Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's been a long while since I've updated this blog, and since I'm interested in learning some computer programming (C/C++/HTML/PHP) I thought I'd experiment on my old blog and maybe further my skills and familiarize myself again with the coding and design aspects. I also wanted to post an update on my bird activities. My birdwatching and birdfeeding is still as strong as it's ever been. It's now a transitional period where birds are migrating. The hummingbirds flew south around late-September/early-October. I had quite a few this year. At one point I saw about four or five swarming around the feeder. Last year I had about two, possibly mates. About a week or so ago I saw a special little bird (winter migrant) I hadn't seen since winter 2010/2011: a red-breasted nuthatch! There were two (possibly mates) when they were last here two years ago. I expected them last year but they never came. I read a few months ago while I was researching about them that sometimes some don't migrate if their breeding territory has plenty of cone seeds, etc. I saw one in a tree near the feeder on the deck. It hasn't come to the feeder yet. I've seen and heard it honking in the trees, looking for food under the bark. I've honked at it a few times and it's replied (I think). I'm sure it will come to the feeder eventually when it starts getting colder and food sources dry up, etc. All my other birds have been active, titmice, chickadees and cardinals. I had quite a few nests built in my yard this spring, one chickadee nest, one titmouse nest and one wren nest. I took a video of the wrens leaving the nest, which I uploaded to my YouTube. I recorded the chickadees leaving the nest but haven't edited and uploaded it yet, but will eventually. This spring I planted a bunch of trees for the first time. I wanted some cool evergreens for the birds to roost/nest in during the winter and spring, etc., and to help with privacy from neighbors. I researched quite a bit and went with 26 Murray Cypresses, a row on each side of the property. They're similar to Leyland Cypresses but not as disease-prone and has a few other benefits. But at first I planted one three- to four-foot Leyland in early-Spring in the front yard. Then got a bunch of Nurrays. And in Fall I got two more Leylands for the front yard. I saw a really nice picture of three staggered Leylands, two in front and one behind them in between them, as you see in this picture below:
 And here are what mine look like:
I wanted to plant some pretty fruit trees but I think I'll do that next spring. Maybe crabapples, dogwoods and/or cherry trees.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

You Can Save Lives, By Doing Absolutely Nothing...

If you're not hunting, you are saving lives and helping animals live long, happy lives. Why hunting is not illegal is beyond me. It should be, without a doubt. It's wrong. I will say, though, that there is more brutal hunting that goes on that would make hunting with a gun seem "humane." The dolphin and whale hunting that goes on in some parts of the world, notably Japan, is the worst and most brutal I've seen. I just wish those cowardly fishermen could have a spear go through them to see what it feels like. They are truly bad people. And shame on the governments that allow it to take place, or look the other way, and even pay other governments to support it.

Thou shall not kill.


...I saw a migrant White-throated Sparrow hit a window. It didn't seem very hard and thought it'd surely survive, but it twitched briefly before it died. Definitely broke it's neck. Sad.

Friday, December 16, 2011

While Listening... the radio and making pancakes the past couple of days I find myself "trying" to dance to a good song that comes on (Song 1 and 2). It's almost like a celebration of life, but at the same time I can't help but to remember the dead. The White-breasted Nuthatch, specifically. I'm happy while dancing, then I remember that nuthatch and get a little sad that that bird isn't able to enjoy life like I am now.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

As I Sit... in my chair, looking on as I watch the birds at my feeder while listening to music, I can now reflect on what happened yesterday. Around 1:30 P.M. or 2 P.M., I noticed a bird fluffed up on the ground by a window near my feeder. I recognized it as a White-breasted Nuthatch. A fairly rare bird at my feeder, usually getting a peanut (favorite) or sunflower seed. I didn't know quite what was wrong with it for a while. It being fluffed up and cold outside, I figured maybe it was just cold and resting. But it was in the shade. I went outside to see what was wrong, thinking it would probably fly away if I got close, like most birds do. It wasn't very responsive and not moving much, other than its left wing, apparently to try to fly away or just to open its wings to hop in my hand. I put it in a small box with a cloth on the bottom. Much of the time it had its head nestled into the feathers on the left side of its back with its head almost completely buried into the feathers. When I saw its head back in a normal position and slightly opening its bill, I decided to try to take it outside on my feeder to see if it would fly off or eat. But it just sat. I tried to feed it a small piece of a peanut, but nothing. I then put it on a branch. It was looking at me... It was definitely looking at me... It clung on for a bit, barely able to perch. Eventually, I noticed some redness in its mouth. It shook its head later while I was holding it and when I saw the blood on my hand I knew something was very wrong here, and serious. That was apparently why it was opening its bill so much. I knew then that it had definitely had a window collision. After sitting on the branch, it swung upside-down uncontrollably, which I thought was the saddest and most pitiful thing. I took him off the branch while upside-down before it fell, and afterwards that's when I saw the blood and got it on me. I put him back in the box and called Walden's Puddle, a wildlife rehabilitator. In the box it mostly continued to bury its head in its back left feathers. I got a call back and set up an appointment. I rushed to get ready to leave. I went in to check on the bird. It's head was now in a new location. It's head was now out from the back of his feathers and tilted to the right with it's bill resting on the cloth surrounded by blood. It had moved to its final position. It was now resting. It was a rest that it would never wake up from. It was shocking and painful. I cried afterwards and am crying again after writing the ending to this sad story.

I buried it the next morning. Later that morning as I was walking around outside, reflecting on the bird and all that had happened, you'll never believe the sound I heard. It was the sound of a White-breasted Nuthatch, a sound I didn't think I would hear for a while around here because I didn't know how many were around. Perhaps it was its mate, perhaps a relative or offspring, or perhaps no relation. But it was a reassuring sound to hear. It made me think that life somehow continues to go on. I guess just because it's the end of one doesn't mean it's the end for all. It's not the first nuthatch to die and it won't be the last, unfortunately.

Death still saddens and puzzles me, and I think it always will... I've watched animals' deaths more times than I'd like over the past year and it always makes me wonder... what will my time be like... who will be on the other side watching me and my death like I've watched others' so many times before... when will I become just a memory, too...

Monday, November 21, 2011

  • Two Saturdays ago (Nov. 12, 2011) I noticed the first migrant White-throated Sparrow. Still waiting on the two adorable Red-breasted Nuthatches to come back this winter. I wonder if I'll see them again.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last night...

...I saw that a male cardinal is back roosting/sleeping in an evergreen shrub by the house for the first time in a while. I haven't seen a cardinal or any other bird sleeping there since it was cold last, in the winter, other than when I briefly had a female cardinal building and sitting on a nest in the shrub in the spring, before abandoning the nest shortly after. I've seen only sparrows, cardinals and maybe a junco roosting in the shrub. Mainly only a male cardinal; can't remember if I've seen a female with a male together; it's possible. It might be the same male that was there last year. And it's possibly the one that produced all of the baby cardinals I saw this spring and summer. Although the female moved the nest from the shrub to an unknown location, probably nearby.

Also last night, there were not one but two opossums eating together. One is called Big Pinky and the other is called Little Pinky, for their pink nose. I first started feeding Big Pinky last year when it would eat cat food outside. Eventually, I recently tried unsalted, dry roasted peanuts. They both love peanuts. I've also tried fruit, too, as is recommended. But they have never eaten together before until last night. Big Pinky was at the peanut bowl and Little Pinky was looking around, eventually going to the cat food nearby as Big Pinky was eating the peanuts. But eventually Little Pinky couldn't stand not getting any peanuts before Big Pinky ate them all and wondered over to the peanuts. Big Pinky opened his mouth real wide and I thought there was gonna be a fight, but they both just ended up eating together, as you can see in these pictures:

Monday, October 31, 2011

  • Saturday, October 29, 2011, I saw the first winter migrant, a White-throated Sparrow.
  • The hummingbirds (two) have been gone (migrated south) since September or October. Though I did see one in early October, I believe it was, which I'm thinking was a migrant passing through (just a guess), not my normal ones (two hummingbirds) that may have been here this year and last.
  • I'm starting to think about winter and spring (too early, I know, but I love spring bird nesting) a lot now... Mainly, roosting boxes, experimenting with a squirrel nest box and planning out my nest boxes/birdhouses for spring.
  • It's nearing the time that I might start putting out homemade suet since it won't melt much, if any, like it did in the summer when I experimented with making suet.
  • I've been having this fascination with evergreen/coniferous trees/shrubs, especially ones that produce food, like berries, etc. I want to try to grow some in my yard next spring. The reason is they provide shelter and food in the winter for birds, and also provide privacy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Fall Update

It's getting colder, leaves are falling and food sources are disappearing. I'm going to miss spring and summer in some ways. It went by way too quick, in my opinion. The spring nesting season went by so fast... I wish every season was spring. I loved watching all of the birds building nests in my yard and going back and forth for nesting material. And then, obviously, the little feathered muffins that are produced in the nest is a great thing. Baby birds are so cute. Hopefully next year I'll have even more birds nesting around my yard.

One thing I've realized is that feeders are a really good thing for injured or sick birds. Most have a harder time than other healthy birds getting food, and it's easier on them. I've had a few, mostly grackles with injured/infected talons or a missing leg, and house finches with house finch disease. Last winter I had one blue jay with an injured talon that I wrote about quite a bit. After a while I never saw him again. I'd hate it if he died. Maybe he just left the area...

I've had my fair share of deaths. I saw a butterfly go into convulsions and about an hour later it was being eaten by ants, which had obviously died. It was sad. Soon there was no indication that this little butterfly had even existed. It was completely gone, and presumably eaten.

Last summer I saw two butterflies, one chasing the other, that I wrote about. They are probably both dead now, too. The only thing that remains of both of them is my memory of that sweet, innocent experience. I did recently see two butterflies of the same color (yellow-green) doing similar things, like chasing each other, etc. It made me think of the two butterflies last summer.

Life is such a delicate thing.

I also saw a bumble bee dying or in convulsions, a dead honey bee, a few other already-dead insects. The biggest death I saw was a young male cardinal that hit a window about a month ago. So young and full of life, but in a second came to an end. It broke it's neck and had blood coming out of his beak. I was sad to see it. The first cardinal I've ever seen dead in-person and have picked up. It was heavier than I thought it'd be. He had many years ahead of him, probably would have even had a few families himself, then one day it's over before his life even really begins.