Our eyes and ears should be open and alert to the natural wonders that surround us every day. Take time to look out our windows to see the birds that visit us and open our windows to hear them. Walk around whatever space we have to enjoy the birds in nature. Every day, work on improving our powers of observation.
Nature happens. We cannot MAKE natural things happen (or NOT happen). We can create habitats to encourage natural things to happen around us, but there are no guarantees.
Birdfeeding comes with responsibilities to the birds and the environment we share with them. If you are unwilling to accept these responsibilities, you shouldn’t feed the birds. We also have a responsibility to share these natural wonders with the next generation.
Greetings from nature! We know we haven't stopped by your birdfeeders much lately, but we wanted to let you know we're still out there, doing just fine, and thinking of you! The weather has been gorgeous and we're enjoying it as much as you are.
The summer has given us a bounty of natural foods for the taking. There are tons of insects like caterpillars, spiders, grasshoppers, ants, and beetles out there, and we hate to pass them up while they're available to us. We're also finding lots of tree seeds and nuts, as well as fruits and berries.
So we haven't been in your yard much because we're filling up on the goodies in the wild. We did stop at your birdfeeding station last night at dusk, but we didn't see you around. Sorry we missed you.
While we're not around as much, it's okay with us if you just fill your feeders halfway. We'll use them for one last nibble before we settle down for the night or when we pass through the neighborhood. Oh, and thanks for keeping the birdbath clean and filled. Will you have that open all winter?
We know that all these natural food sources will eventually deplete. ☹ We continue to check in on your yard so that when that time comes, we know where to find a reliable quality food source and some decent habitat to shelter us when the weather turns nasty.
Thanks again for all you do for us, even when we're not around that much. We'll remember that, and will be back in your yard before you know it! You're the best!
Love, Your Favorite Birds
ps: Thanks for keeping those kitties indoors too. They're cute, but they don't seem to like us to much.
As a bird enthusiast who blogs about paying "Zen
attention" to what goes on in nature in our own backyards, I was thrilled
to happen upon this great children's book by Annette LeBlanc Cate. "Look Up! Bird-watching in Your Own Backyard" is
all about how easy it is to see birds and that by paying just a little
attention, we'll see some pretty amazing things about them. Birds are, as Cate notes, "by far, the
easiest-to-see of all wild creatures."
In an entertaining and often humorous fashion, Cate
introduces us to all the things to look for and at when we see birds in our own backyard. She utilizes, without us even knowing it, the
method used by some of the most experienced birders in the world: GISS (pronounced and sometimes spelled JIZZ). GISS is a way of identifying and studying a bird by noting a General Impression of
(a bird's) Size and Shape.
Cate strongly encourages us to draw the birds as well, to help experience the
birds more fully and feel more connected to nature.
Annette Cate wonderfully illustrated the book as well, and it is
filled with colorful and cartoonish drawings of the birds (and of herself!) She worked with veteran birder Jim Barton to
keep these fun drawings as accurate as possible, still maintaining the birds'
general shape, color, and defining characteristics. Check out her acknowledgement page to
Jim...I'd say he kept Annette on her toes!
This is a BUSY BUSY book.
The pages are filled to the gills with Cate's artwork of talking birds
and accompanying text. You really do
have to systematically go through each page (or read it a second time) to be
sure you haven't missed anything.
The book covers birds' colors, shapes, and behaviors before
getting into their finer details, plumage, sound, and habitat. It then delves deeper, into birds' ranges,
migration, and classification. I found
my attention span waning a bit trying to absorb the busy "Classification Class"
page. It was the one section of the book
that was perhaps just, as they say, too much information.
But the information about birds and the messages throughout "Look Up!" are spot on. Cate encourages us all to learn about the
birds we see everyday, so that we'll be more prepared when we see something
different. And although this is
described as a children's book (age 8/grade 3 and up), I believe adults will definitely
be entertained (and educated) by it as well.
I know I was!
Things I especially like:
Ethical bird-watching behaviors are nicely explained in
"Bird-watching Do's...and Don't's!"
The emphasis on the fact that birds are everywhere to
be found and that there's interesting things to see and learn about even the most
The "A Rainbow of Color" page is beautiful, showing us some
of the reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos, and violets in the bird
I absolutely love her sense of humor, sprinkled
throughout the book through the magic of talking birds.
"Look Up!" is a joy to read and I would love
to be able to read it to a child to introduce them to the world of birds that I
love so much. The book made me learn and
it made me laugh. You just can't ask for much more than that!
LOOK UP! BIRD-WATCHING IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD Written and Illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate Published by Candlewick Press 2013 ISBN 978-0-7636-4561-8 $15.99 - Available at Wild Birds Unlimited - Saratoga Springs NY
ANNETTE LE BLANC CATE BOOKSIGNING AND DRAWING ACTIVITY Saturday September 7, 2013, 11am - 3pm Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop 3084 Route 50, Suite 1 ~ Saratoga Springs NY 518-226-0071
In accordance with Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, it is disclosed that the copy of the book read in order to produce this review was provided gratis to the reviewer by the author. The book is also sold at a retail shop owned by the reviewer.
I don't think she really knew where she was landing, but this little girl Hairy Woodpecker got her first bath at our solar fountain this morning.
She is just learning the ropes out in the world. We were alerted to her presence by the scratching of her claws against the metal of our APS baffle as she tried (unsuccessfully) to cling to it like a tree. After failing that, she headed to a nearby tree where she waited until dad arrived with some good regurgitated food. Yummy!
When he left, she got brave and curious and landed in the nearby birdbath. If you can read surprise in a bird's face, it certainly looked like it!! She sat a little bit, then swam her way over to the side, sat a little more, then flew back to the safety of the tree. I'm not sure she knew how to handle the wetness; she didn't preen at all, just sat there looking wet, waiting for a parent to return.
I doubt she'll share the birdbath story with them, but like all parents, they'll just know.
I guess I was a little worried about this nestbox full of Black-capped Chickadee eggs. I placed the box out on May 6th and within 3 days, portions of a nest had been built. Within 12 days of putting it out, it had 6 eggs in it.
The nest concerned me though. It was a very shallow nest with a good base of wood chips still there, but a very small layer of moss with a bit of soft nesting material on top. It was much shallower than the nests in the other nestboxes.
Was this a set of new parents, anxious to start a family but a little short on nest-building skills? Was the nest deep enough to stay insulated if cool, wet weather hit? (which it did) The cup was beautiful, but were the eggs protected underneath?
I have to say, they're an attentive pair. Mom has been flushed or in the area every time I've done a NestWatch check. And dad is busy on the job too. As I approached the nest once, he was right there, clinging on the front of the box, keeping mom company (ok, I anthropomorphize!)
He left when I approached, but as I knocked on the box to get mom to flush and prepared to open the box, he bravely flew back down to land on the top of the box and give me the stink-eye. "What are you doing to my babies?!?!?! Go AWAY!!"
So maybe the nest isn't the most plush one out there, but I've got to give it to the parents - they seem to be giving great care to their 6 little chickadees!
Just in case you aren't familiar with the term "photo bomb", it's when someone (or something, in this case) drops in a photo unexpectedly. This Blue Jay seemed to lean in just to get into my photograph of a Common Grackle. Do you have any bird photo bombs?