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Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 03:00 Edit Quote

Every morning before I have my breakfast I like to prepare a good feed for the birds in my garden.
Peanut butter and seeded wholemeal bread seems to be the breakfast of choice for my discerning feathered friends. The preparation is simple and quick, make a peanut butter sandwich and cut it into very small cubes or, as I like to call them mini-peanut butter sarnies.

We have one of the largest flocks of Sparrows that I've seen in a long while visiting now and I'd like to think I've helped in some little way to encourage this. The Sparrow is, by the way on the Red list here in Blighty so I'm especially pleased with the visits. Cutting the bread up so small means that the feed lasts just a little bit longer and gives small and large birds a chance to feed. It also gives me time to prepare my breakfast and then sit by the window and watch all the birds in the garden feed.

The apples are a treat once or twice a week for the Blackbirds who just love them.



reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 06:26 Edit Quote

... but no bird pictures? :/

Blaise
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: London
Insane since: Jun 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 10:41 Edit Quote

Yeah, pics or it didn't happen!

I never knew the Sparrow is on the red list, down in Kent there seem to be plenty, I've always liked the bird, but I remember one trip to Switzerland where the petite gentle Sparrow takes over the role of the London Pidgeon, while sitting at an outdoor cafe in Lausanne we had hordes of intimidating sparrows surrounding us trying to pick up the scraps!



(Edited by Blaise on 03-09-2009 10:42)

warjournal
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 14:50 Edit Quote

No sparrows around here, so I second the motion for pics. Preferably with a cat or two looking for an easy catch.

In our old yard, we had bluejays and squirrels. They used to get into all-out brawls over bread scraps. The squirrels won most fights, but they came away damn bloody. The bluejays were just plain vicious, especially when they had little ones in the spring. Even a medium-sized dog risked loosing an eye if wandered too close to the bluejays' tree.

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 15:57 Edit Quote

Yeah, c'mon Tao, give Reisio, Blaise and WJ the bird!

And yeah, Blue Jays are vicious beasts!

The only thing worse are those swoop birds in Australia...bloody pests!

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 16:00 Edit Quote

Hmmmm.... great bait for Sparrow pie... :P

Arthurio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: cell 3736
Insane since: Jul 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 19:32 Edit Quote
quote:

White Hawk said:

Hmmmm.... great bait for Sparrow pie... :P


I can see the breadmaking thread getting a new twist here ... haha

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-09-2009 21:49 Edit Quote

OK fellahs, I'm on the case
Just as nature does be, hardly any of the regular feathered visitors wanted their photograph taken. I've been out in the garden, and the major job today was pressure cleaning the paving slabs. I had my camera with me too, but the birds would only settle for a few seconds just enough time for me to get the camera set up then they would fly off with what I can only describe as a chirruping and a caw of laughter, really.
Still I managed to get a few shots which I'm transferring from the camera now. I'll post them up shortly.

quote:
hordes of intimidating sparrows


I just can't get that out of my mind... Brilliant. If only Hannibal had known about the Sparrows he would have had a lot less trouble crossing the Alps and who knows?..

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 00:12 Edit Quote

We had a metric fowl-ton of robins stop over a month or so back. They were everywhere in the trees - and when it rained they all flew down to the ground and bathed in puddles... was a robin ever foot at least. I managed a couple bad photos after some (jerk) cars drove by and scared some of them off.

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 00:35 Edit Quote

I love Robins they are such a beautiful bird.

Here are a few of the photos I've taken today:




Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 01:56 Edit Quote

In the photos above we have, from top to bottom, a young female blackbird who has been checking out the males these past few weeks. This year we have more blackbirds than usual too, I'm putting this down to the wonders of peanut butter and wholemeal bread.

We regularly have about five adult males and two or three young males visit. You can tell the difference by the more mature males having a bright ring of yellow around their eyes and a pronounced yellow beak. The younger ones while still having a black coat lack these markings. The youngest males are a light brown, a bit like the females.
I'm sure the female in the top photo is considered a bit of a babe as the males chase each other when she is around and then do the little courtship dance which is a little run stop, run, stop, posture and perhaps a little chase around a bush. She will also sit in the lower branches listening to the males song, particularly in the early morning and evening.

The Starlings in the middle and bottom photo are part of a large flock that usually arrive together to feed. These two stayed after most of the flock took off apparently spooked by something. That's a plucky wee Sparrow or spadger as we call them, in the background of the bottom photo.

This next photo was taken in the summertime last year I think it was. Bath time is a social affair for our spadgers although there appears to be a fight over the soap going on

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 05:47 Edit Quote

Last one is nice.

Blaise
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: London
Insane since: Jun 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 10:49 Edit Quote

nice pics!

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 11:36 Edit Quote

That's giving them the bird, Tao!

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

warjournal
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 15:43 Edit Quote

Sweet deal. The last one does rock. Personally, tired of seeing the same old ho-hum photographs of birds. Now if you could just get them to wear antlers and ball-gags.

There is a story about birds in The Jargon File. During summer vacation, a student went out to the football field every day at 12:30 or there-abouts, blew a whistle, and fed the birds. After doing this all summer, can you guess what happened immediately following the first whistle of the first football game?

CPrompt
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: there...no..there.....
Insane since: May 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 16:48 Edit Quote

last pic is cool.

Good story warjournal

The birds and squirrels around the campus where I went to college were very friendly. You could sit out side and they would come right up to you and sit on your lap wanting popcorn or peanuts. Or just about anything you had in your hand

Later,

C:\

WebShaman
Lunatic (VI) Mad Scientist

From: The Happy Hunting Grounds...
Insane since: Mar 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-10-2009 18:39 Edit Quote
quote:
Or just about anything you had in your hand



That...just sounds a little off

WebShaman | The keenest sorrow (and greatest truth) is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.
- Sophocles

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 03-11-2009 00:05 Edit Quote

...and Arthurio's prediction bears fruity fruit...

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-11-2009 00:33 Edit Quote

Heh, nice story WarJ. I've been trying to get the birds used to me as I'm putting feed out It has taken longer than I thought it would because I'm thinking the birds seem to like a regular pattern and I'm rather scattered in my habits.

I too prefer the last photo of the spadgers I've a whole sequence of them somewhere buried in the old computer. To get the shots I set the camera up on a tripod with a cable release and pre-focused on the bird bath. Then I hid myself behind a large neutral curtain while sitting on a little stool.

Talking about feeding squirrels in the park, here is a video I've been working on today, from clips I've taken over the past three weeks or so, It's about 10MB of wobbly delight. The first part of the video is taken from my flat, I had the camera to hand when using the computer. I've positioned my computer in such a way that I can still see and hear out of my window. I always have some tiny PB sandwiches on the windowsill for the birds as well as seed feeders.
This was taken about the same time as the video. I managed to take this photo of a blue tit eating out of my hand. I was so delighted this little bird trusted me enough.

warjournal
Maniac (V) Mad Scientist

From:
Insane since: Aug 2000

IP logged posted posted 03-11-2009 07:21 Edit Quote

In my neck of the woods, folks deal with squirrels in odd ways. What they do is give the squirrels their own feeders so that they leave the bird feeders alone. And most of the squirrel feeders require a certain about of acrobatics on the part of the squirrel.

One guy actually built an obstacle course on posts. After a week, the squirrels got their times down to 30 seconds to get the goodies. I'll see if I can talk my one buddy into going down there and snapping some pics, but I don't know if it's still up as this was quite awhile ago.

The most common squirrel feeder in these parts is a bicycle tire nailed to a tree. Then corn cobs are put on the outer rim. Ever see a newb squirrel jump on one of these? And every once in a great while you will actually see two squirrels working together on these things.

Now that I think about it, we don't have any squirrels in our cul de sac. Plenty of stray cats, racoons, and opossums. I wonder if they have anything to do with the lack of squirrels.

Cool vid, BTW. That's what actually got me thinking about the lack of squirrels in our area. While I was never big on feeding by hand, I'm sure the girlies would get a kick out of it.

NoJive
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Land of one Headlight on.
Insane since: May 2001

IP logged posted posted 03-11-2009 10:14 Edit Quote
quote:

warjournal said:

In my neck of the woods, folks deal with squirrels in odd ways.


In my neck of the woods, more and more people are trapping GREY squirrels and drowning them. The greys have been supplanting the native red squirrels to the point I don't really remember when I last saw a red squirrel.

The same thing is happening in blighty where there's an organized effort to (nearly)erradicate the interloper.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4635330.stm

A documentary I saw some time ago attributed the greys' proliferation and considerably bigger physique to a particular enzyme that allows them to eat a far greater variety of vegitation. Greys can for example eat horse chestnuts and bulk up quite nicely where as the native red squirrel cannot. The first thing a mature grey does is seek out new territory which leads to the inevitable death match with the reds. Very human-like doncha think? =)

We return you now to your regularly scheduled feeding. And let's not forget they are in fact rodents... just a bit prettier with that big fluffy tail and all. Geez again kinda human-like.

___________________________________________________________________________
“Privatize the Profits - Socialize the Losses.” Randi Rhodes

White Hawk
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: zero divided.
Insane since: May 2004

IP logged posted posted 03-11-2009 10:55 Edit Quote

Not that it's a matter of agreement (rather, a matter of fact), but I have to concur with NoJive - grey squirrels are vermin in Blighty, and in any other habitat they shouldn't naturally have invaded. I wouldn't endorse cruelty in their dispatch, but if I had the means, I think I'd be happy to lessen their numbers somewhat in the hope of seeing my beloved red squirrels proliferate once again.

Tao; some great pictures there. Am I imagining it - the first squirrel you feed in your video appears to be being stalked by a pigeon. At 01:43, it glances over its shoulder and dashes off, shortly followed by another well-known vermin ('flying rat').

The novelty of being stalked by random birds can soon wear off, methinks.

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-26-2009 04:13 Edit Quote

With reference to the squirrels, I find myself approaching something of a dilemma. I'll probably write more about it here On trying to maintain ones equilibrium As some of you may know I have been a vegetarian for over thirty years. A major part of my thinking to become a veggie is my belief that all life is sacred, and as I find myself living in a world/society where I can survive, no not just survive, thrive, without anything having to die in order for me to live, then that is the path for me.

I have been involved, albeit on the periphery, in talks about the possibility of a large culling of grey squirrels in some test areas in England and Scotland.
I would dearly love to see the red squirrel securely established in our green and pleasant but that is just not going to happen with the grey fellah, and the pox he carries, about.
Dilemma, quandary and a perplexing predicament, but I digress. More of that in another time and place.

For me one of the many added pleasures of feeding and caring for the birds in our gardens is that they can sometimes choose to nest there too. Today I was up a ladder filling the seed and peanut holders when I noticed hidden amongst the ivy growing on an old pear tree, a doves nest. I had suspected a nest or two was being built there having seen a number of birds carrying twigs back and forth over the past month, but this was the first time I had seen one. Then climbing a little higher I noticed this:

They have such a hard time these beautiful creatures. I can only hope they can stay safe and survive past fledging, and help where I can.

I also have a blackbird or two using the trees in our gardens to enthral us with song, another bonus of >120 peanut butter sandwiches. I have been listening to the blackbird song a lot over the years and noticed how each year they have certain "signature" melodies that change year to year and I think, from area to area.
Here is a recording I made a couple of days ago during the birds evening song. It is made up of two separate recordings taken only a few minutes after each other. I have used a little selective noise reduction on part and amplification on most of the rest.
Notice if you will, the call at about 20 seconds in, it is repeated at about 25 sec although this part of the recording was made some five minutes later in a separate recording, you can tell by the slight difference in background noise.
I am calling this the signature call and you can hear it again in a doublet at around 55 seconds and in the single call at the very end of the recording.
Last year the corresponding signature call was slightly different. It sounded very similar to the melody from John Coltrane's "A love Supreme"

blackbird song

What does it all mean? Well, as soon as I know, you will know too

For me, it is the sound a intelligent, sentient beings, expressing themselves, communicating and giving voice to the joy of life, of being.

This is one of those occasions where it would be nice to embed a flash movie, but instead I'm linking to Humyo where I've stored the file. I could also upload to YouTube and like to there, but I thought this would be the better option.
Any thoughts on the birdsong or the means of viewing it would be welcome.

(Edited by Tao on 03-26-2009 04:18)

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-26-2009 08:13 Edit Quote

They're terrible lizards.

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-26-2009 13:51 Edit Quote
quote:

reisio said:

They're terrible lizards.


They're not very good fish either for that matter, but at least they survived the last mass extinction.
Or am I grasping the wrong end?

reisio
Paranoid (IV) Inmate

From: Florida
Insane since: Mar 2005

IP logged posted posted 03-26-2009 20:53 Edit Quote

http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/dinosaur?view=uk

Tao
Maniac (V) Inmate

From: The Pool Of Life
Insane since: Nov 2003

IP logged posted posted 03-26-2009 21:41 Edit Quote


EGO occupo virga per nefas terminus

[emendo]
Vah! Denuone Latine loquebar? Me ineptum. Interdum modo elabitur

I've uploaded the same video that I have on Humyo (the Blackbird link above) to YouTube and added some annotations. here
I'm not sure which is the best format for people to view. The original .avi file is rather large @ 23.4MB

(Edited by Tao on 03-26-2009 23:49)



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