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Bird Sightings 6

Posted by comettose 7 (My Page) on
Tue, May 22, 07 at 20:22

Started a new one. A friend of mine was on a trip to Texas and this bird was sitting on his Godson's verandah and he snapped the photo. He was wondering if it was a Nightjar? Can anyone ID it? I don't know much about the birds of Texas. The town in Texas is Wichita Falls. Thanks.

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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Well I don't know but it just kills me that I spend so much time trying to get a good picture of a bird and he just walks right up and gets a shot like that! How lucky is that!

I switched from navel oranges to mandarin oranges and jelly in a hanging tray. Something is eating it, probably just the catbird but at least it's not going to waste.

We've got lighting bugs! Not alot yet, but I love them! We get so many more here than we got in the city. At the height of the season you can sit on our "lookout" deck and they light up everywhere. It's the little things, don't you know?


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

He just got lucky Jean. The bird has been ID'd and they sleep during the day. ID comment received as follows (with phone number and email deleted for privacy):

Susan,
This is a Common Nighthawk, identified at rest by the white patch on the primaries of the wing. Nighthawks are migrating at the moment so are seen in places that might not be typical nesting locations. - Dave
David Curson, PhD
Director of Bird Conservation,
Audubon MD-DC,
2437 Eastern Avenue,
Baltimore MD 21224

I think I will put out a concoction of jelly like that for my catbirds. I don't hold much hope for orioles. Summer tanagers have been reported in the area nearby with a territorial scuffle by two males but I've not seen them. Tanagers are still on my need to see list! Do you use a homemade hanging tray or commercial? What size it is and are there perches or does the bird just sit on the edge of the tray itself? I was thinking it might be nice to fine a nice china saucer and drill 4 holes in it to put a chain to hang it.

Oh - lightning bugs - I love those! I've not seen any. It is still cold here especially at night. I could see my breath last night! I cannot believe it is almost June, but I do like this weather. We have another day in the mid 70's and then it is supposed to climb into the low 80's for the weekend. Many years it is hot, humid and miserable by this time of year. All the plants look great and my butterfly garden has many blooming plants but I've seen scant butterflies (2 species only!). The preying mantis egg cases have not hatched yet either. Everything is really set back by the cold spring. Odd weather may lead to odd bird sightings though!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Nighthawks are still migrating? I was told to watch for them as they might be my 100th bird listing. But by the way, I have hit 100 with the chimney swifts. Actually I think I have been getting them all along but I also get tree swallows so I was not being very observant (red face here!). So a little anticlimatic for the big 100th bird.

Actually I am using an old hummingbird feeder, the saucer type without the top. It already had a hook on it. The hook is only about 6" long so the saucer sits just below the branch.

We will be up to 89 tomorrow and have had two great weeks of temps in the 80's. This is usually a great time of year for me to start seeing some great moths collecting on the back deck at night but I had to put moth balls in my pots to keep the raccoon from rooting around in them and it has really cut down on my moth sightings - imagine that, huh!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, May 23, 07 at 9:56

That nighthawk is awesome, CT! Such a dozing little darling!

In all my years, I've never seen a lightning bug! I can't even imagine how beautiful they must be.

Congrats on the chimney swifts, Jean! Yeah, not as exciting as the 100th could have been, but what a landmark!

We've had temps in the 80s here, too, but...the drying wind is hanging around. Low humidity makes me so grouchy. It's supposed to get into the 90s today, with some lingering wind, so look out, world! :D

I've seen quite a few of the little moths, but still no sphinx moths, et al. Plenty of small black "beet-els", too. I feel like Ed Sullivan when I go out on the front porch. "We have a really big shew for you tonight." LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

cool! the only time i see a nighthawk is on the wing. usually, though, i just hear them!

brenda, you would love the lightning bugs :)


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

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Found this monster inside :)


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Aw - what a handsome bird, a Macaw? Macaws are migrating now through the livingrooms of Northern New Yorkers:-) It is a rare occurence - thanks for sharing! :-) CT


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

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It gets worse....he came with friends :)


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

What gorgeous birds! They don't look real (although I know they are). They sure put the grosbeak to shame :^) So tell us, what are their names, how old are they, who's alpha? And I see you have horses too.

I saw my first downy fledgling today and just as mom was feeding the baby, a brown thrasher (at least from what I could tell from the streak of brown) came up and attacked them, I assume for the food. Mom and baby scattered. I also had both male and female pileateds in the front this morning. I've still not found out who is eating the oranges - hopefully this weekend I will get to see. The bluebirds have been awol for the last 4 days :^(

Finally, a picture of the male pileated


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Jean - that is a fantastic photograph of the Pileated! It is hard to believe they can get almost 20 inches long.

Beautiful trio of Macaws!

Today and yesterday I've been seeing Northern Flickers. They are not uncommon but I haven't had them on my property until recently and now all of a sudden I am seeing them several times per day.

Saw several Ospreys soaring alongside the bridge I crossed today. One guy in my SMAS group has been seeing an American Bittern and a Green Heron with some regularity when crossing the same bridge. Now that is ONE bridge you don't want to get distracted and run off!

I found a dead and very tiny baby bird in my driveway today and there was not nest above the area. I think it was one of my song sparrow babies though as she kept flying down to it and looking at it. I have no idea how it got from a thick shrub near the house to about 20 feet out in the driveway. It was too young to fly at all, no real open feathers anywhere. Poor thing. I buried it in my garden.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, May 26, 07 at 7:59

LOL @ CT migrations comments!

Beautiful birds, Amaqan! It feels almost strange to be calling them birds, since I imagine they're more like children, from what I've seen of their behavior and intelligence. Do they talk to you a lot? And all of the questions Jean asked, as well. :)

Jean, that is one awesome pic! That beak could do some damage, if it chose to use it against evil. :D

CT, I wonder if another bird took the little sparrow, intending it to be a snack, and was interrupted.

I found a tiny, hairless one not too long ago, and it's always sad. We usually get at least one every season, even though we've added boards to the area under the eaves to help prevent them sliding out to the ground. But the parents always pack stuff into the nest to the point where the babies are perched above the opening.

I've been noticing that when the sparrows start chattering, that means a jay is in the vicinity, visiting each nest.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

grrrrrrr. starlings. i know they are animals and bless them all, but grrrrrrrrr. 12 oz of songbird banquet from audobon workshop (which costs over 20.oo and i would have never spent that much but i had a coupon and paid, essentially, 5.oo for it). well, the starlings found it. i think they ate it all this morning even before i got home from work. there is like a dusting of it left in my peanut feeder. there is my first mistake. i need a feeder for small birds that keep the larger ones out ...but that would also keep out cardinals if i were so lucky.

do i have nuthatches? no. wrens? no. bluebirds? not a chance. any woodpecker or other songbirds? no. just starlings, starlings, more starlings, house sparrows...even the grackles appear to be intimidated by the mob. this is why i only feed thistle seed, squirrel food and hummer food (and b/c i have a cat so i don't want to bait the poor things). of course, the starlings also raid the squirrel box, and if i have peanuts in the peanut feeder, it last longer than this stuff, at least.

i love that first pic! "hey, how's it going?" i'll bet your house can get pretty raucous!


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Thanks for all the nice comments! They are like children all with different personalities. Topaz ( Blue and Gold on counter) is 9 years old, the best talker( over 100 words/phrases)loves everyone except birds. He is afraid of our other two so he lives in the livingroom.
Pal ( Blue and Gold on chair)is 13 and talks the least saying only thank you, Harley, Pal and the sound of someone crying and sniffing :( makes you wonder what he over heard at his first home. He was 7 when we got him. He was always caged and not givin alot of attention. He was here almost a year befor he came down off his cage by himself. He could care less if we are around which is sad but we give him as much attention he'll let us.
Harly ( Greenwing ) is 12. Pal and Harley share a room and are best friends. Harley also loves people and is the BIGGEST ham. He has a sense of humor and loves playing ball. He only says about 30 words. Last week at the Vets he yelled " Momma, HELP, mommaaaaaaaa" He was just getting his wings done, the big baby. He'll stop whatever he is doing if he sees a camera and start posing.
Thankfully we are in the country with no neighbors to close as it does get loud here if they all get going at once.
The outside birds have it pretty good here as well. They get all the days befor left over seed, pellets, fruit and veggies. Don't really think eat the veggies or fruit but it's there.
The horse is the farms up the road. He just thinks he belongs here. He knows where the animals have it good and spends 95% of his time here. I'd offer to buy him but it's like I'm getting him free now:)
Annette


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, May 27, 07 at 9:55

Annette, I haven't laughed so hard as when reading your descriptions of your birds while talking! Especially the crying and sniffing, and the "Momma!!" parts! Oh, I could listen to those stories for hours. I wish they had an all-(talking)bird channel on satellite. They sound like wonderful members of your family.

FTM, I SO feel your pain!!! I don't have starlings raiding my feeders....(yet? *gulp*)...but the jays are still at it, this time raiding the kestrels' nest!! I was sick to my stomach when I saw what was happening. The poor parent could only sit and watch (and cry out) as the jay rifled through its home. I've never seen as much drama from the birds as I have this year.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Next time you see a Jay wiping out a Kestral nest put a serious slap down (in other words shoo it off) on that jay! Jays are a dime a dozen and Kestrals are not.

When I find a nest I stop feeding anywhere near the nest area. Just in case you didn't move your feeders away and IF they were near the nest in the first place. I am always SO relieved when the nesting season passes. It is too nerve wracking to have babies in danger all the time! What hurts me the most is when the nest is too crowded and one gets pushed out by the others. Robins are notorious for building a nest that will hold three birds nicely and yet they lay four eggs! I need some valium!

I love talking birds too - so much fun! My neighbor had an African Grey that would call the dog and the dog would come only to be confused as to where the human was (no human dummy dog)

One neighbor has a bird that can mimic their phone ringing - ha ha ha! They run inside to answer all the time because they cannot tell the difference. I used to take care of a Yellow Nape Amazon that could speak English and Spanish - too funny. The vacuum would set it off in a flurry of talking. One of my favorites was "Oooh Pepe is such a nice bird' and then raucous and manical laughter would follow. Then he would yell Arriba, arriba, arriba rapidly. Next he would turn upside down and spin. Nutty damn birds. My brother has an African Gray and you think it was his child!

Macaws - you have to have your act together for the really big birds. I used to hand feed and handle young birds of all types many years ago, to get them ready, so potential customers could hold them without them biting. I've seen a bored out of his mind Macaw chew up all the wooden trim off a window before. They must be kept busy and have all the correct equipment and be handled reguarly. Too many people buy these birds because they have this vague notion they are cool or something and then they can't handle them or won't take the time and expense to do it right. Serious birds for serious bird people only IMO. Or people that cage them all the time because they cannot tolerate something chewed, messed up or pooped on. You have to have the right personality to keep big birds IMO - laid back but firm.

You can see in Annette's photograph the huge cage, the giant perch, the ability of the birds to move about and eat their food and generally enjoy themselves. You can also see the ragged edge to a rug that may have been a bird play toy. Annette - can your birds fly or do you keep the flight feather clipped all the time? Really a nice bird room you have there. One can tell the love and understanding Annette has with her birds! CT


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

you have to have your act together for the really big birds

or not :)
Ct, you are right on so many points. Saddly the room in the picture is our livingroom where Topaz stays. He is afraid of Harley and Pal who are in the birdroom which is 15 by 15 with 2 cages and bongs hanging from the ceiling. Harley and Pal are out of their cages all the time except to sleep or when no one is home. Topaz is out less, maybe 4-5 hours a day. But he is also right out in the action so I don't think he minds.
Oddly enough these are the only two rooms left that haven't had new floors and trim. It only takes a second to have a hole chewed thru molding. Or a 3hour trip shopping the come home and find both Harley and Pals heads sticking thru the tunnel they chewed thru their rooms door. Harley had escaped his cage and let Pal out. When we came home I heard the clearest " Hi Ma" from Harley...at the time I thought he sounded so close. Turns out his head was 3 feet away, instead of the 15 feet behind a closed door it should of been..
We are unfutunite that my husband is disabled and no longer works and I only work 30 hours a week. That gives us alot of time with our animals. They are our kids now that we only have a 17 y/o left at home.
All 3 are clipped but now how to fly. They can glide down and get short flights when their feathers start to grow in. They also have an outside cage. Pal ( the one that could take or leave us) will allow us to put him in it in the garage, then I open the door and wheel it outside.The other 2 get harnessed with no problem because they know they're going out.
They are alot of money, time and work. I cook for them weekly, clean cages dailey with complete wash down of their rooms on Sundays, buy 2x4's like people buy milk, filled a freezer summer and fall with berries,squash and corn on the cob. After the holidays I bought all the in shell nuts I could when they were marked down...easily 100 + pounds.
Well worth all the time ,money and bites. The bites are few and far between but still happen. My husband got a good one not a week ago. Harley wanted up but when he was walked away from where he wanted to go he got mad at husbands. Honestly it was husbands fault. Harley started to sway back and forth like he was nervous and said ouch. They walked into the other room and Harley bit. It's never good to hear Harley say ouch....your gonna get nailed good if he warns you first!
I could go on and on about how smart they are. To really look into their eyes is amazing...they look ancient. Like they have so much wisdom. You can see them thinking.
Annette


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, May 28, 07 at 10:43

Oh, my goodness, they have harnesses?! The image I have of that is so adorable! I wish my cat would say, "Ouch," before she bites me. LOL

The kestrels' nest is in the cottonwood tree behind our house, much too far up and away for shooing. The jay is so busy raiding that he (she?) hasn't been in the yard to nibble on the peanut butter/nuts/berries concoction for well over a week, maybe 2, and the kestrels don't come near here.

The female hooded oriole returned yesterday, and I caught her with her beak in the hummer food. :D Very pretty girl. And a black phoebe was singing on the back fence this morning. They are so cute! One of my favorite visitors.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I have to say that I am almost tempted to keep birds after seeing those pictures and hearing about their different personalities. But we take off for long weekends without much planning so that wouldn't work for us. But they are so gorgeous!

That's awful to hear about the kestrels, but not much you can do about nature's ways. I hope at least some of the young survive, those parents can be very aggresive when it comes to protecting their young.

Heres my big news - bird 101 (actually 103 if you count hearing the screech and great-horned owls but never seen). And in fact, if it hadn't have been for the distressed bluejays I would never have noticed the BIG BARRED OWL sleeping in my tree! He was there for quite some time, I had time to open the window (very slowly), run and get the tripod, get the cat out of the open window and into the bedroom and then run and get the shutter release cable (to avoid camera shake with the long exposures) before he started to wake up and glare at the bluejay that kept harassing him. After he woke up, he took off into the ravine.

And I am so excited that I got some decent shots ...

Barred Owl

This picture shows the relative size of the owl compared to the bluejay ..... he was just waking up
Barred Owl and an upset bluejay

And a head shot ....
Barred Owl close up


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

WOW Jeanner! I sure enjoyed those pictures of the Barred Owl! He's so majestic looking. I hear them but have rarely seen them. I get excited like a little kid when I hear one. That Blue Jay knows not what he do, that's risky business messin wit dat one!
Debbie


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 29, 07 at 10:51

Oh, Jean, those eyes are to DIE for! So dreamy and lagoon-deep. BIG congrats on getting those pics, considering all you had to do to prep for them! I hope he kicked the jay's butt, too. LOL Sorry, but what comes around, goes around. :D

From what my book says, there's a slight chance I might get to see one of those some day. Anyone know any good owl prayers? :D

LOL @ the 2nd pic. You know, I've caught that look in the mirror on occasion after a rough night. ;)

Last night, I just couldn't get to sleep, so I was up WAY past my normal bedtime of 7-8pm. At 10:30pm, the barn owl was yelling its head off, and sitting in the dark, looking out the front window, he seemed so CLOSE! But it was a negatory on the barn owl sighting. More owl prayers.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I just love your owl pics. I can really get lost in those eyes.

I am so mad. Had lots of hummers around my feeder This is the first year I hung an oriole feeder and had a lot stopping for nectar. Everytime one would arrive it put up a heck of a fuss. Thought it was fighting with the hummers for nectar.

I have two rabbits that live in the vacant house next door and love watching them on my lawn (or I should say clover) every morning and evening.

While watering my flower bed Saturday evening I noticed a huge thistle growing in the middle of my peony bush. I was down on my hands and knees trying to get to the stem that didn't have any stickers on it and saw something moving out of the corner of my eye. Thought it was the bunny but it was a calico cat. Walked back to the garage to get some gloves and a pitchfork (for thistle not the cat) and was hoping it would be gone before I got back. Didn't see it anywhere so I started digging around the thistle when I felt something rub up against my calve. Sure enough it was the cat. Then I got to thinking I haven't seen any hummers or orioles the past week. My daughter and s-i-l came over to watch the orioles (they are so beautiful) but were disappointed. They bought an oriole feeder too, but haven't had any visit yet.

On Sunday morning I was on the phone in the kitchen and just happened to see the cat in hot pursuit of my residential chipmunk. Neighbors must have thought I was nuts. I chased the cat who chased the chipmunk under a car parked on the street. The chipmunk made it across the street in front of a car. The cat stayed under the car. I hadn't seen the rabbits in over a week either. Yesterday morning they were both laying on the clover (lawn) munching their little hearts out. I had to stand guard for a few hours till they got their fill.

I thought maybe the hummers and orioles were hatching eggs and that's why they hadn't been around, till I saw the cat. Didn't realize how bad I would miss the hummers and orioles until the cat appeared. So pics of your owl is making up for the loss of my hummers and orioles.

Jenny


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Wonderful owl Jean and terrific photos of it. Congrats on adding to your life list! Owls look like they keep the secrets of the world in their deep eyes. I am going to research the Barred Owl now to see how they fare in the world. I see owls in the distance when driving in the country and I hear one at night around the house sometimes.

Brenda - you are SO lucky to even have the chance of a Barn Owl sighting on your property. I'm not sure I'd want to hear one every night though. LOL I love their heart shaped face.

Wow Annette - you sure are a good bird Mommy. I've often thought about having birds but it is out of the question with 6 cats. I had a blue and white parakeet many years ago but one of our cats killed it through the cage bars, so that is out (somebody left my bedroom door open). My sister raised birds for a while (parrotlets, finches and canaries mostly, but sometimes larger birds). She ended up placing her last two birds at a place called Primarily Primates when she moved away from Texas and into a senior apartment.

Oh Jenny - I hope that cat didn't kill everything. You could borrow a trap from an animal shelter, but first I would call around to see if there are any feral cat rescue groups near by or other rescue groups if the cat is friendly. But, if not, the animal control will take it (but that does not always end up well as we all know), but if you want it to stop killing all the wildlife that is one option. I have the same problem with a neighbor that collects cats. I have 6 cats myself but they are not outside cats. This same neighbor, and two other ladies, just started a TNR group and my local Audobon Society is at odds with that big time. Cats hunt even if well fed and their position is cats are not native and many of the birds they kill are. It is a hard topic for me as I love cats and I love birds and both sides have a point. I am so conflicted I donated to both (loser I know).


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Fantastic owl shots jeanner! What time of day was it? How far away were you?
Unfortunately, the times when I can get the closest to a bird are when its a bit obtunded from a window strike. Fortunately, this little fella flew away shortly after I took some pics of him.
A red eyed vireo, right?
His legs don't look good, but I got another pic of him up in the tree after he flew away, and he was standing on his legs, so I think he's fine. Its not as clear as it should be.......
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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Jenny, are your feeders hanging low? I don't think the cats would bother the hummers, maybe the orioles but they are pretty good at detecting predators close by. I noticed my hummers weren't coming to the feeder as much this weekend and despite the fact the nectar was only a few days old, when I changed it they started coming more. I think the heat made it ferment. Is the honeysuckle blooming there now? I know the orioles really like the honeysuckle so maybe they are just finding more natural food right now.
I hope they come back, I can't get them to come to the feeders and whatever was eating my oranges has now stopped.

Catherine - definitely a red-eyed vireo! I get those too but hear them more often than see them and I have yet to get a good picture of one. Your picture is fantastic, a little sharpening would really bring out those details . Window strikes are so disheartening, I cring when I hear them and then go running to be sure the bird is safely under cover while it recovers. I held a kinglet last fall while I made sure it recovered and was able to fly - very humbling experience. I have white stickers on my windows which helps alot (good for summer, not so good for winter) which are not very noticeable from the inside. I also have strings of feathers across my sliding glass doors which are stuck to the doors with suction cups so they move with the door and don't get in the way when the door is opened and closed. But strikes still happen, particularly when there are hawks around.

The first window strike I ever had was a yellow-billed cuckoo. He flew into the window while we were outside working. He was okay but stunned so we just kept our distance. I never even thought to take a picture until he flew up into a tree. The second window strike was a coopers hawk, he recovered fine too. This was before I fed the birds.

The barred owl was in a tree just 25 feet from the house. I assume it was there most of the day but I didn't noticed it until five or so. I was outside most of the day and really hadn't been watching the birds at all so I don't know if the jays were bothered all day or just when the owl was starting to wake up. Haven't seen it since but I did hear it last night but from quite a distance away.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Hi jeanner,
Okay, so how would I sharpen it up? Would that be a matter of just backing up a little, so that I wasn't so close? Or I guess I could have changed the settings to be further away, so more of the body would have been in focus?
I just haven't had the time to work on this yet......and I was afraid I'd keep putting it off, so I decided to just start shooting!
I had a yellow-billed cuckoo hit a window once too. He had blood coming out of his bill. :( But he did fly off, so hopefully he recovered.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Catherine, it's all done with software, your photography could not be improved on! The focus in on the head, which is exactly what you want to do. The long zooms make it really hard to get the whole bird in focus because they have such a short depth-of-field. The closer you are to the bird, the shorter the depth-of-field but the better details. Generally speaking, the closer the better in bird photogrpahy. And rather than get farther away, it's better to zoom out (collapse the zoom) if you are so close that the bird fills the frame - assuming of course you aren't causing the bird distress! Also shooting in low light makes it tough to get a apperature/shutter speed combination that will give you a good depth-of-field and shutter speeds that will be fast enough to stop movement. But shooting in bright direct light will burn out the details every time - so morning, evening and slightly overcast days are the best time for all photography. A little contrast is good as it brings out the details. So considering the lighting you were dealing with, you really couldn't have done any better.

I think the best thing to do is just what you are doing, just start shooting! You will learn alot that way. Don't get frustrated with the details, they will come later. And there are some times when no matter how much you know, there's nothing you could have done to get a good picture. I'm still learning - the important thing is to have fun!

I took the liberty of working on your picture a little, I increased the contrast and sharpened. The Rebel XT's tend to flatten the contrast and all of the SLR cameras do minimal in-camera sharpening. I believe there is a way to do all of this in the Zoombrowser software.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Hi jeanner!
Wow! That IS sharper! Thanks for your tips.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, May 31, 07 at 12:32

That is a great pic, Catherine! Even better sharpened up, too. Such a little cutie. Hopefully, you won't get that specific opportunity again (window strike), but I hope we get to see more of your pics soon now that you're warming up to the addiction of it. :D

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Thanks Brenda,
It really IS an addiction. There are times when I think to myself "Gee....I wish I could just take a relaxing walk around the property, without being obsessed with finding "subjects"." But as soon as I go somewhere without the camera, I see the best things!! hahaha Oh well.......there are much worse addictions!


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I thought I was hearing a scarlet tanager today and I was looking out the window and out pops a summer tanager. I had camera in hand but no tripod and in my excitement my hands were really shaking. There was alot of glare on the glass (along with spiderwebs) so the picture has an "interesting" affect.

I'm guessing this is a first year male and still molting into his breeding colors - such beautiful birds, I hope I get to see him again!


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Lovely Tanager! I like the effects - very painterly. The Summer Tananger are being spotted by my group - but alas, no Tanagers of any kind for me!! I really do like that photograph quite a bit the more I study it. It looks like the bird is inside a borealis.

Today I checked my Robin famly nest pretty much figuring they all fledged. All gone but I felt something in the bottom of the nest and got up on tiptoes and pulled it out. A dead baby for crying out loud. Almost big enough to fledge. The others must have sat on it and prevented it from eating or something. I know those Robins never make the nest big enough. It was dried up - sort of gross sounding I guess. They were all alive a week ago.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sat, Jun 2, 07 at 10:30

I totally agree with CT about your photo, Jean! It's so ethereal and misty, simply gorgeous! Almost like a dream picture. Your subject is decked out in fabulous spring attire, too! :D I particularly love the yellow "lips".

Ack! Sorry about your poor mummified robin chick, CT! The only gross part is how it must have felt to touch it. That is sort of freaky. But...I'm weird enough to keep something like that, like a memento. A little more intense than all of the feathers I collect from my yard, but I wouldn't be able to resist! LOL

I finally figured out how to record a memo on my camera, to go with an image, so I've been trying to get a recording of our barn owl. I heard it this morning, but I wasn't fast enough (or early enough), so hopefully, it'll only be 2 or 3 days until I hear it again. Now, I just need to figure out how to store the .wav file online, so I can share it with you all!

The strange one,
Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Brenda, if you get the .wav file, email it to me and I can upload it to my website (assuming you can't upload it to Photobucket).

CT, you've braver than me - I'd be getting a mirror before I would stick my hand into a birds nest!

I took a cedar waxwing to a rehabber today. My husband was cutting grass and saw him in the grass just a few feet from where he was cutting. He stopped the tractor and just watched him until he could get my attention (I was working on my stone wall). I walked down the hill and watched as it attempted to fly, just short little flights, not more than a few feet each time. I went in the house and grabbed a towel and was able to get within a foot of him. I covered him with the towel and carefully carried him up to the house where we put him in a cat carrier. He was holding both his wings in the normal position and really didn't appeared to be stunned or overheated. I called the nature center and they said to bring him in. It was a long drive, an hour away and mostly interstate. My a/c is not working in my car and I'm not sure I would have used it in fear of him getting chilled. I had my sunroof and windows down to get good air circulation but I can just imagine what those big semis sound like to a little bird. The consensus at the nature center is that he is blind - they couldn't say yet whether it is permanent or not. They thought it could be from swelling on the brain from flying into something or cataracts. He was several hundred feet from the house and we were both outside so I don't know if he hit any of our windows or not. I was amazed at how calm he was as I approached him and when he was in the cat carrier, but being blind he didn't know what was going on. They said they would take him to a vet and depending on the outcome, if he was releasable I could pick him up and release him here. Poor thing, I was in tears when I left the nature center. SO good thoughts please, there's a little cedar waxwing that needs all the help he can get.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 3, 07 at 8:42

That just breaks my heart, Jean! I can only imagine how you felt (and feel!). You're such a good person, driving the little fella so far and caring so much. We will be sending positive thoughts to him for a healthy recovery! *sniffle*

(I would have totally been stressing out about the effect of the big rigs and loud noises, too!)

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Oh darn - that is sad Jean. I'm so sorry. Thank you for taking the bird to a rehabber. I'm crossing my fingers and sending positive thoughts to your waxwing for the best outcome - such lovely birds. You did what most people would not bother to do and have given the bird it's best chance already. My heart goes out to you. Keep us posted. CT


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I'll be sending good thoughts to that little bird. Hopefully, its just brain swelling, and when that goes down, he will be back to normal. How sweet of you to take care of him.
I have a chicken that is sick. She's probably going to die. I'm just trying to keep her comfortable. But when I look at her, I have to believe that we all have very similar souls.......just in different bodies.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 3, 07 at 19:44

Awww, I'm sorry for your chicken, too, Catherine! I hope she goes real peacefully.

As much as I disagree with their rowdy bug catching methods around my plants, I really do love to watch the free-roaming neighborhood roosters and hens we have around here. They always cheer me up!

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Last week I was crabbing again at my friends pier and after we had brunch and walked up the hill and down a ravine in their woods to spy on a den of foxes. We had half a black snake found in the yard with chew marks on both ends and took that with us. The vixen ran as we heard something move away and the fox kits were nosy about us and two came around one side of the den and the third peeked at us from the left side of the den and brush pile. They are grey foxes and about the size of a small cat. I tossed the piece of black snake the the bravest of the kits climbed over some logs and branches and retrieved it. They all started munching on it. I wish I had my camera with me. My friend Lois said she and her husband Don walked to the den one more time but not as close as the day we went. She saw the Vixen lying down near the den watching her kits play and then when she say Lois and Don she puffed up her face at them trying to look bigger but she didn't attack or anything. They retreated and said they won't be bothering them again because they fear she might move them to a less safe spot.

Update on the baby possums - sadly none of them made it. I called the rehabber and she said they started bruising from when the mom got hit by the car with them inside and lived two days more. They were quite young to rehab anyway and the impact trauma didn't improve their chances, but at least they didn't die out on the street abandoned.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 4, 07 at 8:45

Oh, that really sucks about the possums, CT! :( I'm glad they at least had a chance, though, thanks to you!

That whole fox experience sounds so wonderful! Fox kits have to be some of the cutest babies on the planet. :D

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Hi! I came across this site while searching on ways to stop starlings from raiding my feeders! Apparently you can't. Anyway, there are some interesting stories here and Amaqan, you birds are beautiful! I have an Amazon Yellow Nape and he keeps me laughing throughout the day. The things he picks up are amazing. He has a voice for me and one for my husband so you can always tell when he's imitating a conversation between us.....he'll talk really high, then low and raspy and he goes back and fourth between those voices. He makes a phone ringing sound and says "Hello? Hi. I'm okay how are you?"...which is actually what I say when I pick up the phone. He does a lot more but there are too many things to mention right now.

I thought I would share these picture with all of you. Not too long ago I came home form work and found this owl sitting on my fence. I couldn't believe my eyes! I believe it's a great horned owl...maybe some of you can confirm that. They aren't that great but this was as close as I was able to get as I think he was watching me. Click on the zoom button to get a better view:

Here is a link that might be useful: owl 1


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Second Owl Picture

second owl picture:

Here is a link that might be useful: owl 2


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 4, 07 at 19:28

Welcome, Musik! That definitely looks like a great horned. Wow, I would LOVE to see one of those in my yard, with its (almost) unnerving stare. I bet that was such an awesome experience! GREAT pic, btw!

Your bird sounds so funny. Please feel free to post pics of him, along with more stories. :)

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I second the welcome! That is a great picture of the great-horned owl - and just sitting on the fence like that - wow! And unfortunately I'm not sure what you can do about starlings - I typically only get them in winter but this spring I still have a few hanging around. I do have a starling resistant suet feeder but it doesn't keep them off entirely but it does make it a little harder for them to just hang out on it. You can try feeding them fruit (which they love) to keep them away from the feeders but you might be just inviting more!

Jenny, have your hummers and orioles returned?

CT, awwww on the fox kits! I've never seen fox kits before. We have the red foxes which are a bit bigger, more the size of small dog. I'm sorry the possums didn't make it, they were so small I'm sure the chances were slim but you were a sweetheart for rescuing them and at least giving them a chance.

I didn't hear from the rehab center today, they made a point of telling me that I could call them tomorrow but if they learned anything today they would call me. It's mostly volunteers and I am sure they are swamped most the time. I really hope they have a C3D on staff though - I want only the best for my little waxwing :^)


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Welcome Musick - I have a neighbor with that name! Good looking owl photo and I'm surprised it sat there for the photo op but lucky you! I only hear them late at night or early morning before sunrise at my home. I was deer hunting once in Western Maryland and one landed right next to me in the same tree I was in. It was pitch black but I heard the wings and thought maybe it was an early turkey spooked out of it's roost (those helicopter sounding wing beats) so I flipped on my flashlight and face to face with a Great Horned, a really big one! We both had a look of shock on our faces I'm sure.

Jean - I always see more Grey foxes than red in this county. They can climb trees too. I startled one one time walking near the edge of a salt marsh and it leaped straight up in the air really high when it noticed me. I thought I would die laughing. If it could have talked I imagined it would have hollered 'whooooo hoo, you scared the hell-o out of me'.

I've stopped feeding for a few days asI have too many Grackles with young just woofing down all the food. You will have to supply the source for the starling proof suet feeder - I've never seen one of those. Does it work on Grackles?

Oh - a story that happened tonight. I am feeding a feral cat for my neighbor (the crazy cat lady) for 2 weeks. This one cat is named Fluffy and has lived in an extremely wooded area off an office park (no homes) only engineering firms, etc. There is a pond in the woods nearby and I can hear a zillion frogs.

Anyway - the black and turkey vultures hang out for this cat's food. It is pretty gross. Carolyn the cat lady feeds her at 5pm but the cat is not afraid of her and comes up to eat with all these vultures hanging out everywhere. They are on the ground, on top of a trailer, on the metal building roof, the trees, clicking their toenails on the metal roof. It is downright spooky.

There is vulture poop on the field near the building and parking area. I can smell these birds - they stink up the area - an acrid stench is the best I can describe it.

Well, for the last four days I've gone almost near dark and have foiled the vultures time-wise because I cannot get this cat to eat while I am close and I can't leave the food. By tonight however the vultures have already caught on I come later and they are all hanging out watching me. None on the ground but all the usual places up above. Clicking their toenails again.

I call Fluffy (who is 10 years old BTW and spayed) and living as a feral the whole time, and she is a no show tonight. So, I take the car and drive two seconds on the upper road and right back and the damn vultures are all over her dish and others are swirling in for a landing. I drive my car right up to them and hop out and start chasing them on foot. They scatter but they don't fly up, they run on foot until I get too close. Others are taking off and other land on the metal roof again, clicking their toenails. It is like a Stephen King movie. This place is absolutely deserted. In those few mintues the damn vultures ate the entire can of Friskies Salmon from the dish. Thankfully there was still some dry food left but I would not be surprised if the raccoons go for that after dark.

The night before two cardinals came down and ate from the dish as the cat waits for me to move away before it will come up to the food. It is a very wary cat. Tonight I even saw a Chickadee land above the dish and a woodpecker flew by. It is a bird haven back there and everybody knows there are handouts. Calling kitty kitty, here Fluffy, is the dinnerbell.

I never did see Fluffy tonight but I hope she gets some of that food!

I have to feed this cat until June 14th! I got suckered into this job. I was asked on May 12th if I could possibly do this and I was not given any date but said I would see and I would need the date first. Well, one day she calls and says ride with me to see where she feeds Fluffy, as if I had said yes, and I asked her when she was leaving as she hadn't given me a date yet and she says, tomorrow! Tomorrow! What the heck! Then she tells me it is for two weeks. What am I supposed to say when this cat needs to be fed and it starts tomorrow - nothing like a bit of manipulation huh?

Anyway - I am doing it for the cat, not the crazy cat lady! She is a long-haired grey and white cat with a pretty face. I know Carolyn can catch this cat and put her in a proper feral colony with the Rescue League that works where I live. She claims she can't catch the cat, but when she was showing me where to put the food, Fluffy came up and was rubbing against her legs, head butting her and she could pet her and everything. I got within 10 feet that time before Fluffy backed off. But, this cat won't come for me so I have to chase vultures! Tomorrow I am going just AFTER sundown as those damn vultures must roost. I'm glad there is nobody back there to see me chasing vultures across a parking lot and up a hill and off a trailer, but later at night it is kind of scary back there because it is completely deserted for the most part. I picked up lots of their feathers tonight (very big).

I saw a family of Canada goose walking by last night. I don't know what I'll run into after dark but I hope no raccoons or creepy people (my mind working overtime) as I hear the clicking of the toenails.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Ugh .... your description of the vultures has me shuddering. Such strange looking birds too. I'm guessing the feral cat will make out just fine on her own.

Heres the link to a suet feeder like the one that I have. It doesn't keep them off completely but it takes them a little while to figure out how to get to it and then I don't they are real comfortable hanging upside down. And they can't sit on top and peck away. This feeder is made of recycled milk bottles which is what I've been buying - besides being eco-friendly they are very easy to clean.

Here is a link that might be useful: Upside down suet feeder


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RE: another idea

I also have one suet feeder that I hang under a cone-shaped lid. The lid that I have hangs down over the feeder with just an inch of so of the suet feeder hanging down. The woodpeckers are used to flying in and perching on the side of a tree while the starlings are not as adept at doing that so they have to struggle to get to it. The link below is similar to what I have (I actually took mine from a triple-tube feeder that I don't use anymore) except mine is a bit deeper - a squirrel baffle might work too. It doesn't keep them off of it completely but it does keep them from ganging up on it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Domed lid


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Thanks Jean - I want a few of those! Don't you just love the 100 year guarantee - like who will be around long enough to collect? The only down side is there are birds that like suet that cannot cling upsidedown very well (or at all) - catbirds, brown thrashers, robins, bluebirds and mockingbirds. I guess I am stuck using both types but at least with this design the suet should last longer.

Yes - the vultures are kind of creepy. One time I pulled in and they were holding their wings out (like the do on cold mornings sometimes), but maybe they were cooling? I have a rental car for a few days and I asked for a compact car and they give me a Dodge Charger (perfect 'muscle type car' for charging vultures). LOL


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Thanks for the welcome guys! Yes, it was pretty awesome to see that owl. I wasn't aware that owls come out in the broad daylight like that....the picture was taken around 6PM....I guess he was preying on all the little birds that visit the many feeders in my yard. He had a very cold, chilling stare and seemed to be looking right at me. He stayed there a pretty long time...about 15 minutes. I watched him the whole time and when he finally took off his wing span was huge! I'll probably never get an opportunity to observe something like that again.

As for the starlings, I have a feeder that I fill with peanuts and raisins and they clean out all the raisins in 5 minutes then they start cleaning out the peanuts. It's ashame because they chase away all the lovely birds that visit that feeder in particular. The red bellied woodpecker, downey pecker, tufted titmouse, bluebird, nuthatch and chickadee. The starlings are ALWAYS on that feeder and whenever any of these birds try to get on it they are immediately chased away by this annoying bird!! GRRRR!! Jeanner, I wish baffles kept them away but I have squirrel baffles on all my feeders and that doesn't stop them at all. I think I have super-starlings where I am! I just hope they go away soon!

Brenda, I will post a pic of my amazon when I have more time along with some more things he says...he has a HUGE vocabulary and LOVES to sing..especially in opera!

Comettose, I can almost picture all those vultures sitting there tapping their claws....very creepy! I remember seeing a program on vultures and they are pretty vile creatures. On it they showed a bunch of them eating this dead animal...there were about 20 of them all sticking their head inside the gut of the animal and when they pulled their heads out they were covered in blood and intestines. It was so disgusting...and they showed them excrete this slimy white substance on their legs. Apparently they do that when they are hot and it cools them down...gross nontheless and a picture that is forever etched in my mind...yuck!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Aw, bad news - the waxwing didn't make it. Is it okay to cry at work over a bird?


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 5, 07 at 11:32

Oh, so many new posts! But first...LMAO!!!! @ the fox jumping in the air!! 'whooooo hoo, you scared the hell-o out of me' THAT is hilarious!

And your description of the vultures is scary, I agree, CT!! The clicking! Oh, MY! Stephen King should write a story about that!

We saw 2 turkey vultures while on a trip to the coast. They were on the side of the road, eating on a dead deer. It was a pretty awesome experience, seeing them so close! It's almost like their bodies are ugly for a reason - eat gross things, look gross. LOL They do a good service when they eat dead stuff, but they should lay off the kitty food. :D

Jean, I forgot to thank you so much for the offer of storing the .wav file! I think you're right about being able to upload it to Photobucket. I had a great opportunity this morning to capture the sound, but I messed up again. A couple more days, hopefully!

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Oh, Jean, I'm so sorry to hear he didn't make it :( Just know that you did all that you could.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Comettose:

I have a picture of those vultures hanging around like those flying monkeys in the Wizard of Oz. Just waiting for you to appear with the food and pick it apart like they did with the scarecrow.

Musick:

I am having a little owl envy here.

Jean:

Hummingbirds have returned, but no more orioles :( Sorry to hear about the waxwing. I have cried over many a bird, and squirrel too.

Your story reminds me of the time my daughter and I went to an Indian's game. It was cold, raining and windy as all get out. On the way to the game we saw a bird huddled against a building. It was the one of the strangest birds we had ever seen, so we knew it wasn't from around here. It had long legs, hardly any tail and a real long beak. It was tan and brown in color. After getting totally drenched and chilled to the bone (and worried about the bird) we left the game during the third inning. Sure enough the poor bird was still huddled shivering against the building. I scooped it up in my Indian's hat and when we got home put it in a cage on a heating pad with a towel around it. I spent the rest of the afternoon calling anyone I thought could help it. I called the zoo, who referred me to the museum, who referred me to the Lake Erie Nature Center on Wolfe Rd. They told me to bring it in, but hurry because they closed at 3 p.m. It was now 2:45 p.m. They told me if I left immediately they would keep the place open for me. We made it there in record time. Got there just as they were locking up. They told me it was a Virginia Rail that was migrating and probably flew or was blown into one of the office buildings. It was in shock and was missing a few flight feathers. I left the bird in their care. They told me to call back on Monday morning and they would let me know how the bird was doing. When I called them back they told me it was eating, and they were going to keep it in rehab till it's flight feathers grew back. I called them every day for the next two week to see how it was doing. The last time I spoke to them they told me it was en route to a swamp in one of the Metroparks for release. Wish every story had a happy ending like my Virginia Rail's did. You did everything you possibly could for that poor little waxwing.

Jenny


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

So sorry to hear about your waxwing Jean:-(
You did what you could but that is often the outcome. Wild animals that get hurt often don't fair well. Being captive is something they have to overcome as well as injury.

Jenny - glad to hear your Rail made it. I am taking my camera with me tonight and that almost asures I won't see one darn vulture! I am going just before dark and not putting the food out until dark so maybe I won't see them again with any luck. I'll try to take some photos if I do see them and I get a chance.

Look who I found this morning peeking from behind a porch cushion. At first I thought it was a tree frog until I moved the cushion to get a closer look and it was a moth. Anyone know what kind? Zone 7 - Southern Maryland (St. Mary's County). It has a fat head/face with a Jiminy Cricket look to it but that is not really it's head. Just a few minutes ago (9 or more hours after the morning photo) I went outside again and it is still there. I picked it up and it crawled on my fingers. It's body is also mottled but not as bright. The actual face or mouth parts are really tiny and the totally black antenna curl like a handlebar moustache. In the photo the antenna are laid back to the side. Those dark, black marks that look like eyes are all false. The whole moth is about 2" long or slightly less. I presume it will take off come darkness. He better watch out. There are small piles of brown moth wings (sans bodies) under my porch light due to several tree frogs that eat out there every night. CT

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 5, 07 at 19:50

Jean, I'm SO sorry about your waxwing! I hope you were able to get some privacy to shed some tears.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Arlene Ripley ID'd my moth and it is not a good moth. It is a Carpenterworm Moth. Link below - scroll down to Cossidae and click on the moth and you will see other photos. I should have killed it while I had it!

Today Fluffy was there and two vultures, but chasing the birds and taking photos at the same time is probably not going to result in much (I've not downloaded them yet). I snuck up on one behind a parked truck, it was hiding behind the big double tires, and instead of just snapping the shot I peeked first and it saw me (we were face to face) and it ran under the trailer and up the hill. I raced up the hill and saw a second one and I snuck up on them again once they went around the corner of the building and then my camera said 'low battery'. Damn!

Well, the cat ate the canned food and half of the milk/water mix she has me feed it but none of the dry. I was continuing to watch to see if the vultures would come back and they did not. It is almost dark now and I see something brown and larger in the distance making it's way out of the woods and along the grassy area to the food.

I turned my car around and charged back into the back parking lot to see what it is and it turns out to be an adult Grey Fox. I aim my car for it to scare it off and it takes off into the woods. The whole time Fluffy is watching from the grassy knoll.

I also saw two Green Herons fly into the trees above the food dish, one rabbit nearby, and one catbird. What a zoo back there. That cat is getting precious little of the food left for it, and only if it shows up and eats quickly. I know that fox would have polished off everything off given the chance.

I'll see what my vulture photos look like and keep trying for others.

Here is a link that might be useful: Carpenterworm Moth -- Prionoxystus robinae


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Ah jeanner........so sorry to hear about the little bird. At least it wasn't alone, and you were so kind to it.

My son saw a nest on a branch hanging over the creek tonight, so off I went with my camera. I'm afraid the pics aren't very good.........but the subjects were great!
I had a pic of the 2 parents and the kids, but it was too blury. Those gnatcatchers are sooo fast. I hope you like them.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

It was such a beautiful day today that all I could think about was how he was missing out on hanging with his flock. So sad. Luckily my cube is at the end of a row with no-one next to me so I could sniffle in privacy.

Musick, I'm sorry I didn't really explain the squirrel baffle, it hangs over the feeder not under it. I don't have any ideas for the platform/hopper feeders though, I have the same problem with the starlings and the peanuts.
They also raid my fruit feeders. In the winter I had a resident mockingbird that did a great job of chasing the starlings but he's been mostly awol lately.

Well I thought that was a cool moth too until I read the description. There are so many different moths, I don't know how anyone keeps them all straight. Speaking of moths, the phoebe comes every morning and feasts on the moths on the front porch. And I don't know why but he is also chasing away the buntings from the feeders - why the buntings and not the goldfinches???


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RE: how'd I miss that???

catherine, I don't know how I missed your post but those pictures are fantastic! Look at those little darlings crammed in that little nest - I hope they fledge soon! Those gnatcatchers are tough to get, they are worse than warblers or kinglets!

CT - I think you need to spend sometime back there with the binoculars, sounds like a great spot! Other than the vultures - of course you could always pick up some road kill on the way to feed them :^)


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Thanks jeanner,
I realize what a fantastic opportunity it was, to get so close to these gnatcatchers. I just wish I was a better photographer. I really need to force myself to sit down for a half hour a day and read the instruction manual! And maybe carry around at least a unipod.
Normally I would have been worried about spending so much time this close to a nest, since our scents could have attracted a coon or dog to the nest, but this was hanging about 8' from a bridge (eye level), and about 12' off the ground.....so it was the perfect opportunity without attracting a predator to the nest.
I think they will probably fledge within a day or 2. They really are packed in there!
Camera question for you: Many times, the light is just low enough (on "auto") that when I press the button to take a pic, the flash mechanism pops up. I can quickly press the button again to take the pic, but by then, the sound of the flash mechanism popping up has scared the subject and they fly off.
I can put it on a "no flash" setting, but then its a really slow film speed and it is usually blurry. Is there anyway around this? The flash mechanism popping up is so loud. Thanks jeanner!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 6, 07 at 10:33

I've seen some of those moths around here, too, CT. One thing to remember (something I found on a website about them) is, "Healthy trees do not attract pests." These moths and their larvae seem to be attracted to trees that are already stressed in some way. And the birds are attracted to them for lunch. LOL But don't kick yourself too much over not killing it when you had the chance. :)

Catherine, those are GREAT pics! Just look at 'em all crammed into that tiny nest! LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Catherine, those are some great pics! OMG, they are adorable!

Jeanner, the squirrel baffles I have are on top of the feeders, not underneath. I have too many starlings to do anything about them at this point....I guess I should try to ignore them as hard as that may be!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Cat - fantastic photos! I love the mud nest stuck to the branch like the bird used super glue. They do need to fledge as the one in the front right is the runt and can't get much food (notice the bigger ones on the branch side where Mom lands to feed). It does not take long for a runt to get pushed out or weak. Most likely the runt is the last egg laid and therefore the last to hatch and a one day jump on growth is all it takes to be bigger than the rest. I know this is nature but it is a part of it I care not to know about or see but manage to do both frequently for some reason. There is no brotherly love between baby birds! I wish I had some gnatcatchers but appears they like to nest close water to make the mud nest. You did say close to a bridge and I assume 'bridge over water' but then maybe not and she ordered in Evian!

Last night I pulled up and saw one vulture and it ran behind the big double tire of a trailer. At first, before I could even park my car, it ran and opened it's wings while running, and I managed a great photo of the dashboard of my rental car! I saw it was hiding behind the big double tire so I got out of the car and snuck up to it. Instead of just taking my camera and taking a pic blindly, I just HAD to look around the tire first, and there we were - two inches face to face - too late for me to pull my slow camera and click.

The bird bolts under the first semi and is scooting towards the second semi (the one with no tires) to run up the hill and behind the building just as I race around the 1st trailer to get it's photo. When I corner the big trailer I see two birds - the one on the left is the one that saw me and is beating it up the hill. The second bird on the right is just realizing I am there and has not yet spun around to race after the other one!

I got one lousy shot of these two.

Later, after the birds departed and my batteries died I moved Fluffy's food, who by the way, was watching all this action cool as a cucumber from the grassy knoll. So she eats the canned salmon and half the milk/water mix I give her as I am watching from the road about 50 feet off. Finally she walks away and I am getting ready to leave and I see something brown coming out of the thick woods at the end of the parking lot and it is moving towards the bowl of food. I race the car back into the drive and into the back lot and go right at it so I can get a look before it runs off. It is a adult Grey fox that just stares at me like it is thinking what the heck are YOU and then decides it better beat it out of there as my car is bigger than it.

I've come to the conclusion that Fluffy only gets what she eats at first sitting because absolutely everybody knows about the handouts.

Oh - the shot of the two vultures taken on the run BTW. That is vulture poop I think, under the trailer. They go on top the trailers too. I will continue to try and get pictures but they run very fast. I might take some road kill and set up a photo op. - haven't decided on that one yet.

Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Comettose, that's a lot of vulture poop! It looks like you were able to get pretty close to them. Also, that's pretty cool that you were that close to a grey fox! We don't have them here in jersey.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 8, 07 at 9:49

Uh, oh...I just had to post this moth story. So much for the general theory that only weak plants are attacked. I wonder if Bt would work on your carpenterworm moth(s), CT.

Different kind of moth, but still potential for destruction

Great bird pic! I have to say that I'd pay good money for a video of you tearing around in your car, trying to scare off the wildlife. LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

great owl pic, musik! i can only see barred to stay still so long. hornies are hear and gone, but the glimpse is well worth it.

ct, you terrorizer of vultures! bad ct! :)
you would be amazed at how much personality they have. i was met someone in northern wisconsin who rehabbed one to whom the vulture became very attached even after release. add to that, it was an adult when rehabbed. lucky for you they aren't full when you are chasing them. they aren't too afraid if all they do is run. but, if they were too full and afraid they would vomit before flying off!

well, i heard a diff owl call in minnesota and can't id it- even with my stokes cd! maybe it was a barred or hornie with a canadian accent. i was hoping it was a great grey. i only heard it one night and twice at that.

i also visited the aquarium in duluth. in one of the areas was an enclosed walk-through, though not huge, wetland "exhibit." residents included birds that were taken to rehab but non-releasable.

while i was searching for native minnesota owls, i came across this:

Here is a link that might be useful: ruby the bald eagle


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too precious!

i just had to add this link from the above site. how i love this pic!

Here is a link that might be useful: barn owlet


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 10, 07 at 19:49

Oh, FTM, that barn owlet is precious! LOL I can't stop giggling at him. He wants to live with me, I can see it in his eyes. :D Those legs go all the way down, too! LOL So sweet. Oh, and I got a recording of what I think is our resident barn owl, but....DH left the camera at his DD's. :(

Ruby is incredible! The expressions on bald eagles' faces always throw me off, because they look so intense...but I still want to cuddle. I must have issues. :D

I had a dog once that would do what the vultures do after eating...if he got too excited. LOL

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

The bluebirds have landed! I was out working on my rock wall (with a swollen toe) when I thought I saw one fly over my head. I had dumped what was left of some mealworms on a plate this morning since they were getting old and so far ignored by the bluebirds. I put the plate on the deck just 20 feet from where I was working but out of my line of sight so I wasn't sure if anyone was eating them. I came in the house for a few minutes and lo and behold there was mom, dad and three younguns feasting on the mealworms! It so cheered me up after a really bad couple of weeks.

The funny thing is that I had put a branch out on the deck hoping the phoebe (who has been coming every morning and eating the moths off the front porch) would land on it so I could see the little fella. But all the birds like to perch on it so I had left it there and those bluebirds were all over that perch!

Anyway, couldn't decide which pictures I like the best, so heres the whole lot of 'em! (just click on the links to each picture).

Now I have to go read FTM's links ......

Oh and Catherine, on the flash - I rarely use flash (and maybe I should after seeing your results) but if you put your hand over it, just enough to allow it to open but not snap back, it makes less noise. Also, there is a button on the left of the camera that raises the flash (on the left on my camera, not sure about yours). If you do that in advance you can hold your hand over it easier. Easier said than done though when you trying to get a bird!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bluebirds


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Great rescue stories - they really touch your heart!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 11, 07 at 11:52

All of those pics are wonderful, Jean! My favorite has to be the 3rd one, of one of the little guys getting fed. That's such a good idea about using the branch, too!

I hope your bad weeks are over, and that your toe is healing up! What did you do to it? Doesn't sound fun, that's for sure. :(

Brenda


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Think it's a butterfly, but might be a moth...

I lucked out this weekend. I was in the yard when this butterfly kept landing (almost on me). It took a while for it to stop moving it's wings up and down, but when it did......can't believe how crystal clear the pic is. Just wanted to share it with ya'll.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Jenny


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

very nice!

toe? i missed that somewhere. back to reread...


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jun 11, 07 at 18:59

That is beautiful, Jenny! I've only seen a couple different butterflies in my yard, even with all of the supposed butterfly-friendly plants. Mainly, we get painted ladies, but they're not as pretty as that one! The one monarch and one tiger striped something or other I've seen were so skittish, I couldn't get close at all for a photo.

Thanks for sharing!

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Great picture of the butterfly - very crisp and colorful! Isn't that a red admiral? I've been trying to get a picture of a spicebush swallowtail - at least I think that's what it is but I can't get close to it.

I thought these pictures of a pair of chipping sparrows were interesting - there's a twinkle in those eyes!

This first picture shows the female in, shall we say, a sexy pose?

This second picture shows the pair having a little rendezvous. They stopped short of the actual deed and flew off somewhere a little more private :^)

As for the toe, I have no idea what happened. It could be from falling rocks or jamming my toe into the ground from trying to dig on a hill. I don't think it's broken, just a little bruised and a constant reminder that I can be a real klutz.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Why that little hussy! Lol I just love your bird pics Jean. They make my day. Thanks again for sharing them with us.

Jenny


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 12, 07 at 11:19

It's a sparrow booty call! LOL Man, I've been seeing a lot of that lately from the houses. Swinging from the Christmas lights (didn't take them down this year :D) takes balance and....definitely some mutual twinkling. :D

I also noticed that they not only chatter when a jay (potential stalker) is in the vicinity, but when they're looking for love! "Danger, danger! Wait, come here, big boy. Danger!" LOL

GREAT pics!

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

That is a Red Admiral (an older one from the pale black coloration).

Lordy - that sparrow is an exhibitionist! LOL at the booty call!

Wonderful bluebird photos Jean! They did nest nearby afterall!

I currently have an injured Blue Jay I picked up from the shoulder of the road on my way to work this morning. At first I thought it was going to be a definite goner as it was shaking, had pooped in place, was sitting oddly, and as it was breathing it was also blowing bloody air bubbles with each breath, and blood was slowly dripping out of it's mouth. I tipped it forward so the blood would come out of it's mouth (it did a tiny bit) in case it was just the same blood going in and out with each breath, and not new bleeding. I called the rehabber and at first we discussed dispatching it, but when I went over to it again to where I had moved it out of the road and into the grass and the bleeding had stopped completely and the bird had a very strong foot grip, and had stopped shaking so much. We decided not to put it down just yet and my rehabber (Mary) said she would call the songbird rehabber she knows. So, I put the bird in a small box and took it to work. It rested for about 3 hours and then I brought the box home at lunchtime and it is still in the small box in my bathroom in the dark. I peeked at it and it has lots of strength now (and fought to get out of the box) and was sitting completely upright now. No blood at all. It had pooped again in the box. I've yet to hear back from anyone yet. I hope the songbird rehabber is not on vacation. I would like to test to see if the bird can walk or fly but I don't want to stress it more right now and decide what to do later. It is resting quietly in total darkness which should help it more. I have to go back to work now until 6pm, but I'll leave and meet the rehabber if she calls me back. I'm hoping the songbird person calls, but I at least hope to hear back someone.

CT

It is an adult. Waiting to hear from someone is awful! I wish they would call right now!

CT


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

CT - what's the latest on the blue jay? I really hope he's okay, we need more good rescue stories :^)

An update on the bluebirds, there are 4 babies!!! And getting bluer every day - this is so much fun watching them, I think I'm in love!

At 5:30 this morning I noticed a large moth out on the deck, on the side of a pot and fluttering it's wings. I considered going out to get pictures but the bed was calling me and it won. I was pleasantly surprised when I got up and hour later and it was still there. This moth was large, with a wingspan of at least 5 inches! After a little research I found out it is a silk moth, the largest North American moth. And the markings are fascinating, I tried to rationalize how they evolved with such complex coloration and what in nature it is trying to mimic as camouflage. Anybody got any ideas?

Ceanothus silk moth

Ceanothus silk moth closeup


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Wow Jean, that silk moth is beautiful! Is it native? I can't imagine a US silk moth for those Detroit Kimonas I guess:-)

I still have the Blue Jay. I've not gotten a return call from one lady that does song birds. She is painting her house her son said but he took my number, but no return call. I'd rather they say no than leave you hanging. Another lady (Mary) doesn't want to take it but a third lady (Gerda) is trying to convince her. I called a fourth person (Ron) and hopefully he will return my call tomorrow. He told Mary he would help me out if the songbird lady didn't get back to me.

Anyway - the blood and air bubbles are a sign of a concussion and a broken blood vessel which can repair itself. The bleeding stopped almost right away.

The bird rested all day and when I got home from work the one rehabber I was talking to said it 'was ready' to go because I told her it was moving around in the box, no more bleeding, no shaking and was aware of me and wanted out of the box (scared to death more like it). Adult birds are tough as they are terrified of people.

Anyway - I took it outside in my back yard and placed it on the ground. It did nothing at first but tilt it's head way up to look at me. Then it hopped a few feet away (so it's legs are not broken). Then it shakily flew about 3 feet up into a low branch of a dogwood tree, but then hopped on the ground again.

No great flight into the big trees. Mostly ground hopping still, stopping and staring, etc., so it is not ready to go yet. If it cannot fly up high into the trees and goes to ground it will be quickly killed by all the cats around here or lord knows what. Heck, a box turtle will eat a grounded bird.

This bird was found close to my home (probably coming to my feeders). I looked on the internet and it said birds with a concussion can look OK but 48 to 72 hours later will tell if they will die from brain swelling, so its condition is guarded.

I have it in my bathroom, still in the box but the box is laying over on the side and open so the bird can get out if it wants to but the room was pitch black until I bought a tiny orb shaped night light. It little light looks like a moon and almost no light, very subtle.

It would roost at night anyway, but come morning I will turn on the overhead light, do a quick look and then leave it alone with the light on. I put a shallow dish of water and another shallow dish of hulled sunflower seeds and canned catfood.

I'm hoping at some point it will get some water in the am tomorrow on it's own when the light goes on. I'm hoping it will continue to improve. I am hoping one of the rehabbers will call me back!

I don't want to keep looking at it as it said on the internet not to disturb adult rescued birds as little as possible because it causes so much stress to be handled by humans (we are their enemy). It is imperative it rest to heal itself with time. I have high hopes for this bird to make it. It will need water soon though. You cannot use a dropper as the bird can aspirate.

On another note on the way back to work I saw this enormous turtle getting ready to walk across Buck Hewitt Rd. (about the same location I found the Jay this morning) and I stopped and picked it up and put it in my trunk and drove it about 50 feet and took it down the hill to a small, shallow stream behind our community. Actually the stream was just mud but we had a thunderstorm tonight, so it has water now. I needed two hands to hold this turtle, that is how big and heavy it was, and at first it scratched me a bit and then I figured out just exactly where to put my hands. It hissed too, but was generally gentle. When I turned it over to look at the underside it poked it's feet and head in almost as much as a box turtle can. It was not as domed as the box but not flat either. Not very ornate in shell, but had some bright yellow near the eyes and some red on it's feet. The bottom was plain yellow/brown with no design to speak of. I wish I had my camera and then later remembered I did have my phone camera but didn't think of it. I went on the Maryland DNR sight and determined it was a Red-bellied Cooter and the shell was over a foot long. They are on the move this time of year for mating and egg laying as per the DNR guy I talked to (when I called them about the bird). I hope like heck it stays out of the road. With all this construction down on Buck Hewitt Rd. there are dump trucks that are flying down the road plus cars cutting through too fast. This is the same road that has been taking all the squirrels (still happening, along with rabbits, and birds, snakes). It is a killing road! I hate it. It is a 30 mph road and people do 60+.

Since they have been ripping out most of the thick forest on the far end of the road Ill bet many of these animals are being displaced. I almost cannot bear to drive it anymore. How come I see these injured animals and the other cars don't??? My son said it is because they are not looking on the sides like I do or they don't care.

I for one cannot pass an injured animal period. I cannot look the other way. It breaks my heart either way, but at least when I stop it is better. I feel like shaking the crap out of all these speeders and land developers!

I'll keep you posted on the Jay. Keep your fingers crossed! CT


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Good news! This morning I put out food and a shallow pan of water on the ground and my plan was to put the bird on a tree limb I could see from inside to observe. When it grabbed my finger with both feet I moved it out of the box and it took off to beat the band. Nothing feeble about that flight. It went straight up for the 100 foot trees and was gone. I did note a few of the white tips on the end of it's tail were missing so maybe I'll see it again. There was a roving band of other Blue Jays earlier which I think he is part of this group. I hope he makes it permanently, one never knows, but being able to fly away big makes it a good day.


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  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Wed, Jun 13, 07 at 10:57

Oh, CT, I'm so glad to hear the story of the blue jay turned out ok after all! As well as the turtle! I sometimes wish I didn't love animals like I do. It would mean less stress and heartache.

Jean, that moth is incredible! Is it named Ceanothus for the plant? We have native Ceanothus plants here (California lilacs), but that moth looks nothing like anything found on the plants. It almost looks like an oak leaf after it changes color in the fall.

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

CT - How exciting! I can only imagine how you felt as you watched him fly away! I'm so glad you were able to witness that and what a wonderful pay-back for your time and concern. I love a story with a happy ending!

I oopsed on the id of the moth - it is a silk moth but the eastern moths are named Cecropia Moth - same basic moth I believe. And yes Brenda the Ceanothus silk moth is named after the lilac which is it's primary host plant so keep your eyes peeled, they only live 2 weeks!

So the swelling in my toe is finally gone down but I now have a blood blister on my index finger from pinching it between two rocks. I think this rock wall is going to kill me but not before I finish it! But at least I won't be around to see it's demise when it tumbles after the first frost heave :^(


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Thu, Jun 14, 07 at 10:08

Geez, Jean! I think I missed the "I'm building a rock wall" post, but it sounds like it's going to be awesome! At least, I hope so, considering all of the pain you're having to endure. I'd love to see a pic when you're done!

That makes sense about the moths. I looked up pics of the Ceanothus one, and it does look VERY similar to the Cecropia moth. I'll have to tell my mom about them, too, since she has 2 Ceanothus! :)

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Well it might be too premature to have this happy ending. This is what I found out today when I saw my neighbor (who lives behind my house0:

My neighbor with her two grandchildren just reported to me they saw a bird yesterday and she thought something might be wrong with it because it let them get so close, but it otherwise looked fine. She told the children not to touch it as she thought it must be sick to allow them to approach like that. They got really almost to the point they could touch it if they had wanted to and it flew up onto her house roof. The last time they saw it was under my small crabapple tree in my front yard on the ground. My front yard often has my neighbors cats hiding in my shrubbery.

I had to ask....... was it a Blue Jay and she said yes. Darn it.

With this report I have to admit the bird is still having problems but it can still fly but it wont last long if it allows danger to approach so close. Brain swelling can last up to 48 to 72 hours, which is now, so apparently it is still having issues, but can fly. Hopefully it can feed itself and there is plenty of food available in my back yard and several water sources. Ive not seen the bird myself and Ive been looking for it, expecting, but hoping I would not see it, on the ground or having problems. I guess it is in natures hands right now, unless I find it, and I can call the rehabber's back.

I'll tell you, I am at my wit's end about my neighbors cats that roam free which is an ongoing issue with me aside from this one bird. They kill frogs and the birds I feed on my own property and more and more that is not sitting well with me. If I see this bird in the mouth of one of these cats I don't know how I am going to handle myself because I am going to be more than angry with these neighbors that only do what they feel like doing with no regard for the law or the fact they are tearing my heart out to see the death left behind. I think this time if I see this bird killed by these cats I will trap the cats and send them to the shelter. These neighbors have been pleaded with for years and I get nothing from them but lip service. :-( CT


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RE: -- Bird Sightings 6

I saw the bird tonight around 6pm on the ground in my back yard with two other Blue Jays, two Cardinals, two doves and misc. finches and Grackles flitting about. I can tell right away which one he was as he is puffed up a bit, his head is cocked sideways a bit, but he is hopping around looking for ground seeds with the other birds. Also, the partial missing white tail tips. I watched through bins even though I was 20 feet away and I know why his head is cocked to one side. His left eye is swollen shut so he is cocking his head to see the seeds on the ground with the other eye which looks OK. I managed to open the door and toss out some canned dog food. At least this bird is looking for food and there were some sunflower chips strewn about earlier this morning. He/she can fly but for now is blind in the left eye. Perhaps as the swelling goes down the eyesight will return but being hit in the head by a car two days ago cannot be great for the long term. This bird will have to get better quickly as it will stand out which we all know, in nature, is not a good thing. I saw some other jays chasing away a Cooper or Harris hawk a few yards away. If the Jay elects to hang out mostly in my back yard through it's recovery period it will be relatively safe from cats and other predators as my dog is out there quite a bit and he pays birds no mind at all. Rabbits and cats are another matter. I walked around the side of the house from the front and when the bird saw me it did fly to one tree to the right but then quickly flew to another tree to the left. So, it is aware and would not let me approach it too close which is a good sign. Oh - I hope this bird gets well........it is so sad and has me on edge.

I found a dead young Grackle out front in my garden today. What the heck killed that? A cat? Window strike? No real marks on it.

Is the weekend here yet?

Jean - on another note - Geez I hope you get through all those rocks without any more squished fingers! I had forgotten you said you were doing all that hard work. What an ordeal it is to move rocks around. Really takes it out of you to the point of exhaustion. Just try to keep the end game in sight where you will be enjoying the fruits of your hard labor!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Any updates on the bluejay? Did you see him today?

I think my fingers are safe for the weekend, it supposed to get to 96 degrees and I think my limit for rock moving is 90 degrees. What a dry, hot spring - my grass is so dry it's crunchy and it's only June.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I saw him this morning and he looks better, not perfect, but seems more coordinated. He is eating as I practically covered my back yard in sunflower chips! Lots of other previously missing species have returned for the feast too.

Too bad for the dry spring. We had a two week drought but then a thunderstorm so everything is green still. One thing about grass is it greens up again with the first good rain.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I saw the Blue Jay today and except for a slight head tilt he/she is fine. Eating, flying, perching OK on ground, feeders and fence. The eye is back to normal and the puffed feathers are back to normal. The white tail tips are still missing of course. It has joined (or rejoined) the small band of jay visitors I have at my feeders.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Yeah!!! Thats wonderful news Cometose!! Congratulations on a job well done.

I haven't seen the female bluebird in about a week - I'm hoping that just means she's got another brood and nothing has happened to her. But Dad and the four babies still come twice a day for their mealworms - they are quite the pigs!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

  • Posted by youreit z9b CA Sunset z8-9 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 19, 07 at 11:30

That is SO great to hear, CT! If you ever get a chance, I'd love to see a pic of the little survivor. :D

I'll be hoping for your bluebird's safety, too, Jean. Do they typically have broods in succession?

Brenda


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I think folks like you all and threads like this one are what's going to turn around a scary trend. This ran in the NY Times today. -- Zinnia


June 19, 2007
Editorial Observer

Millions of Missing Birds, Vanishing in Plain Sight

By VERLYN KLINKENBORG


Last week, the Audubon Society released a new report describing the sharp and startling population decline of some of the most familiar and common birds in America: several kinds of sparrows, the Northern bobwhite, the Eastern meadowlark, the common grackle and the common tern. The average decline of the 20 species in the Audubon Societys report is 68 percent.


Forty years ago, there were an estimated 31 million bobwhites. Now there are 5.5 million. Compared to the hundred-some condors presently in the wild, 5.5 million bobwhites sounds like a lot of birds. But what matters is the 25.5 million missing and the troubles that brought them down and are all too likely to bring down the rest of them, too. So this is not extinction, but it is how things look before extinction happens.


The word "extinct" somehow brings to mind the birds that seem like special cases to us, the dodo or the great auk or the passenger pigeon. Most people would never have had a chance to see dodos and great auks on their remote islands before they were decimated in the 17th and 19th centuries. What is hard to remember about passenger pigeons isnt merely their once enormous numbers. Its the enormous numbers of humans to whom their comings and goings were a common sight and who supposed, erroneously, that such unending clouds of birds were indestructible. We recognize the extraordinary distinctness of the passenger pigeon now because we know its fate, killed off largely by humans. But we have moralized it thoroughly without ever really taking it to heart.


The question is whether we will see the distinctness of the field sparrow its number is down from 18 million 40 years ago to 5.8 million only when the last pair is being kept alive in a zoo somewhere. We love to finally care when the death watch is on. It makes us feel so very human.


Like you, Ive been reading dire reports of declining species for many years now. They have the value of causing us to pay attention to species in trouble, and the sad fact is that the only species likely to endure are the ones we humans manage to pay attention to. There was a time when it was better, if you were a nonhuman species, to be ignored by humans because we trapped, shot or otherwise exploited all of the ones that got our attention. But in the past 40 years, we have killed all those millions of birds or, let us say, unintentionally caused a dramatic population loss, simply by going about business as usual.


Agriculture has intensified. So has development. Open space has been sharply reduced. We have simply pursued our livelihoods. We knew it was inimical to wolves and mountain lions. But we somehow trusted that all the innocent little birds were here to stay. What they actually need to survive, it turns out, is a landscape that is less intensely human.


The Audubon Society portrait of common bird species in decline is really a report on who humans are. Let me offer a proposition about Homo sapiens. We are the only species on earth capable of an ethical awareness of other species and, thus, the only species capable of happily ignoring that awareness. So far, our economic interests have proved to be completely incompatible with all but a very few forms of life. Its not that we believe that other species dont matter. Its that, historically speaking, it hasnt been worth believing one way or another. I dont suppose that most Americans would actively kill a whippoorwill if they had the chance. Yet in the past 40 years its number has dropped by 1.6 million.


In our everyday economic behavior, we seem determined to discover whether we can live alone on earth. E.O. Wilson has argued eloquently and persuasively that we cannot, that who we are depends as much on the richness and diversity of the biological life around us as it does on any inherent quality in our genes. Environmentalists of every stripe argue that we must somehow begin to correlate our economic behavior by which I mean every aspect of it: production, consumption, habitation with the welfare of other species.


This is the premise of sustainability. But the very foundation of our economic interests is self-interest, and in the survival of other species we see way too little self to care.


The trouble with humans is that even the smallest changes in our behavior require an epiphany. And yet compared to the fixity of other species, the narrowness of their habitats, the strictness of their diets, the precision of the niches they occupy, we are flexibility itself.

We look around us, expecting the rest of the worlds occupants to adapt to the changes that we have caused, when, in fact, we have the right to expect adaptation only from ourselves.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Great article Zinnia. It is true - humans think the world revolves around them and everything there is for the taking or exploitation.

Extinction is not just something that happened to the dinosaurs. It is happening at an alarming rate all around us. The big losers are large mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Plants take a huge hit every day also.

So, we must all change the way we live period or our earth and the life on it will all go. It is not far off either. Whoever said 'be fruitful and multiply and you shall inherit the earth' could not have had this in mind.

There are simple lifestyle changes everyone can do:

1. Use recycled toilet paper (not virgin paper)
2. Flourscent bulbs
3. Hybrid cars.
4. Hang clothes out on a line instead of the dryer
5. Carpool
6. Recyle all glass, aluminum, cans, paper
7. Plant trees and shrubs
8. Join community groups that go after general contractors and land developers and demand smart growth that concentrates people in certain areas.
9. Don't allow building on wetlands.

SO many other things....


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I find it interesting that the bobwhite is on the list considering they are a game bird and 10's of thousands are killed each year.

Ohio's "top" twenty(one) are as follows:
OHIO TRENDS
1.) Northern Bobwhite= -99%
2.) Grasshopper Sparrow= -97%
3.) *Henslows Sparrow= -85%
4.) Green Heron = -82%
5.) Vesper Sparrow= -81%
6.) *Cerulean Warbler= -80%
7.) *Red-headed Woodpecker= -78%
8.) Eastern Meadowlark= -75%
9.) Bobolink= -70%
10.) Hairy Woodpecker= -68%
11.) Northern Flicker= -67%
12.) Bank Swallow= -64%
13.) Red-winged Blackbird= -64%
14.) Yellow-breasted Chat= -63%
15.) Savannah Sparrow= -62%
16.) Acadian Flycatcher= -61%
17.) Eastern Wood Pewee= -60%
18.) Field Sparrow= -59%
19.) American Redstart= -58%
20.) *Prairie Warbler= -54%
21.) Great-crested Flycatcher= -52%

About half the list are grassland birds and their decline is being contributed to loss of habitat.

But on a good note, a nesting pair of Kirtland warblers has been found in Wisconsin. This warbler is considered to be the rarest songbird in the United States and previously only nested in jack pines in Michigan. In 1971 there were only 201 nesting pairs but in 2006 there were 1486 pairs due to conservation efforts to protect their nesting habitats. So maybe something good will come out of Audobon's published lists.

They will also be producing a list of birds that have increased and I'm betting bluebirds will be on the list which can be attributed to the many bluebird trails that have been erected over the last decade.

Here is a link that might be useful: Full story of Kirtland warbler in Wisconsin


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Cameras

Can someone recommend a digital camera for bird watching? I'm only now getting really into it and would like to get one that's really good and durable...and of course one with very good zoom. Can anyone help me with this?

Thanks in advanced!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Hi Musick - Jean uses a Canon Rebel and her photos are stunning. I whought she said 400mm zoom lens minimum but I'll her tell it.

I had an unusual bird sighting today - a very large blue jay with no tail feathers at all. Looked like a blue chicken. It flew OK. It is not my rescue jay. Right now I am flooded with large numbers of blue jays and Grackles that have young following after them. My jay hangs out with them.

I saw the cutest thing this morning - a mom squirrel with one of her young follow alongside and, over and over again, the baby would get on the mom's back in a hug and then tumble under her, causing her to pause. She would nuzzle a bit and move forward again and the baby did this continuously until she went up the tree (and baby up the tree too right behind her). Mom was being so patient, but kept going about her business, with a baby hug pause every few seconds. So sweet to see affection like that in wildlife.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Musik, as usual, it all depends on how much you want to spend and how much effort you want to put into learning how to use the camera. Have you ever used a 35mm camera before? You will get the best results with a 35mm camera and a good zoom. However there are some point-n-shoot cameras that do pretty well, especially if you can get close.

I have a Canon Rebel and a Canon 100-400mm pro-consumer lens. I bought the camera first and a 100-300mm consumer lens and then stepped up to the pro-consumer lens a year later. The real photographers use 600mm lenses, out of my price range.

Here's my website (still under construction and out of date I really need to get on it) but just some examples of what an average photographer can do with my setup. I've been doing this for a litte while (a little over a year) and still learn new things all the time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bird Gallery


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

jeanner, thanks for the info...I will check that camera out. BTW, your bird picture on your site are BEAUTIFUL!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

comettose........
Thanks for your comments on the earth. I'm afraid I've given up on the human race rising above their own selfish needs.
Sometimes I think that humans can't be of this earth. They just don't seem to have a built-in sense of balance, like all the other spieces have.
And even if we all recycled everything, it isn't going to get us out of the hole we've dug for ourselves, considering our massive, endless needs.
What an arrogant, short-sited bunch we are. :(
sorry to be a downer on this lovely thread. I'm just very discouraged with mankind. Maybe it comes from living in an area that is replacing all its farmland and rural areas with subdivisions and stores. We're building more roads and increasing our interstates from 4 to 8 lanes. Trying to talk to people about what's really important seems to fall on deaf ears most of the time. I write letters to the editor in the local paper and I'm sure I'm seen as a crazy old lady.
We have 33 acres, and sometimes I imagine that all of the wildlife in this region will end up trying to live on our little space, since it will be the only space with trees.
A heron flew over yesterday, very close to the ground in my yard. What a beautiful bird. I gave a hummingbird a shower yesterday, while watering my garden. It sat on a leaf of my pole beans and just enjoyed the heck out of the spray. A carolina wren juvenile was sunning itself on my deck railing. Goldfinches playing. Yellow warblers and common yellowthroats singing all day long. A water snake sunning itself next to the pond, while dragonflies darted in and there overhead. The smell of the neighbor farmer's corn fields. It was beautiful. Who could not want this peace and happiness?


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

"Who could not want this peace and happiness?"

Those that make money by the destruction of the land use that money to buy a piece of paradise somewhere else and then destroy that too.

Thankfully there are those that fight this. Don't give up or lose heart, your voice may be joined by another until you are heard, but in the meanwhile, prepare your land better for the expected intensification of wildlife by planting more food, cover, and shelter. Do your part by consuming less and wasting less, and encourage others who are close to you to do the same. Change can happen and voices can rise up.

Until ALL people put their population growth in check and start changing in every way possible, we will ruin our own planet for our own habitation which does not bode well at all for the what many perceive to be 'lesser' species in which we share this home. We have no right just because we are 'smarter' to consume everything around us to the detriment of everything and everyone else.

Take heart Cat - you are a gentle soul with a soft heart for nature but also a voice that cannot be stopped. Continue to speak out no matter if you think others see you as the 'crazy lady'. I'll wager there are many that agree with you - and you should ask them to have the courage to stand with you. In numbers we make more noise. In numbers we make things happen. Hold people accountable.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I wish I had your optimism Comettose.....
It seems like all the people moving out in this direction think the countryside is a place to do all those things they weren't allowed to do in the city. (loud cars, 4wheelers, fireworks, etc.)
Its getting close to impossible for people like you and me to buy country land anymore, since the farmers would rather sell it to developers. Its a real dilemma for them I suppose......sell it to another farmer for $3,000 an acre or to a developer for $20,000/ac.
Then the area plan commission and the county commissioners think they are leaving a wonderful legacy by building malls and subdivisions.
There is a place 8 miles south of us that was all farmland. 1,700 acres were sold to a developer who is putting in a city. The commissioners who approved this were so proud of themselves. And the people in the small town close to us are so apathetic, no one but me complained. I don't understand how people in neat little towns and rural people can only think in terms of "gee....isn't this great........a Home Depot only 5 miles away now.......and a Starbucks! .......and......." Why did they ever choose to live out here in the first place if they don't mind this "takeover"?
The only terms they think of is convenience and having more and more of the same things, only closer. How do you reach those kinds of people? They are so disconnected with nature that it isn't even part of their experience anymore. Then the developers promise to make these huge parks for the masses.(after they've bulldozed the natural landscape).
Developers and city officials are also trying to connect all the cities in this region with "rails to trails" paths so people can ride bikes through the countryside and see our "rural heritage". What a joke. Then they talk about building little shops all along these paths, since people "need to eat, and buy souveneirs".
I really feel like an alien. No, actually.......I feel like all of them are the aliens!
We have a paradise here.......and what are we doing with it??
I understand that the sole purpose of every organism on this planet is to reproduce. That's what its all about. But mankind seems to be doing it in a way that is so much more destructive than the other spieces.
I'll get off my soapbox now.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I think there is a difference in the way people view their homes compared to 50 years ago. They used to be homes, now they are just houses. Then it was a family home, many times handed down over generations. Now people move frequently, many times to "upgrade" so houses are more of an investment than a home. Hometown pride is suffering.

The closest town to me is battling the same thing. This area is the only area left in the county that is still farmland. The city commission wants it left as a small town and has been notorious for refusing zoning changes to allow developers to move in. But some of the farmers and those residents that want development are putting pressure on them. Luckily there is still some interest in keeping the developers out, I'm just not sure how long it will last.

I am pretty safe from any development in my immediate area. Any property that is lower than mine cannot be built on as it is in the retention basin for the dam. Another 3000 acres is owned by the county parks and they have bought conservation easements on another 2000 acres of farmland that surround the park which prevents the farmers from selling to developers. But there is still plenty of land elsewhere that will someday be developed, it's only a matter of time.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

I was walking around my neighborhood earlier today and saw 3 pure white birds flying around. One happen to land on the roof of a house so I was able to study it a little bit. It looked exactly like a mourning dove but it was pure white. Has anyone here seen anything like that around their house? I live in NJ and have never seen them. Could they possibly be white doves? I wish I had my camera so I could post a picture. I'll have to start bringing it on my walks and maybe I will see them again.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Probably were domestic white doves that some companies release at weddings.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Oh my gosh what beautiful pictures. Owls, moths, birds so glad you all know what you are doing. Mine look nothing like that. I never realized how big owls are! Thanks for sharing all the great photos and stories. Really liked the parrots too. Just lovely. Really sorry about the waxwing :-(---- and im so glad the blue jay is doing better. Loved loved the gnat catchers. They were really stuffed into that nest. LOL Keeping taking those beautiful pics so i can drool over them. Naughty little sparrows. HAHA=========thanks again really enjoyed the pictures :-)------bonnie


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Musik, they could be homing pigeons, they come in all colors and sizes but all come from the rock pigeons you see in the cities. I had 4 land on my roof one day, only one was tagged. I didn't get a chance to read the tag, probably a good thing because I read that alot of owners kill those pigeons who don't come back right away. So look for a tag if you see them again.

Bonnie, glad you enjoyed our pictures and stories. I wish I had some new pictures to share but I've been so busy, I'm going into camera withdrawal! I did get a nice shot of a tiger swallowtail tonight but haven't even had time to upload and process. But soon!


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

jeanner, I think they were homing pigeons. I looked them up on the internet and they looked very similar to them...but they still may have been domestic white doves...it's hard to say. If I ever see them again I will hopefully have my camera and then I'll be able to better tell.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

Hey all! Looks like there hasn't been much activity here lately....hope everyone is doing well. I had to post to see if anyone on here has seen a blue jay with this description. The past couple days I have been seeing this bird visit my yard that has all the parking of a blue jay on the body...but it has no head crest at all and the head is a charcoal grey color. It's very strange. It appears to be the same size as a normal blue jay maybe even a tad bit bigger. Earlier I was in my yard, and he flew into the tree getting ready to get some peanuts from the feeder and he started mimicking the red tailed hawk like I see some jays do....he sat there for a while doing that then started eating. I don't know what to make of this bird and wanted to see if anyone has seen a blue jay that looked like this? I'm going to try and get a picture of it next time it visits...if I do I'll post it.


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RE: Bird Sightings 6

musik - the birdy action is in the Bird Highlight thread. See you over there. CT


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