Visiting Acrobatic Troupe from Canada

The Stone House Bird Buffet is proud to host a troupe of world class acrobats on their southern tour of North America. Direct from Canada….the Red-Breasted Nuthatches!!

First event, the rings…

20130303-083455.jpgMounting the apparatus…

20130303-083541.jpgLook at that extension!

Next up, rhythmic gymnastics…

20130303-083041.jpgMove to the left…

20130303-083351.jpgStretch to the right!

Final event, the parallel bars…

20130303-083628.jpgThis is one gifted aerialist…

20130303-083723.jpgAnd now for the finale!


And now the dismount…

20130303-085843.jpgTime to take a bow…


The Suet Thief

This is Squeegee…

I don't see a camera, therefore no camera exists

I don’t see a camera, therefore no camera exists…

She hates to be photographed. She lives in a constant state of denial. If she does not like something she simply turns her back and the issue no longer exists. She has ignored the very existence of Velcro for about seven years. She’s a snob.

You see, my pack is made up of rejects. Velcro was an older dog when I adopted her. Kirby had shyness issues so the breeder wanted to “place” him with someone who understood terriers. Sunshine is a goldendoodle who was abandoned by his owners along with his litter mates at about 6 weeks. It’s a pretty motley crew except for Squeegee.

Squeegee is a princess. My Pop came for a visit several years ago and fell in love with the young terrier pup I had at the time. He wanted one and they were very expensive where he lived in Vegas, but here in the Ozarks Jack Russell Terriers are hunting dogs, ratters, work dogs. A pedigreed dog can be had for less than a couple hundred dollars – a third of the price in Vegas at the time. So I looked up a couple of breeders and we took a road trip to Jay, Oklahoma to look at some pups. The breeder had 2 available and one was just odd-looking – short nose, barrel chest, wide face – the other was perfectly square, a really beautiful terrier. That dog was Squeegee. Pops asked me which one I thought was the best pick and I told him to get the little square girl – she was perfect. He told me to go get the back of the car ready, he was going to haggle with the breeder over a price. Soon he walked out with both pups in hand – I guess he worked a two-fer deal. Squeegee has been the princess at my place ever since.

A side note – spending your vacation housebreaking three puppies is not very relaxing.

Since the housebreaking phase Squeegee has not been much of a problem except for her disdain of Velcro. She’s a happy dog who barks at deer and chases squirrels. She isn’t much of a hunter, but she does make a lot of noise. She’s the most demanding of my pack and vocalizes a lot to get you to pay attention to her. She rarely gets into things like the trash or messes up anything in the house, so it surprised me to find out that she was a thief.

She hangs out on the patio when I fill the bird feeders and now I know why…

I think if I tiptoe no one will notice

Is that suet on the fence post?

If I just stretch a bit I think I can reach it.

It is suet! If I stretch I think I can get it all before anyone notices…

I don't think she's noticed me - there's a big black and silver thing in front of her face.

I don’t think she’s noticed me – there’s a big black and silver thing in front of her face…

If I can just get around this tree trunk and fake lizard on three legs, I think I can get it all.

If I can just get around this tree trunk and fake lizard on three legs, I think I can get it all before I’m caught…

Around the tree, on the ledge, under the limb - got it!

Around the tree, on the ledge, under the limb – got it!

What suet? I don't see any suet. I'm just hanging out here on this fence post minding my own business.

What suet? I don’t see any suet. I’m just hanging out here on this fence post minding my own business.

She may look innocent, but if you are missing suet you know who’s behind it.

Chilly Day at the Buffet

Yesterday I arrived home from a business trip. I was a cold and dreary day. When I got home I loved on my pups, refilled the bird feeders, and read the mail from the last few days. I built a fire and settled in for a cozy afternoon watching movies with a lap full of happy dogs.

I have a crepe myrtle right next to the house and I can see a glimpse of it through a window right next to the TV. I was distracted from my movie by moving branches and a flash of red…

20130113-191459.jpg I don’t typically shoot through a window, but he was so stinking close, I had to give it a shot. I was less than six feet away. I had to focus manually because of the branches in front of him. He looked over and spotted me in the living room and took off.

I decided to gear up and give the feeder a shot. Overcast skies make for nice detail with no glare. It was only 25 degrees so I put on some long johns and Carharts and took my place on the mud porch and waited to see who might show up.

I was delighted to capture a bird fight dominated by a tough little fellow, you can read about him by clicking goldfinch. Happily, there were many more visitors to the buffet, most of them with better manners than a goldfinch.

The female red-bellied woodpecker came by for lunch when the light was absolutely perfect.







Despite the rowdy behavior of one male goldfinch, most of the boys were well behaved at their fillet feeder on the buffet line.


The male downy woodpecker stopped by for a bite. These guys are always just a bit overdressed for brunch.



The buffet has been honored to welcome some winter visitors!
Dark Headed Juncos – they mostly eat off the floor, but occasionally they show up on the mezzanine.


20130113-200348.jpgAnd although I wish he would have sat for a better shot, this White Throated Sparrow has been foraging in the lower levels with the other newcomers. He seems to be alone so far, his peeps seem to be a bit late for their reservation at the buffet – rest assured we will hold their table.


I was inspired to check in with my guests at the buffet because of the appearance of one of my snobbier and more elusive guests. It turns out he was not alone – he had friends looking over the joint. From top…


20130113-201819.jpgTo bottom…




Even with the welcoming atmosphere of the buffet, some of the cards preferred to keep watch from above. One stood lookout from the west…



20130113-202214.jpgWhile the other kept watch from the east…


20130113-202305.jpgAs snobby as these cards are, you’d think that they’d be better tippers.

All-in-all not bad for a chilly Saturday service.

The Double Date

The woodpecker feeder is the hot spot at the Sunday Buffet these days, a great place for friends to meet up for brunch and a good time.

Sometimes old friends meet up and decide to catch up over a meal…

Hey bud – long time no see? How’s the little lady?

She’s great, she’s on her way here now. You should call your girl – let’s have a double date.

Too late, I’m already here! The pine post is my favorite spot.

Mine too – I love the appetizers!

The Majestic Titmouse

Today I sat out on the porch in the glorious December sunshine – I had my camera ready to capture some cardinals, or woodpeckers, or maybe even the eagle that’s been circling over the mountain for the last week. It occurred to me that even as I try to find the right feeder to attract those snobbish cardinals, as I build feeders to bring the woodpeckers closer, as I buy food I think will get me flashier birds – I have been neglecting one of the most majestic and loyal species at the buffet.

The first birds to come to the buffet were titmice. Those first couple of weeks I was thrilled to see any birds, but before long I was caught up in the search for the flashiest and began to ignore my new friends. The titmice continued to come and entertain me, even as I quit lifting my camera, after all, it’s just another titmouse.

Today it occurred to me that I have these amazing little birds right here in front of me. They like any feeder, any food, and I think they actually like me. They get incredibly close and talk back at me. As I walk across the lawn to my car each morning they call to me and they greet me when I come home each evening. How could I be so distracted by some red feathers or flashy patterns?

Cardinals may come and go, but titmice are in this for the long haul.
















Who needs a lot of red feathers and fancy patterns? I need to learn to be as content, as friendly, as happy as my faithful friends, the titmice.

Calling All Cardinals!

Since I opened the backyard buffet I have been trying to attract Cardinals. Sure, there are tons of cute titmice and chickadees, but that red bird caught my eye the very first time I visited the property. I knew they were in the woods and had even used my iPhone birding app to call them forth in vain attempts to capture them with my camera. I learned early on that they didn’t care for a typical pegged feeder, they need to either feed on the ground or on a larger flat surface.

This summer I discovered the pottery of Julie Windler at the Norberta Philbrook Gallery – I wrote a post about it here. I loved the glazes and they were perfect for chickadees. I keep one filled with suet and one filled with seed on the buffet.

Julie mentioned hoping to see a shot of a cardinal at one of my feeders and I gave her a few parameters of what I thought they would need to feed. I have been seeing them on the patio or feeding in a pie plate I put out on a table. Julie said she could make me something that would work. It’s very simple, it’s a small plate with three holes to suspend it from with drain holes so that the seed stays dry after a rain. It was a little small so I was skeptical. Right off the bat the titmice loved it.

Today I filled it with songbird food – a mix of seed, fruit and nuts – it actually looks pretty tasty. I settled in with my camera hoping to get a shot or two of something feeding at the new addition. I heard the distinctive sound of larger wings flapping while I was focused on a titmouse feeding nearby. Without moving I looked up and found my first customer at the new station. I actually saw 4 cards at once, but focused on just this pair.

Mmmmmmm tasty!

This new feeder really classes up the joint.

Let me take a look around.

I think the coast is clear.

Let me double check.

No one over that way.

I’m going in!

Get your feet off our food, you moron! I can’t take you anywhere!


Sunday Brunch


Good morning, my little Chickadees, the Bird Buffet at the Stone House will be open daily throughout the winter, but make sure to stop by for our award winning Sunday Brunch!


Dead tree trunks packed with suet for all our nuthatch…


and woodpecker friends…


On sunny days be sure to swing by and check out our all new winter menu…


Wintering goldfinches, we are stocked up with fresh top quality Niger seed…


Titmice, come prepared to feast on the finest black oil sunflower seeds…


And dine at our special platter feeder designed to help you forget about those fickle buntings who left you to spend the winter in Mexico…


No need to worry about squirrels at this buffet, Velcro is standing by to dispatch any rodents. Nothing will spoil your dining experience at the buffet…


As always, we welcome cardinals, even if they are thankless snobs who lurk until we close for the night.