Friday, July 22, 2011

Parrots Name Their Chicks

We humans think we are special, but as we study birds and other wildlife, we find that many of the behaviors that we think are distinctly human are not. Here is a short piece on parrotlets naming their young.

Good birding!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Feather Our Nest Garage Sale

Wild Bird Rescue will hold a garage sale to raise money for the organization. Please consider donating items and come spend money on the treasures others no longer want/need. Wild Bird Rescue is accepting donations of items for the sale (except adult clothing) at their 4611 Lake Shore Drive address the week prior to the sale. They are asking donors to pre-price the items they donate.

Feather Our Nest Garage Sale
Saturday, September 17
8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
NALC Building, 5310 Southwest Parkway

This has been a big year for the organization. So far they have taken in over 800 birds and the year is barely half over. For more information about making a donation, please call 940-691-0828.

Good birding!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club Meeting

The North Texas Bird and Wildlife Club meets Tuesday, 7:00 PM at the National Association of Letter Carriers Building at 5310 Southwest Parkway (adjacent to Wichita Valley Nursery).

Eldon Sund will present a short program on loons. Light refreshments will be served. The meeting is free and open to the public. As always, members will share their sightings and other items of interest with the group.

Good birding!

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Couple of Nice Birds

Saturday morning I took a short stroll down the chat trail to the barrow pit in Lake Wichita Park. The drought is hitting the trees hard as you can see by the photo. Usually the trees are not this stressed for another month. As you can see, the tress are growing right next to the water, so it is not a matter of a lack of water to the roots, but the heat and water loss through the leaves. The leaves are dropping off many of the trees as they try to conserve water.

I did see a couple of nice birds: a blue-gray gnatcatcher and a Bullock's oriole.

Photo: blue gray gnatcatcher from Wikimedia Commons, Photographer: mauricholas.

The little gnatcatchers are often difficult to see as they tend to skulk around in heavily wooded areas and they are constantly on the move. They remind me in general shape of a tiny mockingbird and the white outer tail feathers on the tail are very helpful in identification of this fast-moving little bird. The Bullock's oriole was another matter--the male was making plenty of noise fussing at something in the reeds along the water. Between his loud scolding and bright colors, there was no way he was going to go unnoticed.

The barrow pit is nearly dry, although a very shallow pool remains in the center. A few black-necked stilts were still arounds as well as three greater yellowlegs and some killdeer. It won't be long before the pond is completely dry if we don't get rain soon. Tonight there have been some thunderstorms to the west of us, but none for us--again.

Good birding!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Living Green Blog Post

I also write another blog, Living Green in Wichita Falls. Once I posted this AM, I thought to myself that the post was equally germane to Charm of Finches since I was talking about attracting wildlife to the yard. Some people read both of my blogs, but not everyone.

Anyway, check out the post as I begin the effort to transform our new yard from standard suburbia to a wildlife-friendly landscape.

Good birding!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Keep the Water Coming!

The drought continues to beat down the people and the wildlife in our area. I am filling my backyard bird bath at least 3 times a day--sometimes more. Since plants aren't doing well either, my feeder is also getting a workout. The seeds don't help the parents trying to feed babies as most (other than doves) need protein food sources, but it helps the adults stay alive.

If you don't have a water source for wildlife in your yard, please consider adding some sort of water feature to your yard. If you can't spend the money on a pond or birdbath, a shallow pan will work fine. If you have some sort of water feature in your yard, please keep it full. You'll be doing wildlife a favor and bringing the birds in so you can have the pleasure of watching them.

Good birding!

Learning the Birds

People often say, "I don't know how you can identify birds so fast." And I tell them it is like anything else--practice. The people who are best at bird identification (and there are LOTS of people better than I) are those who spend the most time birding and who study in between their birding trips.

I came across a great blog post, "The Brain and Birds," by Richard Crossley, the author of The Crossley ID Guide. I posted a review of this book a few months back. As we bird more, we tend to pick up patterns we use to identify the birds and through repetition (whether seeing the bird in the field or reviewing birds in the field guides and reading articles about them) we help our brain make the information readily accessible.

Anyway, I thought is was an interesting post and wanted to share.

Good birding!