Forum Role: Participant
Active Since: March 30, 2021
Topics Started: 6
Replies Created: 20

Forum Replies Created

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • Lynn
    Participant
    I'm most surprised by how eclectic their diet is! I never knew, until getting through the "What Else Is on the Menu?: Other Animal Proteins " section, that they also eat small animals (including other birds' eggs, nestlings, and carrion).  I'm truly fascinated by their adaptability and advantages they enjoy.
  • Lynn
    Participant
    I love how you got such a close up photo! Very beautiful. Thanks for sharing!
  • Lynn
    Participant
    What a stunning image! Such a beautiful owl! Thanks for sharing this.
    in reply to: Who Is That Owl? #1018620
  • Lynn
    Participant
    One thing I've heard about attracting crows is that, initially, they'll be very cautious as you described. So the best way forward is to offer food they like, such as unsalted in-shell peanuts, by setting the food down (don't toss it in their direction because they've been known to interpret this as an aggressive act) and then walking away. It may take them time to come check out the food (after you leave), but they'll eventually make the association with you as the food giver. As they grow to trust, they may accept you being at some distance as they get the food. However, they don't particularly like being watched directly as they grab the food since having their heads down puts them in a vulnerable position.     The crows I feed approached me because they noticed me giving a California scrub jay pair unsalted peanuts for several months, and decided they wanted to take part. That's when I began witnessing their "asking for food" gestures. I've been told that they are observant and noticed how I treat the scrub jays well (respecting their space) and how comfortable the scrub jays are around me. I believe that's how they came to decide to ask for food! :-)
  • Lynn
    Participant
    The sheer diversity in appearance of hummingbird species I've never seen before (in Southern America) astounds me, along with nectar robbing and how their tongue works.
  • Lynn
    Participant
    I've been feeding hummingbirds for a few years now. Here in the heart of northern California, I mostly see a lot of Anna's year round and Rufous hummingbirds during migration times. I have anywhere from 9 to 12 feeders up, depending on the season and weather conditions (more during rainy days). One particular feeder (with 7 feeding ports and 4-cup capacity) gets emptied twice a day (once by mid-day and then by the end of the day). I guess they like that model or location, or something. So, lots of hummingbirds here!
  • Lynn
    Participant
    I have to say that I love how the lighting complements this beautiful blue jay!
  • Lynn
    Participant
    How adorable! Wonderful close-up photo.
  • Lynn
    Participant
    Wow! This photo really captures its beauty! I love it. Thanks for sharing!
  • Lynn
    Participant
    I see it too! Can someone identify this bird (species)? I'd like to know what kind of bird that is!
  • Lynn
    Participant
    These are so adorable! Think I'll have to get myself a feeder cam!
  • Lynn
    Participant
    I didn't think I'd find myself feeding the neighborhood American Crow family here, especially after finding an online discussion forum in which people who'd set out to feed scrub jays reported crows chasing the scrub jays away from the feeding area. However, I found the small family of crows here to be teachable. The breeding male had been especially tenacious, over several months, about getting me to offer him peanuts. And I believe that his changing tactics, instead of trying the same thing over and over again is evidence of creative, intelligent behavior. At first, he tried positioning himself (hiding in a tree) to pounce down and take from the peanut pile I'd placed on the ground for the California Scrub-Jays. However, I'm in the habit of changing up where I put the peanuts, to keep things interesting, and this frustrated him. Then, he did try chasing the California Scrub Jays away from, and taking over, what he understood to be the "peanut feeding site." I couldn't reward the behavior so, in turn, I chased him with a very light spray of water from a hose (nothing aggressive because I'd like to take walks in my neighborhood without crows scolding and dive-bombing me!) and proceeded to feed the scrub jays in another part of the yard. Finally, he (sometimes accompanied by one or two others from his family) started making overtures to me. After getting a sense of my daily outdoor routine, at one point, he jumped down from the roof and spread his wings, making a "Foomf!" type of sound which resembled an umbrella or parachute opening, and then flew in an undulating figure-8 pattern just outside the fence and about eye-level to me. It was an impressive sight and gave me a sense of how large American Crows are compared to other songbirds. Then, at another point, when the California Scrub-Jay pair made their soft "kuk kuk" calls to me, the crows would fly closely overhead and give their rattle call. After that, how could I refuse? So here I am mostly maintaining two separate, socially-distanced peanut feeders for both parties (and trying to feed the crows responsibly in accordance to what I've heard about Northwestern Crow populations in the book In the Company of Crows and Ravens). However, at one point, when I had to hang the peanuts in one basket from a pole, a household member told me that she once observed the breeding male crow perched and waiting patiently for our scrub jay to pick out his peanuts and leave before flying over to the basket to get his own.
    in reply to: Creative Crows #880777
  • Lynn
    Participant
    Activity #1 - I've been observing the family of American Crows in my area for several months. However, an added challenge for me is to be especially mindful of gazing at them for too long. My understanding is they find this threatening and I know they're watching me watching them! I caught their attention when they noticed me tossing peanuts to the California Scrub-Jays almost a year ago. They began approaching and watching me intently since summer of last year. Sometimes only the breeding male is visible, sometimes 2 of them, and other times 3 (which might include the female and helper). Once or twice, it's been 4-5. At this time, it's a treat to hear the breeding female's begging calls as we head into their breeding season. Activity #2 - Compared to the California Scrub Jays, the American Crows are understandably more cautious and slow to trust. The scrub jays (the male especially) boldly nab peanuts regardless of how I appear or whatever I'm doing that's out of sync with my normal outdoor activities. However, the crows have been alarmed by phenomena such as the sound of me dropping a hose nozzle on concrete and, another time, by my lower face being covered by a mask on a smoky day. Activity #3 -  Be mindful of, and eliminate, standing water in and around the yard, as this presents good breeding opportunities for mosquitoes. I make sure to vigorously disturb water in our garden ponds and change water in birds baths regularly.
  • Lynn
    Participant
    Activity #1 - Birds have held a prominent place in my life for some time. Having shared my life with parrots opened my eyes to their beauty, various antics, and intelligence. However, wild birds are also important for the ecosystem services they provide and as indicators of environmental health. Finally, I'm fascinated by birds as descendants of the dinosaur lineage.   Activity #2 -
    • Making windows safer - Ours are definitely bird-safe as they're perpetually fully covered by curtains, blinds, or outside security blinds. It's a win-win, as my household has an interest in keeping our home from overheating from excess sunlight while birds can't misperceive the space as an area they can fly through as there isn't a way for them to see any reflection of sky or trees.
    • Keeping cats indoors - We don't keep cats however I try to chase away any that venture into our yard.
    • Planting native plants - I have a mini-meadow of native wildflowers growing in the section of our yard where I find birds foraging.
    • Reducing pesticide use - I don't use them but am currently engaged in trying to convince other household members not to.
    • Drinking coffee that's good for birds - Although I'm not an avid coffee drinker, I'll look to purchase “Bird Friendly” or “Shade Grown” coffee whenever I decide to get some.
    • Reducing and reusing plastics - I've been good about cutting down on plastic product purchases and recycling, and I've been trying to get other household members to do so.
    • Citizen science - I've participated in the past and have been forced to take a hiatus (due to a local disturbance that's severely interrupted my backyard birding during this pandemic). I look forward to continuing in the future.
    Other actions I take to help birds:
    • Noise pollution impacts birds (as they need to be able to hear each other and not strain to communicate, alter their calls/songs, etc. - as I learned through Cornell Bird Academy's ornithology course). I'm trying to reduce my neighborhood noise pollution, something that's negatively impacted the numbers and frequency of birds visiting my yard. Although outdoor cats are the more pressing matter when it comes to animals humans introduce, irresponsible dog ownership (which thankfully appears to be more rare) can negatively impact on wild birds. I've found that it's true that constant, loud barking scares birds away and also negatively impacts people's ability to enjoy birds and other local wildlife. While I could retreat inside my home, pop my iPhone earbuds into my ears and play music to drown out the noise, I decided that it would help the birds if I can stop this, especially with springtime upon us.
    • I've been limiting my use of electricity, and go with solar-powered gadgets whenever I can. I'm also trying to conserve more water.
    • Through the American Bird Conservancy, I discovered a site they run which allows you to find and take action on communication towers which migrating birds can potentially collide into, here: https://abcbirds.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=3661c8d8562c404eb402656f608aab15
    • I support and donate to bird conservation organizations whenever I can.
    Activity #3 - Although I didn't formally take any counts of birds during the 1980's, I seem to recall seeing a greater abundance of birds flying in giant v-formations through the sky during migrations times back then.
  • Lynn
    Participant
    Activity #2 - Three species that're year-round residents in my area include the American Crow, Anna's Hummingbird, and California Scrub-Jay. I get the pleasure of seeing these birds daily since I provide sugar water to the hummingbirds and have become "the peanut lady" to the scrub jays and crows. Three species that only live in my area for part of the year include the Canada Goose, Dark-eyed Junco, and Rufous Hummingbird. I always see these species when they pass through. Can't miss the goose's call and the sight of them, often flying low over our homes during migration. We have a major nearby river which I think makes a great stop-and-refuel area for them. The Dark-eyed Juncos always come to feed from my suet feeder during winter. Similarly, I can't miss the unmistakable sound of the Rufous Hummingbirds as they come to our hummingbird feeders as well. Activity #3 - The seasonal plumage changes for both the male American Goldfinches and Common Loons are striking! I noticed that the colors of the feathers and beaks for both species are vibrant and intense in the summer and are dull and faded in the winter. In addition, for the Common Loon, the iridescent green-blue band around the neck along with the clear, crisp black and white patterning seems to disappear too.
  • Lynn
    Participant
    Activity #1 - It's so difficult to pick favorites from the Wall of Birds, even when you're allowed to pick more than one! I find parrots endearing, right down to the scratchy quality of some of their vocalizations (that might be more difficult for others to hear), so naturally the Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, Kakapo, and Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo make my "favorites" list. Of the non-parrots, I found myself drawn to the Atlantic Puffin and Superb Lyrebird, both of whom have an endearing appearance and vocalizations as well. Still, there are so many beautiful birds on this wall that I can go about but it would take awhile to get through them all! Activity #3 - Of my neighborhood birds, my favorite is the California Scrub Jay as the pair (with the male being a bit bolder personality-wise) won me over with their charisma and boisterousness. I still recall the first time I tossed in-shell unsalted peanuts to them while they were perched on a telephone wire. The male bobbed his body up and down a couple of times and made a dive for the peanuts which were just several feet away from me on the ground. Ever since then, as I've continued giving them peanuts, they'd make a soft "kuk kuk" vocalization around me. So cute. I also find their colors and markings beautiful.
  • Lynn
    Participant
    I've mostly heard owls hooting rather than seeing them, but once saw the pale underbelly of what I believe was a Barn Owl, based on its size and silent flight across a grassy field one night. I'll bet the owl was hunting as I've seen other birds, like kestrels, hunt in that field during the daytime. Other than that, I consider myself fortunate to have volunteered at a raptor rehabilitation center where they had non-releasable education raptors (including several species of owls). I've had the opportunity to hold them "on the glove" and so have seen quite a few species up close, including the Great Horned Owl, Barn Owl, Burrowing Owl, and Northern Saw-Whet Owl. It was especially amazing to feel the weight of the Great Horned Owl as volunteers often sat with our gloved hand resting upon our knee in order to not feel fatigued by his weight. Some of us experienced a bit of his grip strength too, as I was told by a more experienced volunteer, that the owl would tighten his grip on your fingers when he wanted to return to his aviary. It would be very interesting if this was, indeed, an intent to communicate with human handlers.
    in reply to: Who Is That Owl? #870041
  • Lynn
    Participant
    Thank you Jennifer! I'm always on the lookout for more info about bird evolution! Found an online description of "Living Dinosaurs: The Evolutionary History of Modern Birds" and am very intrigued. Looks like a great read! It's next on my reading list now. Yeah, I understand how exciting this stuff is. I'm awestruck by how long the bird lineage has been evolving.
  • Lynn
    Participant

    @Tisway·Li Thanks for offering! Unfortunately, I don't understand Chinese. However, perhaps there might be others seeking this information who will find this discussion thread and be able to contact you in the future for it.

  • Lynn
    Participant
    Thank you for this tip Mayte! I found the course you're speaking of, from University of Alberta, at Coursera. I've just now previewed it, and it looks awesome! Very interested in their theropod dinosaur origin. Many, many thanks for directing me to this.
Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)