The Joy Of A Messy Fallen Oak

I am so loving the dead oak in Mr. Neil's yard! This may look like a bunch of dead boring branches, but it is teeming with life. It was struck by lightening and had to be felled and when the tree was down, I asked if he would mind leaving it there to do its decomposition thing. He agreed and this fall it has been sparrow town! I've been scattering seeds for sparrows all along the edges to encourage them to pop out, mostly white millet, flax, canary seed, sunflower chips, cracked corn, canola, and Nyjer.

The juncos have just been lovin' it. They will even perch on some of the branches and chill out for a bit, allowing you to get cute photos of them doing their impersonation of a fluffy puffball.

Others juncos just give you the sass. It's a fun challenge getting photos of tiny birds not at a bird feeder.

This week, the migratory sparrows have shown up in earnest. Even around my neighborhood I've found some lurking white-crowned sparrows. So far in the fallen oak I have found white-throated sparrows like the one in the above photo. They seem a tad cagey compared to the juncos, preferring to stay within the tree branches. They must have just arrived, maybe after a few days of refueling they will stay out in the open more.

Speaking of cagey, there is at least one fox sparrow lurking in the oak. The above photo was the best that I could do for a photo. I swear, that is the back of a fox sparrow. Really, it is. It's different than the other brown birds featured in this post. Honest.

This bird popping out for the sparrow mix surprised me. I would have thought they would be outta the state by now. It looks a little different from we're used to. Can you guess it? If you said chipping sparrow, you'd be right. The tree sparrows should be here very soon after these guys go.

The song sparrow in this awkward position is hoping that if it sits still enough, I won't notice and will aim my scope else where and it can enjoy whatever morsel it just found in peace. It's not every day you see a bird with it's tail caught in a branch--how embarrassing. Someone call Mr. Blackwell.

Sparrows aren't the only birds enjoying the fallen oak. The titmice have been grabbing leaves and pecking the heck out of them, there must be some type of bug or larvae lurking in there.

And it's not just the fallen tree itself that has been fun. You may have noticed in previous that we've turned the stump into a tray feeder and everybody has been using it (well, maybe not the hummingbirds, hard to put nectar on a stump).

And it's not just the brown birds either. I put some mixed nuts on their for the chickadees, titmice and nuthatches, but it's never long before a blue jay wants in on some of that action. They love their nuts.

I love this photo. That chickadee looks like it's thinking, "Well, there goes the neighborhood." There's now attractive way to mammal proof a stump, but we have all the other feeder poles mammal proofed so I'm not too bothered if the squirrels and chipmunks want to hoover up the seeds. Since this stump doesn't have much in the way of drainage holes, it helps to have birds and critters move the seed faster.