Fighting For the Fat

Waxeyes are not so cute when it comes to fighting over food, even when there is plenty for all. These two males are straddling the top of the fat basket, while their mates peck at the fat hanging below them. This sort of flare-up happens in a split second. I find it difficult to get a good clear shot. Note their bare “armpits.” I wonder if they play any part in the threat behaviour, which involves widespread, shaking wings.

A new report out tells us that the numbers of waxeyes have been declining over the years that the garden bird survey has been done. I’m happy to say that I have observed an increase in that time. Once a dozen was a lot, but now I see thirty-odd in the mornings.

This morning’s frost was much worse than yesterday’s. I went to the greenhouse to check on the praying mantises and found the male on his back on the floor with his legs folded. (See extra shot).I gave him a gentle nudge, but there was no response. I wanted to take his body inside to put in my insect specimen tray, but I didn’t want him tangled in my gloves, so I left it to later. When I went out later I found him on his front with his legs splayed out. I picked him up and put him on a dead grape leaf in the sunshine and he immediately began to climb up a twig! The female also looked frozen and she too moved about in the sunshine. They are hardier than I thought.

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