Sunday, December 30, 2007

BIGBYing 2008

Most Sundays I keep a tally of the birds that I see at our home and I enter the info in eBird. My rules for this count are that I must see or hear the birds while standing somewhere on our property (1 wooded acre & a dock on Lake Gaston).

For 2008 I'll be expanding my count territory as per the rules of BIGBY, Big Green Big Year - birding without creating carbon emissions. I first read about this on Laura Erickson's blog, then again on Delia's blog. I signed up for the self-propelled BIGBY, which allows the use of a bicycle or a canoe. I love the idea of this - so low-key - perfect for the gal who does most of her winter birding from the hot-tub on the deck. OK, maybe the hot tub is not so green, but in our defense, we keep the heat turned down in the winter & almost never run air-conditioning during our steamy North Carolina summers.

canoe on Lake Gaston

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Lil Shirl - memories...

This is Lil Shirl, a baby northern flicker that we rescued from the beak of a crow a few years ago.

We had no way to get her back to her nest - a hole in a dead tree, 30 feet high. We nailed a box to the same tree and put her in it, hoping Mom & Dad would feed her. It didn't work. After a few hours of watching Mom and Dad fly in to feed her siblings, but ignore her, we brought her into our home.

I wasn't a licensed bird rehabber at the time (working on that now), but I do have a lot of experience hand feeding my own baby finches. And I do have an NC Wildlife permit to rehabilitate small mammals, so let's just pretend that she has fur instead of feathers, shall we?

She was easy to feed and grew like a weed. We cut down a couple of trees, brought them into our screen room, and she was right at home.

She would join us for dinner...

Hey, this stuff doesn't look half-bad!

A few weeks later, her siblings emerged from their nest and I decided it was time to set her free. Here she is, outside of the screen room, but not too anxious to go anywhere.

Finally she left my husband's sleeve, hopped to the ground, ate 100 ants in a matter of seconds and I knew she would be fine. We have lots of ants! She climbed a tree and flew away without a backward glance.

Oh, but she came back - again & again over the next month. She liked to hang out with us and she loved the mealworms that we fed her. She was a very sweet bird with very sharp claws!

Our screen room has a plexiglass roof. Here she is looking down through at us. Hey, where are my mealworms?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas visitor

Mommy, I'm not really sure about this...maybe you should put down the camera and pick me up!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tall hair

Savannah & Sage -

Hairstyles have sure changed since I was a teen...

Reminds me of Cindy Lou Who ...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

During the non-Christmas season, we limit Pup2 to three toys at a time. So she really loves it when I bring out her sack of Christmas toys...

OK, I got it off the table...

Look at all this stuff!!!

I think there may be one more in here...


I knew it!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Finch Friday

This is why they're called society finches - the more the merrier and the closer the better...

society finches cuddling

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My petunia plant in December

The plant doesn't look very good, but there are still some pretty blossoms...

petunia blooming in December, North Carolina

petunia blooming in December, North Carolina

Friday, December 07, 2007

Finch Friday

If you want to take twice as long to accomplish a task, just let a pet help...

black head female gouldian finch

black head female gouldian finch

tame gouldian finche

gouldian finches for sale north carolina

My beautiful female gouldian finch, Pippa, a few years ago. Gone now, much missed.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Finch Friday

We were working on a project in the aviary this afternoon & as always, my curious little finches came to investigate the "new furniture" in their room...

gouldian finches in indoor aviary

gouldian finches in indoor aviary

Hmmm, what's this thing???

gouldian finches in indoor aviary

Photon didn't join them - he just posed pretty for me...

orange head white breasted gouldian finch

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Osprey nesting platform

We took advantage of our guests and put up the osprey platform last Tuesday. My husband had a whole system of attached ropes to help us raise it and to keep it from going too far, but it turned out that the ropes weren't necessary. His tall & strong son-in-law was able to raise it with very little help.

putting up an osprey nesting platform

putting up an osprey nesting platform

Ready & waiting...

osprey nesting platform

Friday, November 23, 2007

Finch Friday

Time for some finches in a Christmas setting. This photo is a few years old. Daytona, who passed away last year, was the first gouldian finch that I ever hand-fed. Taffy is on the left. He's one of my tame society finches. He's living in the aviary now & doing great.

tame finches - society finch & gouldian finch

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A happy & WARM Thanksgiving

Always fun to have the kids visit...

kids on dock - Lake Gaston

Extra nice when November weather is warm enough for jetskis & boats...

kids on jetski - Lake Gaston

boating on Lake Gaston

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mealworms for sale

And now a word from our sponsor: my college student nephew that lives with us has expanded my mealworm colony into a business: We now have hundreds of thousands of mealworms that are just waiting to fill the tummies of your favorite wild birds. So if you need mealworms, we would really appreciate your business. Our website accepts Mastercard, Visa, AMEX, or Paypal.

mealworms for sale

This is my nephew Patrick - he bought his first car a few months ago, a 1994 Nissan Sentra. Any mealworm business that you could pass his way would help him pay his car insurance bills.

patricks first car

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Finch Friday (yes, on Saturday again)

I finally got around to taking some updated photos of last week's featured finches, those gouldian finch babies that I hand-fed from day 1. The following photo shows ,my favorite (yes, this mommy has a favorite) of the babies. His name is Duncan & he really is pretty special. He weaned at 4 weeks old (probably a record) - a full 2 weeks earlier than the other three. And if that wasn't cool enough, this baby who had never been fed by a bird, started feeding his less independent siblings. In the past, I've seen a couple of juvenile gouldians help their parents feed newly fledged babies of the next clutch, but by that time, those juvie helpers were at least 10 weeks old. Little Duncan was only 5 weeks old when he began to help feed his brothers and sisters of the same age. Here he is, just starting to get some of his adult colors:

Here are his two brothers. Speck is on the left. On the right is Color Boy - so named because he has more of his adult colors than the others, unfortunately not viewable here since he's not facing the camera.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A dog for all seasons

Once the daytime temperatures dip below 70F, our pups don't have much desire to go outside. A leash in my hand will send them "deeper undercover".

So it's nice to have a neighborhood black lab join us for our morning walks. The cold doesn't bother him. His name is Meany. He doesn't live up to his name.