Sunday, December 19, 2010

It's Been a Couple Days...

...since I bonded with that dying squirrel. Boy... It still tears me up thinking about it... Nearly a week ago I found another dead bird from a window collision, a female House Finch. For some reason it didn't really hit me that hard or get me too sad, but still a tragedy nonetheless. It's the second bird that's died like that. The first dead bird, the Tufted Titmouse, hit me the same way the squirrel did: very hard and days of sadness and reflection on it, and the way both died, the bird still holding onto a seed in his bill and the bonding with the squirrel before his death, was heartbreaking. Both experiences changed me and continues to evolve my thinking on how precious animals are and deserve the utmost respect.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Red-bellied Woodpecker Video Captures

I took the first video yesterday. The second and third I took some time ago on my low-quality, built-in camera on binoculars. The fourth video I took a few days ago. Near the end I believe a second Red-bellied Woodpecker enters the video. I'd assume male and female mates.

Young, Dying Squirrel in His Final Hour

I witnessed something I hope I never have to witness again. I saw a cute, sweet, young, little squirrel slowly die, for reasons unknown. I will tell you the story now.

I went outside my front door for something. I noticed a small squirrel run under a bench on the porch. I assumed it was eating sunflower seeds and had ran off the porch and onto the ground. After a few minutes I let my outdoor/indoor cat, Mister Kitty, out. He went straight for under the bench, so I grabbed him and put him back inside. I looked and the squirrel was still there, facing the house and staying still. I'm a little confused. He eventually moves around a little again, then gets into a resting position, where he's laying on the ground. This is where the videos I took start. He just moves very small amounts from here on out, moving an arm or leg briefly. After the last video I took he did something. He stretched both his arms out and wiggled his body left to right slightly. It almost seemed like he was reaching out to me. I'll never forget it. I put my gloved index finger under his left paw when he did that. He had the sweetest, cutest look on his face.

Less than an hour later he died. I was with him when he took his last breath.

I can be comforted in knowing he didn't die a violent, more painful death by my cat. He wouldn't have been able to get away from the cat in the condition he was in. This was a very sad thing for me to go through, bonding and comforting him, then seeing him slowly die. I didn't really know he was going to die until it actually happened. It was heartbreaking to see him finally die.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My First Starlings

I saw two black birds with greenish-purple accents together and thought they were Common Grackles. Then I looked with binoculars... Saw all of those dots and knew exactly what it was from reading about them. They are really something to see up-close. Here's a picture from the 'net:

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Migrants

I've been seeing a bunch of new birds and recently found out why. They're migrants, here for winter only! Most notably, the precious-sounding Red-breasted Nuthatch and the White-throated Sparrow. I'm really gonna miss 'em when the time comes for them to go back "home." I'm not sure of any other migrants that I currently feed, but it's still only late fall now, so there still might be more to come. It's always nice to see new birds around, but I'll sure miss 'em...

As for the birds that have left their "home" here, I only know of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Boy, do I miss that one or two that hung around the house all day in the summer, and I even accidentally caught "her" sleeping in a small birdhouse in the morning. I went to move it or look in it and it poked her head up at me. I left it alone then, but was still pretty excited there was a bird in there. It eventually left in mid-to-late-summer, but I didn't know why. Later, I found out that it migrants South for the winter, like some or a lot of birds and animals do. I still remember some of it's favorite spots to perch on on the little tree in the front.

I've just discovered a few minutes ago the migrant White-throated Sparrow, when the sun went down, sleeping and nesting in a small tree on a branch, not in an actual nest, even though I have two empty birdhouses less than a foot away from this sleeping bird. Hm, interesting. This might be the one of the first birds confirmed to be nesting and sleeping near my house! Exciting! Bird nests are still new for me since I haven't been through a full spring yet where all the birds make nests for them and their young since I got into my bird hobby. I know there must be other birds nesting nearby, but I just can't find them yet, or they must have a nest nearby in another yard or in the forest, like the two or three Northern Cardinals and the Blue Jays. I can always hear them coming in the morning from the forest, doing their morning calls and songs. I'm wondering where the Carolina Wren is nesting. It must be nearby, because I see it quite often and I think I've seen it go under my deck after getting a peanut from the feeder. Not sure if there's a nest under there or not. I guess we'll find out.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Anne Frank Tree

I just finished watching the premiere of the sixth season of Gene Simmons: Family Jewels, called "Face Your Demons." It was quite sad and touched on a lot of the Anne Frank history. It was a very sad and touching episode, and I found myself tearing up a little. It was interesting to hear (and later reading more online) the part about Anne Frank's thoughts on the only freedom she could see: the tree outside her attic window, seagulls, birds, the sky, wind, and nature, in general. While the episode was still on I looked up more about the tree. It was sad to read that it was blown down in August of 2010, just a few months ago.

The whole thing is just so sad. Nearly tearing up again right now while reading about the fallen tree online while listening to "Heroes" by David Bowie...



Passages from the diary Anne Frank wrote about the tree in her diary three times.

"23 February 1944"

"The two of us looked out at the blue sky, the bare chestnut tree glistening with dew, the seagulls and other birds glinting with silver as they swooped through the air, and we were so moved and entranced that we couldn’t speak."

"18 April 1944"

"April is glorious, not too hot and not too cold, with occasional light showers. Our chestnut tree is in leaf, and here and there you can already see a few small blossoms."

"13 May 1944"

"Our chestnut tree is in full bloom. It’s covered with leaves and is even more beautiful than last year."


Anne Frank: I know what you mean about the beauty of nature. Other people are now enjoying and discovering the same beauties of nature just like you did at one time, and I definitely won't forget your story or diary, and neither will the world. I can only imagine what you would write about if you could have lived and had a blog or something. I'm sorry you didn't get to make it outside to sit under that tree, your tree, and to write further about nature. That's truly sad.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Possum/Opussum and a Vulture

Several days ago there was a dead opossum in the road in my neighborhood. After coming back from a restaurant and PetSmart (looking at all the pet birds ♥) I stopped to move it to the side of the road. There were two huge, um, I'll call them Vultures, but I'm not sure what they were. They were huge and the wingspan was incredible. One or both were in the road when I stopped and was getting out, then they flew off to nearby poles and in the air. One circled in the air and seemed to head for the general area of the opossum and myself. Kind of scary. It ended up landed on a telephone pole nearby, looking down at the dead meal, and me. You never know what such a big, wild, hungry bird of prey will do to protect and get his meal. It ended up flying away afterwards as I was waiting back in the car to see it fly over to the dead animal, but it didn't. Hopefully, he came back and had a nice meal with his presumed mate.

I feed a wild opossum that lives in the woods. He comes over and eats the cat food. I don't mind. I actually have a picture I took some months ago of him and my outdoor cat, Mister Kitty:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pic from Yesterday of Mourning Doves Taking Over the Feeder

The Male Red-bellied Woodpecker and a Future Wireless/Outdoor Camera

A Picture from the Internet of a male Red-bellied Woodpecker:

Probably the most striking and interesting bird I feed, with the striking mohawk-looking, reddish-orange color that goes down the center of the head and neck, to the checkered black and white pattern on the wings, it really is a unique bird to see. My first attempt at capturing the bird on video didn't turn out so well, as it's a very low-quality, built-in camera on binoculars, about equal to the quality from a cell phone video. I would upload it but it's so poor it isn't worth it. The camera is moving around a lot and it's not very clear, so a double whammy, plus it flies off after two seconds. I haven't attempted to capture it on my better Canon camera yet, due mostly to my SD card's memory being full most of the time, or the camera isn't near me when I see a rare bird and flies off soon after. This brings me to another area I've been considering for a long time, which is to get a wireless/outdoor camera. One good site I've been looking at is That would be great to see and record close video of the birds, and only at the best times when there's something cool going on.

Tufted Titmouse and Carolina Chickadee at new birdfeeder location

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Little Update

Yesterday, I saw the Red-bellied Woodpecker a bit, being quite aggressive at the feeder, pecking in the direction of a Mourning Dove in the feeder, then got a few black-oil sunflower seeds.

And today, I saw my cat on my newer-location backyard/deck feeder, so I went outside and saw a bunch of feathers on the ground and everywhere. I was worried he had killed a Titmouse or Chickadee, but after looking at the feathers, it appeared to be a Mourning Dove. He must have gotten ahold of it for a short time and the bird must have gotten away, thankfully. I don't like him messing around, scaring or trying to kill the birds. He could also get hurt himself from the bill/beak.

A new bird I saw had brown/tan underparts, gray upperparts, striped head black and gray/white. (Writing for myself for the record)

And I have not been able to identify online that mysterious camouflaged bird yet...

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Species

I saw the Red-bellied Woodpecker again today, getting black-oil sunflower seeds and taking them to tree crevice and apparently breaking them open against the tree, and shortly thereafter, I saw possibly a new species of Woodpecker. It had the signature checkers on the back, black, gray and brown/tan. It was perfectly camouflaged with the bark and color of the tree, it was quite cool. Only way I was able to see it is because it seemed like he was preening while vertical on the trunk. I got my video camera but didn't see it again. Searching for the kind of species it was online proved to be harder than I thought.

I saw another new birds today, just a few minutes ago, in fact. It had gray upperparts, lighter gray underparts, black eyes, light-colored bill/beak and some white on the tail. This one was pretty easy to lookup online. It appears to be a Dark-eyed Junco. Pretty cool. After looking up info about them, they appear to be here in winter only.

The start of some cold days seem to bring a lot of new species to the feeders.

Oh, and yesterday I saw a Northern Mockingbird.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

MSNBC Article About Deformed Beaks

Click here to read it. Kind of sad. I hope they find the source of the problem eventually.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Good Documentary About the Bald Eagle on

Click here to watch this documentary. I watched it yesterday, a little in the day, then later at night I laid in bed and finished the rest of it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

I Saved and Rescued a Carolina Chickadee Today

It was horrible to see and wonder if it was going to die. I assumed I was going to have to watch a Chickadee die... It hit the same window that the Tufted Titmouse hit a month or so earlier, and died with a seed still in his bill.

Here is the full story:

I was around the window with my binoculars when I heard the window collision. My cat was sleeping outside nearby. I rushed outside and saw it laying on the porch. You could see his little heart still beating and eyes moving and looking around. I was looking at it and it suddenly flew erratically and hit a few more things before falling again to the ground, this time in the dirt. My cat ran after it, but he overshot and didn't even see where the Chickadee landed. Luckily, I did. I jumped down to the dirt where he fell, near the side of the house. He was laying on and next to a stepping stone on his back, slightly more toward the ground at about a 145 degree angle. I could see, again, his heart beating and eyes moving around. I was really worried this could be his last moments, but was hoping for the best. My cat comes back to where the bird and I am, so I rush to get the cat inside before anything happened. I didn't want to cause him much more stress. After getting the cat inside, I ponder turning him upright onto the stepping stone with my fingers, but I end up picking up a nearby, thin stick from a bush and putting it softly on his back to turn him over. When I did this he flew erratically briefly, landing on the side of the porch. After that, I run in to get the camera and this is where the video picks up. I pretty much knew he was going to be okay after seeing him fly again. So, I take the video and the memory card gets full and the video stops. I rush in to clear more space on the memory card, but while the memory is being transferred to the hard drive, I go back outside and he's gone. He lived to fly another day. I'm so happy and relieved.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

White-throated Sparrow

Saw this bird today for the first time. Always surprising to see a new bird species.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voting Against a State Constitutional Amendment for Hunting and Fishing

I don't even really get the constitutional amendment, doesn't make much sense to me, but I guess it loosens and weakens the laws somehow for hunting and fishing here, even though you still need a license, etc., so it's a tad bit confusing. One thing that doesn't confuse me, though, is that I know we don't need to make hunting or fishing more widespread. If anything, we need to limit it more. Hunting is morally wrong and I'm proud to say that I will vote against this amendment today to try to protect and respect wildlife.

So, this one's for you...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Red-bellied Woodpecker

I saw a female Downy Woodpecker in the morning, so decided to put my hanging suet cage out finally for the first time, with a crunchy peanut butter sandwich inside. I didn't see the Downy Woodpecker again, though, but did surprisingly see the cool-looking Red-bellied Woodpecker come to it and peck at it a few times. It came right after I put it out there. The head looks more orange than red to me, though. I went to get my camera, but, of course, it wasn't there when I came back. Heh. I think I've seen this kind of woodpecker in my yard one or two other times maybe. Definitely a rare sight to see. Hopefully it will become less rare to see.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New Bird

Recently been seeing these brown-colored birds. It has brown, white and maybe the male has stripes on its head, one white stripe in the middle of the head, then two brown stripes next to the white, and then two more white and two more brown (I think). It also has a small white bib under the bill, with an overall color of brown upperparts and gray underparts.

And there was another similar-looking bird, maybe a male, with the same color upperparts and underparts, but had some yellow on the top of the head and possibly some dull yellowness on the upperparts.

Just writing this down for myself mainly, but will try to get some pics and lookup info on the species of bird it is.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Common Grackle with Half a Top Bill/Beak

So yeah, just saw this Grackle missing half of his top bill. It looked kind of twisted at the end. I felt sorry and sad for him, but I'm glad he was still able to eat sunflower seeds, etc. I hope he grows some or all of his bill back, which after reading online, I'm not sure if it's possible or not. I was just casually thinking if I could capture him I would take him to a wildlife rehabilitator, but that's pretty much impossible unless he was not able to fly, etc., and he may have a mate, family and friends around. As long as he's still able to eat, he can probably adapt to the situation (worst case scenario) and he may eventually grow some or all of it back, or at least I can hold out hope.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Couple New Birds

I saw a new bird a few minutes ago. It looked kind of like a Chickadee, gray flight feathers/back, light gray/whitish underneath and a black head. The difference was instead of having the whole head black, just the top of the head/crown was black and the rest of the head was the light gray/whitish WITH a black stripe going through the eyes. I thought it was a small White-breasted Nuthatch at first, since there is one that has been becoming more active and was out there at the time I saw this bird. Trying to identify the bird.

The other birds I believe are American Robins. Gray upperparts, brown/orange/rusty underneath. Not really seen at the feeders, mainly foraging nearby and in trees.

On a side note, yesterday as I was riding my motorcycle through the neighborhood I saw a huge bird fly low and close-by in front of me. Pretty surprising and cool to see.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hunters and Birds

Accidentally got some bird hunting videos on YouTube while looking up various birds. Apparently, from reading the video description, these hunters put birdfeeders out in the woods and shoot birds, like Grackles, etc. I don't even watch the videos. Hunting is so wrong, I can't even tell you. Man, might as well be hunting dolphins like in the movie The Cove. I don't know why some people still hunt. We are civilized now and supposed to know better and don't need to kill animals in the same way that birds and other animals might kill another animal. If they don't have food they will die. Hunters primarily don't hunt for food. It's so wrong, mean, ridiculous and unnecessary.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Vulcan Materials Rock Quarry

I live where I border a rock quarry, unfortunately, and they're really a nuisance to the community. Dynamite explosions that vibrate and shake the house sometimes and just general noise. If some of them who work and operate there had to live in my community I can guarantee you they would not want that kind of stuff. And I'm sure they don't live around here and could care less about the community.

Vulcan Materials, the largest mineral company in the country and on the S&P 500, apparently owns a lot of the beautiful woods and forest. I would hate to see those trees gone. It's a bird and wildlife playground. I've seen birds I've never seen before in there. That large piece of land where the quarry now is could have been so awesome. You can see the results of the quarry sometimes from a road. It looks like a huge cliff with a lot of trees on top of the cliff, and obviously, the gigantic hole the quarry has made in the earth. I drove up to it, got close and looked down in it one time. I mean, it was like the Grand Canyon... So far down. I felt kind of scared to be fairly close to the drop. But that's probably the only cool thing about it. What they are doing to bird and wildlife habitats and even the Earth is really damaging over time. All of the trees that are cut down have contributed to global warming. And I see it emitting a lot of pollution into the atmosphere. But on a more local level it's more about the birds and how they have to deal with the rock quarry, too. It makes me feel that it's just me, the little guy, versus a big corporation, trying to protect my property and represent the wildlife who cannot speak or communicate with us (in English, anyway). It's become clear to me that this company and corporations like it, in general, are an example of how the Earth is being slowly destroyed by corporations out for a profit, who will do anything and destroy everything that gives them more, more, MORE money and profit. I think we've destroyed enough of this place already that we have to really look at the effects of actions over the long-term. We can't just think of ourselves, we have to think about the effects it will have on not only our generation but future generations of people and wildlife.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wasp Waving Back

Yesterday while I was refilling the feeders I saw a wasp land on one of the feeders. So, I put my left hand out and extend my index finger and kind of wave to him with my finger. You could tell he was looking at me and my finger, turning his head, etc. After I waved to him, he raised his right-front leg and moved it up and down a few times, similar to what my finger was doing, and waved back. It was so funny and cute.

Then after a while he took off directly at me and I got scared and jerked back and spilled some of my black-oil sunflower seeds from my bucket. Ha.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Dead Titmouse Aftermath and Two New Bird Species

It's been a few days since the unexpected and shocking death of a Titmouse from a window collision. Just sad times for me. For some reason, from time-to-time, I would still think that he could regain consciousness and wonder where he was. Just wishful thinking, really.

On to other things now.

I've seen a couple new birds species recently. After the mysterious yellow bird I made a post about several days to a week ago, there were two new birds I haven't seen before.

One I believe was some species of woodpecker. It had kind of like a female House Finch-looking head and upper body, which was a striped brown and gray/cream, and, if I remember correctly, the gray-/cream-colored lines went around the eyes. The flight feathers and back were a checkered black and white. This is what led me to believe it was a woodpecker, since a lot of them have this characteristic.

The other new bird was a solid brown/light brown with the flight feathers and back having black tips. It was at the Finch feeder, so I assumed it might have been some kind of finch. I looked the description up on the 'net, but haven't been able to positively identify it. The closest bird it looks like so far is the Desert Finch, but since they are apparently not found in the Eastern U.S. and a bird of the West, I can pretty much rule it out. But it's the closest-looking bird I was able to find.

I will try to use my binoculars w/ built-in camera or my Canon next time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dead Tufted Titmouse: Part II

Later that night, I was thinking about all of the times in the past I spent watching and taking video of Titmice, sometimes first thing, very early in the morning at sunrise and other times at midday and the afternoon. So, later that night I just stared at the little tree where they all perch on while they peck at and eat the meat in their seeds. I was thinking how this one Titmouse would never be able to do that again, and that it was gone forever, never to fly to that little tree, or to any tree, ever again. He came and went, just like I and every one of us will. The little Titmice and all of the other birds give me a reason to get up early every morning just before sunrise and watch them eat their first, long-awaited meal of the day, and to watch them grow and maybe watch them show their little offspring and future generations how and where to eat, too, just like their own parents did, and just see them all be happy little birds, with the best life possible. The next day I saw a couple Titmice and, of course, the regular bird visitors, so it was such a relief to see happy little birds again, and happy, alive Titmice. I was really sad later that night off and on after I found the dead Titmouse. Just to see it still holding onto a black-oil sunflower seed in its bill was so, so sad and to know it would never be able to finish it. I wrote a poem of sorts. Not sure what you call it really but I will post it below. But the day after was a lot better. Not quite as sad and depressed and loved seeing them eat and being outside with them while I was refilling the feeders, trying to respond to their calls the best I can. It was a great relief and happy time for me to see happy little birds again. And here's that little something special I wrote up the night I found the Titmouse:

You'll Never be Able to See Me Looking at You from Below Again
You'll Never be Able to Hear Me Trying My Best to Communicate and Make Calls with You Again
You'll Never be Able to See Your Mate or Family Again, and Never Get to See Your Future Family Grow Up
You'll Never be Able to Perch On Another Branch Again
You'll Never be Able to Fly Again, or Fly to Another Tree Again
You'll Never Make it to that Little Tree Reflected in the Window
You'll Never be Able to Perch and Sit in the Little Tree Where All the Feeders Are Again
You'll Never be Able to Build Another Nest Again
You'll Never be Able to See the Sun Rise or Go Down Again
You'll Never be Able to See Another Summer, Fall, Winter or Spring Again
You'll Never be Able to See the Leaves and Pretty Flowers Come Back in Spring Again
You'll Never be Able to Feel the Warmth of Summer Again
You'll Never be Able to See the Leaves and Pretty Flowers Fall and Go Away in Fall Again
You'll Never Have to be Cold and Freezing or Feel the Harsh Winter Again
You'll Never Have to Worry about Another Cat or Predator Hurting You Again
You'll Never be Able to Quickly Fly to a Feeder, Get a Seed and Fly Back Up to the Safety of a High Branch to Eat Again
You'll Never be Able to Peck on and Eat Another Black-oil Sunflower Seed or Peanut Again
You'll Never be Able to Have Another Piece of Seed Meat Again
You'll Never be Able to Call or Sing to Your Fellow Titmice or Chickadees Again
You'll Never be Able to Dominate and Scare Off Another Chickadee From a Feeder Again
You'll Never be Able to Eat Another One of My Peanut Butter Sandwiches Again
You'll Never be Able to Feel the Wind as You Fly Again
You'll Never Have to Worry About Where Your Next Meal Will Come From Again
You'll Never be Able to Finish that Seed in Your Bill
You'll Never be Able to be a Happy Little Bird Again
You'll Never be Able to Do A Lot of Things Again Now
You'll Never be Forgotten

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Dead Tufted Titmouse...

As I went outside a few hours ago to refill the bird feeders I found a dead Tufted Titmouse. Boy, how devastating to see one of my favorite birds dead on the ground. I immediately thought my cat had gotten it but after investigating a little I realized it must died from a window collision. I saw an imprint of the wings and body on the window, somehow, so it must have been a hard hit. I tried to wake him up at first, but there was no life left in him. It still has a sunflower seed in his bill... I cried quite a bit. So sad to see such a sweet, cute, innocent little bird dead. I've made quite a few videos of Titmice in the past, and they have, a few rare times, come down close to me while I'm refilling the feeders to get a seed. No other bird will do that, not even Chickadees.

I wanted to ask all of you birdfeeders to make your windows safe for birds, if you haven't already. I've just put something, a strip of bright yellow paper with blue tape, on one of my two main windows, the one that didn't have anything on it before and that the bird struck. The other window has a hanging hummingbird feeder on it already.

Rest In Peace, Little Titmouse. You will be missed.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Droll Yankees Hummingbird Feeder Leaks

I bought one of these recently on eBay and it leaks where the two plastic halves meet. Looks like I will need to seal it myself. If I can seal it then all will be well. Paid under $10 for it so not stressin'. But had to inform others searching the 'net that these do leak.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

New Brown Bird...Maybe

I thought while I was watching it that it was a Carolina Wren, which is quite a rare sight to see here, but now I think it was too big to be one, and the shape and size weren't the same. It had the same colors as a Carolina Wren (brown and tan/gray) but there were gray/whitish lines that curved and went around the eyes, much like a Carolina Wren but looked maybe slightly different. It's still possible it could have been a Carolina Wren, but we'll see.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Giving Tree

I was thinking of and remembered a storybook I and I'm sure many of us have read when we were younger called "The Giving Tree." I was just thinking how easily one could substitute the boy for a bird, since birds spend their entire lives living in trees and are dependant on them to keep them warm, safe and alive.

Well, I was looking on YouTube for the book in some sort of video/movie form and did happen to find the original movie from 1973 here. I didn't know it until after I watched it but it was narrated by the original author Shel Silverstein. I looked him up and turns out he died a little over 11 years ago. Kind of sad to realize that, especially considering the plot of the The Giving Tree and to hear him still very much alive and "young." And to hear him still inspiring others even after death.

Monday, September 27, 2010

I May Have Seen a...

...Yellow Warbler just now. It was bigger than an American Goldfinch and yellow all over with a very faint black or dark color on the flight feathers. Pretty cool. And at about the same time, I saw a Downy Woodpecker, which is pretty rare to see; definitely not a bird I would normally see daily. A Chickadee just stared at the Woodpecker, then the Chick' went for a seed and, of course, they look like a Woodpecker while they're getting their meat in the seed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wasps, Bees Drinking from Bird Bath

I happened to be standing near the bird bath outside and saw a wasp fly over and inch down to the water's edge and drink from it. Then it flew off like I wasn't even there. I also see bees doing it. Kind of cute.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A YouTube Video of Grackles Puffing/Fluffing Up

I saw this video on YouTube of Grackles puffing/fluffing up and it looks like what I see them do at my feeders. It's a shame I can't get as good of video of the Grackles I feed. The video uploader has embedding disabled, so that's why I can't embed it here, so just click the link above. And here is another puffing/fluffing video of a male trying to court a female. So cute and funny.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Working on Several Bird Videos

I have several old bird videos I'm editing together and will hopefully have them uploaded soon. I don't really make as many bird videos as I used to because it's notoriously difficult with my current camera setup. I used to attach my camera to the bird feeder, push record, run inside and wait for birds to come. That is so hard to do and takes up so much memory. When I get a wireless outdoor camera or a camera with a better zoom, I will take some really awesome videos. Recently I've just been taking videos of birds from inside my house. But the videos with my camera on the feeder usually turn out very nice and high quality. I just don't like the autofocus because sometimes the subject/bird is slightly out of focus. I'd like to be able to manually focus so I can get the clearest, sharpest shot. So might look into getting a really nice camera setup at some point.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Beauty of Evolution

When I see a bird, I think of dinosaurs and the evolution they've gone through. Their legs, feet and talons are so reptilian, but their bodies are very non-reptilian.


...I am going to make a new blog of a general, anything-goes kind of thing. BTW, I just made this blog's border colors black...OH MY GAWD...DOPE...

Hm, well...

...there is no salt-free peanut butter at the store, or at least at one store. Closest thing was 33% less salt. The tricky thing is not knowing how much is too much for a wild bird. Even though I think it's fine and safe, I really don't like not knowing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just saw this Blue Jay...

...with a big peanut in his mouth and he was still able to sing and make calls. Probably a happy little bird that he got a big ole peanut. So cute. He flew off back toward his nest to eat it probably.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I was reading...

...this article on MSNBC about how most penguin species are endangered and facing extinction. It really makes me think how much corporations, fishing and human activity are really destroying this planet. It's all about profit and their own generation and not even thinking about future generations. It's really quite sick. And to top it off, they don't take responsibility for anything. It makes me really want to do something about it, but, you know, corporations are so big and have so much influence because they're able to lobby, bribe and corrupt our politicians with money, so the little guy like me and other people who really care about this place don't have a voice and can't be heard. That's probably why our planet is in such bad shape and going to be even more so in the future, if you can even imagine that.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

There was a butterfly...

...on the porch while I was cleaning and refilling the bird feeders with its wings in the upright, vertical position. I sat down next to it, wondering if it was okay and put my hand near it and in front of it, expecting it to fly off and it didn't move at all. I left and went back into the house for something for the feeder, came back out, wrapped up my feeder work, then sat down next to it again and put my hand near it again and looked at the wings closely and it looked like there were small tears in the wings, but for all I know that could be normal, since I never have the pleasure of seeing a butterfly so up-close and personal. I began thinking about what I was going to do with it and making plans to care for it, because if my outdoor cat would have seen that and it didn't move or fly off, it would be so dead. I began wondering what it eats/drinks and was thinking about looking online for more info, when all a sudden it flew off. Just like that, it was gone. It flew pretty well, so that's good to know that it was able to fly and was apparently not hurt, thankfully. Kind of funny I was beginning to think up a big, long plan to save it and it flies off. But a happy ending.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day Weekend - Fall is Approaching

Well, finally cleaned the bird bath after, eh, I don't even wanna know how long. Now I see birds finally coming back to the bath to drink and bathe, so that's good. Also been cleaning out some of the bird houses. Got a big 25 lbs. bag of black-oil sunflower seeds. Now I just need to get another bag of bird food. Recently I've been using an expensive mix of nuts and fruit instead of the usual bird food mix. They seem to really like the nuts and stuff, just not the raisins, etc., so trying to look for a nut mix at a decent price, or I might just have to go back to the bird food mix of various seeds, cracked corn, black-oil sunflower seeds, etc.

As Fall approaches, this will be new for me since I just got into birds in late Spring and Summer, so it's all new to me and what birds do in Fall, which from what I've read is start caching food for winter, etc. I also just learned recently that birds build nests mainly in the Spring. Just really simple things I had no idea about.

Oh, and I saw the female Cardinal feeding the youngin' again close to the feeder. I could never get tired of watching this, especially virtually up-close with binoculars, it makes you feel like you are right there next to them.

Until next time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Black Bird Identity

The black bird I thought was a Brewer's Blackbird I think is instead a Common Grackle.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Young Cardinal Getting Fed, Big Bird and Two Little Butterflies ' ' )

I just saw the cutest thing. A female Cardinal got some food from the feeder, flew to a nearby branch and gave some to the young Cardinal that flew with her and the male Cardinal that followed. How cute, a young Cardinal. It's really a cute sight to see. Before this, I've seen the male Cardinal feeding the same young Cardinal before, but at the time I couldn't tell what was really going on, the relation of the two birds, but soon after I looked up on the 'net that babies have gray-/black-colored bills, then getting the red/orange bills later on apparently. The male Cardinal has before, while feeding the young chick, pecked in the direction of the apparent female mate, but that might be normal dominant behavior with males, I'm not sure. Another sign I could tell it was a baby was the wings kind of fluttered. I did manage to take a video of the scene with my binoculars/camera combo but the video quality is so poor, plus low light, it's not even worth posting. Should have used my Canon. Oh well, next time.

Also, about a week ago, I witnessed a big bird, believed now to be an owl after looking on the 'net at wing color patterns, swoop down in my front yard while a Blue Jay was eating at a covered feeder and it came within 5-10 feet away but the Blue Jay flew off in the opposite direction. It was quite a shock and surprise to see such a large bird near my feeders and in my yard, definitely the biggest one I've seen while birdwatching, other than the more common flyover of large birds that are seen from a distance. After it swooped down, it landed on the large tree in my yard, then another tree in the forest close-by. I happened to be looking out the window at the time and ran out with my camera. I took a crappy pic because it had just started to fly off when I snapped it. I should have taken a video instead. Grr. Here's the cropped pic, tho.

One final note, while walking into work yesterday I saw two butterflies, one chasing the other. I never really see two butterflies together like that. It was a cute and beautiful sight to see.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Cove: Part II

Not gonna lie, still shaken up about The Cove... having some flashbacks to some scenes that I don't even want to describe. And, coincidentally, the dolphin migration/hunting season apparently begins in just a few days, beginning in September and lasting until March... That's not something I like to think about, although it has been happening for a long, long time apparently, but that doesn't make it any better; actually, worse.

Anti-violence is so important in life. I've been a man of anti-violence for many years and have seen some graphic stuff, but it still shocks you to see it. Being aware of what's out there will make you stronger and smarter to hopefully make better decisions.

I still find it odd how some people can treat animals like they don't have a heart, brain and other sophisticated, intelligent attributes, and just kill them like it's nothing and not a life.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Cove

I watched this movie last night on Animal Planet, three times I might add... Pretty intense, violent stuff. I don't even want to say how many times I cried, but it really made me think just how much suffering animals endure while being hunted and killed. It makes me appreciate even more feeding the birds and taking care of my animals and making them happy, considering that so many animals weren't, aren't and will not be so lucky to live a long, happy life. I think we must all do something to stop the needless suffering on Earth. Will we ever stop destroying the Earth? It's the seemingly infinitely powerful corporations and government versus the passion of all of the people who really care about this place, who are not just in it for the money.

Rest in peace to all of the dolphins and whales who have died and will continue to die horrific and brutal deaths, unless you, I and the rest of the world does something about it. They're depending on us to do the right thing, since they can't.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Little Penguins

I think birds look like little penguins. So cute. They have similar-looking parts in all of the same areas. :D)

R.I.P. Mourning Dove

A few days ago I noticed a bunch of feathers (I mean a bunch!) by the feeders. My first reaction was, Oh, no, there was a bird fight... But then after coming to my senses, I realized that it had to have been killed by my sweet, but tough, dominate kitty I call Mister Kitty. Mourning Doves are known as ground feeders but I see it on my feeders usually. It must have been on the ground at the time and my cat must have gotten it. So sad. R.I.P.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Common Grackles Fluff at Each Other While Eating

While Common Grackles eat, when a new bird lands on the platform feeder, another Grackle will fluff all of their feathers up real big and raise head in the air. It's quite a funny and cute thing to see close-up through binoculars.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Saw Yet Another New Bird...

I was kind of in a rush to work, refilling the bird food before I left, and I hear this unique call I've never heard before, so eventually I find him and he's this brilliant all-black back and big red head/crest. It was a good size, too. It was definitely a woodpecker, but not sure of the kind yet. Very cool. I heard it making more calls and heading back into the woods. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera and was in a hurry to leave.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Couple Pics of a Titmouse Enjoying New Kind of Bird Food

A Titmouse enjoys some new kind of bird food, a mix of nuts, almonds, pecans, etc. And a pic of a lot of Brewer's Blackbirds taking over the feeders. :D)

Just Saw Another New Bird

My first nuthatch! A White-breasted Nuthatch! I had only heard and read about and them seen pictures. I thought it looked like a nuthatch from the body and bill, so I looked it up and what-do-ya-know, it was one of the first ones I saw while googling nuthatch.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

New Bird...Carolina Wren or Bewick's Wren

I've identified a new bird visitor to my yard. It's either a Carolina Wren or Bewick's Wren, I believe, and just started seeing it the past few days. Today, I video-recorded it briefly with my Bushnell binoculars/camera and scrambled to get my better Canon camera, but it flew off to another part of the garden before I could get a decent-quality shot of it. It was sitting near the top of a flower stem. Haven't seen it near the feeders yet. I have discovered why now. It apparently only eats insects. It's hard to tell which of the two Wren species it is.

It's pretty cool discovering a new bird species and looking up all about them on the 'net.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Birds at My Feeders

Just thought I'd post what kind of birds I feed:

Blue Jays: One of the first birds I really got into and looked up on the 'net. Their color, from the bright blue to darker blue and, of course, the white/gray underside, is really a lovely and beautiful bird to look at. One of my favorite birds.

Tufted Titmouse: Cuuute! That's the first word that comes to mind. Their big black eyes are the cutest, contrasting with the gray color of their head and top of their body. They're very small, sweet and communicative. Their cute little calls/songs are the cutest sounds ever. I just discovered this bird species recently and it's currently one of my favorite birds. They are usually the first ones at my bird feeders in the morning, when the sun is starting to lighten everything, but not yet sunrise. They are at the bird feeders throughout the morning, midday and afternoon/evening. They go straight for my black-oil sunflower seeds, and when I have peanut butter sandwiches, they like that as well, but mainly stick with the black-oil sunflower seeds. I've even seen a little Titmouse grab a big peanut. Too cute.

Carolina Chickadee: Even smaller than the Tufted Titmouse (is that even possible?!), I would say about a third smaller, they are real cuties because they're just so tiny and act so funny and innocent. I believe they are the smallest bird I feed. They "hang" with Tufted Titmice a lot and other related small birds, like Woodpeckers. They are up there with the Titmouse as being one of my favorite birds so far. They have most of same colors as the Titmouse as far as the top gray feathers, but their head has a black top and black bib with white in the middle of their face. They have similar or the same kind of call/song as the Titmouse (♥).

Northern Cardinal: Always a rare treat to see a bright red male Cardinal and sometimes with his mate, the duller red female Cardinal. They are up there in beauty with the Blue Jay. They have the sweetest, cutest faces.

Hairy or Downy Woodpecker: I identified this bird today. I saw two pecking away on my tree with all the bird feeders. Today was the first time I've been able to confirm seeing a Woodpecker. Quite a unique character and cutie, pecking on the wood. I think I spotted a smaller Downy Woodpecker a few weeks later.

Mourning Dove: A larger brown bird, historically a ground feeder but I see them on my hanging and stationary feeder quite a bit. Unique sound from their wings while flapping.

Red-winged Blackbird: Don't know too much about them yet. I did see one or two on my Finch feeder. Pretty black with slight red and white color on their wings.

Common Grackle: Glossy blackish-brown with a metallic dark purple/green head and upper body and wings. Quite aggressive at the feeder with each other and other birds.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird: Spotted this bird very recently, so I put back out the Hummingbird feeder since Wasps, etc. had only been spotted using it, but now there are actual Hummingbirds drinking from it.

American Goldfinch: Yellow and black with a little white scattered about, very uniquely pretty and smaller bird.

House Finch: Cute, small bird. Males have red-colored feathers on the upper body and brown and gray/white feathers on the bottom. Females don't have red feathers and are brown and gray/white all over. Tend to like black-oil sunflower seeds and Nyjer/thistle Finch food.

Squirrel: And who can forget the squirrels. They aren't officially a bird but they sure think they are and frequent bird feeders a lot to not mention them. Yes, they can ruin a perfectly good time of birdwatching when they jump on the bird feeders and scare the birds away, not to mention clean a feeder out, starting with the black-oil sunflower seeds. But they sure are cute.

Oh, and my blog has the colors of my favorite birds. The blue for the Blue Jay, the red for the Cardinal and the gray/light blue for the Titmouse/Chickadee. ' ' )

On a side note, I found two new bird species today I hadn't seen before. One was brown and gray/white with a striped head in the same colors, so it's lead me to believe it's some type of Woodpecker possibly. The other bird was light brown on top with a dash of darker brown on the outer end of the wings with quite a long tail. It made a loud, rough chirp. I'm not sure of the species of either of these birds yet, but will look into them. Always cool to see and learn about a new bird species at your feeder.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Saw a Downy or Hairy Woodpecker Today

I don't see them a lot. You can tell by the black and white stripes on the head and checkered feathers. They stand out quite a bit and are pretty cool-lookin', so it's always nice to see one. They apparently hang out and flock with the small birds, like the Chickadee and Titmouse. I hope they have made my little birds some good nests.

Well, the sun just went down and for the second night, the Cardinal was the last bird at the feeder. Gotta love the Cardinal. Saw it giving a seed with its bill to a female Cardinal with a black bill (interesting), and saw another female with the normal red/orange bill with them, but the male Cardinal seemed to be aggressive towards the female for some reason. Cardinals are so pretty, unique-looking and sweet and usually not very aggressive, unlike some of these super-aggressive bigger birds. I think they're Brewer's Blackbirds but not certain. They're very aggressive big birds and are probably the biggest birds I feed, either the same size or slightly outsizing the Blue Jay. One was real big and had really thick, long legs and super-super-aggressive and was dominate over all of the other Blackbirds. I know I've never seen a Blue Jay that big, but usually the others are around the size of a Blue Jay, though. They travel in large flocks and groups, too, about eight or so at the feeder at one time, I saw.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oh, you think you got rid of the squirrels?!

I found the same squirrel from yesterday chillin' again, this time on the ground on top of a tree's trunk. It rained today, so it wasn't very hot, unlike yesterday. I saw him playing with a friend or mate on the tree around the same time. As for the birds, they are doing well, eating the regular birdfood mix, a lot of black-oil sunflower seeds and a few whole peanuts, unsalted, of course, for a nice treat and something different.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Challenge: Moving Birdfeeding from the Front to the Back

That is the challenge. The back is much more private and relaxing. The problem is getting the birds to come to the back. I've sat out a birdfeeder out on the deck, but no luck yet. Thinking of putting a crepe mrytle or other tree or bush out there or nearby on the ground. I think I can do it... maybe...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Trees are Bird's Friends

It occured to me that birds love their little, er, make that large, friends. They have a lifelong bond with them. First and foremost, their little nests and homes are on or in trees usually. They help keep them safe from predators on the ground by being high in the air and help provide shade and cover from threats from above. They use their little branches and limbs to perch and sit on. Some trees even provide food for the little birds, like acorns and berries. Everything about trees makes them a good friend to have for birds.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Random Update

A few days ago, I went to a specialty bird store. Never been to one before. They had birds all over the place outside, the same kind of birds I see, but A LOT more, and all kinds of things for birds for sale, so that was fun. My binoculars with a built-in camera should be arriving today, hopefully, so I'm kind of excited and curious about that. :D) I've been using a small Canon SD1100 IS for my bird videos and pictures and am looking for better and more versatile cameras to do my bird recordings. Also am looking into a wireless camera I can control remotely, and later on maybe another binoculars w/ camera.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cats, Squirrels and Birds

Some cute pics of my cat Willow (my Indoor Squirrel :P) looking at the squirrels on my bird feeders. Grrrr. Squirrels are lucky that they are pretty cute, but still don't like them around too much, scaring the birds away and not able to get food. I can't forget to get a bird picture up, with, of course a squirrel in one of the bird feeders, along with a black bird, either a Red-winged Blackbird (with red & white wings) or a Raven. I'm not good yet at identifying various black birds at my feeder. With time... My other cat, a sweet, mostly outside cat nicknamed Little Mister Kitty likes the birds and squirrels, too, but only in an evil "I wanna eat you" kind of way. :D)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mates are a beautiful thing ♥

I love seeing a pair of mated birds, flying together, eating together, it's so cute. But I can usually only tell a mated male and female Cardinal because of the obvious color differences between the sexes. I just saw a mated pair about five minutes ago. And earlier in the morning I saw two female Cardinals with a male Cardinal. Not sure what that's all about, if he has two mates or just another female part of the family, but cute nonetheless. It's just too bad most or all of the other bird species around my bird feeders have no obvious differences between the male and female, so it's hard to tell if a pair are siblings, friends or an actual mated pair. But I did see something so cute one time that was the most precious thing. It was apparently a mated pair of Blue Jays on the ground, looking for food. One had a berry hanging in his bill and trying to offer it to the female, presumably. The male would try to offer the berry to her and she would hop away about a foot or two, then he would hop back to her and offer it again and she kept refusing and hopping away, and it went on a few more times. It is one of the most memorable and cutest things I've seen since I started birdwatching. ♥

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Cat and the Titmouse

Yesterday, while my outdoor cat was outside, he noticed the Titmouse at a nearby low-hanging feeder on the porch. He looked like he was about to jump and get it, but I tapped on the window and they both got scared and the Titmouse flew off, thankfully. I don't think I could bare to see one of the cutest birds ever killed by my cat. You might could say I saved a Titmouse that day... :sigh: ♥

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Squirrels: Can't live with 'em, Can't live without 'em

I am having a horrible time keeping the squirrels out of my bird feeders. It's expensive enough to feed birds, but feeding squirrels, too, is not one of my top priorities, or a priority at all, really. Oh, but they're just so cute! It's hard not to want to feed them because of how cute they look, especially while eating. I felt bad (only briefly) after repeatedly shooing a squirrel away so my Blue Jays, Tufted Titmice, Chickadees, etc. could eat without being scared off by the squirrel. The squirrel scavenged on the ground for a bit instead of the bird feeder and it looked so pitiful and cute, but that didn't last long, because it was back on the feeder eventually. I am really going to have to modify and make some bird feeders that I can use where squirrels can't get to or won't use them.

I feel they are kind of ruining my birdfeeding and birdwatching hobby, because I have to keep shooing them away and it's becoming a real annoyance and nuisance, not to mention that the birds can't get any food, especially if there's a large group of squirrels in the yard and at every bird feeder I have. And let's not forget the money issue. The more they eat, the more it costs me, and that makes for one unhappy birder. Heh.

So, let's just say I'm not a huge squirrel fan at the moment, but damn it, they are kinda cute... ' ' )

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hello there!

Hello there. This is my new blog I have started about my journey and adventure of my new, recent hobby of birdfeeding and birdwatching.

I currently maintain several bird feeders, one of which is custom and my ongoing project. It consists of using a platform-style bird feeder, which is really a painting from my artist brother's art collection (AudRoc's Web site). It's about 2' x 1'. I use it so multiple birds can fit on it at one time and for my video recording of birds, which I plan to get into more later on in this blog, like types of camera setups that are best, etc. I used to have it hanging with 4 metal pieces in the middle of each side attached to yarn/string. I didn't like how it swung all over the place, so I am now moving to a more stable stand for my main bird feeder. I like the stand a lot more, and I'm sure the birds do, too. I'll have a picture of here soon. Until then, take a look at my bird videos and my YouTube Channel!