Water, please

No quote today, just a request.

If you have a birdbath, please keep it filled with fresh water.  All kinds of birds, and other animals and insects for that matter, would appreciate water during this extreme heat.

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Thank you so much!

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Speed and Grace

Go out, go out I beg of you

And taste the beauty of the wild.

Behold the miracle of the earth

With all the wonder of a child.

~Edna Jaques, (1891-1978) Canadian lecturer, author and poet

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In reviewing this photo I noticed just how long and narrow are the legs of the white-tailed deer.  And, I considered that these very same legs are their best defense against the dangers of their environment.  For as I approached the deer, they turned to run from me with tremendous grace and speed.  Amazing.

White-Throated Sparrow

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.”

~ Camille Pissarro, (1830-1903) Danish-French Impressionist and Neo-Impressionist painter

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A White-Throated Sparrow peering at me from the safety of a lilac bush.  I became aware of this little bird only because of its movement among the branches.  The ability of birds and animals to blend into their surroundings is amazing.

Yoga Duck

“My point is, life is about balance. The good and the bad. The highs and the lows. The pina and the colada.”

~Ellen DeGeneres, Seriously…I’m Kidding

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Female Mallard duck balancing while she “rests.”  Amazing!  Animals model balance for us on a regular basis.  The struggle to survive certainly sets priorities for them.

 

Feed the Birds!

“Learning is not compulsory…neither is survival.”

~Dr. W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) American scholar, statistician, and teacher

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(Pictured above are ducks migrating through my area: a male Ring-necked duck and four Hooded Mergansers.)

What is it about some birds that compel them to migrate?  Once they begin their journey, how do they know when it is time to stop?  How do they know when it is time to return?  Scientists continue to study and learn about this phenomenon!

Here are a few facts that I found interesting about bird migration:

  1.  At least 4,000 species of bird are regular migrants, which is about 40 percent of the total number of birds in the world. (Although this number will likely increase as we learn more about the habits of birds in tropical regions.)–Audubon.org.
  2. The Bar-tailed Godwit can fly for nearly 7,000 miles without stopping, making it the bird with the longest recorded non-stop flight.  During the eight-day journey, the bird doesn’t stop for food or rest–Audubon.org.
  3. Hawks, swifts, swallows and waterfowl migrate primarily during the day, while many songbirds migrate at night, in part to avoid the attention of migrating predators such as raptors. The cooler, calmer air at night also makes migration more efficient for many species, while those that migrate during the day most often take advantage of solar-heated thermal currents for easy soaring–birding.about.com.
  4. The ruby-throated hummingbird migrates from the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico to the southeastern United States every spring, a journey of 500-600 miles over the Caribbean Sea that takes 24 hours without a break–birding.about.com.
  5. Migrating birds face many threats along their journeys, including window collisions, confusing lights that disrupt navigation, hunting, habitat loss and predation. Juvenile birds are at greater risk because of their inexperience with migration – yet somehow, birds successfully migrate every year–birding.about.com.

So, consider putting out and keeping full a bird feeder and/or bird bath in the spring and the fall.  There are some tired and hungry birds traveling at these times of year!

Spring Bird Migration

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,

To gain all while you give,

To roam the roads of lands remote,

To travel is to live.”

~Hans Christian Andersen, The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

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We are in the midst of the bird migration season here in Minnesota.  Simply put, birds migrate to move from areas of low or decreasing resources to areas of high or increasing resources. The two primary resources being sought are food and nesting locations.  It can be an exciting time for birders and photographers alike as all hope to spot something new and/or different as the birds visit our area.

This is a shot of geese high above a birding “hotspot” near the Cannon River in southeastern Minnesota.  (To learn more about birding hotspots, please visit:  http://ebird.org/content/ebird/news/hotspot-explorer/ )

 

 

Pileated Woodpecker

“God has strewn our path with wonders and we certainly should not go through life with our eyes shut.”

~Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) Scottish-born scientist, inventor, engineer and innovator who is credited with patenting the first telephone

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Here you see a Pileated Woodpecker showing off her winter’s work.

Pileated Woodpeckers are the largest woodpecker in North America.  They feed on insects and berries.  It is not unusual for them to excavate deep into rotten wood to get at the nests of carpenter ants as is obvious in this photo.  When I first noticed this woodpecker on this tree, the hole was about the size of a dinner plate.   She has been a busy bird!