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Description:the zen birdfeeder focuses on the birds and other nature we find in our own yards and the principles of attention, acceptance, and responsibility.

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focuses on the birds and other nature we find in our own yards and the zen principles of attention, acceptance, and responsibility. home archives subscribe wbu-saratoga shop wild birds unlimited online may 30, 2017 a cardinal loss we had a fatal window strike last week, a male cardinal. i found him laying in the seat of the adirondack chair that sits beneath our front windows. i had been sitting in that chair about 12 hours earlier, so it had to have occurred either at nightfall or quite early in the morning. it was puzzling because we'd been in the house, and didn't hear that awful "thunk" against the window. we buried him but he hasn't left my mind since. spring wildlife deaths bother me maybe the most. whether it's roadkill or a bird in my own yard, spring deaths seem so unfair. animals that survived a northeast winter's cold and ice and snow, lived to greet the spring only to meet their demise as breeding is just getting underway. it doesn't seem fair. no bird loss is easy, but a cardinal loss is extra hard. we just don't have many cardinals in the yard. i knew we definitely had one pair, and the loss of one-half of that pair is devastating to me. we didn't even have cardinals in our yard until 2005! cardinals have been expanding their range northward and to higher elevations, and it wasn't until after 15 years of feeding birds in our yard that a male cardinal appeared on april 2, 2005. we've had them regularly since, though not in large numbers. they breed here now, but the death of even one cardinal is a terrible loss. then i worry about mrs. cardinal. over the past couple weeks, i saw a cardinal pair staying quite close to each other, feeding together, and at least three instances of mate-feeding. her on a perch or a feeder, he approaching with his sweet offer of food, she kindly accepting his gift. a cardinal pair engaged in mate-feeding is likely to nest nearby. a cardinal pair had also been exchanging songs, another sign of pair formation. morning and dusk, early to rise, late to sleep, i was assured a duet of " what cheer " from the two. was my dead male part of that pair? and if they were paired, just how far were they in the breeding process? was the nest built and eggs laid? without a dad to keep mom fed during incubation, the brood would probably not survive. were the eggs hatched? again, broods with two parents feeding them fair better than one parent broods, if a one parent brood survive at all. i see the female now and then. and i have seen a male in the yard. but i think that's what he was: "a" male, not "the" male. i see no mate-feeding. i hear no cross-singing early in the morning and as night falls. i fear the worst has happened and "the" male cardinal that ruled our yard and pronounced it theirs is gone. it's getting dark out there, five days after our loss. it's just before 8pm, and i see the female cardinal alone at the bath, no male in sight. no cardinal duet, so for me, even though there's plenty of other bird songs and calls, the silence is deafening. i'll miss him and think of him all summer long, and the redbird family that might have been. related articles cardinal dad taking care of the kid what to watch for in your yard - young cardinals what to watch for in your yard - young birds in trees posted at 12:54 pm in acceptance , attention , bird songs and calls , feeder birds | permalink | comments (3) | | | march 30, 2017 a great gray owl in the adirondacks we're not really bird chasers, or twitchers - those who travel long distances to see a rare bird for their life list. sure, a great gray owl would be a life bird for both of us, but we both keep a life list so casually that neither of us know how many birds are on it. guess that means it's not a real life list! this is the furthest we've ever traveled to see a single rare bird. 210 miles round-trip to keene, new york. before this trip, the furthest i've traveled to see a rare bird was in 2010 to see a rufous hummingbird that was visiting a feeder about 20 miles south of my house. but we decided to chase this bird, a single great gray owl that has been consistently found in a fairly small field in the adirondacks for the last month or so. the great gray is a rare bird for sure, irrupting into the northern tier of states when rodent prey in the boreal is scarce. great grays are known to hunt both day and night, but we heard that this guy had been most active in the evening and occasionally in the morning. but if the wind was up, it might just stay put all day long. we arrived at about 2:30pm and it was doing exactly that - staying put. an observer all the way up from long island who had been there since morning helped us spot the owl, just a speck in a tree 3-4 football fields away. so we just settled in and for the next 3 hours, we waited. great gray owl phonescoped from 3 football fields away people came and went, some just checking to see what was going on while others had heard about this rare owl in their area. some stepped out of their car entirely unprepared for the 15 degree temperatures and wind, and all of them appreciated a peek through our scope to give them at least a distant view of what was otherwise only a hard-to-find speck on a distant tree. i was impressed that every observer who showed up made no attempt to cross the privately-owned field to encroach upon the bird for a better view or camera shot. we had heard that you didn't necessarily need to approach the owl - the owl might approach you. we heard a story from a guy who was back after having a close encounter earlier in the week. he had been observing from the warmth of his truck, only to be completely surprised and utterly delighted when the owl, obviously without fear of humans and unfazed by vehicles, tripods, and massive cannon-length lenses, alighted on a fence post less than 10 feet from him and a half dozen humans and all their artifacts. this was our hope - that as dusk approached, the owl would become active and perch on one of the many fence posts lining the narrow dirt road. as late afternoon came, his activity started to increase incrementally. first, from one perch on a tree to another branch on the same tree. then to a branch in a nearby tree. then to the ground for a bit and back up to another branch. then a longer flight left across the field and to the ground. each time, he was getting just a little closer. as he perched on the top of a short evergreen tree, he had cut the distance to less than one football field. great gray owl phonescoped the short flights continued, from perch to ground to perch, getting closer each time. and with each flight, our looks got better. his size and facial features become even more impressive. the great gray is the tallest owl in north america, reaching up to 33" tall and his wingspan can approach 5 feet. as his name implies, he looks huge. but that bulky look is a bit misleading: his thick, fluffed up plumage makes him look heavier than he really is; in actuality, he weighs in at less than the smaller great horned owl . and that face! his yellow eyes lure you in to a spectacular gray face circularly framed in black. his black and white "bow tie", which was visible through the scope even at 300 yards, became even more striking at close range. he was regal and aloof, oblivious to his fawning fans. he perched on a number of fence posts not far off the road, good hunting perches for him, great viewing and photographing perches for us. he pounced a few times, though we didn't see that he came up with anything. but daylight was disappearing quickly, bringing our "hunt" to an end. but his continued, allowing "the ghost of the north" to hunt as he likely does in his boreal home - in solitude. posted at 03:24 pm in attention , binoculars and scopes , birds of prey , migration , phonescope/digiscope , photography , travel | permalink | comments (0) | | | march 08, 2017 turn to the birds if you are finding things a bit unsettling and stressful lately, just ...

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