Sunday, December 11, 2022

Helping Take Flight

It was either Audubon or Cornell Feeder Watch that recently sent me an email survey asking what there is about bird watching that compels me to do it and to collect data for them. It was one of those surveys that end with a request for a donation, which means to me they don't really care what I think or what motivates their supporters.  They just need money, honey!

I imagine the survey data may be collected and then stored on a server somewhere, perhaps never to be reviewed or only pulled out when they feel the data is compelling enough that it should be shared.  Birds are easy to watch whether you are looking in your backyard, taking a walk in the park, or even walking along a shoreline.  They are the easy reward for us elders.  The only real gear is walking shoes, binoculars, and if needed, a notebook and a bird guide.

There are 56 datasets on birds that are of considerable importance and publically available. Go here: to spend a few hours falling down the white rabbit (bluebird) hole if you are addicted to birds and if you do not mind signing in to establish an account.   Or an even easier site to peruse is Cornell Lab of Ornithology with its global data.

Marvelous stuff! Thinking about this group I will mention that the largest bird is the ostrich and the smallest is the hummingbird. Birds can live from one to one hundred years. While they are becoming threatened there are still 10,000 species worldwide.  But 49% of bird species are in decline!  They are forced to live next to or in our artificial environments.

How can you save these descendants of the dinosaurs?  Use reusable containers and paper...not plastic.  Recycle instead of throwing stuff out.  Reduce the lighting around your home during migrating season.  Protect birds from hitting your windows by using decals or strips of foil on the glass to break the reflection of the sky.  Do not use pesticides in your yard.  If you are serious you can plant natives in your yard and provide water and safe places (no cats) for birds to rest during their migration or to nest during spring seasons.

Plant oak trees to increase the Lepidoptera population.  According to Doug Tallamey (a famous author that native gardeners love), the oak trees support 534 species of insects that will feed your birds in the spring.

AND try to reduce your use of fossil fuels for the long-term slowing of climate change that impacts bird (and other wild animals) habitats greatly.  And of course, you can donate to any of the numerous bird conservation societies or groups in your area.

Saturday, December 03, 2022

An Early Morning as Fall Moves On

I was up at 5:30 this morning. A good seven hours of uninterrupted sleep is my best and average time. The plant lights were on in the corner of the kitchen as I opened the bedroom door.  I have saved a few geraniums, a large pot of parsley,  and my two citrus trees.  

It is still very dark outside and will prove to be a cloudy and rainy day. I can see beyond the deck that the holiday lights are still on at most of the docks. This is a new tradition only a few years old and it gives a pretend city festivity to our country environment. I do not feel so isolated. 

An intermittent loneliness sometimes descends on me and I am sure it has to do with aging and knowing my years are limited in this space and the loss of friends and acquaintances this past month. Yes, more than one! 

I see a large oak leaf falling outside the window as the heavier rain begins.  It does not twirl as the others did in early fall but dive bombs down the two stories to the lawn.  

Then a rush of air pushes another dried leaf against the front door making it sound as if a small bird is tapping to get inside...quickly!  

The colder weather keeps me inside and it is not even all that cold! The water in the bird bath is frozen but many plants are still hanging on. I have put out the heated bird bath and the birds come to that in the early dawn, sometimes to even bathe!! 

Oh, if you are still Christmas shopping here is an ad that you might consider.  I somehow or other think Brent is lying about his shape.

Our sunsets have been extraordinary these fall months! The most brilliant was taken with my pixel cell phone. It does such a good job, wonder why I have a camera!

Hubby, who has been fighting a cold for two days, is now up and needing breakfast.  Also, I hear my phone pinging with several text messages, probably from my son and my daughter checking on their dad, or sending another precious photo of that new special baby.  AND the soccer game is about to start!  I am blessed and have no reason to feel sad.