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.

I thought about...

...ending this blog, because it's sometimes hard to write about every little thing that goes on day-to-day. I think I'll keep giving updates for a while longer, though. As a new "birder," it can be hard to provide useful information that can be used by others on the Internet. From looking at how people find my blog and what they're searching for, they are definitely looking for useful, quick information. I've sometimes just been able to simply write about my observations and experiences, which may or may not be that helpful for someone looking for info. I think from now on I will try to provide mostly useful information, rather than just all of the little unimportant (to others) experiences.

Friday, August 26, 2011

End of August Update

Found one dead House Finch dead that hit a window on Wednesday. It looked healthy from what I could tell; no House Finch Disease signs around the eyes, etc., but the eyes were kind of closed so I can't be 100 percent sure, but didn't see any redness around the eyes either.

Thursday I saw four baby cardinals at the feeder in various stages with the mother that is molting and has essentially a bald head.

Thinking of various other feeder setups that are spread out from one another. One for cardinals that prefer to eat away from other birds, and also for the House Finches, as some do carry House Finch Disease and I don't want to have them too close together to other house finches or other birds that could get it.

A few recent videos:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Deja Vu

Around this time last year I would see two cardinals feeding the fledgling baby. Now I see a female feeding another fledgling again. There's nothing like seeing parents feeding their young. And now that I see quite a few birds molting, there are some unique identifying marks and can tell birds apart more.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer Update

A Northern Mockingbird sat at my feeder, seemingly guarding the highly sought-after peanuts, as he often does, but as he or she was, I saw it poop a big one in my sauce cup where the peanuts were. I went outside to clean it up and noticed the poop was red and messy, getting all over my peanuts. I thought, is that blood? Then I came to the conclusion that, you know what, it's probably from eating berries. I might start offering berries at my feeder. I'm not sure what kind I would offer, though. I guess grapes would be the most common. But I did wonder why it pooped in the peanuts. Maybe a territorial marking, or even trying to ruin the rest of the peanuts for the other birds after it's done eating? Who knows.

On an unrelated note, I had jury duty yesterday and was reading a book I got for Xmas, called The Private Lives of Birds. I read a chapter while waiting. It was very enlightening and interesting. I haven't sat and read a book in a while...

After having experienced every season of birding, I now find myself planning for each season. Next spring I am going to offer a bunch of nesting material early, like human hair, pre-packaged moss or other nesting material I can find. Spring went by waaay too fast. I loved the nesting season. Winter will definitely be busy, with a bunch of cold, hungry birds, not to mention all the migrants that come from the north. I find myself already planning for the winter, like where will I put all the feeders, what kind of food to put in each and the layout, for ground feeders especially.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Common Grackles with Injured or Infected Legs/Talons/Feet/Claws

I've had a lot of grackles the past month or so and notice a few with things wrong with their legs or talons. One was missing the entire leg nearly. Another had a closed/clinched talon that doesn't open (saw some time ago) and the one recent one I've been noticing is one that has a completely swollen talon on his left foot, about three times the size of the other unaffected talon of his. It looks really bad. He doesn't put any weight on it either. I've tried to google some info on this and it might be Avian Pox. If I could capture him I would and send him to a wildlife rehabber. I'm not sure how curable or treatable Avian Pox is. I've also noticed two more House Finches with House Finch Disease. I sent one finch off with it to a wildlife rehabber last week, but not sure I'll be able to capture any of these birds unless they're within reach and not moving much like what happened with the House Finch I took to the rehabber.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kmart Clearance Birdfeeders and Other Bird Stuff...FOR CHEAP

I went to Kmart today and picked up this awesome three-chamber, 12 port bird feeder for $2 dollars! I was shocked. It's normally around $18, and even higher at some online stores. I got home and filled it up and it works perfectly! I don't normally go to Kmart because their prices are too high normally but their clearance can be unbelievably cheap. I highly recommend going their to see if you can find some dirt-cheap deals like I did. Here's a picture I took of the $2 dollar feeder:

Perky-Pet 3221 Grandview Wild Bird Feeder with 12 Feeding Stations

UPDATE 8-9-2011:

I went back and got the rest of what they had, which were three more of the feeders pictured above, and one six-port one, which was only $1 dollar! And I picked up an 18 lbs. bag of premium bird food with nuts, etc. for $9 dollars, regularly around $18. But I went to a few other Kmarts and their prices were sky-high as Kmart usually is. But if you can find the stores with the dirt-cheap clearance items, snatch it up quick...before I do! ' ' )

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hummingbird Chasing Other Small Birds

I've been trying to figure out what it means when a hummingbird chases and seemingly plays with other smalls birds. I couldn't find a lot of information on google about this, other than it chases other birds that are near the hummingbird feeder. Not sure if the "other birds" meant other hummingbirds or just other birds, in general. The other small birds are kind of nearby the hummingbird feeder, about 20-30 feet away in a nearby small tree where other small birds perch before they fly to my porch area where the feeders are (near the hummingbird feeder). When the hummingbirds chase them, the birds seem startled and afraid, trying desperately to get away from the hummingbird. I've just been wondering if it was just some kind of playful game the hummingbird is playing, or if it's trying to defend the nearby hummingbird feeder. Maybe it thinks the other small birds are competition for the hummingbird feeder. I haven't quite figured it out yet exactly.

In other news, it's been very busy at my feeders; a lot of common grackles, blue jays and house finches. Today, though, I saw a grackle with a very large mass/tumor on his right talon/leg. I've never seen anything like it before. I hate seeing things like that on birds at my feeders.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Something I wrote on Walden's Puddle's Facebook

I wanted to share my experience of going to Walden's Puddle for the first time today. Well, the reason I went is because I saw a sick House Finch with House Finch Disease, noticeably where the eyes get red and swollen shut, making it very difficult to see to be able find food and defend yourself from predators. The disease has other things that affect the bird, too.

So I make an appointment by phone. Upon arriving at WP, I notice the driveway is very steep and curvy, not to mention the thin creek you have to drive over near the entrance. So I eventually make it to the main house and there are multiple outdoor cages with animals inside near the parking area. While walking to the house, there are multiple birdfeeders all around. It is so quiet out there in the woods. I loved that. You would hear a chickadee or titmouse calling from time-to-time, though, which was nice to hear a familiar sound. I rang the doorbell (because it says to on a note outside) and we were greeted by a very nice woman. She immediately took the bird downstairs while we are in the waiting/main area. There are cages all around, with cute little wild animals in each of them. They looked so sweet. When I went up to the opossum cage, he was laying in his carpeted cat post, but he got up to come take a look at me. I think that was the sweetest thing. I would have loved to pick him up and hold him in my arms. There were squirrels in hammock-like sleeping areas, a very small owl (the first animal I saw when I entered). I believe I've seen it in pictures online before. It's the one with one eye. It's a surprisingly tiny owl. There were so many wild animals in the room, it was quite overwhelming to remember. It was very exciting to see so many wild animals up-close. After I talked with the nice lady and got a few pieces of papers, someone came in with a baby mockingbird. Only seen one online. It was so cute. The woman before I left said I could look at the outdoor cages, so I did. The first one was a raccoon and it came over to me and put it's front feet on the cage. So sweet. It really did look sweet and precious. I then went to the other cages, most having hawk-type birds, which were cool to see up-close. Then I saw the squirrel. He was burying his nuts and food in the dirt that he was given. That was so cute. The last animal we saw was a turtle in a pond near the parking area. He swam over to me, which was sweet, but due to the rocks wasn't able to climb up them to get closer to me. I kind of felt he was being sweet and wanting love. After that I left. I didn't really want to. I would've loved to have stay out there forever.

I do want to donate and volunteer at some point. I had an incredible experience at Walden's Puddle. And I'm glad I was able to potentially save the life of a bird, and that Walden's Puddle are able to help save and cure the bird of this all-too-common disease in House Finches, and potentially stop the spread to others that could be infected by this contagious disease.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Old Video I Took of Mister Kitty Sleeping on My Birdfeeder

The Summer Molt

Yesterday, I noticed two mated cardinals and two grackles were molting. It's always strange to see. I remember last year around the same time or a month or so later I discovered this strange thing happening with my Blue Jays. I had to google it to find out what was going on back then. I'm sure I'll be seeing a lot more birds molting in the coming months.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Summer Update

Activity in summer continues to be strong after the spring that briefly lacked in activity; it was quite strange but apparently normal since most birds and nesting and have an abundance of natural food and insects. The hummingbird feeder has been getting more activity, being visited daily by a hummingbird, with apparently a mate that doesn't go to it much, if any, but always meets up and fly together after the hummingbird drinks at the feeder. They did this last year. Not sure they're the same hummingbirds, but I want to say they are.

In some bad news that's happened recently, on July 4th weekend, either Monday or Sunday, I was walking out of my garage and saw a cat get a bird on the ground, I think a robin. I didn't even think, I just ran after that cat. I heard either the bird or cat make a faint cry or gargling sound. The bird was trying to get away. It was horrible to see annd hear. The cat ran off with the bird into the woods. Made me mad and sad. Then a day or two later I found a dead finch by my window. It was under a bench so I didn't notice it probably for a few days until I bent down to refill my ground feeder. The wings were still open, so it probably hit the window and broke it's neck. It had already started decomposing and being eaten by tiny bugs. Other than those two things there hasn't been that much drama.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I was watching a female cardinal feed her baby at the feeder. It reminds me of last year when I would watch a baby cardinal being fed in the morning. Kind of takes me back. Now it's started all over again, a year later. How time flies. I still wonder if these are the same two cardinals that raised another baby last year. I would assume so. The female built a nest near my house this spring but abandoned it before laying any eggs. But it's nice to see the cardinals again at the feeder, especially seeing a baby being fed again. I also saw a fledgling House Finch, fluttering it's wings and wanting food from the parents today. And I've seen quite a few fledgling Common Grackles and a Red-bellied Woodpecker being fed by their parents and getting food on their own.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

My First Homemade Suet, Third Batch

I went shopping and picked up more crunchy peanut butter, oats and a tub of a mix of lard (meat fat) and vegetable shortening. I mixed them all together on the stove. Put it in the freezer overnight. I put it out and the birds really seemed to like it, although it started melting in the heat, even though I had it in the shade under a covered feeder. Maybe adding some flour, etc. would help it stay more solid in the heat, I'm not sure. But if it were cooler, this suet I made would be the perfect one. Tastes good, too. I will definitely be offering this in winter.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

House Finch Make Out Session

I saw two mated House Finches look like they were having a make out session. They just both kept pecking softly in each other's mouth. They may have been exchanging food, though, I'm not sure. It was the cutest and sweetest thing.

Bumble Bee Sleeping on a Sunflower Head

Late at night before going to bed at about 2 A.M. I was refilling my feeder for the morning and I noticed a cute little bumble bee sleeping on a sunflower head, one of the smaller sunflowers growing. That made my night. The only reason I saw him was because I had my flashlight with me for seeing what I'm doing outside and just happened to notice him.

Monday, June 27, 2011

That wasp I was telling you about with the missing set of wings...

I woke up this morning about 11:30 A.M. and checked on the wasp. He had moved or fallen to the ground from the hose he was clinging to. He was on his side, not moving and dying. When I picked him up his stinger was doing a pumping motion and his limbs and other body parts were just moving very slowly or not at all. I decided to put him out of his misery. Yesterday, when I first noticed him, he seemed like a friendly, healthy wasp other than the missing set of wings. It's sad.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Planting More Sunflower Seeds

I planted nearly 10 sunflower seeds this evening. Just got the urge to plant some more and give the bumble bees and other bees more nectar, plus when they are done growing I can get many more seeds back from the heads of them all, so it's truly a win-win for me.

It's Been One Year of Birdfeeding and Birdwatching

I took and uploaded my first bird video in June of 2010 and probably got into birds sometime around May 2010, or maybe even late April. It's been a full year of being into my bird hobby. Crazy. Never would've thought I'd be into birds, but here I am. It's been wonderful. It brings happiness and a smile to my face every day.

A Wasp Missing Left Side of Wings

I saw this wasp on my porch steps, then I noticed he didn't have the left side of his wings, appearing one or both of his ripped-off wings were stuck or on his intact right-side wings. I went to my computer and google'd if wasp's wings grow back, which I read they don't, unfortunately, and that they will die without being able to fly and find food. But I also read they eat a lot of insects, which a lot are found on the ground. This is when I learned they have four sets of wings, by the way.

I really feel sorry for this wasp. Maybe it was the recent heavy rain or something else. I thought briefly about putting him out of his misery and inevitably slow death, but when I realized he might still be able to live by finding food on the ground and adapting I decided killing it was not the best option at the moment. I tried to put a dead insect near him but he just walked passed it, and then I put a sunflower heart on the step.

I've never seen any insects that I can think of that were not able to fly anymore because of missing wings, etc. It's kind of pitiful and makes me a little sad.

My First Homemade Suet: Second Batch, & Update on Birdfeeding Acitivity

Just finished making my second test batch of peanut butter suet. It tastes A LOT better than my first batch. I had a taste-test and it tasted good. I mixed in crunchy peanut butter (melted first), oats, flour and crushed unsalted, dry roasted peanuts. The first batch you could really taste the cornmeal too much, I think, which isn't the best tasting, I might add. Oats have a good and subtle taste and it's got a lot of protein and no sodium/salt, as does the flour. The yellow cornmeal in my first batch has a ton of sodium/salt. I'll give the first batch to my dogs or something.

To update on my birdfeeding activity, it has been crazy-busy lately again, picking back up how it used to before the start of the spring nesting season. I've been seeing a lot of new fledgling birds being fed by their parents, like common grackles, red-bellied woodpeckers and blue jays, and I'm sure some other birds. And today, I had a Brown Thrasher visit the feeder for the first time. But mainly a lot of grackles and blue jays, along with the family of red-bellied woodpeckers with their new baby/fledgling, titmice, cardinals, and, unfortunately, more mourning doves. They're not allowed at my feeders because they are some of the most annoying birds, hogging the feeders, gobbling up all the food, knocking my cups I put food in over, poop everywhere, etc. When I shoo them away they come back a minute later and the process repeats over and over and over. They're horrible. I try to only put big peanuts out that they can't fit in their bills, because they have a slim bill and can only eat peanuts that are cracked and in smaller pieces that I put out for mockingbirds, chickadees, etc. Speaking of chickadees, I haven't seen one in some time, not really since that situation with the fledglings I wrote about a few weeks ago. But I hear them, just can't see them. :P Hopefully soon they'll be coming back to the feeders. I love little chickadees; so precious. Their size, call, song, everything.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My First Homemade Suet, Kind of

I just mixed crunchy peanut butter and yellow cornmeal together in a pan on the stove. I let the peanut butter melt a little, then I threw in the cornmeal. Eh, next time I'll use a little less cornmeal, I think. I didn't have any fat to mix in with it, but mainly wanted to make a peanut butter suet cake, anyway. I want it for when I'm still sleeping and there are no more peanuts out in my feeder, because they gobble it up so quick, so it will be kind of the backup food for times when I'm sleeping or out and not able to refill the feeder. I'll let you know how my birds like my first test batch, then I'll make another test batch using less cornmeal. I'll just be doing some experimenting. But I already feel like I can make my own suet now and broken the ice; plus I've read birds tend to prefer homemade rather than store-bought.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Sunflower That a Bird Planted

This is one sunflower of many that birds planted somehow by accidentally dropping black-oil sunflower seeds into a pot of soil. If you click the picture and look at the full-size picture, you can see there are two bumble bees on the head. This one is huge, at least six to seven feet, and standing tall. There are several more in the picture, one now with it's head drooping. There are about 20 to 30 around my house, all planted by birds except one. After I realized birds had made sunflowers start sprouting up, I planted one of my own. It's now about three feet and still growing. Next year I'm going to plant a lot more, and I'm sure the birds will, too.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Common Grackles

Yesterday, I had a small family of Common Grackles eat at my feeder. Hadn't seen many for a few months. They had a fledgling it looked like with them. The parent had a hurt talon, similar to the one I saw on a Blue Jay months ago. I hate seeing injuries, etc. on birds.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Two days ago I saw a fledgling Red-bellied Woodpecker today being fed by the male adult parent. The adult would peck at the peanuts and break them into small pieces and after having several in his bill he would tilt his head sideways and feed them to the fledgling. So cool. I took a video of them, but couldn't get one of the fledgling being fed. Also, I think I saw a fledgling Blue Jay trying to eat and peck at peanuts, but was kind of clumsy at it I could tell. The top of the head wasn't real blue, it was more black.

Activity has really been picking up at the feeders the past couple weeks.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fledgling Robin

Yesterday, I saw the baby fledgling robin around in the front yard for the first time. It's from the only remaining occupied nest in my yard. It's quite cute, seeing a fledgling robin, and fluttering it's wings when about to get food from the parent. ...sigh... I love robins. I like how they run on the ground while searching for food.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

How to Keep Water in Your Bird Bath/Fountain Cold in Summer

Ice is our friend. At first, I just threw some ice cubes in the bird bath every once in a while. I then decided I wanted to try to freeze water in a large container so there would be much more ice, a more solid mass and last longer, not to mention that ice cubes will tend to flow toward the area where water is pouring into the dish, making some water splash and run out sometimes; whereas the big solid mass of ice tends to stay in one place and you can position it in a good place. I used a milk jug first, then a 2-liter coke bottle. I figured I could just cut the top part off of the 2-liter, until I realized there was an end near the bottom that got narrower. Either way I would have to cut both types of containers making it unusable again. I think a good container to use would be a bucket, fill with water, freeze, then get it out and let it unfreeze slightly so it will loosen and be able to just slide right out. I will give that a try soon.

The robins nesting above my bird bath seem to really love my ice-cold bird bath in this 90+ degree heat.

***UPDATE*** (July 19, 2011, 11:59 A.M.)

I'm now using a thermos (vacuum flask) and freezing water in it. Being reusable is a big plus, and it can easily slide out after letting it thaw briefly, then wedge a butter knife around the sides to help loosen it.

***UPDATE*** (August 2, 2011, 10:08 P.M.)

Still using a large thermos; works very well. I've noticed that it seems to do much better if I let it thaw inside at room temperature than outside where it's hotter. I'm not sure why, but I got the thermos out while trying to take out my broken ice maker. I put a butter knife on the sides in about six places, then I tipped it upside down and hit the bottom of it a few times and it just slid right out. My experience from letting it thaw outside was that it was melted way too much, where only about 25% of the ice was left, before I could get even it out of the thermos (was using a knife on the sides, too). I still might try running it over some hot water briefly to see how that does...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My First Chipmunk

I saw what I assumed was a small squirrel, but realized this wasn't a squirrel. It was brown and had stripes. I knew it was a chipmunk from reading about them before. I haven't seen one in-person before that I know of. It was cool to see. Very small with a fairly short tail. He came up to one of my black-oil sunflower seed feeders. I didn't know what he was doing at first, appearing to eat one or two sunflower seeds like squirrels do, then after I see him "test" the seeds I see him scooping up a bunch of seeds in his two cheek pouches. It was quite funny and cute.

Videos I took a few days later:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nestling Robin

I found a dead nestling robin below a high nest in my front yard. I'm not sure of the circumstances of how or why he died. It's, by far, the youngest bird I've ever seen in-person. It had little to no feathers. It's sad and unfortunate the baby bird died.

Friday, June 3, 2011

13 weeks - -,

It's been 13 weeks since I've seen Mr. Kitty. Every week I've counted what week I'm on now. He's gone forever. Gone but not forgotten. I still think about him everyday. I have another indoor cat. I think about him sometimes when I'm rubbing her, remembering when I used to be able to rub and pick him up. I know he'd be glad she was comforting me and there for me while he couldn't be... I still miss you....

Some songs that helped me through it all:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

3 Big Crows, 1 Little Mockingbird

I saw a huge crow flying overhead in the morning while drinking my coffee, then I see two more following it, and behind the last one I saw a little Mockingbird chasing them all, especially the crow directly in front of him, speeding up behind him several times, etc. It was really quite a funny sight to see. I wish I had my camera and got a video of it...

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Read the video description to see what happened and the story behind this.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spring Bird Food

It's become apparent to me that if I want to keep attracting birds to my feeders in spring that I need to add some natural food, like worms, etc. It has been pretty dead at my feeders, other than the occasional Blue Jay, House Finch, Chickadee, Titmouse, and the annoying Mourning Doves. But there are just a lack of birds, in general, because of birds going off and claiming their own territory, where winter is pretty much nonterritorial and there are many more birds eating seeds since there are no insects, etc. to eat.

Singing Mockingbird at Night

Two nights ago I heard a Mockingbird singing his heart at night, about 1 A.M, while I was putting peanuts out in the birdfeeder before going to bed. It was really something to hear this particular bird singing at this hour, because it has sooo many sounds and songs it makes, mimicking different birds and sounds, and also to hear it with no other sound interference, like other birds or other noises that are more present in the day. So I looked it up and read that only unmated male mockingbirds sing at night. Well, I hope he finds a mate this spring...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I discovered a new nest in one of my big trees in my front yard, just above and away from the abandoned cardinal nest in a small tree. I haven't been able to determine what kind of bird it is, but just thinking about it now, I don't think it would be a cardinal nest because they prefer dense cover and where it's at isn't dense enough I wouldn't think. I heard some chirps coming from somewhere above me in the tree while I was working outside, then eventually I noticed a nest. I saw that there was a bird in the nest, and could see the tail, but wasn't able to identify the species of bird. Hopefully soon I'll be able to. If I just had to guess, I would say it's a robin's nest.

The chickadees are definitely nesting in my front yard. The birdhouse is a little smaller than a regular bluebird house, not as long, vertical-wise, but about the same space (4"x4" or so), with a regular-style pointed birdhouse roof. It's really amazing that they picked that house, although I believe they built nests in multiple birdhouses nearby. This birdhouse doesn't have a permanent bottom. I put a piece of wood on the arbor it's on and set the birdhouse on top of it. The cool thing about this birdhouse is that it has horizontal openings on both sides from where the roof hangs over the side but doesn't meet it, about a 1.5"-2" opening, so they can get out (or in, presumably) through either side or through the regular hole in front. I believe the male comes to feed the female off-and-on. I constantly see him coming into it with food then leaving a few seconds later without anything in his bill.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Week of the Cicada

They're all over the place, hundreds, thousands in my yard alone. Crazy! When they molt, they are hanging halfway out of their shell and look pale white. It's a pretty freaky sight. And you can hear them. I hear this distant sound, like a mechanical sound or an idle diesel engine running. That's kind of what they sound like, at least how they sound far away and in an apparently large group. When nearer to them, you can hear the buzzing.

In nesting news, the cardinal appears to have abandoned her nest near my house. That's unfortunate. But it appears that there are definitely two chickadees nesting in a birdhouse near my house. I see one or both coming and going. It almost looked like today a chickadee came out with a fecal sack but I'm not sure. The titmice look to be nesting somewhere else, not in my yard anymore, although I still see them around. It has been so dead at my birdfeeders the past month or so. Totally unexpected. I guess the good news is I can finally sleep-in 'til 9 or 10. That feels pretty nice.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Migrants Have Left...?

I believe they have all gone back up home to the north - -, I really enjoyed learning about the Red-breasted Nuthatch. Really a sweet little bird, and will come right up near you, provided you're near a feeder that has one of his favorite foods in there...Hehe. There were two of them, presumably mates, that I used to feed, but I'd have to guess they left two to three weeks ago, give or take. I'll never forget my first winter feeding birds. There was a lot of action, a lot of cold, hungry birds, and I'm glad I was able to help out. I had a really great and memorable time. And now I'm enjoying my first full spring feeding birds and experiencing nesting and learning new things about birds in the spring season.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

This Week...

Yesterday, I noticed a robin's nest not far from my deck in a nearby tree. Pretty cool. I noticed it because I saw two robin's around the nest, then looked in my binoculars and spotted the large nest. If I had a decent camera with a long zoom I would take a picture of it. Unfortunately, I dropped my binoculars with an integrated (crappy) camera and ever since then the focus has been off slightly on one of the lenses compared to the other. It may still take a decent picture but I have doubts. I'm looking to get a Canon with a 12x+ optical zoom soon and a wireless camera.

Today, I noticed a Carolina Wren collecting dog hair on my deck. Pretty cute. I'm not sure where the nest is, but it has to be nearby. I took a short 5-second video but it's so out of focus it's not even worth uploading.

The cardinal has been in the nest still, off and on. I'm not sure if the eggs have been laid yet or not because I can't see inside the nest, but I'd assume it's very close or some or all have already been laid. I've uploaded a short video here:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Update on the Cardinal Nest

I hadn't seen the female cardinal at the nest in a few days, but a few minutes ago I noticed she was in the nest, this time laying in the nest, not building it. She definitely appears to be done building the nest and I assume she is about to start laying eggs or possibly even has already laid (one).

Friday, April 22, 2011

For This Earth Day...

...which happens to be my birthday also, I think we should all respect and protect nature, the environment and our planet Earth more. I've been slowly realizing how beautiful and important nature is. I plan on making a small contribution with my birdfeeding, providing birdhouses, and learning more about gardening and eventually grow some really pretty and beneficial plants. The only thing I, myself, have grown so far, or should I say my birds have grown, are some dropped sunflower seeds have been sprouting various places in my yard. How cool is that?! But I'm going to do some actual intentional planting so I can have some cool berry-producing shrubs for the birds that don't normally visit feeders and eat seeds or that just like berries, like robins, mockingbirds, etc. I have a lot of robins around here but they don't touch the feeders, not even the bird bath, yet.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Cardinals

This morning I saw the male singing his heart out. It's probably the first time I've actually been able to confirm that a bird is singing territorially, because I know he's mated and has been seen chasing another male away yesterday. After I saw him singing I checked the nest-in-progress. What do you know, she was hard at work, building. Here's a video from today of the female building the nest:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I just saw...

...the two cardinals building a nest near my house MATE! The female lifted her tail high and then saw the male "mount" her, getting on top of her. After getting off of her I saw her flutter her wings a few times. I almost had a video of it but by the time I got it they were done. A few minutes later I saw her fly to the nest she's building and put more things in it.

One Year Later... The BP Oil Spill: The Most Powerful Photos

View the heartbreaking images here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Exciting and Action-packed Day for Nesting!

Well, I've discovered two cardinal mates building a nest in a conifer shrub/tree close to my porch and right by a window. The is the same shrub/tree that I've video-recorded and posted I believe the same male roosting there in the winter. It may be the same cardinal mates that used to come to my feeders first thing in the morning that used to live in the woods, or it may be the young cardinal that I watched grow and get fed by their parents. I'm not sure which it is. This is VERY exciting, though, to have an actual nest being built where I can watch it and the baby cardinals. Just awesome.

After I discovered the nest I saw a female Eastern Bluebird, presumably the mate of the male bluebird that I just saw today for the first time and that has been hanging around my yard all day. I think they're looking to nest in a birdhouse/nestbox!

I will have a video of the cardinals building the nest posted soon.

Hard-boiled Egg

I'm offering my birds a hard-boiled egg for the first time. Exciting to see if they'll peck at it right away or if it'll take some time. I had a few last night. Boy, were they good.

My First...

...Bluebird! And at around the same time I saw a hummingbird for the first time since fall! I wonder if it's the same one from last year... So, been a very cool day today and recently with all of the new birds.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Looking 4 a Home

Last weekend and ever since the chickadees have been in and out of several birdhouses. That's a change from last week and some time before where I didn't see much activity around the 'houses. They were in some old ones where they've already built a nest and some 'houses that I just cleaned and moved to new locations nearby.

I saw the two titmice this weekend again after a sudden stop in activity for a few days. They were around the main 'house I made a video of and posted a few days ago. I saw one trying desperately to get out of it and each of the three holes, trying each one fast and in a hurry, but seemingly having trouble getting out for a minute. Eventually he made it out. There may be a red wasp nest in there and that's possibly the reason, because of the wasps. I really need to unscrew the 'house and check. I'm not going to let a wasp occupy my birdhouses and ruin my potential first nests of spring since being into birds.

In other news, I've seen several new birds recently, possibly back from migration or stopping over and on their way back home to the north.

Friday, April 15, 2011

BP and Big Oil Still Killing Dolphins and Turtles

They are the worst! A year later the BP Oil Spill is still affecting and killing wildlife in the sea, and they're not doing anything about it, as this article on The Huffington Post from a Gulf resident states. Then, they have these totally lame and fake PR commercials, even on the Eagle Cam I posted last night. The last thing I want to see when looking at a live stream of a beautiful Bald Eagle is a big oil company like BP that's killed so many birds, dolphins and turtles. They can throw their blood money into a PR campaign, but all the money in the world isn't going to change or undo anything or fix their bad reputation.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

First Nests...

I've had two nests made in birdhouses in my yard so far this spring, but they've both ended in failure. The chickadee nest was the first one of the season. The metal structure it was hanging from fell over in a storm and haven't really seen them around it much since. The titmouse nest was going well last week up until sometime this week when activity around the nest suddenly stopped. I was hoping there were no annoying red wasps trying to make a nest in there as I've seen them do in many of my birdhouses. They have been a real annoyance so far, and with some of my 'houses, I can't easily see inside them without unscrewing and taking the 'house apart, which might disturb or mess up the nest a little. I have GOT to have an open-and-close mechanism on my 'houses to make sure the nests aren't being occupied by pests such as red wasps.

On another note, I've had a lack of birds at my feeders as of late. I'm thinking this might be normal in early spring. Birds may be looking for mates, claiming territory, building nests, etc. and not at my feeders as much.

Wish me luck and many visitors this spring.

Eagle Cam

You may have heard about this on the news like me. I just saw the live video feed for the first time a few minutes ago and thought you may like it, too, so here it is:

Streaming live video by Ustream

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Police Officer in Texas Pepper-Sprays Young, Baby Squirrel

I watched the video and read this article on The Huffington Post where, as the title says, a police officer pepper-sprays a baby squirrel. I can't believe anyone would do that. Absolutely disgusting, cruel and heartless. He was probably just looking for food or shelter, or something else.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Update for the Week of April 3-April 9

You know the first nest in a birdhouse this spring I wrote about in my previous post? Well, Monday we had some big storms and very strong wind. It knocked the metal structure over that was holding the birdhouse. I don't believe there were any chickadees in it at the time, but I was still very pissed it fell over. I haven't seen the two chickadees around it in several days, so let's just say the kickoff of spring and my first bird nest in my yard this season didn't go flawlessly. I want a chickadee or titmouse, or any bird for that matter, to use my new birdhouse that's attached to a dead tree. It's really a solid home for a bird. They've just checked it out, gone in and out, but haven't made a nest in it, YET. Soring has been interesting so far. It seems like there are much less chickadees using my feeder since spring started. It seems that a lot of the birds may be trying to claim their own territory in nearby areas, at least that's what I've read birds do in spring.

Yesterday, Saturday, was the first time I witnessed two Titmice making a nest in one of my birdhouses. I was so happy. They are the sweetest, cutest birds. I managed to take a video of some of it, which is below:

Saturday, April 2, 2011

It's Official ... First Chickadee Nest in My Yard ... Whoohoo!

I've confirmed it just minutes ago. I'm so excited about this. This is the first nest in my yard this spring, the first spring since I've been into birds, so it's very exciting and new for me. And the chickadee is one of my favorite birds I feed.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Did I Just See What I Think I Saw

About five to 10 minutes I saw two chickadees, one climbed onto the back of the other with wings fluttering. I'm not sure if they were mating or if it was part of a mating dance or courtship.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Three Weeks

That day I went into the woods looking for you
It was the first day I had been in there
I knew then why you loved it so much
I was just in awe and beside myself
It felt weird to see a place you had probably been a thousand times
Almost eerie, to see and be in a place you had walked and roamed before
Like I was walking into the past, or even in your footsteps, seeing the same things you had seen
Your old stomping grounds
All the places you had been before
You're nowhere to be found now
Except in my mind
I look out the window, still looking for you
I still see all of your old cat friends you used to play and fight with
Sometimes I wonder why it had to be you out of all of them
I just don't understand why
I can still see you run to me when you hear me
Now there's just tears running
Three weeks ago today I was holding you in my arms, the last day I saw you
Now, I'm just holding onto memories

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Chickadee Checking Out My Birdhouse ... Exciting!

I saw for the first time a chickadee enter one of the two new birdhouses I got for Xmas! I was so happy and excited. He went in and out of it several times, would fly away, come back, go in again, perch nearby, etc. Then I saw him trying to tear off a green leaf from a nearby bush. He might be trying to get nesting material together for a nest inside the birdhouse. Let's hope! Here's a video of them at another time:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Here Today, Gone Forever Tomorrow

I remember the last time I picked you up and held you
Not knowing it'd be my last
Oh, why did I let you out that night
Maybe that would have made the difference
Maybe not
Oh, how you loved it outside, in the wild
And that's where you left us
You left happy, in a place you wanted to be
Everywhere I look, you're there
You're still here, just not how you used to be
When I first met you, you were in bad shape
I nursed you back to health and took you in
I couldn't save you, though
Even though I tried
I tried to save you from this cruel, mean world
Here one second, gone the next
Just like that
You may be physically gone, but you're never really gone
Always there for me
Always with me

Today, the Last Day of Winter. Tomorrow, the First Day of Spring

Today I spent a lot of time reminiscing about Mister Kitty. I was sad much of the day, listening to a few of The Cranberries songs. I have a lot of old pictures and videos that I'm not sure I'm ready to look at quite yet of my cat's last spring. And tomorrow will be the start of spring, this time for the first time without Mister Kitty.

It will be my first full spring birdfeeding, and now filling residents in all of my new birdhouses. Having birds nest and live in my yard is still very new to me. Wish me luck with that, will ya?

I will miss my first migrants since I've been into birds, most notably, the two Red-breasted Nuthatches. So friendly and so cute. I don't want to see them go... I will also miss seeing the migrant White-throated Sparrows that I've fed and seen roosting in a small tree/bush by my porch. I hope all migrants everywhere have a safe journey home.

One of the migrants that will be returning back here are hummingbirds, which I used to feed. I love hummingbirds. As far as the others, I am not exactly sure which migrants come back here for their breeding/summer migrations. I guess we will have to see, huh!

With that said, I hope every one of you has a great spring providing homes for and feeding the birds.

Happy spring

In Case You Missed It...

I saw this in the news several months ago, but thought about it recently. These birds, called Newell's Shearwater, mistake night lights for the moon and stars and fly around repeatedly, eventually running out of energy and fall to the ground.

Knut the (Sweet) Polar Bear Dies

I was cryin' my eyes out looking at the pictures from an article on the HuffPost of this sweet polar bear that was rejected by his mother at birth. The pictures that tore me up most were the ones where a girl is holding a little stuffed bear up to the glass and he looks like he's kind of kissing it. So sad that he died.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

How to Offer Peanuts to Birds

Well, the truth is, any way is fine. But birds crack and eat peanuts differently, and so they prefer different ways it's offered to them. For instance, some birds hold peanuts between their feet and peck and eat it. Those kind of birds can pretty much open and eat it in any way it's offered, with or without the shell. The only problem is that sometimes the shell or large peanut half will fall to the ground and become wasted, maybe just temporarily, until another ground feeder finds it, but it could still be wasted permanently and go bad and get wet and moldy. So here is how I offer my birds peanuts.

For the small birds that hold food with their feet, like chickadees and titmice, I usually like to break a peanut half into four to six pieces, so in case they do drop and waste it it's not that big of a loss. With the bigger birds that hold food with their feet, like Blue Jays, etc., they are absolute masters at being able to crack open anything and not dropping or wasting much. They always go for the peanut halves, and if there's not any, will go for the smaller peanut pieces, which they sometimes swallow on the spot since it's about the size they tear off and eat when they peck at a peanut half. They would also readily eat whole peanuts in the shell, but I don't offer that option much anymore. I've even seen the tiny little chickadees and titmice fly off with a huge peanut shell. It's so cute.

For the birds that don't hold food with their feet, like wrens, nuthatches, mockingbirds, etc., they generally prefer the smaller, broken-up pieces just like I feed the chickadees and titmice. Now, a nuthatch might be able to not waste a peanut half since they wedge it into the bark and peck and eat it like that, so it's probably easier for them to have a big peanut so they have a lot to peck at, but they are also fine with smaller pieces. A mockingbird prefers small pieces, and I even have a special small sauce cup where I put finely ground-up pieces from a chopper, and the mockingbirds readily visit that one compared to the other small sauce cups with the bigger pieces and full peanut halves. Now, wrens, they will lay food on a hard surface and peck at it to get it into very small pieces where they can swallow it. So, with that said, they would probably prefer both small or big peanuts.

So, there you have it. Those are the different ways you can offer peanuts to your little feathered cuties.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mister Kitty, This is Gonna be Really Hard Without You

Life without Mister Kitty is gonna be so different. But it seems I've got to go on without him. I couldn't help to think about him when I woke up. No Mister Kitty laying beside me. Everywhere I look is some reminder of him. Last night I found a bunch of old cell phone and camera videos of him. I still can't believe he's gone. Just like that it can happen, one day he's here, the next he's vanished without a trace. So sad. Mister Kitty was one tough cat and now I have to be one to take this loss. He was also the sweetest, friendliest and most likable cat. It's gonna be hard...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mister Kitty - -,

I had a dream last night I saw Mister Kitty. I think he was laying in a chair like he used to do so much. It's slowly hit me that he could no longer be alive. I can't imagine that, I don't like to, but I guess it's possible. There are coyotes, owls, other large birds in the woods that border my property. It feels so empty and strangely quiet on the street and outside my house where he'd walk. Whenever I'd come home, he'd always run to my vehicle in the driveway and garage. Now, there's nothing. I look around, it's quiet, too quiet, and I always imagine him walking around in my mind. I sometimes wait and reminisce and look around for him to magically appear, but I never get my wish. I just get an eerie silence. This was his block, his street, and will always be... It's just not the same without him. He always liked to hunt and kill little things like mice, lizards, squirrels, etc., whatever he could get a hold of, and maybe a bigger animal got him finally, much like how he got so many before it. It makes me think how there's a food chain and everyone's time comes. I looked in the woods for him a couple times. I don't know if I would like to find him dead. If an animal did get him I don't think there would be much left of him, anyway. Maybe I'd just like to pretend he's still walking around or sleeping and spread out somewhere...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mister Kitty, Still Lost

It's now been over a week since I've seen my cat. It's hard and sad. Not knowing what happened is the difficult part. Oh, how he loved birds, too, albeit a little differently than me. He liked to try to get them, I liked to feed and watch them. When I first met Mr. Kitty he was very bony and underfed. I guess the neighbors across the street that owned him didn't feed him much. I'm sure that's partly where he picked up a lot of his hunting skills, to get food to stay alive. So, I nursed Mr. Kitty back to health and fed him well and he called this place home for years after. He was very loyal, sweet and friendly. I tried to make him an indoor cat, but he just didn't want to be indoors too much, except when it was rainy or cold, and other times just to sleep and relax. At least I tried, but if I never see him again, he will at least have been where he wanted to be and loved, which was outside, in the wild ... free.

I miss you, Mister Kitty. I always told you when I picked you up and were in my arms that I love you so much and that I'd do anything for Mister Kitty. Well, I kept my promise. I've looked at the pound, asked around the neighborhood, posted Lost posters. Love you, wherever you are.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mister Kitty

My outdoor/indoor cat that I took in a few years ago in '06 or '07 has been missing for three days now. I have so many memories of him and all the places in my house and outside he used to sleep on. Wish me luck that he comes back or I find him.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring is Upon Us... March 1st

Weather is starting to get nice, trees, bushes and flowers will all blooming soon, in a month or so, and I have to put out all of my birdhouses. It's an exciting time of year! My first full spring since I have been into my bird hobby, which I got into about mid-spring of last year. Let's have a good spring everyone.

Update: I saw a Mourning Dove do a mating dance/courtship around another Dove. Pretty funny to watch.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Common Grackle/Blackbird Update

I swear, whenever I get a ton of blackbirds I always think it'll never stop and the amount visiting the feeders will grow and grow, but I'm always wrong and they eventually stop coming. It's kind of funny. I only had all of those blackbirds that I took and posted two videos of for about a week or so, then I would just get a few every once in a while. I had one cute Red-winged Blackbird; he looked big and fluffed up, and he'd visit quite regularly after I got the big flock of grackles, but haven't seen him in a few days to a week. I still get European Starlings occasionally, sometimes one, sometimes five, but they are so, so bad at pooping anywhere and everywhere, it's ridiculous. They make Mourning Doves seem like sanitary birds (they poop everywhere a lot, too).

I did love seeing the Common Grackles again. Really a cool bird. I miss 'em...again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

House Finch Eye Disease

I've seen two or more birds (House Finches) today with the confirmed House Finch (Eye) Disease (it can affect multiple bird species, not just House Finches). Another female House Finch is closing one or both eyes at times, and looks larger than normal, like she's fluffed up, with big lump-like parts covered with feathers sticking out, like on her chest and her back. Not real sure what that is, if she has the disease, too, or not. It doesn't move too much, and while I was out putting more bird food in the feeders, she didn't move from a branch she was perched on nearby, even though I was making some noise. I was wondering if she could be deaf even. Anyway, kind of sad. I am gonna get out the 10% bleach, I guess, and do some cleaning.

Monday, February 14, 2011

We Must Not Forget the BP Oil Spill

So many birds and animals were affected by this preventable tragedy. Click here to view the photos from The Huffington Post.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Few Days Later...

A few days after the surprise visit by a flock of Common Grackles, I got even more blackbirds. European Starlings, Red-winged Blackbirds and, of course, Common Grackles. There were so many droppings, though; one of my pet peeves.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Day After

I didn't quite know what to expect after yesterday with all of the Common Grackles at the feeder. I was just so happy and excited to see so many, or even just one, back at my feeder. I really like when they fluff and puff up at one another. I was thinking that there could be about the same amount of grackles, or was worrying that there could be even more than yesterday!!! Whoa. But, no, there weren't as many today. Maybe four or five at the feeder at one time, but usually just one at the feeder every couple of hours, and no grackles most of the time, with my main visitors being the regulars. Yesterday was cool, though. I enjoyed it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This is the second video I shot. Unfortunately, I stopped recording not knowing they'd all fly off at the same time together about 30 seconds to a minute after recording. ::sigh:: Would like to have captured that but oh well. I just think it looks cool.

As I wrote in the first video, these birds have not visited my feeder since the summer, and I'd only see one rarely at my feeder, not a huge flock of them. It can be overwhelming to have so many; a lot of poop to clean up, and none of my more regular bird visitors can get to this particular feeder, although I have multiple ones they could use. But, yeah, it's cool and scary, all at the same time. Right now, I'm just glad they're back.

Boy, just took this less than five minutes ago and upped on YT. I haven't had this many Common Grackles since the summer. It was awesome! I had one recently, then later all of his friends showed up, I guess. I love Common Grackles!

After I shot this, which by the way my memory card got full and stopped recording, about a minute after the video stops, they all flew off at once, I'd say more than a hundred that were perched in nearby trees. Loved it!

As you can see, I have a new massive platform feeder, Muhahahahahahaha.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Found Another Dead Titmouse...

...on my front door welcome mat. I was so mad at my cat. I had to spank her butt. But then I thought that maybe it had flown into the window like the other Titmouse and died and my cat just "played" with it. I'm thinking that's what happened since I don't think my cat would be able to get most adult birds, being that they're just too fast and alert, and spend a limited amount of time on or near the ground. Still sad, though, to see a dead Titmouse.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Latest Woodpecker Video

This is my second woodpecker video. I combined all the videos I had taken into one video. Most videos are of the Red-bellied Woodpecker, which visits my birdfeeder almost daily. I also took one video of a Downy Woodpecker in my birdfeeder, which visits occasionally. One video is of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, which is technically a woodpecker. The last video is a distant, not-so-great recording of an awesome Pileated Woodpecker. I believe it lives in or close to the neighborhood or forest. It is a beautiful woodpecker with a big, bright red head with black and white throughout. It's huge, too! The wingspan is very wide, being nearly three feet. The main call/song it makes is so cool; it makes me think of something I'd hear in a jungle. And the drumming it does sounds cool and can get a general idea of where it is when it drums and calls. That's the only way I knew something unique was nearby and eventually found it with my binoculars (it looks AWESOME close-up in binoculars), then got my camera, went outside and started recording. Unfortunately, my camera's zoom isn't very good since it's a point-and-shoot pocket camera (Canon SD 1100 IS) but I hope to soon get either a bigger camera with a good zoom, a wireless outdoor camera, or both.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Relocating Your Birdfeeders

In the beginning I had all of my birdfeeders in the front yard, but it wasn't very private, so I wanted to move some of them to the back yard and deck where it's more private. I was eventually able to do that, but not without a little time and patience. So, I wanted to make a post about how others could do the same.

You have two or three options here.

The first and most recommended option is to put food out in both the old and new location. Now, the new location might not get any "hits" on it for a while, but I think eventually the birds would discover it just flying around or foraging.

The second option would be to just take all the food to the new location and hope they find it. The only temporary problem with this option would be that the birds wouldn't know where the food is or went. I doubt you would lose your regular bird visitors, but it's a risk I didn't want to take.

The third option is a mix between the first and second options. This option is to gradually move your birdfeeders to the new location, a few yards/meters at a time, until it's at the new location.


I did the first option, and now all of the birds come to the back first thing in the morning, not the front like they used to and not even go near the back.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pileated Woodpecker and Cedar Waxwing

I saw both of these birds yesterday, and I took a distant video of the woodpecker, which I'll post below soon. It was so cool to see the woodpecker through the binoculars, up-close and personal. I heard the call I always hear but never know or can see what kind of bird it comes from, until yesterday. I looked around for a bird and saw some movement and, what do you know, it's the Pileated Woodpecker I've read so much about and I believe I've even seen it once before in my front yard. The call and drumming is very cool to hear, and now I know what bird makes that cool call. The Cedar Waxwing surprised me on the railing of the back deck. I had no idea what kind of bird it was, until I looked it up on this very good site listing all the birds of Tennessee.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blue Jay Talon/Toe/Foot/Claw Injury: Part IV

I possibly have some very good news to report. Although not confirmed completely yet and being cautiously optimistic, I see a Blue Jay with a curled up talon/claw, like it's gripping onto something but not. It's possibly the injured one I have written about that has a foot injury. I will have to wait and see and make sure I don't see a Blue Jay with the same bent toe/claw injury. My immediate thoughts were that a new set of toes/claws were coming through when I saw it. Please, please be the case!

Update - Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It was not the injured Blue Jay it turns out, unfortunately. I saw it yesterday with the same injured foot.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blue Jay Talon/Toe/Foot/Claw Injury: Part III

Yesterday I saw the injured Blue Jay again. As it was eating a female Red-bellied Woodpecker went over to the area he was eating in and started trying to peck at him. I felt very bad for him. He was trying to peck back in defense, then eventually he flew off. He has a little harder time taking off and flying away than the rest of the uninjured Blue Jays because of not being able to push off with both feet.

Update - 9:37 A.M.

I saw the injured Blue Jay about an hour ago. Luckily, there were no other birds around when he came to the feeder. I watched him fly off and perch at a few trees before he flew off into the distance. He didn't seem to have trouble perching on branches, which is good news. I still wonder how it affects things like building a nest, breaking open seeds, foraging, etc. I'd assume they could still be done, just probably a little harder than normal.


I saw my first Northern Flicker today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

To Know a Mockingbird: One Mockingbird's Tale

I have one, yes, only one, Northern Mockingbird that visits my feeder. Beautiful in a subtle way. The black bill seemingly flows onto the head by way of two black streaks fading passed the eyes. A subtle gray beauty with a ton of personality and character, not to mention incredible dominance and extreme aggression. It is, by far, the most dominant and aggressive bird I currently feed, not afraid to go after and scare away a same size or bigger bird, like Blue Jays or Mourning Doves. He had the cutest and meanest look on his face one time when there was another bird on "his" feeder, a staring, getting-ready-for-battle look. Usually he'll run after them, which I find kind of funny, as I envision that's how a dinosaur like T-Rex may have ran after its prey. Well, I love when he visits the feeder and am so happy to be able to feed and look at him everyday.

Blue Jay Talon/Toe/Foot/Claw Injury: Part II

I saw the injured Blue Jay again today (didn't see him yesterday but maybe I missed him), moving around quite well for having one usable leg. It seems there is only one toe/claw facing awkardly upward in front, maybe a small stub of another toe or maybe not even that. It's very sad to see. I have premium nuts and shelled seeds out, so I hope that's helping the bird if it has trouble breaking seeds open, as they're already without the shell. He seemed to be getting only small pieces, which could confirm he is consuming what he's picking up without further cracking with the bill/beak later.

It's been snowing here off and on since Sunday, so getting quite a few hungry birds, some that don't normally come up to the feeder. The Eastern Towhees are just now beginning to come up to the feeder instead of the ground, along with the White-throated Sparrows (migrant). They normally forage on the ground, but since the ground is covered with snow, it's harder to find food. I'm glad to see them at the feeder.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blue Jay Talon/Toe/Foot/Claw Injury

A few minutes ago I saw a Blue Jay eating on my backyard tray feeder, and noticed one or all three of his toes/claws bent upward, and didn't even see the back claw, or maybe all four, three front, one back, were bent upward in front together . I saw that he was trying not to put weight on it and was on the ball of his talon where all four claws connect. It's made me kind of sad and have been scouring the 'net to see how common and recoverable this might be.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gulls ♥

(Picture from the 'net)
I was at the store a few days ago and saw a bunch a gulls flying around the parking lot. So awesome to see them. Their wingspan is so wide, and when they fly over closely you can see their heads turning and looking around. I threw them some broken-up dog cookies and they all eventually flew down. Really a beautiful bird. ...I want one! ♥

After looking online, I found out they are called Herring Gulls; migrants that are only here for the winter. I went back later in the day on my motorcycle to feed them again but couldn't find them.

Monday, January 3, 2011

WikiLeaks Cables of U.S., Japan Discussing Anti-whaling Group Sea Shepeard's Tax Exempt Status?!

Link to The Huffington Post article. This is an absolute outrage! Japan, trying to weaken the anti-whaling group and hurt them in the pocketbook, is almost as wrong as what they do, which is brutally kill whales, dolphins, seals and other marine life, and as documented in the Oscar-winning documentary The Cove, most are living in complete anguish and pain for minutes even after they are speared. The simple facts is that what Japan is doing is ILLEGAL because they sell the whale meat for profit. Not only is it illegal, more importantly it is WRONG.

Shouldn't they be discussing trying to decrease and stop whaling instead of trying to hurt an anti-whaling organization? Japan actually wants to hunt more whales and bribes other corrupt third-world governments into supporting whaling.

What WikiLeaks has done is expose the truth on the governments, militaries and corporations. It really is a revolution of the freedom of information, real freedom of information, not selected and still-censored freedom of information.

WikiLeaks made big news when they released the classified video of two journalists and multiple civilians being murdered in Iraq, including injuring two children in a van and killing their father who was trying to help the injured, crawling journalist, while the murderers can be heard laughing. It's disgusting. The military wouldn't release it under a Freedom of Information request. I think I know why: because it doesn't make the military look good... Lame.

Why is there not more outrage to these wrongs, only to the exposing of the wrongs? It seems like the exposing of the truth of these wrongs is considered WAY WORSE than the actual wrongs and crimes being committed. WikiLeaks has done very good work. Information should not be suppressed. I think we have a right and need to know about what's going on.

Major Hits

Boy, after posting just a simple link to an article from The Huffington Post on my blog yesterday I got some major hits on my blog like never before concerning the dead birds found in Arkansas.

Okay, I just read the updated article on The Huffington Post. It turns out they were Red-winged Blackbirds, and on MSNBC they are reporting there were European Starlings, too. And the number has gone up from 1,000 to 4,000-5,000. Boy, that's not good. I have had a Red-winged Blackbird visit my finch feeder a long time ago, back when I had just started getting into birdfeeding in spring. They are really beautiful birds, all-black with red and yellow on the wings. And I've also seen two European Starlings a couple weeks ago near my feeders when one of the big snows hit.

If this was a case of shooting fireworks close to the large roosting area it is an absolute outrage and a very stupid and wrong thing to do.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1,000 Black Birds Found Dead in Arkansas

Here is the article on The Huffington Post.

If this was indeed people shooting fireworks and scaring the birds I think it's irresponsible to be shooting fireworks so close to so many birds. Let's hope at least there was a natural reason for it. I have a feeling they could have been Common Grackles but I really hope not since I like those birds.

Cardinal in "His" Roosting Tree

I wrote last night about this male cardinal and two other birds (White-throated Sparrows) roosting together. Well, I was finally able to get a good capture of him in the daytime. The pics I took last night turned out real bad. He had just arrived in the tree when I happened to be looking out the window for any birds in the tree, then I recorded him.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I just noticed...

...outside a window are three birds roosting together close-by in a small tree. One being a male Northern Cardinal and two being a House Sparrow. That is sooo cool! I've seen a House Sparrow roosting there one night, but never three birds consisting of two different bird species. I can't wait 'til nesting season in spring. It will be my first since being into the hobby of birds.