[Mnbird] Catching up

gperrizo at centurytel.net gperrizo at centurytel.net
Thu Sep 9 10:03:08 CDT 2021

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I've been meaning to share this for a while.... Over the past month or so,
>we've had a melanistic ring-necked pheasant visiting our yard, feeding
>under the bird feeders. I first spotted it one late afternoon, scurrying
>across the yard while I was sitting on the deck. It was in the shade and at
>the time, lacking long tail feathers. I managed to get the binos up for a
>second or two before it was obscured by a tree. What was most prominent was
>a bright red area on the face. So I thought, well, that should make for an
>easy ID! But, while the male ring-neck pheasant has that red patch, I sure
>hadn't seen the white neck-ring. Other than the red patch, it appeared very
>dark all over. I got another quick glimpse the next day. My husband spotted
>it the following day, and did some Googling, coming up with the melanistic
>form. It appears to be a male. We've been seeing it very frequently. If
>seen in the sunlight, it is beautifully iridescent. Over the past week,
>long tail feathers have been emerging. I wish I could include some images,
>but I think they would get scrubbed. I did add it to iNaturalist with some
>images: inaturalist.org/observations/92850962. You can also see images at
>https://www.pheasant.com/birds/melanistic-mutant-pheasant, and
>On a different note, the hummers have been busy, both at the flowers and
>the nectar feeders. But a few days ago, I observed a new behavior (to me,
>anyway). We have a jelly cup feeder near one of the hummingbird feeders.
>Several times I saw a hummer checking it out. At one point, a female landed
>on the edge of the cup, and dipped down a couple of times before the bees
>chased it off! I can't know for sure if it actually sampled the jelly, but
>it was fun to see. ;-)
>Also, there was a suggestion on MOU-NET about using peppermint oil in the
>exterior of hummingbird feeders to keep the hornets off. I didn't find
>peppermint oil at Cub, so I decided to try peppermint extract, which
>includes peppermint oil. I have small tube feeders with those yellow bee
>guards. I used a Q-tip to apply the extract to the bee guards. I haven't
>noticed any bees on them since, but I haven't been watching very often! I
>will pick up the actual peppermint essential oil this week. Maybe it will
>work on the jelly feeder, too - the extract hasn't stopped the bees.
>Happy September!
>Kim Wilcox
>Kimerly J. Wilcox, Ph.D.

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