Monday, July 27, 2009
Mixed Hedges and other Wildlife Shrub Info & Calculator//www.buckingham-nurseries.co.uk/acatalog/guide.html
Friday, January 16, 2009
Recipe for Bird Seed BallsBird treat Balls
1 quart walnut piecs
1quart chopped peanuts
1 to 2 cups dries cherries (Optional)
wire for hanging
1 packet of unflavored gelatine
Step 1. Mix the unflavored gelatine according to the label.
In another bowl, combine walnut pieces, chopped peanuts, and dried cherries (if desired)
Step 2. Spread the nut mixture onto a cookie sheet.
Step 3. Fill a squirt bottle with liquid gelatine, and spritz the nut mixture liberally. Stir the mixture with your hands, and mold into a 3" diameter balls.
Step 4. Push a length of wire through each balls.
Step 5. Place balls in the freezer to solidify them; store in cool conditions until use.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Backyard Brown Birds ID from Sialis
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
How to Identify the Finches? Do tell!!Tips on Purple & House Finch ID
Quick ID tips: A male House Finch's head has a reddish to orange eyebrow and forehead, contrasting with a brown cap, and a brown ear patch.....a male Purple Finch has an all over raspberry-red colored head, with a lighter pinkish eyebrow, raspberry cap, and dark brown/raspberry ear patch. A female House finch has no face markings, and thin breast streaks....a female Purple Finch has a broad whitish eyebrow, and heavy breast streaks.
A male Purple Finch's breast is streaked with raspberry red (no brown), where a male House Finch's breast is streaked with tan or brown.
Which red finch is it?
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Sparrow Identification: Always vexing!!
Stokes Sparrow ID tips: //stokesbirdsathome.com/birding/id/idpages/id111.html
An excellent Sparrow ID reference from McGill University: //www.migrationresearch.org/mbo/id/sparrows.html
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Birdseed & Gelatin Seed Cake Recipe
4 cups bird seed of choice
25-50 twist ties folded in half
1/2 cup clover honey
6 envelopes unflavored gelatin
(which equals 4 1/2 tblsp.)
1/4 cup dried greens (optional)
( or dried peppers, fruit or vegetables)
Combine seed and dried greens in glass mixing bowl and set aside.
Add dry gelatin to honey and mix in small sauce pan.
Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY, for 4 minutes.
Pour into center of seed and mix well.
When cool enough, knead with hands, pressing all seeds into mixture.
(It helps to spray a little non-stick cooking spray on hands and in muffin tins.)
Roll into balls and place in muffin tin.
Walnut size for 2" tin or apricot size balls for 3" tins.
Bake at 350* for 15 minutes for small or 20 minutes for large.
Remove from oven and quickly put folded end of
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Birding Photography at St. Ives Winter 2007
A new wrinkle in our birdwatching hobby: I received an e-mail from a member of a Cincinnati Bird Club who is a professional photographer. This photographer asked if he could take pics of our Pileated Woodpeckers who visit our yard (which he had heard about through the club). He stopped by last week and set up a special log for suet and today stopped over with a platform feeder full of peanuts to try to get pics of our blue-jays too.
For right now we are waiting for the Pileateds to make regular visits to his suet log. After they learn to come to that special spot in the yard, he will replace that (ordinary looking) suet log with another that has lichen and other picturesque(?) features for the photo shoot.
Bill, the photographer, then will set up a rolling blind (a sort of tent contraption that photographers use) when the weather warms a bit and hide out in there while waiting for a good set-up for the bird pics. Sounds like a labor intensive challenge, but I have seen his pics on his website and they are beautiful and well worth the effort, I think: //www.leamanphoto.com/
For now I am keeping track of the Pileateds daily visit routines so that Bill will not have to sit out so long. The snow is on the ground today and it's crispy cold and sunny so a good day for the birds to come to the feeders, I think, but no visitors yet. (I hope they didn't perish in last nights frigid below zero temps.)
I hope he will have time to tutor me a bit in the basics of bird photography. He also happens to be the park ranger for the county park which abuts our property, and I am hoping he will have time to take us on a bird walk through the park in springtime when the migrating birds fly through our area.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Learning Bird Calls: A Priority for 2007//www.learnbirdsongs.com/index.php
Monday, February 5, 2007
Backyard Bird List for Imhoffhaven February 5, 2007Downy Woodpecker
Orchard Oriole (or Baltimore?)
Golden Crowned Kinglet
American Tree Sparrow
Pine Warbler (March 10, 2007)
Monday, February 5, 2007
Winter 2007 Target Species for ImhoffhavenOur "target species' list for our property right now (winter 2007) includes:
ID for any owls
ID for any raptors
ID for any native sparrows
rose-breasted Grosbeak (we attracted these to our deck service berries last fall)
Cape May Warbler
I am always on the look-out for a red-headed woodpecker on our property, however, I think the chance is remote at best to host one.
Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Sparrow Study Notes from Jay Stenger 'Cincinnati Birding'Jay Stenger says:
Fox Sparrows are rare to locally uncommon winter residents in our area, and can be difficult to find, even in places where they occur with some frequency. They prefer advanced succesional habitats, such as dense weedy fields and brushy areas. Hedgerows, brushy fencerows and woodland edges adjacent to these habitats can be good places to look for Fox Sparrows. Their spring migration is near peak right now (last two weeks of March and first two weeks of April) and they are a little more widespread and easier to find at this season, when they are considered uncommon too fairly common.
In our area, and in appropriate habitat, Savannah Sparrows are generally rare in winter, fairly common in migration and uncommon to fairly common summer residents. The farther north you go into Ohio and Indiana, the more common they become as summer residents. They prefer grasslands, pastures, hayfields and farm fields and can often be seen perched along fences on rural roads.
As summer residents, Vesper Sparrows are generally scarce in our immediate area, but can be locally fairly common in some of our rural areas just to our north and east. They become common breeding birds in northern Ohio and Indiana, generally on a line north of I-70. In our area they are very rare or casual winter visitors. Their spring migration begins in the last week of March and continues into the third week of April. This spring migration is not very evident in our immediate area and is viewed mostly as breeding birds returning to their territories. Vesper Sparrows are generally rural, open country birds that prefer agricultural fields and their grassy edges and pastures with sparse vegetation. Try driving rural farm roads in northern Brown and Clermont counties and Clinton County (north and east of the Caesars Creek area is very good). Look for their white outer tail feathers as they flush from the sides of the road. On the west side of our area, try rural farmlands north of Brookville Reservoir and Hueston Woods (9-mile road usually has a few). A couple of pairs have nested the past several years in farmland just east and next door to Indian Creek SWA in Brown County, Ohio.
William Hull's Mangoverde Bird Photo Site:
Mangoverde's Photo Website Link
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Birdseed Preferences for Backyard Birds
An Excellent (Easy to read) Birdseed Chart from 'Wild Birds Center" site: //www.wildbird.com/www_files/eastbirdfeedprefsignfinal.jpg
Bird Food used at St. Ives:
This winter we are using:
SAFFLOWER seed in the Red Hopper Feeders (deters squirrels and HOSPs) and the Northern Cardinals seem to love it along with many of the other birds. This is our number one Bird Seed.
SUET Cakes attached to the sides of the Red Hopper feeders seem to attract the Pileateds and other woodpeckers as well as other birds. We use the suet cakes that are priced the most economically at the feed store (nothing fancy).
SEED Cake hung by the kitchen window is loved by the Carolina Wren and some of the woodpeckers and nuthatches.
PLATFORM Feeder on the deck is filled with a variety of seeds. I have tried the hulled sunflower seeds to reduce waste. I also put out some thistle and homemade suet crumble when it gets really cold. I make little piles of each kind of seed and watch which birds like which.
WHITE PROSO MILLET: I put out this seed sparingly on the stones in the front walk for the towhees and fox sparrows. If I am not careful with it the HOSPs take over.
PEANUT halves. I purchased a bag of peanut halves at the feed store to put out for the Pileateds, other woodpeckers, and now to attract Blue Jays for the photographer. (Normally I would not try to attract Blue Jays.)
GOURMET SUET: Since it has become quite cold here this month I have been 'creating' my own suet for the Carolina Wren and some of the other birds. I use rendered lard purchased in little buckets at Kroger or sometimes melted Crisco, mix in peanut butter and/or seeds according to the birds I want to feed. Sometimes I add chopped raisins, peanut pieces, oatmeal, corn meal, old dried fruits or chopped apple or a little orange juice. I should be keeping records of which combinations are the most popular for my birds. Sometimes I make a crumbley mixture for the ground feeders, sometimes I make solid squares or slabs using tupperware for molds.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Woodland Mound Park Christmas Bird Count December 9, 2006 ResultsEric Burkholder writes this report on the Woodland Mound County Parks Bird Count, December 9, 2006:
I was one of three participants in the Winter Bird count at Woodland Mound Park on December 9. It was a COLD morning but luckily the sun was shining.
I got the official results today in the mail. We saw 884 bird of 38 species. The count included Woodland Mound, The Vineyard golf course and Steamboat Bend Campground on the Ohio River.
One Pied-billed Grebe , 1 Great Blue Heron, 26 Canada geese, 2 Sharp-Shinned Hawks, 1 Cooper's Hawk, 1 Red-tailed Hawk, 6 Ring-billed Gulls, 60 Mourning Doves, 1 Belted Kingfisher,
2 Common Flickers, 1 Pileated Woodpecker, 1 Hairy woodpecker. 4 Downy Woodpeckers, 19 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, 22 Blue Jays, 43 Common Crows,
68 Carolina Chickadees, 8 Tufted Titmouse, 5 White-breasted Nuthatch, 11 Carolina Wrens, 2 Mockingbirds, 323 American Robins, 1 Eastern Bluebird ,
4 Golden-crowned Kinglets, 1 Yellow-rumped Warbler, 22 Cedar Waxwings, 40 Starlings, 4 House Sparrows, 70 Cardinals, 8 American Goldfinches, 12 Rufous-sided Towhee, 1 Dark-eyed Junco,
3 Field Sparrows, 79 White-throated Sparrows, 27 Song Sparrows,
1 Turkey Vulture, 2 Black Vultures, and 1 Eastern Phoebe.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Birdfeeders at St. Ives October 22, 2006We set up our bird feeders last weekend with safflower seed in the two red hopper feeders, nyger thistle in the finch feeder, and a 'custom' mixture of black oil sunflower and safflower seeds, peanuts, and fruit chips in the window feeder and platform feeder on the shepherd's hook. We hung three suet stations in the ash trees with purchased suet for woodpeckers.
Squirrels were the bane of our feeders in previous years until we discovered the merits of 'safflower' seed. Apparently the little critters find these seeds distasteful and will not bother feeders supplied with it. Some say it is a little expensive, but it has saved us much spilled seed and aggravating squirrel 'interventions'.
Experts suggest introducing part black oil sunflower seed with the safflower seed to start off and then gradually reducing the black oil seed in the mix so that is what we did. We found that the most attractive birds continued coming to the hopper feeders with few visitors turning away. Grackles and house sparrows do not especially care for the safflower seed so their absence was a big bonus from our point of view, too.
One other remedy to the squirrel problem was sprinkling 'Deer Scram' at the base of the trees near the feeders. We use this concoction along with 'Liquid Fence' to fend off the deer and I think the squirrels find it offensive too. At least for now.
I do use the black oil seed in our suction cup window feeders where squirrels can't reach just for variety. Woodpeckers like the fruit and nut combinations, so I mix a little of that with the other seed in the platform feeder, hoping it will interest them.
We determined that buying the various kinds of 'mixed' seed at the grocery was a waste of money so we make a run to the feed store for 20 or 50 pounds of safflower or nyger thistle and/or black oil sunflower seed every few months. Often they have bulk bags of peanut chips on sale and on impulse I buy those for the woodpeckers which I love.
So, the Safflower, Nyger thistle, B.O. Sunflower Seeds and various nuts and fruit treats (for the woodpeckers) are what we offer the birds here. They seem to be happy and I'm optimistic that a hungry rare/exotic/extirpated avian visitor will stop by our bird buffet this winter and I will have something to report to the Ohio Ornithological Society for 2006!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
One day\'s bird visitors: October 22, 2006Our first week with winter feeders in full operation--filled with Safflower, B.O. Sunflower Seeds, Suet for woodpeckers, and fruit and nut chips--has attracted a variety of songbirds. Our 'usual suspects', the northern cardinal, robins, carolina chickadee, tufted titmice, and nuthatches had no trouble finding the feeders and taking full advantage today. The blue-jay was lurking all day making everyone else nervous. The weather is cold and snow flurries are predicted for this afternoon so the feeders have been busy.
The Northern Flicker, Hairy, and Downey Woodpeckers like my custom suet mixtures and spent a lot of time taste testing today. I did not see a Red-bellied today, nor a Pileated, although I know they are around because I hear them calling. Out of the six woodpeckers in our region, the only one we do not see here at St. Ives is the Red-headed Woodpecker, which likes riparian habitat with old growth oaks, which we do not have here in any abundance.
Our Dark-eyed Juncos--one of our areas most common winter residents--have arrived. I saw them from the bay window scratching in the Oakleaf Hydrangea stand for fallen seeds. I am waiting for our towhees to come out of hiding, too. They like the same spot to feed.
Our house finches are here in abundance. So are the purple finches, although I have difficulty telling them apart. We have a few wrens today and the usual complement of sparrows and 'little brown/grey birds' that I find so vexing to identify. My goal this year is to develop my IDing skills so that all of these birds are known to me. (First I have to get Lasic to be able to see the markings better!)
I have been on the lookout in the tree tops for late migrating warblers but I haven't noticed any here. I am not sure, though, that I would recognize them with out an experienced birder to guide me.
Oh, we also have a bird (or animal) in our chimney. We hear them sometimes when we are watching TV. I read that you can call the chimney sweep or critter ridders to remove them, or try placing your stereo speaker in the fireplace with a Metallica CD playing and they should be on their way out in minutes! I think I'll try that!
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Woodland Mound Park, Withrow and California Woods Species ListsFrom the Ohio Ornithological Society Website:
Woodland Mound Park: (926 acres of deciduous woodland, brush, fields, ponds, and scenic overlooks) has a variety of habitat with a variety of birds. Near one of the vistas overlooking the Ohio River, one may easily find Prairie Warblers singing from the hillside below in spring. This vista is also a great place to catch fall raptor and warbler migration. Both accipiters, Osprey, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed, Red-shouldered, and Broad-winged Hawks, and Turkey Vultures have passed by on some of my fall visits here, as well as large flocks of Common Nighthawks. Although I have only visited sporadically in all seasons since my first visit in 1982, I have managed to record 74 species (includes 14 species of warblers).
This is a link to the Ohio Ornithological Society's Review of Cincinnati Nature Center, Woodland Mound Park (which borders our property), Withrow Nature Preserve and California Woods, one of the last 'Old Growth' forests remaining in Ohio.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Birding in CincinnatiA comprehensive list of birds sighted in the Cincinnati area organized by months of the year and fequency of sightings from Ned Keller's website.
An excellent local resource for birding sites and local species lists, Ned's site includes a message board, events calendar, other birding links and list of recent bird sightings.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Familiar North American Birds by Arthur Cleveland BentAn Online text of LIFE HISTORIES OF FAMILIAR
NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS by Bent.
Index of Birds discussed by Bent: //birdsbybent.com/contents.htm
This chapter features the Pileated Woodpecker
Monday, September 25, 2006
Vines, Shrubs and Trees to Attract Wildlife in our AreaUniversity of Kentucky Extension:
The importance of The Dogwood Tree to Birds and Wildlife from a National Wildlife Federation article:
No flowering dogwoods means no dogwood fruit in the fall, a time when a number of animals-in particular migratory and overwintering birds-depend on it. Dogwood fruit has one of the highest fat contents of any food in the forest-nearly 18 percent. That's important to both songbirds bulking up for a trans-Gulf migration and game birds such as turkey and grouse putting on layers of fat for the winter. Dogwood fruit is also high in calcium, the major component of eggshells.
"We've documented over 40 species of birds that use dogwood fruit as a rood item," says Robert Whitmore. "It's even been linked to the late breeding and fall migration of cedar waxwings, which eat dogwood berries quite a bit."
What's likely to happen once dogwood fruit is gone from the mountains?
"Birds will have to forage in a wider pattern, which means they'll need _more energy to get as much food as they did before," says Whitmore. "Because of what you might call increased foraging costs, the individual animal will likely have lower fat reserves, which could mean it won't be able to fly as far south, or can't make it at all, or makes it in such lousy condition that it can't compete. The other thing birds can do is eat something else. The trouble is, there's not a lot of something else available at that time."
For bird populations already beset on other fronts, the food loss could be severe. "There're so many other contributing factors already knocking migratory songbird populations down," notes Craig Tufts from the National Wildlife Federation's urban wildlife programs. "We have habitat fragmentation on this end, loss of tropical forests where they over-winter, and fewer and fewer rich food-bearing open spaces where they can stop and recharge in between. I'm afraid of what the impact of losing a significant food resource will be."
Friday, September 22, 2006
Recipes for Suet and Bird CakesSeveral excellent suet recipes from the Baltimore Bird Club
This is Julie's recipe for "Bird Pudding" from Birdwatchers Digest. She says it is the best!
Peanut Butter Suet Dough or Bird Pudding
Submitted by Carrie Griffis
1 cup melted lard or beef suet
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups quick oats
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar (optional)
Melt lard and peanut butter together on a low burner. Take off heat, and add remaining ingredients. Spread on a cookie sheet, and allow to cool in the refrigerator until the mixture is just hard enough to cut into pieces. Store in freezer bags and use as needed.
And a favorite suet for Woodpeckers from Birdwatchers' Digest
Submitted by Elmer Petershelm
1 cup crunch peanut butter
2 cups quick oats
2 cups corn meal
1 cup pure lard (no substitutes)
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup white sugar
Melt the peanut butter and lard over medium heat, being careful not to burn the mixture. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Sunflower hearts, extra peanuts, or raisins can be added if desired. Pour mixture into containers and chill. Store in a cool place.
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
Bluebird Banquet RecipeFrom Linda Janilla Peterson's Website
by Linda Janilla Peterson
Bluebird Banquet is available commercially at The Wild Bird Specialists - Audubon Workshop [if the product does not show up, look under bluebirds on the sidebar]
1 cup peanut butter
4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup unbleached or whole-wheat flour
1 cup fine sunflower seed chips
1 cup peanut hearts (or finely ground nuts)
1/2 - 1 cup Zante currants (or raisins cut in halves)
DRIZZLE and STIR IN:
1 cup rendered, melted suet
Resulting mix will be crumbly and should have bean/pea sized lumps from the drizzling of the melted suet. If too sticky after cooling, mix in a bit more flour. If too dry, drizzle in more melted suet.
Refrigerate any mix you are not using - to prevent suet from turning rancid. I use a commercial pure bird suet cake. You can render you own suet. Grind or cube butcher store suet. Melt over low heat. Watch carefully as suet is a fat and can start on fire with too high heat. A microwave can be used. Strain out the stringy bits (cracklings). Cool. Remelt a second time for the recipe.
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
The Ohio Ornithological Society"the Ohio Cardinal", the quarterly publication of the state-wide society for the study of our bird population, came in the afternoon mail today. It was full of reports of rare bird sightings for Spring 2006 and bird counts for the spring migration through the Lake Erie flight paths.
Two other articles rounded out the volume, one a nostalgic look at old regional bird guides and birding areas long since developed. The other was an interesting discussion of the 'American' eagle or 'Washington's' eagle.
Which species were they actually referring to when Benjamin Franklin led the discussion about a national bird? It seems that there were 7 original eagle species here in North America but by the 1700's it was thought to be narrowed to two species. The question is, 'Were other undiscovered and/or unreported specimens existing when they officialized the 'Eagle' as our avian symbol? In other words, is the eagle we call our national bird (the bald eagle) the bird of our forefathers?
The Ohio Ornithological Society maintains a comprehensive website //www.ohiobirds.org/ and hosts special events of avian significance in different locations throughout the state. The next symposium will be September 30, 2006, and will feature presentations and lectures on 'sparrows'.
Wednesday, September 6, 2006
The Avian Research and Education Institute
New to me is 'The Avian Research and Education Institute' in Oxford, Ohio, founded in 2004 by Drs. Jill and David Russell of Miami University. //www.avianinstitute.org/ The Russells were avid bird watchers who progressed to volunteering as banders of the bird populations in Hueston Woods Park and the Miami University Bird Observatory. Now their 501c3 organization is active in SW Ohio and SE Indiana in developing education partnerships with Miami University students and their counterpart Mexican students, training banders, and bird advocacy.
Anyone is welcome to visit their banding stations and/or to learn about banding in their training sessions. I'll be interested to watch how the Institute develops in the next few years.
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