Does Anyone Recognize This Bird?

Does anyone recognize this bird? It was out in the tree yesterday afternoon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.

At least birds don’t keep you up at night.

What keeps me up at night is Charlie. He wants out because the possum is out there. What is it with this possum? If it doesn’t go away soon I’ll have to name it.

Then this morning I found Charlie trying to pick up a dead bird. There’s something to be said for a dog with no teeth.

And naturally it was in the corner by the fence which has water sitting due to all the rain. So I had to slosh through the water to get to it.

I think the possum may come down and hang out on my patio. The picture above is where Charlie sniffs like crazy every time he’s let out.

Maybe the possum fancies my settee.

A reader (thanks Carolyn!) sent me some great information about possums.

The NWF (National Wildlife Federation) has an article entitled:

Opossums: Unsung Heroes in the Fight Against Ticks and Lyme Disease

Opossums are extraordinarily good groomers. They kill the vast majority (more than 95% percent) of the ticks that try to feed on them.

So these opossums are walking around the forest floor, hoovering up ticks right and left, killing over 90% of these things.

So they are really protecting our health. – Rick Ostfeld, Senior Scientist, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

They will catch and eat cockroaches, rats and mice – in addition to consuming dead animals of all types (also known as carrion).

Gardeners tend to like them because they have an appetite for snails and slugs. They also clean up over-ripe fruit and berries. So they “hoover” the garden as well.

Opossums are resistant to snake venom and actually prey on snakes, including venomous species such as copperheads and rattlesnakes.

I always thought when possums “play dead” that they are merely acting. But that doesn’t appear to be true. They are basically rendered catatonic.

When frightened or harmed, opossums suddenly freeze and lie still as death.

They have no control over this response, which could be said to paralyze them with fear or have evolved because almost any predator can outrun them.

If left unharmed, a catatonic opossum will recover in roughly one to four hours.

So it seems like this is the brain’s response to fear. Interesting info. I never knew that. Did you?

All my life I’ve heard “are you playing possum?”

I’m going to have a veritable forest on the patio if this rain doesn’t let up. It has rained every single night for nearly a week.

I have cut back the mint and lemon balm and everything else that seems to be getting out of control. And within a week or less, I have to do it again.

I scaled back the mint and lemon balm in the blue container bed at the first of last week so that you could the hostas could be seen. But now they’re just about covered up again.

I’ll be needing to get my clippers and my bucket and roll around on my little cart and cut it all back again.

Ivy seems to have no interest in the possum, if she’s even seen it. But not much escapes Ivy. She is interested in the birds.

Something has to let up with this possum. I’m about as tired when I wake up as when I go to sleep.

I kind of worry about it. Are possums solitary or do they live in packs? Does it have a family? Did it somehow get left behind? I wonder all this while the possum and I are staring at one another through the tree leaves.

Charlie is beside himself with excitement and wants to go out there and be Deputy Dog with this possum. He has no idea what he’s up against.

Rain, rain go away. Come again another day…

Of course a gardener is not going to wish away rain because of the effect on their plants. But in Oklahoma we now have a lot of flooding.

Not where I am in Tulsa, but in other areas people have been run out of their homes. I think I read around 1000 homes.

Lawsy, nature is unpredictable.

And apparently so are possums.

28 Comments

  1. I agree with many of the other comments – I believe it’s a brown thrasher. I’m originally from Georgia, and the brown thrasher is Georgia’s state bird.
    Blessings,
    Angie

  2. I think the bird looks like the robins look around here when they start moulting for the season. I’ve never seen some of the other birds mentioned by readers, so maybe it looks more like one of them.

    Does your possum look large like it is fully grown? They get pretty big. If it is a fully grown female possum, she might have a belly pouch with babies in it. I wonder what is attracting her/him to your patio.

  3. Yes, it’s a young robin and hasn’t yet developed its full adult plumage. Think of it as a teenager that hasn’t yet started to dress as its parents! Because their body size is so much larger now than when they were babies, they often get misidentified as an unknown or another type of bird.

    I’ve recently read that possums cannot carry rabies (great news!) and that they are ravenous eaters of ticks. If they eat ticks, they’re a friend of mine for life. I’ve been terrified of ticks since I was about 8 years old and THAT was a long long time ago!

    Jan

  4. So glad you enjoyed the article! Where we are here in Texas we’ve always had a possum or two around – in the city, the country and now living here in a small town. Ours have never caused any damage so we just let them be. And would you believe the babies are just simply adorable? They really are. I’ve always felt so sorry for them because their only defense against predators is to play dead – they don’t fight back at all. Hopefully it will go on it’s way in a few days. And, it’s not like you leave food out for it to eat that would make it stay. I wonder if it’s attracted to any of your plants? Can you tell if any have been nibbled on?

  5. Wonderful post today. So much information and beautiful pictures. I wish we had a park like the one that you go to. Love all of the beautiful
    trees, flowers and pools.
    The pictures of Charlie and Ivy are so cute.

    Have a wonderful day

  6. I agree that the bird looks like a fledgling robin, possibly a female. I’ve got plenty around here right now, I throw raisins out on the patio and they all show up for a free and easy meal.

  7. Brenda, I’ve raised a couple of robins that fell from the nest and what you have is a young one that hasn’t gotten it’s coloring yet, probably a female. Also, did you know that it’s not true that possums carry rabies? Their body temp is too low to support the virus. I can relate to Charlie’s driving you crazy about the visitor. My dogs are both hounds but house hounds. They see rabbits out the windows and it’s sheer pandemonium around here. Poor little Charlie! And, I’d like to add that Ivy is one of the most beautiful cats I’ve ever seen and that’s saying a lot since I think my ragdoll guy is totally gorgeous!

  8. I have a new respect for possums; I did not realize just how beneficial they are. Also, I had never really considered a possum cute until now. It looks so clean and soft and those pretty bright eyes…..

    Not sure what type of bird that is but the photo is excellent (all of your photos are amazing).

    Gosh, you are getting all that rain and we do not have any in the forecast until next weekend. We could really use a good soaking; I am having to water most every day.

    Hope you have a wonderful Sunday afternoon and hope you get a good night’s sleep tonight.

  9. Those ‘possoums are something else, aren’t they? I bet that one has babies!
    Not sure what that bird is —
    Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. xo Diana

  10. Beautiful photographs of the fur babies today. Charlie as Deputy Dog made me smile. I feed a feral cat colony ( they are all neutered and have had them shots) and possum come and the cats even let them eat nearby. Possum love cat food as do raccoons. I try to feed the felines before the others are out and about as they are mostly nocturnal. Terribly hot here in SC. Here it’s in the high nineties in May. Makes me wonder about July ! I’ve been out watering my hostas and hydrangeas. The hydrangeas sure do wilt in these temps. Your patio looks lovely. The settee in the corner is just great. It’s just hreat seeing you post daily again. I go and peek and think just maybe they’ll be a new post and love to read and see it when there is. Hope you stay strong and well so we all can keep reading!

  11. Birder husband isn’t sure, but thinks it’s a young robin or type of thrush. I always enjoy your nature photos, Brenda…from the park or your back garden area.

  12. Very glad to hear it is not flooding in your immediate area, Brenda! But all the storms and flooding probably have animals disoriented and on the move, so your opossum might have spotted your oasis/safe place while moving away from water, storms, or predators doing the same. I’m guessing it’s not very old because he/she looks in such good condition. I imagine there’s a city(?) department of some sort that would come and trap it, if it doesn’t leave soon. The humane society should know who to contact. I feel so sorry for the birds and animals out in these storms. We are your neighbors to the north, and we also feel like we’re being bombarded! As for your bird, it is similar to a brown thrasher, perhaps a juvenile? Or not. I have been keeping OK and others in the path of the severe storms in my prayers. I am relieved every time I see a new post from you, that you haven’t been displaced as well! Blessings.

  13. The possum that we had under our pool deck and next to the filter had about 20 babies! The DNR told us that if food supply is prevalent that and they can have up to three litters a year. He also told us the record number of babies is close to 50! Since the possum only has 12-13 teats, most of the babies die. First hand experience- Most of our possum babies died and they smelled to high heaven when the temperatures rose above 75 degrees. That dead bird was most likely a possum kill. We had lots of dead birds in the yard before we found the possum mama and her babies. In Michigan, we hope that possums live anywhere else but in OUR yards. Too much trouble.

  14. Sorry about your possum. All my possum’s seem to go for the bird feeders. Here are some of my succulents on the patio table. The patio is soon to be enlarged due to lots of pots(21)!

  15. I believe the bird is an immature robin. Its adult plumage hasn’t filled in yet. The possum may have young ones near by.

  16. I believe that bird may be an immature robin. It hasn’t filled in its adult plumage yet. This is the first time I have posted here. I look forward to your post every day. The possum may have young ones close by.

  17. Your resident possum is entertaining Charlie. We had a large one climb our fence and eat most of the grapes. A very young one got into one of the chicken coops and the chooks were not happy. We have a screened porch with a dog door and a juvenile possum came in that way. Charlie would have gone nuts over that! I went out on the porch and it “played possum”. He sure looked dead to me.

  18. Maybe you could call the animal control or humane society and find out if there is an organization in your city who could trap and relocate the opossum? Or tell you more about why it is hanging around. I think something has happened to its family and it has no idea what to do. I just hope it is getting enough to eat.

  19. I think the bird might be a thrush.
    Regarding the possum, I had to capture one long ago and relocate it to the woods. I live near a golf course and in my neighborhood we often get raccoons, the occasional skunk and deer every now and then and they move on. But the possum would not leave.
    I had to lol at Charlie as Deputy Dog; I have not heard of him in many years!

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