Thursday, July 26, 2012

Earning His Wings

Juvenile Black-capped Chickadee

We've had a new visitor at our feeders of late; new in a number of ways. He blundered in one morning, took a quick look around, then disappeared. Susan and I were unsure if we really saw a juvenile bird quite that young, yet so mobile, at the feeder.

Evidently this young Black-capped Chickadee liked what he saw—food and water—what's not to like?

 Since I had a full plate of things to do yesterday, I decided to chuck them all in hopes that he'd return, and I guessed correctly. In fact, he's a regular visitor and in spite of his ragged appearance, none of the other avian crowd seems to be afraid of him. (I'm using the male gender here because you can't really tell with chickadees to begin with, and it's less cumbersome than writing him/her or some other ungodly pronoun.)
His first fearful approaches have become fearless frolics. While he used to hesitantly come along with an adult bird, he now seems comfortable, if somewhat bumbling, doing it on his own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Early Morning on the Deck

Landing gear down, eyes on the prize

It's that time of the year when they drift in like milkweed seeds rather than fly in like birds. Rattling wings offer a counterpoint to the cicadas and click beetles. Butterflies distract them. The smell of fresh coffee seems to have no appeal. They're still young, it's not their fault.
Young of the season, accompanied by parents and siblings, find their way to our water and feeder offerings. Feisty hummingbirds just getting some color in those ruby throats have learned how to protect a food source, though they don't know why. 

American Goldfinches in yellow, the livery-color of the summer, are all about nesting now that others have finished. And shorebirds, those long-distance migrants that travel thousands of miles between the Arctic and South America have started their annual southward trek.
It's the nadir of the bird watching season, some say.
Not so, says I. What's not to watch?

Black-capped (and nearly featherless) Chickadee

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sing Loudly And Carry A Big Stick

House Wren: This could be the start of something big

Recently, Susan and I (or is that me?) were in Saratoga Springs visiting family. Our six-year-old granddaughter, Ruby, told us she put a wren house in place about two years ago and finally had some renters. Could I take a picture?
Does a chicken have lips?
Ruby and I spent about 30 minutes watching the antics of a male House Wren as he prepared a nest for his current mate. It was an educational event for me and the wren; I hope for Ruby, too. And since a picture is worth a zillion words, here's a novel in pictures, with occasional anthropomorphic comments.
Let's entitle  this epic: When the Goin' Gets Tough, the Tough Stick With It.

Hmmmm. Houston, we have a problem

Maybe, if I back off a bit and ...

When the only tool in the toolbox is a hammer, all problems look like nails

I know this is the stick that will make her mine. If I work my way to the end ...

Ah Ha!


How do you like that, kids?

Okay, back to work

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Celebrate the Fourth to the Fullest

July's full moon, aka The Full Buck Moon

During a chat with birding buddy Karin this afternoon she asked the obligatory question, “So, how ya gonna celebrate the holiday? Going to any fireworks?”
For me, there’s no easy answer to that question when it involves a holiday where no gifts are exchanged, but it did make me think about how others will be celebrating.
In fact, sitting on the deck last night, watching the near-full moon rise (or the Earth turn—whatever) I thought about the noise and chaos that surrounds typical Fourth of July celebrations here in America. And how peaceful it would be to have a natural fireworks display. Tree branches occasionally obscured my view and clouds drifted between me and Luna, adding color and action to a scene that otherwise had little action or color.
So here’s how I plan to celebrate the 236th birthday of America in hopes that our founding fathers and mothers did it this same way. (I’ll assume you begin the count at 1776 with the declaration and not 1787 with the signing of the Constitution. It’s complicated.) ((An aside: Using one of my astronomy programs I turned back time to the night sky of July 4, 1776 and learned that the full moon had been on July 1 that year, however, that does not change the theme of this story.)) I plan to watch the just-past full moon (July 3, 2012 is full moon night) and enjoy the erratic flashing display of golden color provided by fireflies. Maybe a shooting star if I'm lucky.
I guess I just prefer celebrating things in a quieter, more contemplative manner. Instant gratification doesn’t do it for me any longer.

A few clouds, a bit of air pollution and wow!
Look at that moon! July 2, 2012