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Jul 05 2012

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Feeding Time!

These little beauties come from our own Trebuchet, who got the whole UFD thing started. It’s a good thing other people don’t collapse in a molten heap of squee when they see birds like this, or we’d never have any decent UFDs. I’d have probably missed my opportunity by screaming “ZOMG they are so cute!!!” before grabbing the camera and snapping a photo. Birds, for some reason, tend to fly away when you make loud noises at them.

UFD I. Image courtesy Trebuchet.

This is why I keep meaning to go buy a bird feeder. I’ll probably do it after I quit smoking – it will force me to go outside for things other than sacrificing another portion of my lungs to the nicotine demon. And my cat will be ecstatic. As long as the sliding glass door is closed, she can style herself the Great Huntress. She’s brave as long as she’s in no danger of getting pecked.

These little delights were snapped in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve not seen them round before, but then, I haven’t got a feeder, and the birds in this area seem to think it’s funny to hide behind leaves and sing lustily just out of sight – unless I don’t have my camera with me, in which case they parade around in plain view. Mocking birds, the lot of ‘em. It’s all right. I’ll soon have my hands on a feeder, and we’ll see who laughs the last laugh then.

Gracias, Trebuchet!

You, too, can have your very own UFDs identified! Just send me a photo or several, with UFD in the subject line, and a description of where the photo was taken. You can find me at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.

11 comments

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  1. 1
    azportsider

    It’s a charm of goldfinches, Dana. American Goldfinches, to be specific. And, yes, ‘charm’ is the correct collective for a herd of goldfinches.

  2. 2
    Callan Bentley

    Goldfinches, female

  3. 3
    rq

    Yes. American Goldfinch, female – a charm’s day out at the feeder.

  4. 4
    bcoppola

    Heh, “a charm of goldfinches”! I learn something new every day here at FtB. My finch feeder is usually “charmed” but for whatever reason a lot of chickadees have been visiting too. I think some are nesting nearby; one keeps feeding another who looks to be an adult but is maybe recently fledged. Usually I see them more in the winter (I’m in the Detroit ‘burbs). Hearing more of the male call this year too.

    So…what’s the collective name for chickadees?

  5. 5
    Cunning Pam

    I knew they were goldfinches, but didn’t know that the proper collective noun was ‘charm’. That’s just delightful! And since I collect collectives, I have a new one to add!

  6. 6
    Trebuchet

    I figured that wouldn’t take beyond the first or second comment! But I never heard “charm of goldfinches” before — I love that! I will, however, point out that some of these are undoubtedly male. The picture was taken in the winter, when they change their bright plumage for something a little more casual.

    I just wish I could still have birdfeeders, but the accursed raccoons have made it impossible. The last one we had out I hung from the tin roof over the patio, figuring it would be safe there. Next morning it was on the ground, destroyed.

    And why doesn’t spellcheck recognize the plural of “raccoon”?

  7. 7
    movablebooklady

    Switch to an e-cig — no tobacco, no butts, no ashes, no smell, exhale water vapor only, cheaper than cigs. I went over in one day and never went back (in 2010). For me, half the fun of smoking was making smoke so I get my nicotine and make plenty of smoke, all without nasty effects of tobacco and its multitudinous additives. And I feel better, too.

  8. 8
    Worldtraveller

    BTW, my favorite online Bird ID guide is here:

    http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search

  9. 9
    Art

    Looking at bird feeders I’ve concluded that anyone who can use simple hand tools can make a very functional feeder for far less than they sell for. I’ve made a few.

    The most recent is a simple 18″ square of 1/2″ ply mounted on a 3″ toilet flange placed on top a 5′ piece of 3″ plastic conduit. The pipe is too but around for squirrels to climb and racoons can’t shinny up it because I sprayed it with silicone.

    I had the conduit, screws and scrap ply so all I had to buy was a $4 plastic toilet flange.

    I didn’t even apply any finish to the wood. I just let it grow moss and hose it off. After a few years I will just replace the plywood. The birds don’t seem to be put off by its rustic simplicity.

    One of the biggest draws for birds is a birdbath rigged with a drip emitter. The hose-bib to 3/16″ poly adapter, 25′ of poly tube, and a half dozen emitters come in a kit for about #10. The end result is a single drop every five seconds falling about 8″ into a birdbath. The ripples, moving water, and sound really draw birds. Food, water, and a few bushes suitable for perching, and fenced yard the keep out most of the cats, make a very attractive package for birds.

    The eating and bathing birds draws in insectivores and the occasional hawk and owl. An hour after sunrise my yard sounds like an aviary.

    I’m damn-near useless at bird identification. People ask me what type it was and I say something very meaningful to ornithologists, like ‘blue’. As in it was mostly blue. I can identify the very common ones like cardinals, jays, and doves, but I saw small little brown ones for months before I got around to figuring out they are Carolina Wrens. Mostly it was their wild songs and boundless energy, and bravery around cats that got my attention.

  10. 10
    Zoboz

    If you’re a fan of collective nouns, check out “An Exaltation of Larks” by James Lipton – the “Inside the Actors Studio” host. There are lots of great ones in there, but my favorite tidbit isn’t a name for any particular group of animals, but the fact that the phrase for “groups of animals” is “terms of venery.” (It’s root come from the Latin word for “hunting.”) Ever since I learned that, I figured that if you’ve been bitten by the bug for collective nouns, you can say that you have “venerial disease.”

    1. 10.1
      rq

      I laughed. That’s fantastic. :D Something new every day!

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