Bird Watching - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-30-2003, 11:29 AM
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Don't know if The Veggie Patch is the right place for this topic, but I couldn't figure where else. Anyway, I recently discovered the joys of bird watching and it is absolutely amazing to observe these wonderful creatures. I've always enjoyed the various nature programs that one finds on television, but it's even better to be able to study animals in their own environments. Is anyone here into birding?



I think that birds are rather unique in that you can see so many varieties around, without even going off to a wilderness area. I have counted over 24 different kinds in and around my yard (in the U.S. - a New Jersey suburb), though I also like to take a walk through parks, woods, near a lake or the beach. It was especially nice to discover birding this time of year (Spring, where I live), as I've been able to observe all sorts of interesting mating behaviours. I love watching the male Cardinal feed seeds to his "lady", for example.



Although some people may be into this mostly to try and identify the largest number of varieties, I have found that I really enjoy just spending some quiet time watching the birds in their natural habitats, interacting with each other, feeding, preening, etc. I feel very special to have a window into their world, and very glad that I don't knowingly contribute to the suffering of any of their fellows in the foods that I eat or the clothes I wear.



Gail
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#2 Old 04-30-2003, 11:36 AM
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You'd probably enjoy this thread. The first post has a link to a web cam showing the Falcons her in Cleveland. Their babies just hatched this past weekend. Watch the babies grow

https://www.veggieboards.com/boards/s...hlight=falcons
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#3 Old 04-30-2003, 11:39 AM
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hey

i don't go out birdwatching exactly, but i always watch them from my window and put seeds out on the lawn to see what kinds i can attract. we get cardinals, jays, robins and blackbirds mostly, and the occassional duck lol

i live near a river so it's neat to take a walk along the water and watch the swans and ducks, the other day we even saw a type of duck we've never spotted before, and something that resembled a crane but really small. i'll be looking it up online to figure out what they were. we also think we heard a hawk!



i mostly like birds that tend to be found near water, so i like being this close to a well populated river

I'm singin' here to get rid of fear
Hope it disappears right here with the rain
But I know life is pain, not like a fairytale
Meaningless to pray, so just goin' on my way
~Miyavi "Torture"
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#4 Old 04-30-2003, 11:56 AM
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I work in a park all summer so birdwatching is a favorite activity. I especially love ducks- wood ducks (http://www.ronausting.com/woodduck1.htm) are my favorite. You wouldn't believe how excited the other interpreters and I get when we identify a new bird.

I saw burrowing owls (http://www.ronausting.com/burowlpi.htm) when I was in Paraguay and I thought it was the most exciting thing ever because they are endangered in Canada.



Have you bought a field guide?
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#5 Old 04-30-2003, 01:07 PM
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Thanks for the falcon thread, MsRuthieB. Though I don't often see birds of prey, I love watching the occasional circling hawk and look forward to visiting a Raptor Trust somewhere in NJ that I heard about. It's kind of a rescue place for this sort of bird and supposed to be very interesting.



LadyFaile, the birds near your river sound marvelous. How lucky to live by the water. We're in the suburbs and it's way too crowded with people, buildings, parking lots, roads and cars. But my husband and I own a bit of land in a rural part of New York and go there as often as possible. We hope to save up money and build a little cabin someday, but for now are very happy to have put an old travel trailer there. Our place has lots of trees (with plenty of woodpeckers), but there are also fields and farms nearby with all sorts of birds. Very relaxing up there. I love getting out in nature.



I am so jealous of you, superjane -- what a great job! I will definately head on over to those links for some virtual birding -- thanks. I can really identify with getting excited over seeing a new bird. You should have heard me when I saw a lovely Northern Flicker one morning -- are you familiar with them? It must have been truely amazing to see those burrowing owls! What a tragedy that so many species are endangered, and worse -- hunted to extinction.



Yes, I actually bought a couple of field guides. The more complete one is Peterson's -- for the Eastern United States, but I also picked up a little book called "Birds of New Jersey", which is easy to manage for me as a beginner and seems to have all of the local varieties. I also got a CD of birdsong (am I obsessive or what?). Though I haven't learned very many yet, I actually recognized a Brown Thrasher one morning, just from hearing it's song. Then I looked and looked and finally saw him -- way at the top of a tree, singing his heart out. It was terrific!



Gail
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#6 Old 04-30-2003, 01:27 PM
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We don't have Northern flickers in MB. We do have lots of hairy and downy woodpeckers, and if I'm really lucky, I'll see a pileated woodpecker, the largest wp.

Peterson has good field guides, so does the National Audobon Society.

We got a CD of bird songs last year, but I didn't learn it because I was more interested in plants. But this summer I want to learn more.



The other interpreter I worked with last year hit a red-tailed hawk with his car, so he got out, put it out of it's misery, then put it in the freezer of our bunkhouse! He didn't tell me, however, until I opened the door and saw it and screamed.
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#7 Old 04-30-2003, 03:39 PM
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I love bird watching. I even have two pet birds and I love watching them too. I also just enjoy sitting out there during a hike and just watching. Their behavior patterns are so intresting to me. I can watch them for hours.



I can only identify a few now. Every time I go on a hike, I learn about another bird though. Usually I come home and then try to find one bird I saw online. I even got a pair of binoculars for Christmas so it makes bird watching even eaiser.
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#8 Old 04-30-2003, 03:55 PM
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I've definately seen downy wp -- there seem to be many by our place in NY. Not so sure about hairy, though. I think I may have spotted one, but they're so similar to the others, I'm not positive. Someone told me to look at the beak, that it's longer than downy's. Seemed as if this was true. Boy would I love to catch sight of a pileated. Judging by some of the holes in trees on our property, I think we've had some at one time or another.



We're lucky enough to live only about 20 minutes from the HQ of the NJ Audubon Society. The people there are very friendly and knowledgeable. When we recently visited, I took the opportunity to join and got a little zippered waist pouch with their logo. It seems to be just big enough for my NJ guide and my reading glasses. The Society runs all sorts of workshops and trips, as well as a basic birding walk every Saturday morning. DH and I tried to attend one but unfortunately we didn't realize they'd be closed that day, as it was Easter weekend (duh!). But we did have a bit of excitement, none-the-less.



Out back of their building, the Society has a number of feeders which attract a nice variety of local birds. We were enjoying a leisurely watch from inside (they have a large window facing and the birds are used to an audience, apparently), when up walked a bear! We've actually had quite a few bears here in NJ the last few years -- there are even a number of people advocating a return to bear hunting, believe it or not. Anyway, he lumbered around and then calmly stood up on his hind legs, walked up to one feeder, tipped it over and enjoyed a nice snack of bird seed. Unfortunately he then proceeded to break off part of it, being a bit rougher than the usual restaurant patrons.



The lady in the office told us that they hadn't seen any bears for a while but in the past some of the feeders had been destroyed. Anyway, it was pretty exciting -- though we decided to then postpone our planned stroll through the nearby walking paths. Bet you have plenty of bears in Canada, eh? Oh, and speaking of Canada, my husband and I are heading up to Montreal this weekend with our son, Thomas, who is just starting to look at colleges (he's a Junior in high school) -- to check out McGill. Any advice or suggestions for our trip?



Too bad about that hawk. Must have been quite a shock!



Gail
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#9 Old 04-30-2003, 04:18 PM
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"I've definately seen downy wp "



I had a downy woodpecker (or was it a hairy ...they look identical except for size in my Peterson field guide) on the wooden post of my balcony. He definately was one of those two and not a flicker as he had a red spot on the back of his head and was only white and black (no greenish, tannish colours)



I have been getting a few slate-coloured Junkos at my bird feeder in the past couple weeks.



One of my favourite photos I got years ago



http://www.dkingdesign.com/photos/CHickadee_on_hand.jpg





One of the neatest birds I used to see when I lived on the edge of a small town in a rural area (Nova Scotia ... would be found in some new england states too ... although they are originally from asia/europe and are no doubt found there) was the ring necked pheasant. I still recall the time I was walking down this path by some tall grass and must have walked too close to a bunch of younger ones hidden in the nearby grass ... they suddenly all took off , wings making a clipping noise and making a crackly rough vocalization .... nearly scared me to death ... hehe



One time a male was on the garage roof fight outside my bedroom at 7am ... squawking at another male on the ground. heheh , that was so funny (even though I was a little annoyed at the early wakeup call )



The males are a beautifully bird. They are mostly a walking bird (fly only for a short distance at low altitude) and their bodies are larger than even a large house cat.



http://www.cranefest.com/assets/thumbs/pheasant.jpg



(just to be fair, that pic came from http://www.cranefest.com/ )



I did a painting of a pheasant a couple several years back (bad photo )



http://www.dkingdesign.com/paintings/1999/pheasants.jpg



Ah, I kindof miss those birds as I live somewhere else now
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#10 Old 04-30-2003, 05:05 PM
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I love watching birds, although I can't be described as a "birdwatcher"--I'm not nearly scientific, knowledgeable, or organized for that. I do have a good pair of binoculars though, and it's great to be able to see them "close up". They're just so interesting and beautiful. I even think starlings are beautiful, the way they're iridescent in the sunlight!
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#11 Old 04-30-2003, 05:14 PM
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" I even think starlings are beautiful, the way they're iridescent in the sunlight! "





Yes they do get some nice greens, blues and purple colours in their feathers when the sun hits them ...they are quite smart too and have an enormous variety of noises.



It is my opinion that a starling was heard by George Lucas one day and gave him the idea for R2-D2's vocalizations
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#12 Old 04-30-2003, 05:34 PM
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dk_art -- Thanks for the links to the photos and especially the painting. I really liked it. I enjoy trying my hand at landscapes, working outdoors, but have never attempted painting an animal. Would love to see one of those pheasants someday -- unfortunately I believe that as well as being found in the wild they are also being bred for hunters.



We've also had Junkos in our yard, though they seem to have gone now that it's warmer here in New Jersey. The most frequent visitors to our feeders include Gold Finches (our state bird, btw), various Sparrows, Cardinals, House Finches, Doves, and, unfortunately, great big gangs of blackbirds, primarily Grackles.



The problem is that these birds tend to really dominate the feeder, chase everyone else away and scarf up the seed. Someone recently suggested that I try changing what I set out. Sure enough, seems that Grackles aren't overly fond of Safflower seed. I believe it's cut down on the mob scene and aggressiveness at the feeder somewhat. I've never had a wp in my yard though I love watching them in more wooded areas.



mouse, you are certainly right about watching the birds with binoculars. It really is fascinating and they are just so beautiful. I have started keeping mine near a big window in our kitchen, ready for "action", so to speak.



Gail
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#13 Old 04-30-2003, 06:22 PM
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dk_art, I'm glad someone else appreciates starlings; most people seem to view them as "nuisance" birds. I know that they're an invasive species, but still.... My office window faces south, and in the winter they perch on the ledge to warm themselves.



Gail, I do the same with my binoculars. During the winter months, I keep a bird feeder on our deck, and I watch the birds as I drink my morning coffee. (I move it out into the yard during warm weather.) Nothing brightens up a winter day like cardinals against the winter backdrop of grays, black and white.
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#14 Old 04-30-2003, 07:43 PM
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By the way, when I was growing up in central Illinois, it was very common to see pheasants wandering around. They are beautiful birds indeed. Nowadays, sightings are MUCH rarer. I don't know how much the decline in population is due to the intensive use of herbicides and pesticides, and how much is due to the fact that there is less and less uncultivated land. For example, during most of my childhood, there were fences between farm properties, which resulted in an approximately 6 foot wide strip of land which was uncultivated, and where the grass and weeds grew high. During my high school years, the farmers started taking down the fences and plowing and cultivating those former "green" areas. This effectively destroyed a whole lot of wildlife habitat.
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#15 Old 12-23-2008, 03:39 AM
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Hi gail ,Glad to hear you have been bitten by the bird watching bug!Im in England and Ive been thinking about starting a website just for Veggie and Vegan birdwatchers.Ive got a homemade site (with Veggie related links!) its pictures Ive taken mainly with some blogs too.http://wwww.freewebs.com/birdpix/

Dont ever lose the sense of wonder when looking at birds ,you are absolutely right ,it doesnt matter if the birds you are watching are common ,they are still amazing!I love to see a cardinal by the way.All the best ,David
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