An all points bulletin was issued Wednesday for an escapee fitting the description of having a bright yellow head, emerald-green rear, orange circles around its’ eyes, and a band on one leg.
The suspect is a zoo parrot called a sun conure, who “flew the coop” during a free-flight performance at the Philadelphia Zoo on Wednesday. It was one of 14 birds in the afternoon show, during which they soar across the stage and land on perches. At the end of the show, a “beak count” revealed only 13 birds had returned.View full post
When the weather warms, cat owners may be tempted to allow their feline friends to roam outdoors. For the sake of your wild neighbors—and for your cat’s safety and well-being—say “no” to this temptation. Not only are domestic cats vulnerable to the dangers of traffic, poisons, traps, disease, other animals, and cruel humans, but these domesticated predators also pose a serious threat to wildlife.
Free-roaming cats kill millions of wild animals each year. Studies show that most of the animals killed are small mammals such as chipmunks and field mice, and approximately 25 percent are birds. Well-fed house cats kill wildlife because of their instinct to hunt prey, not because they need the food. Domestic cats, which were introduced to North America via European colonists, are not a part of natural ecosystems, and their predation causes unnecessary suffering and death to wild animals. This can cause conflicts among neighbors, pitting gardeners and bird lovers against cat owners who allow their charges to roam.View full post
Father’s Day is near and if your dad is a bird watching enthusiast, or a backyard birder who enjoys relaxing on the patio watching his …View full post
This time of year, we spend a lot of time on the back porch. Skies are clear, temperatures are comfy once again and the mosquitoes are gone! We sit with friends, laugh at the dogs, feed raisins to our chickens and watch birds crashing around the gardens as they forage on seed stems of old plants.
But when the dogs are indoors and all is quiet, that’s when we see the Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) flying towards our pond. He’s kind of hard to miss, looking like a giant pterodactyl flapping its enormous wings as it lands:
Standing 4′ tall with a 6′ wingspan, the Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America, and we are always thrilled to see one visiting our small farm pond to hunt for frogs and fish. I can’t say the same for my horses though…when the heron flies directly over them as he lands or takes off, those nervous horses dive for the safety of their stalls!
Heron Takes Flight
Heron Takes Flight
The heron always uses the same landing strip (the road to our barn) where he first checks out the scene to make sure everything’s safe:
From there, he makes a quick flyover to the other side of the pond where he stands silently in the shallows, like a living sculpture, waiting to spear an unsuspecting frog or catfish for dinner.View full post
Create a backyard that will appeal to birds. Planting trees and shrubs of different heights will accommodate the preferences of different birds. Check with your local gardening center on which plantings work best to create a bird friendly yard in your area. And keep in mind chemically treated lawns will make a less healthy, and unattractive environment for birds.
THE FOUR BASICS – Water, food, shelter and a place to nest
Bird baths are one of the easiest ways to bring birds up close, where you can get a really good look at them. They provide fresh clean water to drink and bathe in, which can sometimes be the hardest necessity for birds to come by.
When selecting a bird bath, choose one with a running water feature (or add a water moving feature) to help keep it free of algae and other contaminants, including mosquito larvae. The sound of moving water will also attract birds from afar. Another feature to consider is either a heated bird bath or a separate heater or deicer to put into the bathe. This will keep the water from freezing in winter, when open water is scarce. If electricity is not available to power a backyard bird bath, consider adding a solar powered bird bath.
Keep in mind, the water shouldn’t be more than a couple of inches in deep. If it’s too deep, birds won’t feel comfortable and will avoid the water feature. To limit the depth, add rocks for birds to perch on.
Bird Feeders and Feeding Stations
A platform feeder is a simple tray-like system that accommodates a wide variety of backyard feeder birds, both small and large, from sparrows to blue jays to mourning doves. To attract all sorts of birds, fill the tray with mixed seed. Varieties of platform feeders are also available as mealworm feeders – a backyard bird favorite!View full post
Truth be told, squirrel proof is a misnomer. When on a mission, there is no stopping a squirrel – only frustrating them. Squirrels are brazen and cunning thieves, singularly focused on gorging their fuzzy bellies with pilfered bird seed.
Squirrels are tenacious, problem-solving acrobats who will jump through hoops, again and again to reach a nut (see squirrel obstacle course video). Squirrels can be a lot of fun to watch, becoming a much anticipated and welcomed backyard visitor. They also can become major nuisances, occupying soffit and attic interiors, chewing through wires, and digging up flower bulbs.
Deterring squirrels from raiding bird feeders requires placing barriers between them and the bird seed. Bird feeder placement is a big determinant of squirrel resistance.
Tip #1: Consider Bird Feeder Location
Place your bird feeder out of the squirrels reach. Squirrels can jump up to 4 feet high, and can launch themselves from a tree or roof to a target as far as six feet away. A bird feeder placed on a five foot or taller pole and at least 7-8 feet from any structure will provide the best chance of deterring squirrels.
Metal poles are difficult to grab onto, and will cause squirrels to slide down when they try to climb it. Wooden 4×4 posts are easy for squirrels to latch onto, and therefore not a good deterrent by themselves.View full post
A Colorado teenager was caught this week with 53 baby birds in his bedroom that he had apparently collected from neighborhood nests. The 15-year old boy was ticketed for cruelty to animals and interference with wild birds, and had no explanation for taking the bluebird, sparrow and barn swallow nestlings. The birds were turned over to wildlife rehabilitators. As of July 19th, 40 of the birds have died.
There are many myths and misunderstandings about wild bird nestlings and fledglings, but the bottom line is that they should be viewed at arms length and if they are found in distress, a local wildlife rehabilitation specialist should be contacted immediately. For more information about this, here’s a link to the Top 5 Myths of Rescuing Baby Birds.View full post
Do you like seeing birds in your backyard? If you would like to see more, follow New England Birdhouse’s Top 5 Tips for a “Bird-Friendly Backyard”.
Tip #1 – Safety First: Where we see beauty in the vibrant red flash of a male cardinal, a cat sees lunch. Keeping cats away from bird feeders can be difficult if not impossible, unless the cat is kept indoors. Unfortunately many people believe that if they put a cat out the front door, their backyard birds will not be threatened – not true. Cats eat birds, other birds notice and all birds go away – so keep your cats inside.View full post
Can anything beat the sight of a bright red Cardinal against a backdrop of white snow? In my northeastern backyard, the Northern Cardinal is a faithful visitor to bird feeders and can be one of the easiest species to attract. It is such a popular and widespread species throughout the east. It is the state bird for seven states and the mascot for professional baseball and football teams.
The Cardinal’s heavy triangular beak is red, contrasted by a black throat on the male. Their name comes from the red robes worn by Roman Catholic cardinals. The female is brownish overall with reddish highlights on the wings and tail.
In the summer, dark beaked juvenile birds come in a variety of “half-baked” plumages, with a mixing and mottling of red and brown. The crested head is another good field mark for adults and may be missing or shaggy on the juveniles.
Spring through fall their clear slurred, slurred and whistly song “Cheer, Cheer, Cheer!” rings throughout the landscape, with females joining the singing too Year round, listen for their incessant, short metallic calls and occasional bursts of song.
Cardinals live in a wide variety of habitats including woodland edges, thickets, forests, swamps, urban areas and gardens. They are typically seen alone or in small groups. To encourage nesting, plant viney, fruit-bearing shrubbery. During the courtship process, the male will feed seeds to the female.View full post
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The rule implements federal protections provided by the ESA for the Cantabrian capercaillie, Marquesan imperial pigeon, Eiao Marquesas reed-warbler, greater adjutant, Jerdon’s courser, and slender-billed curlew.
If the pair’s breeding effort is successful at Midway Atoll Refuge, it would mark the first confirmed hatching of a short-tailed albatross outside of Japan in modern history.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed a report recommending closing human access to caves and mines where bats with white-nose syndrome are hibernating in an area more than 250 miles from other WNS-affected caves and mines.
The oldest known U.S. wild bird – a coyly conservative 60 — is a new mother. The bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, was …
Damage to bat wings from the fungus associated with white-nose syndrome (WNS) may cause catastrophic imbalance in life-support processes, according to newly published research. …
Researchers found that deforestation in the New England area at that time produced significant soil erosion, increasing sediment delivery rates — the natural flow of sand and soil in water systems. The large amounts of sediment traveling in rivers and streams to the coastline spurred a significant period of wetland growth, leading to marshes lining the coast of New England that today are abnormally large.