Rescued Baby Hummingbird

Posted by on Jan 20, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

This is the sweetest little video clip of a rescued baby hummingbird being nurtured by a caring young man.  Please click Read More to see the short video.  It really is worth the look!

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The Importance of Suet Feeding

Posted by on Jan 16, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

The Importance of Suet Feeding

Many backyard birders like offering suet for their birds year round.  It’s fine to do, you just don’t get as much bang for your buck during the heat of summer because the really high temperatures will melt the high fat content.  Also, you don’t want to leave it our for an extended time in the high heat temps because it can become rancid. During the cold weather, putting out suet for your birds is a treat, but also a real boost to their metabolism.  The high fat content is what they need during the extreme cold to raise their body temperature.  Eating and digesting the suet’s high caloric content helps their little bodies to burn the calories and create energy.  And energy in the cold, cold winter is exactly what they need.  Offering suet in the winter when insects and seeds as less available, you will find your birds coming to your suet feeder frequently. There are various suet products you can purchase.  I find the suet cakes the easiest to use and I have the small clinging birds as well as the larger birds like the mockingbird and brown thrasher enjoying it.  The Downy Woodpeckers came to my when I first started using a suet feeder.  Now, they are regular and frequent diners!...

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He’s Just A Mockingbird?

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

He’s Just A Mockingbird?

Today has been cold and windy…making it feel colder than it really was.  The birds have been so active in the yard, scurrying around, feeding frequently and interacting with one another…and ME!  My resident mockingbird keeps a close watch on me when I am outside.  I recall one day as I was in my kitchen photographing him through the window, I was surprised when he made perfect eye contact and flew straight toward me!  Surely wish I had had my camera set on video because it would have been a priceless capture. Today though, I have observed him on his “regular” perch high up on the holly tree overseeing the yard and all the other visitors in a peaceful and stoic manner.  I got several photos of him even allowing two finches to rest just inches away enjoying the sun as well.  I like the markings on his wings and think he looks somewhat handsome in his attire.  Must be the bath he had in Wednesday’s...

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Chilly and Windy Day…Watch the Birds

Posted by on Jan 13, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

Chilly and Windy Day…Watch the Birds

Even in sunny North Carolina we have some winter days that chill to the bone.  When we dip into the 20s and have high winds, most of us feel like we are freezing!  This morning, with wind gusts up to 35 mph and as my coffee was brewing, I noticed a beautiful male house finch perched high up on the holly tree basking in the sun.  I snapped a couple of photos and returned to my computer with my coffee and started my day.  Later, glancing out the window, I saw the rosy finch still in his favorite spot so I zoomed in on him discovering he was so comfy in the warm sun and under our Carolina blue sky that he had begun to nap a bit.  Not a bad idea at...

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Good Use of Rainy Days

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

Rainy days change our moods, behavior and schedules.  For this Mockingbird Duo, our rainy day offered quite an opportunity.  I enjoy watching them  and wondering just what their casual glances to one another mean.  Click “Read More” and enjoy watching the mockingbirds take opportunity in the soft rain!

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The Warmth of Togetherness

Posted by on Jan 11, 2012 in Backyard Birds, My Blog | 2 comments

The Warmth of Togetherness

“Birds of a feather flock together.” It’s more than an old proverb, it’s true!  We can learn so much from our feathered friends.  As I sit at work at my computer, my backyard birds alert me to approaching bad weather.  They all…many species at once, come to load up from my feeders to catch a bite or two before the hard rain or stormy weather arrives.  I sit and watch what seems like an air traffic control tower as they zoom in and out taking their turn.  I admit that I am amazed at how fast their fly-ins are and I have yet to see a collision! I enjoy observing their behavior and especially when I see a pair huddling together to stay close.  During cold weather, birds will huddle together to stay warm and will even join others on a very cold night roosting together.  Birds are not that different from humans regarding survival techniques.  Like humans, birds shiver in extreme weather and moving their bodies’ muscles creates warmth.  They fluff their feathers which creates an “insulation” to protect their little bodies. What a pretty and peaceful capture of these two house finches as they remain close. Togetherness provides more than just physical...

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Blowing Rock Preserve

Posted by on Jan 2, 2012 in Jupiter, FL, My Blog, Shore Birds | 2 comments

Blowing Rock Preserve

Discover the resiliency of nature in a visit to the Blowing Rock Preserve on Jupiter Island in Hobe Sound, FL.  The area lies between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River Lagoon.  Winding trails are under a canopy of native growth rich in vegetation, palms, insects, birds, sea turtles, lizards and snakes.  It is a protected area allowing sea turtles to continue to safely nest there.  A feature from which it derived its name is the spectacular Anastasia limestone rock formations.  At high tide, the cystal blue green ocean waves pound the coast lined with these rocks, blowing high shoots of water up through the holes in the rock formations…enough excitement alone to make the visit worthwhile! Visitors can search for treasures of shells and other sea life along the ocean beach as well as the river lagoon.  The Hawley Education Center on the lagoon side offers various FREE programs and exhibits such as Blowing Rocks: From Lagoon to Ocean & Beyond; Reef Revival: Underwater Coral Nurseries and more. Sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, the Preserve and Education Center appreciate donations. For more information, visit their website at www.nature.org/blowing...

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White Ibis

Posted by on Jan 1, 2012 in Birds, Jupiter, FL, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

White Ibis

One of the things I enjoy about spending time in nature preserves or wildlife sanctuaries is the pure joy I feel as I am studying one of God’s creatures in the wild gaining an awareness of His omniscience in the needs and behaviors of each species.  It is, indeed, amazing to me to think that our Creator of the great Universe, focuses on each creature individually and all of us collectively, providing us and programming us for survival. King James Bible Psalm 84:3 says “Yea, the sparrow hath found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.”   The gift of nature is an opportunity to learn, value and experience God’s handiwork bringing peace and enjoyment to me.  On this first day of the New Year 2012, I claim for myself more intentional study of God’s handiwork and His Word which always reveals new perspectives for my journey.  How about...

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Solving World Problems

Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 in My Blog, Ocracoke Island, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Solving World Problems

Ocracoke Island, one of the barrier islands along the NC coast, is such a quaint village.    The ferry ride is about a 45 minute experience in itself.  I like getting out of my car and taking in the abundance of nature and meeting other folks going over.  I’ve seen dolphins escorting the ferry across the water, sea gulls, pelicans, etc.  Stepping onto the island soil, one immediately feels the relaxing, laid back lifestyle of the residents as well as the visitors.  Even if you take your car over, there is much to do just walking or biking. One day a friend and I were navigating the island and turned down a road we had not visited before.  Small, quaint homes adorned the dirt road and we came upon a pond.  Thankful to have had my camera with me, I grabbed it and got this wonderful little scene of ducks facing the water, appearing to be solving the problems of our world.  Oh, were it that easy!  ...

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David and Goliath…in the Avian World

Posted by on Dec 9, 2011 in Backyard Birds, Birds, My Blog | 1 comment

David and Goliath…in the Avian World

I love the underdog.  Winning underdogs quickly become my heroes.  Now, God has graced me with a true-to-the-spirit love of nature…especially birds.  So, watching, feeding, learning from and sharing my backyard birds with others is joyous to me.  My photography skills have grown into more than a pass time or leisure activity.  Some say it all brings out the best in me.  WELL!  Today, two of my frequent bird visitors…no, they are residents…stirred up a vengeful feeling  and some jeering that I do NOT admire.  Here’s what happened… I had been working at my computer and was on a business call when I noticed my ever-watchful mockingbird swoop down from his perch high on the holly tree and dive-bomb my precious, tiny little female downy woodpecker as she just arrived to nourish herself at the suet feeder.  Immediately, I wanted to scream but couldn’t because I was still on that call.  I did watch the mocking bird to see if he was going to grab a bite while down from his monitoring post.  But, NO!  He just flew right back up to take his reign again.  So, in essence, he just didn’t want the little downy to eat.  Bad, bad bird!  Very quickly I saw a Tufted Titmouse fly in and it was interested in some suet as well.  Right on cue, down came the mockingbird and scared that little bird away.  I began to feel the anger rising. Mockingbirds are known to be very territorial and dive-bombing dogs, cats, even people.   But, I…being the bird-lover that I am, have included the mockingbird in my enjoyment and love and probably have from time to time been an obnoxious “not in my backyard” advocate for my kind, more socially adept mockingbird.  After all, he makes me laugh when he tries to eat from the twirling suet feeder and his big body drops straight down to the ground.  I get great entertainment watching him bathe in a soft rain!  But, today was different.  I thought to myself, “It’s a good thing I don’t have a pellet gun.” But, a few minutes later, my applauding, jeering and “at-aways”  burst from my lips as I saw FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER the little downy had perched herself high up on the holly tree!  That mockingbird thinks he OWNS the holly tree.  I enjoyed that moment immensely as she carefully looked up, looked to the right and to the left.  No mockingbird in sight.  So, she just sat there for a while, basking in the sun and the knowledge that she was in control, in HIS tree and her self-esteem was soaring. I grabbed my camera and captured the triumphant moment.   The little downy then flew to the suet feeder she loves and nourished her winning spirit…and mine, as...

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After the Rain

Posted by on Dec 7, 2011 in Backyard Birds, Birds, My Blog, Statesville, NC | 0 comments

After the Rain

Sometimes the activity of birds let us know when weather changes are coming.  There’s always a flurry around my backyard feeders that alerts me that inclement weather is on its way.  The birds seem to be getting their last bit of food in case of extended weather that might prevent them from nourishing themselves for a while.  Come to think of it, we humans do the same thing!  I always chuckle to myself when a weather report indicates snow or ice may be just around the corner.  The bread and milk shelves at the grocery store seem empty awfully quick.  One can see almost all your acquaintances in the check-out lines. As today’s rain began to slow down, the feeders were heavily populated once more and some were perched on high at the holly tree fluffing their feathers as they caught a nice soft bath compliments of our...

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Why Do Birds Not Freeze?

Posted by on Dec 6, 2011 in Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

Why Do Birds Not Freeze?

Wonder why birds don’t freeze in the bitter cold?  The folks at BirdNote have the answer.  Check them out on Facebook, too. http://www.birdnote.org/birdnote.cfm?id=491

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Royalty in the Backyard

Posted by on Dec 5, 2011 in Backyard Birds, Birds, My Blog | 2 comments

Royalty in the Backyard

I recall with excitement the day I saw my first bluebird visiting at my feeder.  Bluebirds don’t usually eat from back yard feeders as they prefer insects, berries and fruits.  However, the bluebirds seem to have an interest in my high fat suet feeder. Because of their beautiful bright color, there’s no mistaking what you see.  I was working at my computer in the guest room and glanced out the window and such a sight it was!  I had my camera nearby so I was able to snap a pretty good photo of this bird.  A friend has had bluebirds nesting in her yard for years.  I was a little envious.  One day, I watched her clean the nest out which is a healthy thing to do for the birds. The count of bluebirds dropped significantly not too many years back because of harsh winters and use of dangerous pesticides.  In America, there has been a calling to provide nest boxes for bluebirds to build their nests in and it has had a positive effect.  Counts are Up! The male and female are not monogamous and DNA testing of eggs has indicated the eggs are not always from the “supposed father” tending to the female and nest.  If a male loses his mate to tragedy as can happen in the bird world, he will quickly seek another mate.  They may have multiple broods in a year. Their bright royal blue coloring, I suppose, is what makes me feel they are royalty of the...

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Gettin’ High

Posted by on Dec 2, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds, Think About This | 0 comments

Gettin’ High

God’s creativity in designing nature for our living and enjoying truly amazes me.  I remember driving back from a little shopping trip in Salisbury, NC with my mother.  I was in my late teens.  We had just passed by a field green with the fresh birth of the sprouting crop, and I said to my mother, “Mother, you will never have to worry about me smoking pot or taking drugs to get high, because all I have to do is just look at the green field over there and I feel high as can be!”  It’s so true for me…I am inspired by nature’s beauty whether it be majestic mountains, the vast ocean, wildflowers or birds and sea turtles.  It ALL gives me great joy, peaceful feelings and reminds me of how great God’s love for each of us is! I especially enjoy the contemplation on His inspiring artistic creation of how it all works together.  I’ll have to admit, though, too much focus on the food chain itself gives me a little nudge over to the “Oh, I DON”T want to see THAT.”  I recall watching a bird cam video of a robin’s nest with three little heads with gaping mouths to get the worm the mama robin would bring back to nourish her babies.  Away the mother robin flew to get more and without warning a squirrel jumped on the nest and began to kill and devour the babies.  I saw it before I could turn away.  As grossed out as I was I reminded myself of that was just a part of nature. So, God made the cat’s tongue rough so that it could gather hairs as it cleans itself.  He created the chameleon with a body that could adapt to changing its color to blend in with its environment for protection from its predators. The birds that I love so and give me so much enjoyment also can alert us to coming weather changes.  These are the things of which we are aware, but just imagine all that exists about which we know...

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Graceful Comorant

Posted by on Nov 30, 2011 in Birds, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Graceful Comorant

On my recent trip to Hilton Head Island, SC I had many opportunities to photograph a somewhat common shore bird, the Comorant.  The Comorant is a large, dark shore bird usually seen along the Atlantic coastline and inland waterways, rivers and lakes, etc.  These birds have webbed feet and long, usually pointed, bills referred to as a hook.  They swim fast underwater catching fish.  Comorants are unlike many other waterbirds and don’t have oily feathers.  They are often see with wings outstretched drying their feathers.  The have long bodies and long necks.  I think the precisely designed blondish neck against the black body is lovely and they are quite graceful drying out their feathers after a dip in the lake for dinner.  Quite entertaining to...

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White Ibis

Posted by on Nov 20, 2011 in Birds, Jupiter, FL, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

White Ibis

I saw my first White Ibis in Florida as we walked along the banks of the Jupiter Inlet.  We were posing for photos and then this lovely, lanky bird walks right toward us as if to say “Hey, you should be photographing me.  Am I not graceful?”  Of course, I turned my camera to the ibis and just love the graceful stroll he took right by us. The White Ibis are wading birds of the deep South, always looking down to see what they can find for dinner or a snack.  They have pink skin on their faces, legs and bills.  This pink turns almost scarlet in breeding season.  The birds appear totally white but the black edges to the underneath part of their wings is only seen when they are in flight.  Their favorite habitat is salt marshes, but they can also be seen walking along lawns probing for insects to...

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My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Birds, Favorite Places, Hilton Head Island, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

My Hero…the Brown Pelican

Back in the 1950s when we still used the very harmful pesticides with DDT, the beautiful and resourceful Brown Pelican rose high on the endangered species list.  Our unthinking, wide use of  this pesticide nearly robbed us of a most entertaining water fowl.  Thanks to our awareness of the danger of DDT to our environment, today we see strong colonies of this shore bird.  They are the reknown “come-back kid” for us all to enjoy.  They are quite fun to watch as they fly over the water, spot a fish and dive within seconds to retrieve its dinner.  The fish is history!  I got this photo at one of my favorite birding spots in Hilton Head Island, SC.  Preparing for another short birding trip there very...

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Downy Woodpecker

Posted by on Nov 16, 2011 in Backyard Birds, Birds | 0 comments

Downy Woodpecker

One of the most enjoyable feathered friends at my backyard feeder is the Downy Woodpecker.  It’sNorth America’s smallest woodpecker.  I see them feeding along with chickadees, nuthatches and titmice frequently.  The male and female look the same except for the bright red patch on the back of the male’s head.  Juvenile males have the red cap which later becomes the patch more on the nape of the neck.  In winter, they come to my suet feeder frequently as the suet is a high energy blend.  The Downy is quite the acrobat with its clinging feet that enables it to climb, hang and move quickly into flight.  They forage on trees with insects and are never far from their nest in cavities.  Both male and female feed the little ones. I remember the joy when I witnessed the first Downy visit my feeder.  It was the male who would come.  At first, he was cautious and quick as lightening.  He would grab a little suet and off he would go.  For the first while I saw him twice a day usually in the morning and then again at “suppertime.”  Now, the female visits also and I have thought it was just one pair.  They visit so frequently throughout the day that I’m thinking the word of good suet has spread and I have a flock making the...

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Lessons from Nature

Posted by on Nov 8, 2011 in Backyard Birds, Birds, My Blog | 0 comments

Lessons from Nature

I think we can learn quite a bit from our co-inhabitants on earth.  Take this little Tufted Titmouse.  He’s just about the busiest little bird around.  He flies in to the feeder, grabs his share of the black oil sunflower seeds and quickly takes his place on a limb to get to his meal.  If you’ve ever taken the time to just watch one, you’ll see a little fella who “works hard for his money”…or his food.  I don’t know why they don’t have neck issues with all the lightening-speed cracking of that seed. Held firmly with his feet on the limb, he just beats it until it is just as he needs it.  They are spry little beings that God just HAD to have enjoyed designing.  I think they are cute as can be…most adorable little face.  In this photo, you can see it was just after a rain and to me it looks like he’s looking up at his Creator giving thanks for his daily manna. Not a bad habit to...

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Black Headed Gull

Posted by on Nov 3, 2011 in Birds, My Blog, Shore Birds | 0 comments

Black Headed Gull

Sea gulls are some of the most entertaining birds that people really enjoy along the shore.  There are 50-60 different types of gulls with varying wing colors, bills and feet which help to identify them.  Sea gulls are scavengers eating fish, crustaceans, worms etc.  Vacationing families can be seen on the beach sharing a loaf of bread and the gulls come in close thrilling the little children.  Gulls are opportunistic feeders, so they go where the food is.  This answers the question many ponder when they live in the mid-west USA and see congregations of sea gulls in store parking lots.  With all the focus on a clean environment and anti-littering campaigns, we humans still leave behind plenty of trash that the gulls are happy to feed on.  The sad thing is that inside that bag with a half-eaten burger may be a plastic top to a bottle of milk.  Devouring that can kill a bird quickly.  Enjoy the sea gulls, wherever you find them, but keep your litter to yourself…the gulls will have plenty to eat as they scavenge about the...

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