes divebomb/buzz people that come (or have come) near their nests. They hit cats, too. They're pretty fearless. I read an article last year about an experiment some ornithologists did that proved Mockingbirds could recognize individual human faces. So don't mess with their nests. They won't forget who you are.

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