Saturday, October 10, 2009

Flicker Visitor

I've always spotted flickers in my yard - usually too far away or high in the trees for any good photo opportunities - but this one came right up to the patio the other day.   He was really loving an ant hill out there...YUMMY !!! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pineapple sage is a HIT !!

Looks like everybody is enjoying the pineapple sage today ... especially me !!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Not a great picture, but fun to try and spot the fat, little hummingbird! With his tongue sticking out! Bittersweet time of year, when they're fattening up for their migration. They're slowing down and sitting still so it's a great opportunity to take pics. But it also means these summertime jewels will be leaving soon, and that really means the end of summer for me. And then I'll wait for their return next year...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Window Strike!!

It is so distressing when a bird strikes the window. It happens to us on a too regular basis. Seems that it is always the nice birds, never a Grackle or Starling. One year it was a black throated blue warbler and a kinglet. This migratory season we are starting off with a black and white warbler. This one I believe will survive. The migrants sure do have it rough.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hummingbird Booty

I'm off to California on a Rescue Greyhound dog haul, and while the hounds are having a bit of a potty break, I am having a birding break!! This is the best I could do with my phone--some western variety hummingbird butt. :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Late Nesters

I never saw her building a nest in this box, but a couple days ago, I heard the babies "twittering" inside...seems they are almost ready to fledge! Isn't it awfully late for wrens to be nesting? I guess she doesn't think so.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Skin Theft... tsk tsk tsk

Rare tropical birdskins similar to a selection stolen from the from the Natural History Museum's ornithological collection at Tring, Hertfordshire Photo: PA

Priceless tropical birds stolen from Natural History Museum

Thieves have stolen a priceless collection of tropical birds from the Natural History Museum collection in Tring, Hertfordshire. Curators said almost 300 brightly-coloured specimens were taken, some of which are more than a century old, and which are a priceless part of the world's ornithological heritage.

Detectives said the artefacts may have been stolen to order for a collector or for their valuable plumage. They fear the irreplaceable birds may be ripped apart for use as fishing lures, in dressmaking or costume jewellery. Detective Inspector Fraser Wylie, who is leading the inquiry, said the birds were clearly deliberately targeted, possibly by an expert. He said: ''This is a very unusual crime and we are keen to recover the bird skins, which are part of our national heritage.

''Some of these may be irreplaceable and have been part of our UK heritage for years. People have studied these for generations. ''We are appealing for anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity around the museum at the time of the break-in. Also, we would ask any collectors of such specimens to keep a watchful eye out in case they are offered anything resembling them.''

Professor Richard Lane, director of science at the Natural History Museum, said his staff were extremely upset by the theft. He said the birds play a key role in studying the history of their species and may prove impossible to replace. Prof Lane added: ''It is quite hard for us to express just how tragic this is to members of the museum. This is the nation's collection. These birds are extremely scarce: they are scarce in collections and even more scarce in the wild. Our utmost priority is working with the police to return these specimens to the national collections so that they can be used by future generations of scientists.''

Humans never cease to amaze me with their inability to just "be good." These skins are not only valuable to the folks at the Hertfordshire Museum - they are valuable to all of us and deserve to be respected. Just shameful.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Second Family Photos

I finally got an up close view of my 2nd group of bluebird fledglings. (Mom disappeared about three days before they fledged, but Dad remained ever vigilant in feeding and caring for them.)

Once they fledged, I only ever saw Dad at the feeder. He would go in, eat a few dried meal worms then take several back to the babies high in the trees.

About a week ago, they decided to be more social - at least long enough for me to get some photos of the little darlings !

Thursday, July 16, 2009

See the Bigger Picture - The Contest

See the Bigger Picture - The Contest: "See the Bigger Picture" Photo Contest Details: At Airbus they believe that biodiversity is a major issue with an endangered future. Protecting biodiversity is everyone's responsibility, from individuals and families to big companies and organisations. That's why at Airbus they are supporting The Green Wave project, which is making people smarter about the complex variety of life on Earth and helping us to build a more sustainable future. To celebrate the amazingly varied world around us They're asking you to grab your camera and show the world what biodiversity means to you by entering the "See the Bigger Picture" photo contest.

The contest is open to all kids around the world. In the US and Canada, it is open to 6 to 14 year-olds. In the rest of the world, it is open to kids aged between 6 and 16. Submit one colour image that you think captures the spirit or idea of biodiversity. It could be a favourite tree or a plant, an animal or an insect, even a whole ecosystem (from your own back yard to somewhere you've visited on vacation) — your image should show people why biodiversity is a good thing that we should try to preserve.

The submitted photographs should: *Show an understanding of biodiversity *Be of a good quality *Be original and creative

How to enter: Digital images as labelled jpegs files or mail-in submissions, including image on CD Begins: June 5, 2009Final submissions: September 8, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

My backyard groundhog

Allow me to introduce my backyard "mascot", Fat Phil. I moved to Spring Hill about 5 years ago and never had a close, personal relationship with a groundhog (who has?). Unfortunately, you mainly see them dead on the side of the road. We moved here in the fall, about the time these critters hibernate. Imagine my surprise when I'm sitting outside the following May and out walks the fattest groundhog I've ever seen. He sized me up, decided I was OK and went about eating his clover. Well, I set about learning all I could about these guys, aka, woodchucks. Contrary to popular belief, he's not destructive (at least not in my yard) and seems concerned with eating, eating and eating. Currently, he devours all the leftover safflower seed under my feeder and he's crazy about vanilla wafers. I've found his burrow entrance and he sticks pretty close, but never going straight to it in case of danger...he doesn't want to give away his hiding dude. He brings smile to my face just about everyday!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of OrnithologyJune 30, 2009

Play "tag" with the birds: Be a CamClickr!

Dear Birding Friend,

We need your keen eye and quick fingers! As you may know, we have live cameras positioned at active bird nests all around the country. Since 1999, we’ve archived more than eight million images from these from these NestCams. To help sort through the images, we developed CamClickr—an online tool you can use to view the images and sort them into albums, then tag each image by the type of behavior you see: preening, eating, feeding chicks, etc.

What’s in it for you? NestCams allow you to peek into the nests of Barn Owls, bluebirds, Wood Ducks, and other birds for an up-close look at fascinating bird behavior. CamClickr will appeal not only to bird lovers, but to people who enjoy testing their skills with online games. When you help sort and tag the camera images, you collect points and compete for prizes such as binoculars, DVDs, books, and posters. It's easy and fun!

Why do we need your help? By using CamClickr to help tag and sort the NestCam images, you help
scientists studying breeding bird behavior. The more we understand bird
behavior, the better equipped we will be to understand how birds are
responding to threats in their environment.

Just visit create an account. This allows you to chat in the NestCam forums, tag photos, and track your stats in CamClickr anytime. You can check your rankings in “my sessions” to see how you stack up against other taggers. The redesigned CamClickr home page also provides the latest Twitter feeds. Educators will appreciate the newly developed lesson plan, appropriate for all ages, and easily modified for individualized instruction. You can watch videos of fascinating nesting behaviors from the Lab's Macaulay Library.

Make it your summer project to help science and the birds—be a CamClickr!

Thank you for helping us help the birds.


Tina Phillips, project leader

NestWatch, NestCams, CamClickr

P.S. I've attached a CamClickr PDF flier for you to use as you see fit--pass it along!

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution interpreting and conserving the earth's biodiversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit our website at

Copyright © 2009 Cornell Lab of Ornithology
159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca NY 14850
Questions or Comments?
Call us toll-free at (800) 843-BIRD (2473)

Monday, June 22, 2009

They're Hatching!!

In case you did not bookmark Spike Odell's nest cam... The eggs are in the process of hatching! They "should" all hatch today :)
Watch live video from Bluebird Box Nest Cam on

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

North American Bird Phenology Program


The North American Bird Phenology Program (BPP) has continued to grow in office and online participants as well as cards scanned and transcriptions completed online. I am very proud to announce our current progress:

· Migration Cards Scanned in the BPP Office: 272,766
· Migration Cards Currently Available Online: 124,424
· Migration Cards Transcribed Online: 135,584
· Number of Online Transcribers: 1,329

To see a full list of the species that have been scanned in the office and how many cards have been scanned of that species, please visit:
The BPP team: Kevin Laurent, computer expert, and Kinard Boone, website designer, and Eric Tuner volunteer programmer, are continuing to make additions and revisions to both the data entry process and website. Please see below to check out what we are working on and email me at with suggestions!
The Frequently Asked Questions page has recently been updated. Please look for changes and email me with any further suggestions.

What you can expect to see soon:
· Participants can choose which species or which locations he/she would like to transcribe.
· Updated website coming soon with new homepage layout and additional content

In an effort to showcase some of the hardworking online participants from around the world, I would like to ask you all to send in photos of you transcribing migration cards. Please email along with the picture, along with your name and location. A handful of the photos will be selected and highlighted on the “Featured Photos” webpage.
In some exciting news, the BPP will be featured in the July/August issue of Audubon Magazine which is expected be released at the end of June. Pick up a copy!
Thank you to the office volunteers who take time each week to scan migration cards! It has become a challenge to keep up with the feverish pace of the online transcribers and I appreciate their dedication to keeping everything running smoothly. We are, however, always in need of additional office volunteers. If you are in the Maryland/Washington D.C. area, and would like to help, please contact the BPP Office.
Please contact me if you have any questions or comments and don’t forget to check out the BPP website for more information.

Jessica Zelt

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bumble Bees

I was happy to see the St John's Wort starting to bloom - It just cracks me up watching the bumble bees dancing around through the stamen! Just look at the pollen baskets on his legs!!

He is one Busy Bee.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Spike's Bluebirds

Wild Birds Unlimited's good friend Spike Odell, installed a nestbox cam for your enjoyment! This live streaming video is a great way to get the "inside scoop" on the life of bluebirds.
Watch live video from Bluebird Box Nest Cam on Justin.tvCheck it out! The first egg (of this second nesting) was laid on June 7th. It looks like there will be only 4 eggs in this nesting.

Cornell Lab Contest

Cornell's "Celebrate Urban Birds" is having a fun contest -- Funky Nests in Funky Places. Get out your pictures of nests in strange places or try your hand at some art project - making a nest and enter to win from a neat variety of things from bug repellent wrist bands to several books - even a NEW Leica Camera!!

Check this one out from Denise Robeson in Lincoln, Nebraska:
"The dove thought it was an ideal location, apparently (right next to a lantern, you'll notice)! In my opinion, this bird's feathers are so smooth and perfect you almost can't tell the bird is "real" (not stuffed, or fake...)....but she is! She was also indifferent to my presence....caring less that I was inches away from her, taking pictures. If only all my avian subjects were so helpful! (Barn swallow mothers dive bomb me, when I even approach their nests of babies...!) I think the location of the Baker's Rack nest is especially funny, since Baker's racks are often found in kitchens, with cookbooks on them (for instance). Ms. Mourning Dove decided to cook up a little recipe of her own (for babies)!"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Nature Center Resources

Nashville has great resources for getting closer to nature. I have gone on many of the hikes at through Warner Park Nature Center, and was thoroughly pleased. If the new Shelby Bottoms Nature Center has as great a staff as Warner... watch out! Before today I didn't even realize that there is also Bells Bend Outdoor Center and Beaman Park Nature Center - both with their own full program schedules.

Tonight you have some great options for activities:

At Warner you can stop in listen to Bluegrass at the Full Moon Pickin' Party - or you can even join in for a jam session!!
7pm-11pm. Call 370-8053 for information.

At Shelby they are hosting a Bat Seminar and Bat Hike! "Bats eat bugs! Bats aren’t blind! Bats don’t even get caught in your hair. Learn all about these and other bat facts as well as a serious new threat to their health and how we can help. With luck, we will see a few of these mysterious winged mammals tonight!
7:30-9 pm. All ages Call 862-8539 to register.

Get out there and see something new!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Woody is HERE!

It has become all to apparent that the woodpecker young have left the nest. Our numbers of all the woodpeckers is WAY UP! We are going through at least 12oz of suet every single day! It has not been uncommon to have four and five woodpeckers waiting to use the feeders - Amazing. Considering the amount of damage that the woodpeckers have inflicted on my home, you may be interested to know that this is my favorite family of birds.

Very exciting - though all of my new sightings are exciting for me - We had 4 Pileated woodpeckers just twenty feet behind the house! Clearly, two must have been juveniles along with two adults. I was unable to get all four in one pic and :::again::: the pictures leave something to be desired, but here they are, and we were pretty hyped seeing them together. Naturally, they did not visit my feeder - as many of our customers know: Pam's Pileateds never visit the feeder, sure they are around, but they never eat what we offer. We have left our woods very natural - when trees fall we do not pull them out; so, they have lots of dead wood to peck around on for bugs.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What's This?!?

I've had such good luck with y'all... here you go:

What's This?!?

Crazy little bug is about 1cm long - quite small. It is living on the gate to my driveway. Oh, and it is a bit camera shy ;)

Answer: Wheel Bug Nymph

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Kent's on Talk of the Town

Today Kent was on Talk of the Town talking about hummingbirds. Usually he is interviewed by Lelan Statom, so this was a bit of a switch.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sparrow Spooker

My bluebirds are working on their second brood and as I did have some sparrow issues last time, I decided to see if I could somehow make the box less sparrow friendly this time...maybe dad wouldn't have to constantly be on guard and fighting off sparrows on a regular basis.

Anyway, I found plans for the "sparrow spooker" online at and decided to try it. Everything I read was very positive, but I was still skeptical. I put it together according the "design #4" (basically because I had everything I needed just laying around the house), checked the nest yesterday (2 eggs), placed it according to the info online and waited to see what happened.

I hadn't seen either bluebird go anywhere near the box after I installed the spooker (although I wasn't watching it constantly), but when I checked this morning, mom had laid a 3rd egg !! She slipped inside while I wasn't looking, obviously.

As I watched the box (with spooker flying in the wind) this morning, I shot this photo of mom inside the box - it obviously didn't bother her at all !! What a relief !! I'll keep you posted as to how well it actually keeps other birds away.

Quick, Hurry!

There I was, quietly sitting, drinking my coffee and watching Morning Joe. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a quick moving furry being. At first I thought, "Cat!" but then the being ran past the sunroom door, and I determined it was a raccoon.... with something really weird in its' mouth.

Why would a raccoon be carrying around chipmunk? Oh, my, grab the camera!! She is carrying a baby raccoon!! Quick, Hurry! She was hauling her bulk as quickly as possible to the back of the sunroom. Then, up the corner of the house to the roof she went with her babe.

You see, we have this little roof over our front door. The roof is attached to the house just below the eve of the home proper. What this does is create a little space - just the perfect size for a critter, like a raccoon, to have a dry, safe place to have her young. We believe that they have been using this space for a good many years.

What must have happened is this. The baby fell off the porch roof, and momma shot down to the ground to retrieve her baby. Then the only way back up is to run around the house, go up the corner to the roof of the sunroom, climb from the roof of the sunroom to the roof of the house, go over the top of the house and drop down onto the roof of the porch. I can't wait for these little guys to make it back down here on their own - the pups are always so cute and frolicky.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mystery Solved... Kinda...

The "What's This" pics are closeups of this turtle's shell. My simple answer to my own question is "Turtle." What type of turtle, you ask? I have NO idea, but s/he sure was a bigg'un! Turtle measured a full 14", stem to stern. S/he was Very covered in algae, and heading across the road, towards the creek. We NEVER leave animals on the road if we can at all help it. Subsequently, this guy got a lift into the grass in hopes of allowing her/him to continue the journey.

Can you ID my mystery turtle??

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

What's This?!?

Saw this driving down the road on the way to the store. Had to stop and take some pics. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Whoo Hooo!!! Purple Martins!!!!

Kent and I hit the store early today to try to get the hanging basket brackets attached to the house. I must say, it looks great, but MAN was it a pain to get the brackets attached to the brick! Anyway, as we were discussing the proper placement of the brackets in relationship to each other, the window boxes, the windows, and the deck, Kent suddenly says, "Martins!" This is soooo typical of us. We are doing something... anything, and one of us will hear "X" bird, and give the ID on the call. It's kinda funny, as we tend to do it while other folks are around too & usually they just don't "get it."

So, Kent states, "Martins!" and we both flip around to look at the gourd system that is very strategically placed on the edge of the back parking lot, between our store, Wild Birds Unlimited, and Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant. There they were, in and out of the gourds - so I ran and grabbed the camera. Lucky for me, one of them came back and posed at the top of the pole. I promise, this is not a "decoy martin."
I am very hopeful that they will return, and decide to nest with us. There are several successful colonies in the area, so although we are SO close to the mall, we may have a chance at helping these wonderful birds out. We will keep our fingers crossed through June - as there is still a chance for a new colony to start that late.

There are many things that people do not understand about these birds - ideas that have been perpetuated by some less than ethical, or simply misinformed, folks. If you want the real poop on these guys visit the Purple Martin Conservation Association site. We really like good science, and try to keep with that information.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Things I Have Never Seen Before.

When a "Birder" sees a new bird that they have never seen before, they write it on their "Life List." Listing is VERY popular with the Birding crowd. It is not uncommon for a die hard birder to have Day Lists, Location Lists, Life Lists... lists lists lists :) Well, I am not big on writing stuff down - well, I guess, until now. Anyway, Kent and I wanted to take the dogs for a good walk this morning, so we shot up to the White House Greenway. This is a wonderful greenway, not tooooo popular, nice and wide, good bridges, creekside, nicely paved, and VERY importantly, pretty well shaded.

I had not anticipated that I would find any fodder for this blogging enterprise, but expect things when you least expect it. I did see three things that I have never seen before - So, add these to my Life List. LOL!!

We generally carry a phone with us when we walk, just in case there is an emergency, so that is what I had to use to take these pictures - please excuse the poor quality.

I am sure that most of you have seen this before, but for me it was a first... Baby Donkey. He was very cute hanging out with his momma.

Then we saw this VERY weird bug. I will have to check one of my insect field guides for this one. It was easily four inches long and pretty quick moving. The dogs were curious, but I was not likely to let them sniff. It's abdomen looked like it had pincers, as did its' head. Strange to the "n"th degree. Anyone able to keep me from looking this one up? Know what it is?

Then finally, there was this wonderful patch of literally thousands of little mushrooms. They were growing under a huge Tulip Poplar. There was no way to capture the immensity of the patch - it was one of those things that you just have to remember.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Ripeness of Spring

Spring is rapidly coming to an end, and yesterday evening I realized it was now or never for picking our (human) share of the bounty on the Mulberry tree. This morning, up at 5:30am and out to the tree with the ladder and several bowls for collection. Last year we had to trim many dead, deformed and dying limbs -- the past couple of drought summers, combined with the past damage wrought by the female cicadas laying their eggs, caused some serious issues with our tree. Having to use a ladder to harvest berries is seriously difficult. The best berry is always just out of reach - ain't that the way it always is? :)

So, while we were picking - or rather, while Kent was picking, and I was playing with the dogs (remember, using ladder :::grin:::) - I noted several great birds competing with him for the sweet treats. In the hour that we were down there I saw a Gray Catbird, a juvenile Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downey Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Bluebird, Chickadee and Scarlet Tanager!! WOW!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bluebird Babes

I LOVE it!! More great input from our customers. This is the email that I received from our premier Bluebird Landlord, Spike Odell :

Hi Pam...
I had a nice surprise this morning when the Mom and Dad bluebird showed up at the window feeder with all the kids! Man....! They look healthy! Must be that WBU mealworm diet I put them on!

I had 5 birds fledge, but only see the 4 now. I'm getting ready for the second nest ..(hopefully). I have installed the camera in the top of the box and will put it online when (if) they begin to build again.

I enjoy your blog. You have a lot going on in your neck of the woods!
Be sure to check out Spike's website: I am sure that we will be seeing some great action out of his website!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What's This?!?

Any Ideas??

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nesting Complications

Notice anything wrong here?
This is not an uncommon occurance, and I receive many calls and emails from folks that see this when they open their box for monitoring.

Early in the season, Mardy called and said that there was a Chickadee that had taken over occupancy of the box that we put up specifically for the Bluebirds. As usual, I asked her to please allow the Chickadees to continue their nesting and then, after she removes the spent nest, perhaps the Bluebirds would come and try again. Several days later, I received another call with the information that the Bluebirds were now there, having decided to use the nest, and they were "fighting" for the right to use this box.

It seemed all was well, as several days later, there was laid one egg. Yea, it seemed that the Bluebirds would prevail and have their nest.... Never speak too soon when trying to determine what will happen in nature. By this time, the House Wrens had arrived in the area, and they had a different idea for that nest box. It is now clear that the Wrens have prevailed.
When the Wrens have finished, Mardy may remove all the nesting material and then possibly get a nesting pair of Bluebirds to take up residency again. Lucky for us, Bluebirds will nest several times during the season.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hungry Babies

Got this nice little email from Janis Tomanek and the great pic of Momma Bluebird feeding one of her babies:

Thank you so much for educating me about Bluebirds.
I bought several bags of dried meal worms and put them in my feeder.
Mama Bluebird found them right away and is feeding them to her three baby Bluebirds (yum!).
I am sure she is very grateful to WBU!

What a great Picture! The mealworms that she is feeding are an easy substitute for the live mealworms that many people feed their bluebirds. The dried variety are reliably available; whereas, the live mealworms may be difficult to acquire during the heat of the summer.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mulberry time!

So the pics are not great, but you need to know that I was pretty far below these guys, and sure, my camera has "Image Stabilization" but still... It was hard to get them zoomed in without losing them entirely in the leaves. ANYWAY.... Kent and I LOVE this Mulberry tree!! It brings us so many great visitors, and we are also able to harvest some fruits for ourselves - - Either for use on top of Yogurt or in the making of adult beverages - -Yummy!

We first came into contact with a Mulberry tree when visiting Land Between The Lakes (LBL). We were hiking the Hematite Lake Trail, near the Nature Center, and came across this HUGE Mulberry tree. In that tree we counted more than 12 species partaking of the bounty. This, we thought, was something that we just HAD to have! That year we bought our own little Mulberry tree. We have not been disappointed either!

Today I managed to snap several Cedar Waxwings...

and Papa Bluebird chowing down. It is my sincerest hope to catch more visitors in this hot spot - AND I don't have to drive all the way to LBL to enjoy the diversity of bird life... too cool.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Clean Up Crew

You just never know what you will see when driving down the road... Today I saw many different bird events; but, by far, this is the one that caught my interest - I know, kinda morbid...

Driving home from the Franklin Wild Birds Unlimited store, I stopped at a light right there in Grassland, and there were a good dozen Black Vultures fighting over the carcass of a White-tailed deer that must have met his demise last night trying to cross Hillsboro Rd. Very sad, but... The Vultures knew what their job was, and got right to work cleaning up.

Note their nearly featherless heads - this helps them stay clean when sticking their heads into carrion when feeding. Black Vultures are often more aggressive than Turkey Vultures and may take over a cadaver that the Turkey Vultures have located and chase them away from it. Unlike Turkey Vultures which have a keen sense of smell, Black Vultures can find carrion only by sight--or by following the Turkey Vultures.

Back to my interest in Names, and common Names: The scientific name comes from korax, the Greek word for raven; gyps, which means a vulture; and from the Latin word atratus, meaning to be clothed in black, as in mourning. The Black Vulture has also been known as a Carrion Crow, Black Buzzard, and Jim Crow.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bluebird Nestlings

Wow...looks like my bluebirds are about to leave the box (I estimate that they will fledge in the next couple of days).  Mom and Dad are still busy feeding, but these little guys look like they are ready to take on the world for themselves.  It's been a lot of fun !!

Swallow Tail

Found this on the laptop and thought I would share it. This is some type of Swallowtail Butterfly, though I do not know what type. I had thought Tiger, but... it sure looks too white and the markings don't look exactly correct.If you have any idea what variety of Swallowtail this is.... please let me know.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


This female Red-bellied Woodpecker likes to partake of the peanuts in our Choice Blend. A good mix will bring good birds :)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cedar Waxwings

This is a flock of cedar waxwings that frequented the Nashville store in late April/early May. Most of the time they were high in the trees - but a few times they came in to the birdbath - AWESOME!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Citizen Science

Online Volunteers are Being Recruited to Support Climate Research

Volunteers can assist researchers to better understand historic and current life cycles of plants and animals, by participating in phenology.

There are six million personal observations about bird migrations written down on note cards and stored away in vintage government file cabinets. Collected as part of the North American Bird Phenology Program (BPP), the observations reflect ninety years of data on the migration paths and distribution of birds across North America for a better than ninety year period.

A Window into Climate Change
Researchers have come to recognize the value of the BPP data as a cornerstone in study of climate change and its effects on birds. The most immediate problem scientists have now is transcribing the data into a database that will be useful for research and they are looking for the public’s help.

In a press release announcing renewed interest in the historic data, Coordinator of the North American Bird Phenology Program at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center says, "These cards, once transcribed, will provide over 90 years of data, an unprecedented amount of information describing bird distributions, migration timing, and migration pathways and how they are changing. There is no other program that has the same historical depth of information that can help us understand the effect that global climate change has on bird populations across the country. When combined with current information, scientists will better understand how birds are responding to climate change and how to develop tools to help manage that change, especially for at-risk species."

The effort to document the historic movement of birds in North America was started by Wells W. Cooke in 1880 to better understand and expand the knowledge of their migrations. Renowned naturist C. Hart Merriam expanded the program throughout the United States and Canada through the use of volunteer observers. There were 3,000 volunteers working within the program during the late 1880s and the Federal government kept the program active until 1970. Scientific interest in the bird migration records caused the program to be reopened in 2008.

Researchers describe the collection of observation cards as a treasure trove of natural history. Concerned USGS employees kept track of the card’s locations while the program was extinguished. Fortunately they survived the period of disinterest with no apparent harm. Participants in the BPP recorded bird names, location and dates of arrival, departure and peaks of abundance. The cards often bear personal remarks about a significant sighting or event.

Get involved today!

I have been transcribing cards off and on since March, and I must say, it is VERY interesting to think about all these volunteers, from Boy Scouts, to Park Rangers, to Citizen Scientists like us, all putting pen to paper to note what they were seeing. As technology changes there is always the need to bring the old data into the next century. I would hate for these folks' work to be in vain.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Native and fragrant, this beauty is a MUST HAVE ornamental!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks

These guys are great migratory birds. Nesting in the northern tier states, we only see them during spring and fall migration. Generally we see them in the weeks leading up to Mother's day, and a week or so afterwards. This year it seems that they came in earlier than usual. The Male is mostly black and white with the tell tale red breast... the female is far more criptically colored - looking much more like a large female Puple finch. LOVE these birds - they eat LOTS of seed.

Just had to share...

I was mowing our lawn...mostly because it finally was NOT raining, and I had a sneaky suspicion that my hubby would have to work late... Anyhoo- as I was attempting to mow around one of our bushes, I suddenly saw a flash of yellow after pulling the mower backwards. I stopped the mower to check out what had caught my eye. This tiny baby Box turtle was the result! I'm so glad I didn't injure it- he/she was just too cute for words! I placed him in the forest just behind our house. I figure any baby turtle that survives a lawn mower should be able to make it in the wild just fine. :)