Enjoy Birds?

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Job 12:
7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:
8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?
If you enjoy birds, you may…

  • get involved in conservation.
  • start feeding the birds.
  • take part in the bird counts in your area.
  • recycle. (I recently learned we were not recycling as much as we could. Paper milk/soup cartons and tin foil can be put in the big bin! YAY!)
  • donate your time and money.
  • go birding, Or…
  •  stop birding.

In October I mentioned we sat in on a presentation about raptors. This was one thing he talked about.  I do not remember all the suggestions he listed, but I think I got most of them. That last one threw me for a loop. Why would you stop birding if you enjoy the birds?! But it didn’t take me long to figure it out, even before he said anything more.

Cost, not only of equipment, but gas to get to those birding hot spots or while aimlessly driving around to look for a species found in some rural area. Or the cost of airplane and pelagic trip fares for the more extreme birder.

Disruption of the birds and their environment.  Walking around the yard disrupts the birds.  This cannot be avoided, so I am not really referring to that.

Nesting birds need space and did you realize you leave a scent for a four-legged predator to follow at some late night hour when you are tucked away in your bed?  After learning this tidbit, I wonder if that is what happened to the Mourning Doves in one of our trees back in Omaha.   We didn’t know anything about birds then and didn’t even realize it was a Mourning Dove at the time.  We just thought it was special there was a nesting bird in our yard and went close to the nest to investigate.  The next day bird and eggs were gone.

Birds have been harassed* just to get the perfect photo or that number on the life/year lists. One most disturbing case is when birders form tight lines to flush  Yellow Rails. Common birds or not, this behaviour is deplorable.

I am going to add one more to this list.  If you enjoy the birds, you may…

stop eating fake sugars.  I do not need to explain what I mean, you know what they are.  I will just focus on one, Splenda AKA sucralose because of what I read recently.

I found a blog about frugal living that had some interesting blurbs in it.  One was an article about fake eggs being developed. She mentioned fake sugar not breaking down in the body, so it is just eliminated. Then it becomes food for the fish.  That sounded odd.

I did a quick search today and found this… Splenda’s Dirty Little Secret  

For a long while, we have avoided using any product with fake sugar in it.   There were just too many questions with the safety, but I never heard of any environmental impacts of them before.  If you enjoy nature, enjoy those birds that visit your yard or the majestic Bald Eagles… whatever affects one animal of any type, will in turn affect the others.
In boring blog news:
You may have realized I have not posted at this site in a while. If you read my last entry, I basically decided to stop posting here except for the more important issues relating to birds.  Theses postings could be wordy and possibly boring.  :)  Instead I started an email list to send to those who are interested . If you want to receive these emails and are not already, please leave a comment and make sure you fill in the email address you wish for me to use.

*One of my readers says there is a pop-up on that site.  I looked through other pages and nothing came up.  I have a good ad/pop-up blocker and this usually will tell me when it blocks a pop-up.  No notice came at the top like it would normally.  I do not doubt them, but if you do not wish to risk going to the site, I found another site with the same topic. Snowy Owl Photography Ethics

Fine print  :D
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If you are on the mailing list, you can unsubscribe at any time.  Just send me an email to let me know.
Categories: dangers to birds, ponder | 1 Comment

Mites’ Effect on Birds

Romans 8:
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
This was written months before Google withheld the info about search terms.  It has been sitting in Drafts and it is time to set it free.  :)  I believe I mentioned that my earlier post gets a lot of visitors from search engines.  A lot.  Most often it is people dealing with mites of unknown type (They just assume “bird”.) on themselves or in their homes, but now and again there are searches from those wondering about the birds.

Back in August, I received two from the same individual.  I do not know their story, but assume it didn’t have a happy ending.

Day one: mites crawling on baby junco
Day two: mites kill baby juncos

Another search: how mites kill birds

I have written before that birds are given several means to deal with mites, but these are fully developed birds.  They preen, bathe, “ant”…    Sometimes they have more mites than normal and this will cause bald spots where they cannot reach.  This is usually the head area, and even under the wings.

Most, if not all, perching songbirds are altricial (blind and naked) when they hatch.  They are helpless to remove these mites.  In the cases of extreme infestation, the babies will hop out of the nest before they can fly.  We believe this is what happened to our one baby Barn Swallow. They are trying to remove themselves from the irritation, but this places them at risk for predation from outdoor cats, raccoons, and other birds that prey on the young, such as grackles.   Even if they do not hop out of the nest, the loss of blood from the multitude of bites can cause them to become weak and die.

In a quick search, I found a case where a family tried helping baby birds with mites, using the instructions rehabbers gave them.  What I learned is this takes care of the mites, BUT this can create a worse problem.  The parent birds, not seeing or hearing their young (The babes were taken into the house for treatment.) abandoned the nest.  The young were going to be placed in a new nest near the old, but unknown to the family, it was too late. After placing the new nest out, they saw the adults near the feeder and heard the young chirping. They believed all was well..  Later they discovered the truth; the young died from starvation.

One thing I was noticed while reading this whole story is yes, there were mites.  They were all over the little birds and hopping off after the spray from the pet store was applied.  They were on the humans.  The rehabber told the couple these mites will not harm them.  They just rinsed their hands and arms off frequently while dealing with the birds.  No infestation for the humans!

Something this brings out is nature is cruel at times.  Sin causes so much heartache for us and distress for flora and fauna.  I appreciate the couple’s attempt at helping the birds,  They contacted the proper people. They did the right thing, they followed the directions given.  Even so, the young did not survive.

We groan with creation…

Categories: bird facts, dangers to birds, di fekkel, God's truth, ponder, sadness | Leave a comment

Big and Small

Ephesians 3:
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
A monster sized Harris’s Sparrow with a wee little Chipping Sparrow

No problem is too big for the Lord to handle.  Along side that, there is no problem too small in the eyes of the Lord.  He will carry us through and love us no matter what we are facing.

Categories: di shpatza, Harris's Sparrow, ponder

Rest, Little Friend

Hebrews 10:
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
We know we are helping the birds when we feed them. We buy feeders and set them up in such a way to make feeding easy for them. One example: Our hopper is meant for smaller birds, but we saw the Mourning Doves struggle to use it, so placed a board under it so they can easily stand to eat.

Wanting to get an easy to clean hummingbird feeder, I found one with perches. I didn’t give it much thought as hummingbirds do not need perches. There’s no perches when they feed from flowers. But I learned something…

If there is a perch, they will use it. We then started noticing the Hummies preferred using the feeders where they can rest to feed. We increased the sugar to water ratio because the season was getting late. The perches allowed them to gain calories without using so much energy.  This was good as they were heading south and needed all the calories they can get.

Recently the children were telling me about something they saw in a Christian nature magazine.   An article was talking about how to get photos of hummingbirds in flight.   The writer showed a hummingbird feeder with perches, but broke one off.  Then they covered all the feeding holes except for the one where the perch was broken so the hummingbird is flying as it is feeding.

It’s such a small, small thing but yet it bothered me.  I remember other photography articles in this magazine… the great cost, the vast amounts of effort to create the perfect setting and lighting.  Then it is all torn down when the photography session is done.  It seems such a waste.

I admit, we also feed the birds for our enjoyment and for photography, but we will not knowingly do anything to harass or endanger the birds.   They already are so frightened of us. (Genesis 9:2)  They already struggle to survive with predators, our activities, and weather.

The photo above is not crisp, it’s got the front end of a car for a background and probably a dozen or more other things wrong with it.  But this does not bother me.    I enjoyed watching this Ruby-throat sit for a while. I like that a small portion of its tongue sticking out.  I like that it chose to spend time at our place.  I can enjoy nature without creating a false setting.

Here is something us Christians should strive to do while photographing and enjoying animals. These are God’s creation. Proverbs 12:10 focuses on animals we may own, but very easily could apply to any animal we interact with.

Categories: dangers to birds, ponder

Birds Watch Us, Too

So does this mean  they are Peoplewatchers?  I wonder if they keep their own lists and discuss them in great detail with others.   HA! Just kidding.

Every now and again, there are birds braver and more curious than others.  Many times they are young, so haven’t developed a healthy fear of man quite yet.

Here is one bird who seemed really curious about me.  My first experience with this Eastern Phoebe was while I was scanning the field across the road for signs of Dickcissels and others.  I noticed it land fairly close to me.


Surprise! While I was taking pictures, it flies a little closer.


What a cute little thing.  Based on the ever so slight hint of a gape flange, yep, this is a young’n.  See the yellow near its eye?


Well, outside sightings of me were not enough for this bird.  Here the Eastern Phoebe is peeking into our schoolroom.


Maybe this bird was hired to spy on us.  ??  HA!

Sometimes the news is full of unsettling things, like the government watching our internet activities or police leaving their cameras on as they drive down the roads recording everyone they drive by, etc.  For those of us who value privacy, we get a little bent out of shape about this.  But I’ve been thinking…

For one, as Christians, we should be obeying the law as long as it does not conflict with God’s Word, and we as believers should be living above reproach,  so what do we have to hide?  We should be respecting our rulers,  whether through the internet or face to face contacts. If we do anything, we need to encourage one another to pray for those God has placed in position of authority.   And two, should we worry about this?  No.  God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.

Ecclesiastes 10:
20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Categories: ponder, really bad


Matthew 7:
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

Another verse-
2 Timothy 2:
19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Are you founded on the Rock?

Speaking of foundations, we have a big project taking place that will benefit one, maybe two or more species of birds.  I am not going to say anything about it, but just share photos of the progress.  At a future point, you might be able to tell what it is.   I do not think I shared it with anyone who reads this blog.

Here is the first picture:

Categories: big project, di fekkel, God's truth, ponder