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comettose

Bird Sightings 6

comettose
15 years ago

Started a new one. A friend of mine was on a trip to Texas and this bird was sitting on his Godson's verandah and he snapped the photo. He was wondering if it was a Nightjar? Can anyone ID it? I don't know much about the birds of Texas. The town in Texas is Wichita Falls. Thanks.

{{gwi:168581}}

Comments (108)

  • catherinet
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Thanks jeanner,
    I realize what a fantastic opportunity it was, to get so close to these gnatcatchers. I just wish I was a better photographer. I really need to force myself to sit down for a half hour a day and read the instruction manual! And maybe carry around at least a unipod.
    Normally I would have been worried about spending so much time this close to a nest, since our scents could have attracted a coon or dog to the nest, but this was hanging about 8' from a bridge (eye level), and about 12' off the ground.....so it was the perfect opportunity without attracting a predator to the nest.
    I think they will probably fledge within a day or 2. They really are packed in there!
    Camera question for you: Many times, the light is just low enough (on "auto") that when I press the button to take a pic, the flash mechanism pops up. I can quickly press the button again to take the pic, but by then, the sound of the flash mechanism popping up has scared the subject and they fly off.
    I can put it on a "no flash" setting, but then its a really slow film speed and it is usually blurry. Is there anyway around this? The flash mechanism popping up is so loud. Thanks jeanner!

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I've seen some of those moths around here, too, CT. One thing to remember (something I found on a website about them) is, "Healthy trees do not attract pests." These moths and their larvae seem to be attracted to trees that are already stressed in some way. And the birds are attracted to them for lunch. LOL But don't kick yourself too much over not killing it when you had the chance. :)

    Catherine, those are GREAT pics! Just look at 'em all crammed into that tiny nest! LOL

    Brenda

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  • musik
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Catherine, those are some great pics! OMG, they are adorable!

    Jeanner, the squirrel baffles I have are on top of the feeders, not underneath. I have too many starlings to do anything about them at this point....I guess I should try to ignore them as hard as that may be!

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Cat - fantastic photos! I love the mud nest stuck to the branch like the bird used super glue. They do need to fledge as the one in the front right is the runt and can't get much food (notice the bigger ones on the branch side where Mom lands to feed). It does not take long for a runt to get pushed out or weak. Most likely the runt is the last egg laid and therefore the last to hatch and a one day jump on growth is all it takes to be bigger than the rest. I know this is nature but it is a part of it I care not to know about or see but manage to do both frequently for some reason. There is no brotherly love between baby birds! I wish I had some gnatcatchers but appears they like to nest close water to make the mud nest. You did say close to a bridge and I assume 'bridge over water' but then maybe not and she ordered in Evian!

    Last night I pulled up and saw one vulture and it ran behind the big double tire of a trailer. At first, before I could even park my car, it ran and opened it's wings while running, and I managed a great photo of the dashboard of my rental car! I saw it was hiding behind the big double tire so I got out of the car and snuck up to it. Instead of just taking my camera and taking a pic blindly, I just HAD to look around the tire first, and there we were - two inches face to face - too late for me to pull my slow camera and click.

    The bird bolts under the first semi and is scooting towards the second semi (the one with no tires) to run up the hill and behind the building just as I race around the 1st trailer to get it's photo. When I corner the big trailer I see two birds - the one on the left is the one that saw me and is beating it up the hill. The second bird on the right is just realizing I am there and has not yet spun around to race after the other one!

    I got one lousy shot of these two.

    Later, after the birds departed and my batteries died I moved Fluffy's food, who by the way, was watching all this action cool as a cucumber from the grassy knoll. So she eats the canned salmon and half the milk/water mix I give her as I am watching from the road about 50 feet off. Finally she walks away and I am getting ready to leave and I see something brown coming out of the thick woods at the end of the parking lot and it is moving towards the bowl of food. I race the car back into the drive and into the back lot and go right at it so I can get a look before it runs off. It is a adult Grey fox that just stares at me like it is thinking what the heck are YOU and then decides it better beat it out of there as my car is bigger than it.

    I've come to the conclusion that Fluffy only gets what she eats at first sitting because absolutely everybody knows about the handouts.

    Oh - the shot of the two vultures taken on the run BTW. That is vulture poop I think, under the trailer. They go on top the trailers too. I will continue to try and get pictures but they run very fast. I might take some road kill and set up a photo op. - haven't decided on that one yet.

    {{gwi:168592}}

  • musik
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Comettose, that's a lot of vulture poop! It looks like you were able to get pretty close to them. Also, that's pretty cool that you were that close to a grey fox! We don't have them here in jersey.

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Uh, oh...I just had to post this moth story. So much for the general theory that only weak plants are attacked. I wonder if Bt would work on your carpenterworm moth(s), CT.

    Different kind of moth, but still potential for destruction

    Great bird pic! I have to say that I'd pay good money for a video of you tearing around in your car, trying to scare off the wildlife. LOL

    Brenda

  • fairy_toadmother
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    great owl pic, musik! i can only see barred to stay still so long. hornies are hear and gone, but the glimpse is well worth it.

    ct, you terrorizer of vultures! bad ct! :)
    you would be amazed at how much personality they have. i was met someone in northern wisconsin who rehabbed one to whom the vulture became very attached even after release. add to that, it was an adult when rehabbed. lucky for you they aren't full when you are chasing them. they aren't too afraid if all they do is run. but, if they were too full and afraid they would vomit before flying off!

    well, i heard a diff owl call in minnesota and can't id it- even with my stokes cd! maybe it was a barred or hornie with a canadian accent. i was hoping it was a great grey. i only heard it one night and twice at that.

    i also visited the aquarium in duluth. in one of the areas was an enclosed walk-through, though not huge, wetland "exhibit." residents included birds that were taken to rehab but non-releasable.

    while i was searching for native minnesota owls, i came across this:

    Here is a link that might be useful: ruby the bald eagle

  • fairy_toadmother
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    i just had to add this link from the above site. how i love this pic!

    Here is a link that might be useful: barn owlet

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Oh, FTM, that barn owlet is precious! LOL I can't stop giggling at him. He wants to live with me, I can see it in his eyes. :D Those legs go all the way down, too! LOL So sweet. Oh, and I got a recording of what I think is our resident barn owl, but....DH left the camera at his DD's. :(

    Ruby is incredible! The expressions on bald eagles' faces always throw me off, because they look so intense...but I still want to cuddle. I must have issues. :D

    I had a dog once that would do what the vultures do after eating...if he got too excited. LOL

    Brenda

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    The bluebirds have landed! I was out working on my rock wall (with a swollen toe) when I thought I saw one fly over my head. I had dumped what was left of some mealworms on a plate this morning since they were getting old and so far ignored by the bluebirds. I put the plate on the deck just 20 feet from where I was working but out of my line of sight so I wasn't sure if anyone was eating them. I came in the house for a few minutes and lo and behold there was mom, dad and three younguns feasting on the mealworms! It so cheered me up after a really bad couple of weeks.

    The funny thing is that I had put a branch out on the deck hoping the phoebe (who has been coming every morning and eating the moths off the front porch) would land on it so I could see the little fella. But all the birds like to perch on it so I had left it there and those bluebirds were all over that perch!

    Anyway, couldn't decide which pictures I like the best, so heres the whole lot of 'em! (just click on the links to each picture).

    Now I have to go read FTM's links ......

    Oh and Catherine, on the flash - I rarely use flash (and maybe I should after seeing your results) but if you put your hand over it, just enough to allow it to open but not snap back, it makes less noise. Also, there is a button on the left of the camera that raises the flash (on the left on my camera, not sure about yours). If you do that in advance you can hold your hand over it easier. Easier said than done though when you trying to get a bird!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Bluebirds

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Great rescue stories - they really touch your heart!

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    All of those pics are wonderful, Jean! My favorite has to be the 3rd one, of one of the little guys getting fed. That's such a good idea about using the branch, too!

    I hope your bad weeks are over, and that your toe is healing up! What did you do to it? Doesn't sound fun, that's for sure. :(

    Brenda

  • koijoyii
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I lucked out this weekend. I was in the yard when this butterfly kept landing (almost on me). It took a while for it to stop moving it's wings up and down, but when it did......can't believe how crystal clear the pic is. Just wanted to share it with ya'll.

    {{gwi:168593}}

    Jenny

  • fairy_toadmother
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    very nice!

    toe? i missed that somewhere. back to reread...

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    That is beautiful, Jenny! I've only seen a couple different butterflies in my yard, even with all of the supposed butterfly-friendly plants. Mainly, we get painted ladies, but they're not as pretty as that one! The one monarch and one tiger striped something or other I've seen were so skittish, I couldn't get close at all for a photo.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Brenda

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Great picture of the butterfly - very crisp and colorful! Isn't that a red admiral? I've been trying to get a picture of a spicebush swallowtail - at least I think that's what it is but I can't get close to it.

    I thought these pictures of a pair of chipping sparrows were interesting - there's a twinkle in those eyes!

    This {{gwi:168576}} shows the female in, shall we say, a sexy pose?

    This {{gwi:168577}} shows the pair having a little rendezvous. They stopped short of the actual deed and flew off somewhere a little more private :^)

    As for the toe, I have no idea what happened. It could be from falling rocks or jamming my toe into the ground from trying to dig on a hill. I don't think it's broken, just a little bruised and a constant reminder that I can be a real klutz.

  • koijoyii
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Why that little hussy! Lol I just love your bird pics Jean. They make my day. Thanks again for sharing them with us.

    Jenny

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    It's a sparrow booty call! LOL Man, I've been seeing a lot of that lately from the houses. Swinging from the Christmas lights (didn't take them down this year :D) takes balance and....definitely some mutual twinkling. :D

    I also noticed that they not only chatter when a jay (potential stalker) is in the vicinity, but when they're looking for love! "Danger, danger! Wait, come here, big boy. Danger!" LOL

    GREAT pics!

    Brenda

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    That is a Red Admiral (an older one from the pale black coloration).

    Lordy - that sparrow is an exhibitionist! LOL at the booty call!

    Wonderful bluebird photos Jean! They did nest nearby afterall!

    I currently have an injured Blue Jay I picked up from the shoulder of the road on my way to work this morning. At first I thought it was going to be a definite goner as it was shaking, had pooped in place, was sitting oddly, and as it was breathing it was also blowing bloody air bubbles with each breath, and blood was slowly dripping out of it's mouth. I tipped it forward so the blood would come out of it's mouth (it did a tiny bit) in case it was just the same blood going in and out with each breath, and not new bleeding. I called the rehabber and at first we discussed dispatching it, but when I went over to it again to where I had moved it out of the road and into the grass and the bleeding had stopped completely and the bird had a very strong foot grip, and had stopped shaking so much. We decided not to put it down just yet and my rehabber (Mary) said she would call the songbird rehabber she knows. So, I put the bird in a small box and took it to work. It rested for about 3 hours and then I brought the box home at lunchtime and it is still in the small box in my bathroom in the dark. I peeked at it and it has lots of strength now (and fought to get out of the box) and was sitting completely upright now. No blood at all. It had pooped again in the box. I've yet to hear back from anyone yet. I hope the songbird rehabber is not on vacation. I would like to test to see if the bird can walk or fly but I don't want to stress it more right now and decide what to do later. It is resting quietly in total darkness which should help it more. I have to go back to work now until 6pm, but I'll leave and meet the rehabber if she calls me back. I'm hoping the songbird person calls, but I at least hope to hear back someone.

    CT

    It is an adult. Waiting to hear from someone is awful! I wish they would call right now!

    CT

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    CT - what's the latest on the blue jay? I really hope he's okay, we need more good rescue stories :^)

    An update on the bluebirds, there are 4 babies!!! And getting bluer every day - this is so much fun watching them, I think I'm in love!

    At 5:30 this morning I noticed a large moth out on the deck, on the side of a pot and fluttering it's wings. I considered going out to get pictures but the bed was calling me and it won. I was pleasantly surprised when I got up and hour later and it was still there. This moth was large, with a wingspan of at least 5 inches! After a little research I found out it is a silk moth, the largest North American moth. And the markings are fascinating, I tried to rationalize how they evolved with such complex coloration and what in nature it is trying to mimic as camouflage. Anybody got any ideas?

    {{gwi:168578}}

    {{gwi:168580}}

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Wow Jean, that silk moth is beautiful! Is it native? I can't imagine a US silk moth for those Detroit Kimonas I guess:-)

    I still have the Blue Jay. I've not gotten a return call from one lady that does song birds. She is painting her house her son said but he took my number, but no return call. I'd rather they say no than leave you hanging. Another lady (Mary) doesn't want to take it but a third lady (Gerda) is trying to convince her. I called a fourth person (Ron) and hopefully he will return my call tomorrow. He told Mary he would help me out if the songbird lady didn't get back to me.

    Anyway - the blood and air bubbles are a sign of a concussion and a broken blood vessel which can repair itself. The bleeding stopped almost right away.

    The bird rested all day and when I got home from work the one rehabber I was talking to said it 'was ready' to go because I told her it was moving around in the box, no more bleeding, no shaking and was aware of me and wanted out of the box (scared to death more like it). Adult birds are tough as they are terrified of people.

    Anyway - I took it outside in my back yard and placed it on the ground. It did nothing at first but tilt it's head way up to look at me. Then it hopped a few feet away (so it's legs are not broken). Then it shakily flew about 3 feet up into a low branch of a dogwood tree, but then hopped on the ground again.

    No great flight into the big trees. Mostly ground hopping still, stopping and staring, etc., so it is not ready to go yet. If it cannot fly up high into the trees and goes to ground it will be quickly killed by all the cats around here or lord knows what. Heck, a box turtle will eat a grounded bird.

    This bird was found close to my home (probably coming to my feeders). I looked on the internet and it said birds with a concussion can look OK but 48 to 72 hours later will tell if they will die from brain swelling, so its condition is guarded.

    I have it in my bathroom, still in the box but the box is laying over on the side and open so the bird can get out if it wants to but the room was pitch black until I bought a tiny orb shaped night light. It little light looks like a moon and almost no light, very subtle.

    It would roost at night anyway, but come morning I will turn on the overhead light, do a quick look and then leave it alone with the light on. I put a shallow dish of water and another shallow dish of hulled sunflower seeds and canned catfood.

    I'm hoping at some point it will get some water in the am tomorrow on it's own when the light goes on. I'm hoping it will continue to improve. I am hoping one of the rehabbers will call me back!

    I don't want to keep looking at it as it said on the internet not to disturb adult rescued birds as little as possible because it causes so much stress to be handled by humans (we are their enemy). It is imperative it rest to heal itself with time. I have high hopes for this bird to make it. It will need water soon though. You cannot use a dropper as the bird can aspirate.

    On another note on the way back to work I saw this enormous turtle getting ready to walk across Buck Hewitt Rd. (about the same location I found the Jay this morning) and I stopped and picked it up and put it in my trunk and drove it about 50 feet and took it down the hill to a small, shallow stream behind our community. Actually the stream was just mud but we had a thunderstorm tonight, so it has water now. I needed two hands to hold this turtle, that is how big and heavy it was, and at first it scratched me a bit and then I figured out just exactly where to put my hands. It hissed too, but was generally gentle. When I turned it over to look at the underside it poked it's feet and head in almost as much as a box turtle can. It was not as domed as the box but not flat either. Not very ornate in shell, but had some bright yellow near the eyes and some red on it's feet. The bottom was plain yellow/brown with no design to speak of. I wish I had my camera and then later remembered I did have my phone camera but didn't think of it. I went on the Maryland DNR sight and determined it was a Red-bellied Cooter and the shell was over a foot long. They are on the move this time of year for mating and egg laying as per the DNR guy I talked to (when I called them about the bird). I hope like heck it stays out of the road. With all this construction down on Buck Hewitt Rd. there are dump trucks that are flying down the road plus cars cutting through too fast. This is the same road that has been taking all the squirrels (still happening, along with rabbits, and birds, snakes). It is a killing road! I hate it. It is a 30 mph road and people do 60+.

    Since they have been ripping out most of the thick forest on the far end of the road IÂll bet many of these animals are being displaced. I almost cannot bear to drive it anymore. How come I see these injured animals and the other cars don't??? My son said it is because they are not looking on the sides like I do or they don't care.

    I for one cannot pass an injured animal period. I cannot look the other way. It breaks my heart either way, but at least when I stop it is better. I feel like shaking the crap out of all these speeders and land developers!

    I'll keep you posted on the Jay. Keep your fingers crossed! CT

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Good news! This morning I put out food and a shallow pan of water on the ground and my plan was to put the bird on a tree limb I could see from inside to observe. When it grabbed my finger with both feet I moved it out of the box and it took off to beat the band. Nothing feeble about that flight. It went straight up for the 100 foot trees and was gone. I did note a few of the white tips on the end of it's tail were missing so maybe I'll see it again. There was a roving band of other Blue Jays earlier which I think he is part of this group. I hope he makes it permanently, one never knows, but being able to fly away big makes it a good day.

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Oh, CT, I'm so glad to hear the story of the blue jay turned out ok after all! As well as the turtle! I sometimes wish I didn't love animals like I do. It would mean less stress and heartache.

    Jean, that moth is incredible! Is it named Ceanothus for the plant? We have native Ceanothus plants here (California lilacs), but that moth looks nothing like anything found on the plants. It almost looks like an oak leaf after it changes color in the fall.

    Brenda

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    CT - How exciting! I can only imagine how you felt as you watched him fly away! I'm so glad you were able to witness that and what a wonderful pay-back for your time and concern. I love a story with a happy ending!

    I oopsed on the id of the moth - it is a silk moth but the eastern moths are named Cecropia Moth - same basic moth I believe. And yes Brenda the Ceanothus silk moth is named after the lilac which is it's primary host plant so keep your eyes peeled, they only live 2 weeks!

    So the swelling in my toe is finally gone down but I now have a blood blister on my index finger from pinching it between two rocks. I think this rock wall is going to kill me but not before I finish it! But at least I won't be around to see it's demise when it tumbles after the first frost heave :^(

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Geez, Jean! I think I missed the "I'm building a rock wall" post, but it sounds like it's going to be awesome! At least, I hope so, considering all of the pain you're having to endure. I'd love to see a pic when you're done!

    That makes sense about the moths. I looked up pics of the Ceanothus one, and it does look VERY similar to the Cecropia moth. I'll have to tell my mom about them, too, since she has 2 Ceanothus! :)

    Brenda

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Well it might be too premature to have this happy ending. This is what I found out today when I saw my neighbor (who lives behind my house0:

    My neighbor with her two grandchildren just reported to me they saw a bird yesterday and she thought something might be wrong with it because it let them get so close, but it otherwise looked fine. She told the children not to touch it as she thought it must be sick to allow them to approach like that. They got really almost to the point they could touch it if they had wanted to and it flew up onto her house roof. The last time they saw it was under my small crabapple tree in my front yard on the ground. My front yard often has my neighbors cats hiding in my shrubbery.

    I had to ask....... was it a Blue Jay and she said yes. Darn it.

    With this report I have to admit the bird is still having problems but it can still fly but it wont last long if it allows danger to approach so close. Brain swelling can last up to 48 to 72 hours, which is now, so apparently it is still having issues, but can fly. Hopefully it can feed itself and there is plenty of food available in my back yard and several water sources. Ive not seen the bird myself and Ive been looking for it, expecting, but hoping I would not see it, on the ground or having problems. I guess it is in natures hands right now, unless I find it, and I can call the rehabber's back.

    I'll tell you, I am at my wit's end about my neighbors cats that roam free which is an ongoing issue with me aside from this one bird. They kill frogs and the birds I feed on my own property and more and more that is not sitting well with me. If I see this bird in the mouth of one of these cats I don't know how I am going to handle myself because I am going to be more than angry with these neighbors that only do what they feel like doing with no regard for the law or the fact they are tearing my heart out to see the death left behind. I think this time if I see this bird killed by these cats I will trap the cats and send them to the shelter. These neighbors have been pleaded with for years and I get nothing from them but lip service. :-( CT

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I saw the bird tonight around 6pm on the ground in my back yard with two other Blue Jays, two Cardinals, two doves and misc. finches and Grackles flitting about. I can tell right away which one he was as he is puffed up a bit, his head is cocked sideways a bit, but he is hopping around looking for ground seeds with the other birds. Also, the partial missing white tail tips. I watched through bins even though I was 20 feet away and I know why his head is cocked to one side. His left eye is swollen shut so he is cocking his head to see the seeds on the ground with the other eye which looks OK. I managed to open the door and toss out some canned dog food. At least this bird is looking for food and there were some sunflower chips strewn about earlier this morning. He/she can fly but for now is blind in the left eye. Perhaps as the swelling goes down the eyesight will return but being hit in the head by a car two days ago cannot be great for the long term. This bird will have to get better quickly as it will stand out which we all know, in nature, is not a good thing. I saw some other jays chasing away a Cooper or Harris hawk a few yards away. If the Jay elects to hang out mostly in my back yard through it's recovery period it will be relatively safe from cats and other predators as my dog is out there quite a bit and he pays birds no mind at all. Rabbits and cats are another matter. I walked around the side of the house from the front and when the bird saw me it did fly to one tree to the right but then quickly flew to another tree to the left. So, it is aware and would not let me approach it too close which is a good sign. Oh - I hope this bird gets well........it is so sad and has me on edge.

    I found a dead young Grackle out front in my garden today. What the heck killed that? A cat? Window strike? No real marks on it.

    Is the weekend here yet?

    Jean - on another note - Geez I hope you get through all those rocks without any more squished fingers! I had forgotten you said you were doing all that hard work. What an ordeal it is to move rocks around. Really takes it out of you to the point of exhaustion. Just try to keep the end game in sight where you will be enjoying the fruits of your hard labor!

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Any updates on the bluejay? Did you see him today?

    I think my fingers are safe for the weekend, it supposed to get to 96 degrees and I think my limit for rock moving is 90 degrees. What a dry, hot spring - my grass is so dry it's crunchy and it's only June.

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I saw him this morning and he looks better, not perfect, but seems more coordinated. He is eating as I practically covered my back yard in sunflower chips! Lots of other previously missing species have returned for the feast too.

    Too bad for the dry spring. We had a two week drought but then a thunderstorm so everything is green still. One thing about grass is it greens up again with the first good rain.

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I saw the Blue Jay today and except for a slight head tilt he/she is fine. Eating, flying, perching OK on ground, feeders and fence. The eye is back to normal and the puffed feathers are back to normal. The white tail tips are still missing of course. It has joined (or rejoined) the small band of jay visitors I have at my feeders.

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Yeah!!! Thats wonderful news Cometose!! Congratulations on a job well done.

    I haven't seen the female bluebird in about a week - I'm hoping that just means she's got another brood and nothing has happened to her. But Dad and the four babies still come twice a day for their mealworms - they are quite the pigs!

  • youreit
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    That is SO great to hear, CT! If you ever get a chance, I'd love to see a pic of the little survivor. :D

    I'll be hoping for your bluebird's safety, too, Jean. Do they typically have broods in succession?

    Brenda

  • zinniachick
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I think folks like you all and threads like this one are what's going to turn around a scary trend. This ran in the NY Times today. -- Zinnia


    June 19, 2007
    Editorial Observer

    Millions of Missing Birds, Vanishing in Plain Sight

    By VERLYN KLINKENBORG


    Last week, the Audubon Society released a new report describing the sharp and startling population decline of some of the most familiar and common birds in America: several kinds of sparrows, the Northern bobwhite, the Eastern meadowlark, the common grackle and the common tern. The average decline of the 20 species in the Audubon Societys report is 68 percent.


    Forty years ago, there were an estimated 31 million bobwhites. Now there are 5.5 million. Compared to the hundred-some condors presently in the wild, 5.5 million bobwhites sounds like a lot of birds. But what matters is the 25.5 million missing and the troubles that brought them down and are all too likely to bring down the rest of them, too. So this is not extinction, but it is how things look before extinction happens.


    The word "extinct" somehow brings to mind the birds that seem like special cases to us, the dodo or the great auk or the passenger pigeon. Most people would never have had a chance to see dodos and great auks on their remote islands before they were decimated in the 17th and 19th centuries. What is hard to remember about passenger pigeons isnt merely their once enormous numbers. Its the enormous numbers of humans to whom their comings and goings were a common sight and who supposed, erroneously, that such unending clouds of birds were indestructible. We recognize the extraordinary distinctness of the passenger pigeon now because we know its fate, killed off largely by humans. But we have moralized it thoroughly without ever really taking it to heart.


    The question is whether we will see the distinctness of the field sparrow its number is down from 18 million 40 years ago to 5.8 million only when the last pair is being kept alive in a zoo somewhere. We love to finally care when the death watch is on. It makes us feel so very human.


    Like you, Ive been reading dire reports of declining species for many years now. They have the value of causing us to pay attention to species in trouble, and the sad fact is that the only species likely to endure are the ones we humans manage to pay attention to. There was a time when it was better, if you were a nonhuman species, to be ignored by humans because we trapped, shot or otherwise exploited all of the ones that got our attention. But in the past 40 years, we have killed all those millions of birds or, let us say, unintentionally caused a dramatic population loss, simply by going about business as usual.


    Agriculture has intensified. So has development. Open space has been sharply reduced. We have simply pursued our livelihoods. We knew it was inimical to wolves and mountain lions. But we somehow trusted that all the innocent little birds were here to stay. What they actually need to survive, it turns out, is a landscape that is less intensely human.


    The Audubon Society portrait of common bird species in decline is really a report on who humans are. Let me offer a proposition about Homo sapiens. We are the only species on earth capable of an ethical awareness of other species and, thus, the only species capable of happily ignoring that awareness. So far, our economic interests have proved to be completely incompatible with all but a very few forms of life. Its not that we believe that other species dont matter. Its that, historically speaking, it hasnt been worth believing one way or another. I dont suppose that most Americans would actively kill a whippoorwill if they had the chance. Yet in the past 40 years its number has dropped by 1.6 million.


    In our everyday economic behavior, we seem determined to discover whether we can live alone on earth. E.O. Wilson has argued eloquently and persuasively that we cannot, that who we are depends as much on the richness and diversity of the biological life around us as it does on any inherent quality in our genes. Environmentalists of every stripe argue that we must somehow begin to correlate our economic behavior by which I mean every aspect of it: production, consumption, habitation with the welfare of other species.


    This is the premise of sustainability. But the very foundation of our economic interests is self-interest, and in the survival of other species we see way too little self to care.


    The trouble with humans is that even the smallest changes in our behavior require an epiphany. And yet compared to the fixity of other species, the narrowness of their habitats, the strictness of their diets, the precision of the niches they occupy, we are flexibility itself.

    We look around us, expecting the rest of the worlds occupants to adapt to the changes that we have caused, when, in fact, we have the right to expect adaptation only from ourselves.

    Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Great article Zinnia. It is true - humans think the world revolves around them and everything there is for the taking or exploitation.

    Extinction is not just something that happened to the dinosaurs. It is happening at an alarming rate all around us. The big losers are large mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Plants take a huge hit every day also.

    So, we must all change the way we live period or our earth and the life on it will all go. It is not far off either. Whoever said 'be fruitful and multiply and you shall inherit the earth' could not have had this in mind.

    There are simple lifestyle changes everyone can do:

    1. Use recycled toilet paper (not virgin paper)
    2. Flourscent bulbs
    3. Hybrid cars.
    4. Hang clothes out on a line instead of the dryer
    5. Carpool
    6. Recyle all glass, aluminum, cans, paper
    7. Plant trees and shrubs
    8. Join community groups that go after general contractors and land developers and demand smart growth that concentrates people in certain areas.
    9. Don't allow building on wetlands.

    SO many other things....

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I find it interesting that the bobwhite is on the list considering they are a game bird and 10's of thousands are killed each year.

    Ohio's "top" twenty(one) are as follows:
    OHIO TRENDS
    1.) Northern Bobwhite= -99%
    2.) Grasshopper Sparrow= -97%
    3.) *Henslows Sparrow= -85%
    4.) Green Heron = -82%
    5.) Vesper Sparrow= -81%
    6.) *Cerulean Warbler= -80%
    7.) *Red-headed Woodpecker= -78%
    8.) Eastern Meadowlark= -75%
    9.) Bobolink= -70%
    10.) Hairy Woodpecker= -68%
    11.) Northern Flicker= -67%
    12.) Bank Swallow= -64%
    13.) Red-winged Blackbird= -64%
    14.) Yellow-breasted Chat= -63%
    15.) Savannah Sparrow= -62%
    16.) Acadian Flycatcher= -61%
    17.) Eastern Wood Pewee= -60%
    18.) Field Sparrow= -59%
    19.) American Redstart= -58%
    20.) *Prairie Warbler= -54%
    21.) Great-crested Flycatcher= -52%

    About half the list are grassland birds and their decline is being contributed to loss of habitat.

    But on a good note, a nesting pair of Kirtland warblers has been found in Wisconsin. This warbler is considered to be the rarest songbird in the United States and previously only nested in jack pines in Michigan. In 1971 there were only 201 nesting pairs but in 2006 there were 1486 pairs due to conservation efforts to protect their nesting habitats. So maybe something good will come out of Audobon's published lists.

    They will also be producing a list of birds that have increased and I'm betting bluebirds will be on the list which can be attributed to the many bluebird trails that have been erected over the last decade.

  • musik
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Can someone recommend a digital camera for bird watching? I'm only now getting really into it and would like to get one that's really good and durable...and of course one with very good zoom. Can anyone help me with this?

    Thanks in advanced!

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hi Musick - Jean uses a Canon Rebel and her photos are stunning. I whought she said 400mm zoom lens minimum but I'll her tell it.

    I had an unusual bird sighting today - a very large blue jay with no tail feathers at all. Looked like a blue chicken. It flew OK. It is not my rescue jay. Right now I am flooded with large numbers of blue jays and Grackles that have young following after them. My jay hangs out with them.

    I saw the cutest thing this morning - a mom squirrel with one of her young follow alongside and, over and over again, the baby would get on the mom's back in a hug and then tumble under her, causing her to pause. She would nuzzle a bit and move forward again and the baby did this continuously until she went up the tree (and baby up the tree too right behind her). Mom was being so patient, but kept going about her business, with a baby hug pause every few seconds. So sweet to see affection like that in wildlife.

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Musik, as usual, it all depends on how much you want to spend and how much effort you want to put into learning how to use the camera. Have you ever used a 35mm camera before? You will get the best results with a 35mm camera and a good zoom. However there are some point-n-shoot cameras that do pretty well, especially if you can get close.

    I have a Canon Rebel and a Canon 100-400mm pro-consumer lens. I bought the camera first and a 100-300mm consumer lens and then stepped up to the pro-consumer lens a year later. The real photographers use 600mm lenses, out of my price range.

    Here's my website (still under construction and out of date I really need to get on it) but just some examples of what an average photographer can do with my setup. I've been doing this for a litte while (a little over a year) and still learn new things all the time.

  • musik
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    jeanner, thanks for the info...I will check that camera out. BTW, your bird picture on your site are BEAUTIFUL!

  • catherinet
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    comettose........
    Thanks for your comments on the earth. I'm afraid I've given up on the human race rising above their own selfish needs.
    Sometimes I think that humans can't be of this earth. They just don't seem to have a built-in sense of balance, like all the other spieces have.
    And even if we all recycled everything, it isn't going to get us out of the hole we've dug for ourselves, considering our massive, endless needs.
    What an arrogant, short-sited bunch we are. :(
    sorry to be a downer on this lovely thread. I'm just very discouraged with mankind. Maybe it comes from living in an area that is replacing all its farmland and rural areas with subdivisions and stores. We're building more roads and increasing our interstates from 4 to 8 lanes. Trying to talk to people about what's really important seems to fall on deaf ears most of the time. I write letters to the editor in the local paper and I'm sure I'm seen as a crazy old lady.
    We have 33 acres, and sometimes I imagine that all of the wildlife in this region will end up trying to live on our little space, since it will be the only space with trees.
    A heron flew over yesterday, very close to the ground in my yard. What a beautiful bird. I gave a hummingbird a shower yesterday, while watering my garden. It sat on a leaf of my pole beans and just enjoyed the heck out of the spray. A carolina wren juvenile was sunning itself on my deck railing. Goldfinches playing. Yellow warblers and common yellowthroats singing all day long. A water snake sunning itself next to the pond, while dragonflies darted in and there overhead. The smell of the neighbor farmer's corn fields. It was beautiful. Who could not want this peace and happiness?

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    "Who could not want this peace and happiness?"

    Those that make money by the destruction of the land use that money to buy a piece of paradise somewhere else and then destroy that too.

    Thankfully there are those that fight this. Don't give up or lose heart, your voice may be joined by another until you are heard, but in the meanwhile, prepare your land better for the expected intensification of wildlife by planting more food, cover, and shelter. Do your part by consuming less and wasting less, and encourage others who are close to you to do the same. Change can happen and voices can rise up.

    Until ALL people put their population growth in check and start changing in every way possible, we will ruin our own planet for our own habitation which does not bode well at all for the what many perceive to be 'lesser' species in which we share this home. We have no right just because we are 'smarter' to consume everything around us to the detriment of everything and everyone else.

    Take heart Cat - you are a gentle soul with a soft heart for nature but also a voice that cannot be stopped. Continue to speak out no matter if you think others see you as the 'crazy lady'. I'll wager there are many that agree with you - and you should ask them to have the courage to stand with you. In numbers we make more noise. In numbers we make things happen. Hold people accountable.

  • catherinet
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I wish I had your optimism Comettose.....
    It seems like all the people moving out in this direction think the countryside is a place to do all those things they weren't allowed to do in the city. (loud cars, 4wheelers, fireworks, etc.)
    Its getting close to impossible for people like you and me to buy country land anymore, since the farmers would rather sell it to developers. Its a real dilemma for them I suppose......sell it to another farmer for $3,000 an acre or to a developer for $20,000/ac.
    Then the area plan commission and the county commissioners think they are leaving a wonderful legacy by building malls and subdivisions.
    There is a place 8 miles south of us that was all farmland. 1,700 acres were sold to a developer who is putting in a city. The commissioners who approved this were so proud of themselves. And the people in the small town close to us are so apathetic, no one but me complained. I don't understand how people in neat little towns and rural people can only think in terms of "gee....isn't this great........a Home Depot only 5 miles away now.......and a Starbucks! .......and......." Why did they ever choose to live out here in the first place if they don't mind this "takeover"?
    The only terms they think of is convenience and having more and more of the same things, only closer. How do you reach those kinds of people? They are so disconnected with nature that it isn't even part of their experience anymore. Then the developers promise to make these huge parks for the masses.(after they've bulldozed the natural landscape).
    Developers and city officials are also trying to connect all the cities in this region with "rails to trails" paths so people can ride bikes through the countryside and see our "rural heritage". What a joke. Then they talk about building little shops all along these paths, since people "need to eat, and buy souveneirs".
    I really feel like an alien. No, actually.......I feel like all of them are the aliens!
    We have a paradise here.......and what are we doing with it??
    I understand that the sole purpose of every organism on this planet is to reproduce. That's what its all about. But mankind seems to be doing it in a way that is so much more destructive than the other spieces.
    I'll get off my soapbox now.

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I think there is a difference in the way people view their homes compared to 50 years ago. They used to be homes, now they are just houses. Then it was a family home, many times handed down over generations. Now people move frequently, many times to "upgrade" so houses are more of an investment than a home. Hometown pride is suffering.

    The closest town to me is battling the same thing. This area is the only area left in the county that is still farmland. The city commission wants it left as a small town and has been notorious for refusing zoning changes to allow developers to move in. But some of the farmers and those residents that want development are putting pressure on them. Luckily there is still some interest in keeping the developers out, I'm just not sure how long it will last.

    I am pretty safe from any development in my immediate area. Any property that is lower than mine cannot be built on as it is in the retention basin for the dam. Another 3000 acres is owned by the county parks and they have bought conservation easements on another 2000 acres of farmland that surround the park which prevents the farmers from selling to developers. But there is still plenty of land elsewhere that will someday be developed, it's only a matter of time.

  • musik
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    I was walking around my neighborhood earlier today and saw 3 pure white birds flying around. One happen to land on the roof of a house so I was able to study it a little bit. It looked exactly like a mourning dove but it was pure white. Has anyone here seen anything like that around their house? I live in NJ and have never seen them. Could they possibly be white doves? I wish I had my camera so I could post a picture. I'll have to start bringing it on my walks and maybe I will see them again.

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Probably were domestic white doves that some companies release at weddings.

  • bonnieblueyes
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Oh my gosh what beautiful pictures. Owls, moths, birds so glad you all know what you are doing. Mine look nothing like that. I never realized how big owls are! Thanks for sharing all the great photos and stories. Really liked the parrots too. Just lovely. Really sorry about the waxwing :-(---- and im so glad the blue jay is doing better. Loved loved the gnat catchers. They were really stuffed into that nest. LOL Keeping taking those beautiful pics so i can drool over them. Naughty little sparrows. HAHA=========thanks again really enjoyed the pictures :-)------bonnie

  • jeanner
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Musik, they could be homing pigeons, they come in all colors and sizes but all come from the rock pigeons you see in the cities. I had 4 land on my roof one day, only one was tagged. I didn't get a chance to read the tag, probably a good thing because I read that alot of owners kill those pigeons who don't come back right away. So look for a tag if you see them again.

    Bonnie, glad you enjoyed our pictures and stories. I wish I had some new pictures to share but I've been so busy, I'm going into camera withdrawal! I did get a nice shot of a tiger swallowtail tonight but haven't even had time to upload and process. But soon!

  • musik
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    jeanner, I think they were homing pigeons. I looked them up on the internet and they looked very similar to them...but they still may have been domestic white doves...it's hard to say. If I ever see them again I will hopefully have my camera and then I'll be able to better tell.

  • musik
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Hey all! Looks like there hasn't been much activity here lately....hope everyone is doing well. I had to post to see if anyone on here has seen a blue jay with this description. The past couple days I have been seeing this bird visit my yard that has all the parking of a blue jay on the body...but it has no head crest at all and the head is a charcoal grey color. It's very strange. It appears to be the same size as a normal blue jay maybe even a tad bit bigger. Earlier I was in my yard, and he flew into the tree getting ready to get some peanuts from the feeder and he started mimicking the red tailed hawk like I see some jays do....he sat there for a while doing that then started eating. I don't know what to make of this bird and wanted to see if anyone has seen a blue jay that looked like this? I'm going to try and get a picture of it next time it visits...if I do I'll post it.

  • comettose
    Original Author
    15 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    musik - the birdy action is in the Bird Highlight thread. See you over there. CT