raptors

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

Give Thanks

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1 Thessalonians 5:
18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Red-tailed Hawk, Immature

Red-tailed Hawk

Categories: No words, but Bible, raptors

Litter- A Danger to Birds

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Proverbs 3:
23 Then shalt thou walk in thy way safely, and thy foot shall not stumble.
24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
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Even that apple core is a danger… Yes.  It is.

We recently sat in on a talk focusing on Red-tailed Hawks, but other raptors were discussed as well.  One of the facts shared is that 80% of owls rescued and placed in rehab are those injured by cars.  Why?

Owls are the type of hunter that will sit and wait for something to come to it, rather than chase after prey.  Once they see something, whoosh, they fly off their perch and BOOM! they are hit by a vehicle because of the height at which they are flying.   What are they attracted to?

The rodents that are attracted to our litter. 

So please, keep that trash, biodegradable or not, in your car until you can put it in a trash can.  Or even better, if it is fruit, compost it!

In some good news, now and again, California can do something right.  But my question is why does it need to take six years to implement!?

Here is the Red-tailed Hawk we met that day.

red-tail

I do not know her name, but I do remember she was rescued 23 years ago!  A farmer was checking on his fields and saw this hawk in the ditch.  It did not fly off.  Turns out the bird was shot! And because the wing started healing before it could be set properly, it could not be released back into the wild.  They guess the hawk was shot five days before finding her.   She was living off of grasshoppers.  They discovered this when she expelled her first pellet after capture.  (See…  those pellets serve a purpose. :D )

If I saw this specific hawk in the wild, it may have taken some work to determine it is a Red-tailed Hawk.  Where is the belly band?

Categories: dangers to birds, di fekkel, raptors

Lounging on a Sunny Day

Ephesians 5:
1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
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What is my favorite bird? For the most part, it is what I am seeing at that moment. I just thrill at American Robins, Brown Thrashers… Red-headed Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers…. Chipping Sparrows, Common Redpolls, Killdeer… Ring-billed Gulls, Caspian Terns, Snow Buntings… Bobolinks, Western Meadowlarks, Dickcissels… Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks… and even Turkey Vultures.  (I have not even scratched the surface of favorites, I just needed a stopping point. )

Why do I like Turkey Vultures?  They are just a cool and fascinating bird.  If you wonder about the poses, some are sleeping and others are sunning themselves to warm up.
vultures

They appear to be so relaxed and almost lazy, but they are hard working hunters, searching high and low for their next meal.

Turkey Vultures

They will eat all manner of roadkill, but yet avoid the scent gland of skunks.   They have discriminating palates.

These vultures were waiting for the warmer temperatures so they can “ride the thermals”.  This allows raptors to stay up in the air without exerting a lot of energy.

Categories: bird facts, raptors

Why I Take So Many Pictures of Red-taileds

Because now and again, I actually see something that is not a Red-tailed Hawk!

Juvenile, Light-morph Swainson’s Hawk

Here is a link to an adult we saw earlier this year- also a Light Morph.

Bugeater

As we were driving along the gravel road, I should have known right away it was not an adult.  S/he sat at this perch even after we slowed down, allowing for a nice photo.   Possibly as curious of us as we were of him/her.

Even before we fully identified it, we were able to rule out Red-tailed Hawks firstly by its tail.  It’s not red!   Also, that bill is too small.  The facial markings and head shape was different, though this often differs between individuals. The wings’ primary feathers cover more of the tail than do Red-taileds.

Because of a sick child, I was able to stay in the van and study the field guide a bit more thoroughly that afternoon.  This was when I found a photo that showed the juvenile Swainson’s Hawk in a similar pose.   That was the clincher!

Both Swainson’s and Red-tailed Hawks are part of the genus Buteo.  In North America, we call these “hawks”, but in the Old World, Buteos are called “buzzards”.  The Common Buzzard has the Latin name Buteo buteo.  To make things more complicated, in the New World, “buzzard” is often used for vultures.
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James 3:
14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Birds facts from CreationWiki and Wikipedia

Categories: field markings, Latin names, raptors

A Bad Story

1 Corinthians 1:
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
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No, I do not have a story to tell.  But I do have some terrible photos to share from when we were in a place called Story County last month.

 The only Yellow-billed Cuckoo I saw before this day was a dead one in our yard.  Its location did not seem like a window strike was the culprit, but we do not know what else it could have been.  This was n 2009 before we understood the uniqueness of it, so I was happy to see a living one. The picture is icky, but you can see most of the field markings.
cuckoo
Unlike European Cuckoos, our Cuckoos are not habitually parasitic. YAY! We sure do not need another parasite bird in Iowa.  It may occasionally lay eggs in other nests, but usually that of another cuckoo.  If they choose another species, it might be a Robin, Wood Thrush, or Catbird.  Bigger than the tiny warblers those Cowbirds often use.

It seems when it is state fair season, Iowans go crazy for foods on a stick.  I think they have gone a little overboard with this Snowy Owl.  HA!

owlonstick

Seriously, we were at the university and they were showing us their collection of study birds.  Unlike previous generations, people no longer shoot birds to collect specimens.  Now birds die of natural causes, though I do not know if a window strike or getting hit by a car is very natural.   Most of these birds are  put in this straight position for research, but only a few birds are placed on sticks.  Not sure the difference unless it minimizes handling of rarer species??  The university also has a small museum of posed birds and animals.  It is the only way I was able to see a Passenger Pigeon.

Here is the last bad bird picture from Story. A dumpster diving Crow. What really got me was the bird just sat there for some time and I could not get my camera focused. Ah, well.  You can still see that large chunk of food.

dumpsterdiving

Bird facts from All About Birds.

Categories: bird facts, raptors, really bad, sadness | Leave a comment