Favorite Search of the Week

Matthew 8:
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
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How can you stabilize bird feeders so they don’t blow in the wind?

This is a very good question and one we’ve been dealing with since we started using feeders. We are out in the open, so the winds blow the feeders quite thoroughly.  We’ve had plenty of seed blow out, but do not count it as loss because most of our birds eat from the ground.

From our experience, platforms and hoppers on sturdy poles are the best to withstand wind. We have a woodpecker feeder flush against a tree trunk that doesn’t blow around too much.  Here is something one of the children made and it’s wind-proof.  We’ve not seen any seed blow out of this.  But to be cleaned, the front bar needs to be removed.  See the little House Finch?

windproof

There are heavier hanging feeders that won’t blow around quite as much, but I am not aware of any way to keep them totally stable and the seed still blows out.  Shorter hooks or wire will blow around less than long ones.  Also, avoid glass and cheap plastic.  The winds have blown these down which caused them to break.

We’ve just had to adapt for the hanging feeders.   We take down some feeders until the winds have passed or move them around to keep some sheltered from the winds.   Some birds will continue to feed even while the wind is blowing.  Those same birds will eat seeds or drink nectar from blowing plants and flowers.

I wish I could give better answers, but for a market that has created squirrel-proof feeders, they have not done too much about the wind.   :)   Any way, I appreciate the reminder that God is in control. Though some of His wind is used for energy, man has not come up with a way to stop or diminish its power.

Categories: di fekkel | 3 Comments

Reminder: No White Bread

Psalm 61:
2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
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I have written in the past against feeding white bread to birds.    Here  is a post with photos  by Rambling Woods that explains further why the birds should not be given white bread or any other junk food.   I do not agree with hand feeding hunted birds, but I know not everyone holds this conviction.  The author of the website gives some good food choices that are suitable for the wild geese and ducks, if you want to feed these birds.

This is the one duck we will give food to.  Besides her feed , she gets a salad every day- organic Romaine lettuce and tomatoes.  She also finds tasty morsels around the house.   Yesterday, she got a new, bigger pool and had a grand time.  With her age, she struggles getting in and out, but has figured out the stairs to get in.  Either we have to carry her out of the pool, or she makes a grand flop onto the ground.

Fluffy in her new pool.

Another reminder:  With nesting season approaching and having already begun in some areas, if you set out nesting materials, make sure they are natural colors.  Some use bright colors because they want to see the nests the birds make.  Not only does it make the nest more visible to the human eye, it is much more visible to predators that often have better eyesight than us.  Do not let your selfishness in seeing the birds cause them harm.

Some say do not use thread or yarn at all because of the risk of strangulation, but I recently read about nestlings being strangled by grass.  If you want to use yarn or thread, make sure their length is no longer than 6 inches.  Our nesting materials of choice are my hair (from the hairbrush) cut into shorter chunks and white fluff.   I do want to tie some red ribbon to the holder of white fluff and see if it catches the attention of hummingbirds.

Also, if you find any old nests, do not keep them for yourselves.  Besides being against the law, birds will recycle nests.  The children spotted a Robin taking apart the old Oriole nest up in the tree.

Categories: dangers to birds | 9 Comments

Favorite Search of the Week

Psalm 139:
1 (To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.) O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.
2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

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A delightfully funny search.
why do birds have mustaches?

Birds do not have moustaches, because they do not have facial hair.  They have what birders call “field markings” used in the identification of birds and some of these field markings do indeed resemble moustaches.    That specific marking, depending on the bird, can be called, “malar”, “moustachial stripe”, or “sub-moustachial stripe”.

These field markings also have use for the birds themselves.  The bright markings of a bird, such as on this male Horned Lark, are used to attract females.  In some species, the brighter males are more appealing to the females, no matter how glorious their song is.   There are other things females look for in a mate, but this goes beyond the scope of the post.

But the markings of birds also can mean life or death for them.  Their colours act as camouflage to hide from predators.  If there was no snow on the ground, this Horned Lark would appear to melt into his surroundings.   I have seen this.  On my walks near home, I hear the Horned Larks.  I see one pop up and give an alarm call.  I know right where they are, but even with my camera or binocs, I cannot see a one.  After some time, they grow annoyed with me and the flock bursts into flight toward parts unknown.

Categories: birds with mustaches, di fekkel, field markings

Favorite Search of the Week

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Psalm 145:
14 The LORD upholdeth all that fall, and raiseth up all those that be bowed down.
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Haha! This is a good one…
Can you go birding when it is snowing?

I want to know why you can’t. Just take the same precautions that you would take going out in winter weather for any other reason. Wear appropriate clothing, drive slowly so you do not end up in a ditch.  Take a thermos of hot cocoa.  No need to be afraid of the snow.

snow

The timing of this search was good. Saturday we did some birding in the snow. As far as we knew the field trip was still on; we had not heard otherwise. We left, but did have to take it slower than planned. We reached the site 10-15 minutes late and no one was there. We saw car and people tracks, but they could have been from anyone. The only people around were joggers. Yeah, this can be done in the snow, too.

Monday, I learned the trip leader was stuck at home.  His road was not ploughed yet.

Having been to this park before, we knew where the birds would be.

Someone took a tumble
But he never made a grumble.

At the start, all we saw were Red-bellies and Downys. My husband actually made the comment, “I would like to see anything but woodpeckers.” I told him, “How about the Pileated?  That would be a good bird.” He agreed and so did the Pileated. Yep, gained a year bird and made a certain birthday boy very happy. He was hug-happy.

It was the perfect spot. Big, beautiful flakes were falling. We were sheltered from the cold.  Very few people around.  Just nice!

Categories: di fekkel

Food for Thought

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Isaiah 43:
19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
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Well, that was shocking!

The other day, I received a Garden Alive catalogue in the mail as I had ordered from their website last year. When I first saw it, I thought it was one of those other companies we no longer buy from.  The mailing label looked similar.

Curiosity got me… And what a disappointing shame since Garden Alive has so many organic friendly products!
Seed Companies Owned by Monsanto

If you do not want to support Monsanto, familiarize yourself with this list.  Because not even “Audubon”, a name synonymous to birds,  is exempt.  We recently got one of those catalogues as well.  Do not let any name fool you.

Another bit of “food”.  Sorry about the images, BUT it is said a picture is worth a thousand words.  An Indoor Cat is a Happy Cat

Now about your food…  Someone gave me a link of the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.  This is about the pesticides in the fresh produce we eat.  Washing and peeling are not enough to remove them completely.  Think about the purpose of pesticides; they are to kill.  Click on the other links at the top of that page to read more details.

And lastly, someone came by for a bit of food Sunday.  And the timing could not be funnier.  I had just sent off an email to a friend and in it I mentioned it was highly unlikely we were going to see any owls for Superb Owl Sunday.  They are just too hard to find in the daylight hours; we’ve tried.  Also, we were too sick to go to church, so  we sure were not traipsing around in the cold to look for well-camouflaged owls!

I kid you not. Within five minutes of sending that email, I was talking to Papa when I see a big bird flying over our south pasture.  Flying it was and changing directions so quickly.  We were running all over the house trying to get pictures or even just good looks at it.   Papa yells, “It’s an owl!”  Really?   Great Horned is running through my mind as I’ve read they will hunt in the daytime during winter.   Finally got some pictures before it went to the north pasture.  It caught something over there! YAY!

So, God not only sent us an owl for the day, He sent us a life bird that can also be added to our yard and bathroom lists.  :) A Short-eared Owl.   I think of it as the funny-faced owl.  Here is a link to learn about it and see better pictures.
Yes, the photo is icky, but it’s a photo!

owl

Some years ago, we were told if our area has Northern Harriers, we should be seeing the Short-eared Owl.   They share the same habitat.   Finally, we were able to see this bird.  I wonder if one of these has already been here.  I always imagine some grand birds here while our backs are turned.  :D

Categories: dangers to birds, lifers, links, raptors | 14 Comments

Favorite Search of the Week

1 John 2:
1. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
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It has been too long since I have done one of these. Not only have the search terms been reduced,  but overall my time spent blogging has dropped. But this one made me laugh, so was worth passing on.

birders are a crazy bunch

I am not able to determine which post they went to; maybe just to the blog itself. ???

Birders probably do seem a bit crazy, or if anything, just a little off.  Our birding is not very extreme, though I still question the sanity of our 1 January’s outing.

Right now I feel we are more in the bird-watching mode, rather than birding. Birding requires activity; we’ve not gone out to find many birds in this weather.  Our sightings lately have mostly been from the windows.

Non birders may recognize there are birds around, but just do not think much of them.  I know, I was there.  But now that we are birders, we recognize who they are and sometimes understand their behaviour and what they might be communicating.  Then there are other times, we can only guess what is being said…

Red-bellied Woodpecker and Western Meadowlark

Red-bellied Woodpecker on his belly and a Western Meadowlark

I have never seen these two species interact in any way before, especially because in normal situations, they belong in different habitats.  Oh, I like living out here!

Categories: bird facts, di fekkel