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Day 232 Bird Watch

Day 232 Bird Watch

Take a picture…it will last longer! We sat down to have a coffee late in the afternoon. We were all a bit tired from a long day of sightseeing and observing the natural beauty of the Alps. As we sat there with our coffee enjoying the warmish rays of the sinking sun, this little bird landed on the post at the edge of water. I imagined him also being tired, having flown all day enjoying the Alps, the lakes, and the little villages that managed to survive nestled back in the hills. I imagined him needing a rest and he decided this was the best view in the area. I agreed with him. Adjustments: contrast, hue, saturation, brightness,...
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How to find a rare bird

How to find a rare bird

So, you want to find a rare bird, eh? Lewis’s Woodpecker – a rare bird in New York State Well, that’s easy enough to do. But first, a couple of questions: What is a rare bird? And, why? The answer to the first question is easy. A rare bird can be anything you want it to be. Really. You can make any birding quest to be as engaging and challenging as you see fit. After all, it is your list. And by that I mean that you can put a goal ahead of you and go for it. Nobody said it has to be an Olympic event. Many birders, like myself, keep various lists, such as a Life List, a Year List, State List a County List Yard List… should I keep going? Nawh, you get the point. What you get out of all that is a personal challenge, the satisfaction of having achieved that goal, and some neat bragging rights – which unfortunately may be usable in only a select few circles. The thing about lists is that they seem to generate a self-perpetuating series of “rare birds”. That one-more-species-for-the-day, the year, the yard, whatever, becomes the next rare bird. The most popular of those bird list is the “Life List”. That is the record of each species that you’ve seen – ever – no matter where. The greater lists usually require a lot of travel, around the state, country, and the world. Sometimes you get lucky and a foreign bird species will show up somewhere near you (and in this context, near is relative). This is usually the result of someone else finding it and the word getting out in time for you to get there before it disappears. And that’s good since it will often add not only to your life list, but also to your state list, or even county list – if you’re keeping track of such things. This just recently happened to me when I got word of a Grace’s Warbler down in Nassau County. A first for New York State, and naturally, a first for me; one more for both the state and Nassau County. It wasn’t a “Life” bird for me however, since I’ve already seen one down in Belize a few years ago. The ultimate rare bird around these parts is the first record for the state. Now that’s a good one. With more than three-hundred years of bird records for New York State, new ones are becoming harder to find. And if you happen to be the finder – well…. now you’re talking bragging rights big time. You might even be entitled to bring it up at the next dinner table. A while ago, while scouting a section of the Catskill Christmas Bird Count circle, I noticed a “different” profile of a bird high in a tree off in the distance. I went for a closer look, and voila’, a Mountain Bluebird – never before recorded in New York State! A First. Bragg-in rights. Well, I guess that pretty much answers both those questions. Now the How part. If you want to find a rare bird – go out and look for one. Sounds simple, eh? Well, it’s actually simpler that that. You really don’t have to go out at all. Just be watching from your kitchen window. Going back to the definition of rare bird, the next bird to show up at your feeder could be your rare...
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Be prepared for the Big Garden Birdwatch!

Be prepared for the Big Garden Birdwatch!...

Different foods will help to attract different species. For example, Robins adore meal-worms and Goldfinches are mad about Nyjer Seed so as a general rule the more varieties you put out the more species you are likely to attract. To make sure that each and every bird gets adequate food to meet their needs the best solution is to fill your feeders regularly. Fat products are a popular choice during the winter months as they give the birds a vital energy boost, which is just what they need in cold weather. High energy foods such as Sunflower Hearts are also highly recommended, by bird food experts CJ Wildlife, as they help the birds to take on calories quickly and efficiently. You can also consider putting out additional feeders to cope with demand and it is advised to avoid disturbing the feeding areas during the first and last hours of the day when they are at their busiest. The Big Garden Birdwatch has generated some interesting findings over the last 30 years and helps to give a snap shot of bird populations across the different regions. Ornithologist, Martin George, from CJ Wildlife commented “Surveys like this one, along with our own on-going research, help to highlight dramatic declines such as those seen in House sparrows, where the population has more than halved since the mid-70s. We can then help to educate the public and develop products and foods to try to restore declining populations.” CJ Wildlife stock a wide range of high energy foods including Sunflower Hearts, Peanuts and Peanut Cakes and are pleased to offer expert advice to ensure that your garden birds are well cared for this...