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Archive for July, 2012

For four consecutive days the temperature and humidity reached the mid 90s and the forecast for today promised to make the previous days seem almost cool.  Naturally, today was the scheduled day for my July BirdWalk.  This would be a test.  I sincerely doubted that anyone would show up for the BirdWalk.  But they did.

Actually five eager birders (Avril, Bernie, Elizabeth, Rosemary, Tom) appeared plus Doug and myself – a very respectable turnout on a less than stellar day.  Our location, Pepsico Sculpture Gardens, is never very “birdy” but makes for a pleasant morning in a very attractive landscape. 

Today the birds may have had more sense than the birders and they stayed hidden in dense, cool shady area.   We did spot 21 species but nothing more exotic than the bird you might see at your backyard bird feeder.  The most unusual sighting was watching Barn Swallows attempt to perch on horizontal roping that was swaying in the wind.  They spent more energy trying to maintain their balance than the energy they saving perching.

I did add a new bird for my 2012 list – a Chipping Sparrow.   Not a rate or unusual species, but one I had not seen before this year

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The sweet nectar we put into feeders to attract hummingbirds also attracts other creatures with a “sweet tooth”, mostly ants and bees.  Fortunately, we can discourage these unwanted visitors.  Most good quality hummingbird feeders have built-in bee guards that prevent bees from getting to the nectar.  A simple ant moat, built into some feeders will totally prevent ants from getting on to a hanging feeder.  The real challenge has always been how to prevent the ants that climb up to a hummingbird feeder from the ground.

I just learned about a new anti-ant technique that sound promising.  It involves applying liquid laundry detergent to the poles, stakes, branches, and other surfaces that the ants climb on to reach the feeder.  Do not apply detergent to the feeder itself.  There is something in detergent that interferes with an ant’s chemical navigation. The first day you should apply it several times.  After a few days, you will not need it anymore.   It definitely sounds like it is worth a try if you are harassed by ants.

 

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Q:  What do you give a sick bird?  A:  Tweetment.

A duck walks into a drug store and buys some chapstick. The clerk says, “Will that be cash or charge?” The duck says, “Just put it on my bill!”

Two vultures were in the desert eating a dead clown. The first vulture asks the second vulture: “Does this taste funny to you?”

Q:  What do you get when you run over a bird with your lawnmower?  A:  Shredded Tweet!

Q:  How do you get down off an elephant?   A:  You don’t! You get down off a duck.

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It is almost July 1st, half the year is already gone.  And it harder to find new bird species to add to my 2012 list.  Adding a new now bird usually requires trekking to some specific habitat to find a bird I hadn’t seen before this year.  But I am always reminded that birds are everywhere.

I was driving down a divided highway with a wide median strip, not a parkway, a local road with a 35 mile per hour speed limit.  As I drove down the road I noticed a bird ahead on a railing in the median.  It flew out over the grass, then flew back to the railing.  “Flycatcher behavoir of some sort”, I thought.  As I drove past I got a good look at the bird –  dark gray above with white below and with a wide white stripe on the tip of the tail.  “Eastern Kingbird”, a new species to add to my 2012 list.

That just shows you that you don’t have to go to a special nature area to see birds.  They are everywhere.

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