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Thread: The thread for birds and birding

  1. #181

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by FreshFish View Post
    are you sure you understood the suggestion correctly? perhaps you are merely interpreting a colorful euphemism a bit too literally?
    Yeah, that occurred to me. Something about "giving him the bird..."
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  2. #182
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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    So it has been suggested to me by more than one person that I might enjoy birding. What's the best way to get started?

    I don't think that you are the birding type.

    I think you should forget about birding.

  3. #183

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Gurtholfin View Post
    I don't think that you are the birding type.

    I think you should forget about birding.
    Any particular reason?
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  4. #184
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    So it has been suggested to me by more than one person that I might enjoy birding. What's the best way to get started?
    I don't know you as well so I'll answer you.

    Start with some feeders and a bird bath in your yard. Get a hummingbird feeder, a thistle feeder, a regular seed feeder and a suet feeder. Thus should allow you the largest variety of song birds. I suggest using safflower for your seed feeder. For whatever reason starlings and other undesirable birds don't eat it but the awesome song birds do.

    Get a field guide to birds. There are a TON of them out there. Everyone has their opinion on which is the best. Find one you like. I would suggest one that uses photos instead of drawing.

    Get a moderately priced pair of binoculars, take your field guide and head to a nearby state park, conservation area etc. go in the early morning as birds are more active. Walk slow and open you ears first as the singing will give you a clue where they are. Stop, listen and look around. I've sat in the same spot for quite awhile looking around. The longer I sat the more birds started to move around me. Mark in your guide when you identify a bird.

    It really does get addicting and seeing something new or rare gets to be an exciting moment.
    Last edited by Proud2baLaker; 07-15-2015 at 08:27 PM.

  5. #185
    Veteran leswp1's Avatar
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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    http://beta.allaboutbirds.org/previe...615c-305414457 (Yes I know I should learn how to label things without cutting and pasting link, this one is huge!)

    I grew up with a Mum who belonged to the Audubon Society in our area. we listened to records of bird calls, had feeders and thought everyone did that The site above or search for local birds on website above is good. Peterson's Guide is the gold standard where I am. It is basic, has common birds as well as what is more rare. Includes ranges for each bird, and a little thing about habitat, what they eat, sound like, etc.

    Spent the last week on the lake. Baby loons are sooo cute. Watched over the week as the baby went from needing constant attention to graduating to being left bobbing on top while the parent went fishing and brought back little minnows and othr parent took off down the lake. Favorite part is when the 2nd adult joined back up with the baby and other adult. Heart melting coo that sounds like someone saying awwwww about a baby. Pics on FB search Clemons pond. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clemo...47413061951963
    Last edited by leswp1; 07-16-2015 at 07:20 AM.

  6. #186

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Proud2baLaker View Post
    Get a moderately priced pair of binoculars, take your field guide and head to a nearby state park, conservation area etc. go in the early morning as birds are more active. Walk slow and open you ears first as the singing will give you a clue where they are. Stop, listen and look around. I've sat in the same spot for quite awhile looking around. The longer I sat the more birds started to move around me. Mark in your guide when you identify a bird.
    Sorry for the dumb question, but how do you identify the birds? Aren't there hundreds of varieties with approximately the same colors and features? I have seen tree guides arranged as tree (pardon the pun) diagrams where you gradually winnow down choices based on characteristics, but I would think while birding there's very little time, fairly long distances, constant motion, and (again) many more candidates with virtually identical characteristics, even when allowing for locality.

    I'm sure once you become familiar with birdsong it becomes easier (and more enchanting).
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  7. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    Sorry for the dumb question, but how do you identify the birds? Aren't there hundreds of varieties with approximately the same colors and features? I have seen tree guides arranged as tree (pardon the pun) diagrams where you gradually winnow down choices based on characteristics, but I would think while birding there's very little time, fairly long distances, constant motion, and (again) many more candidates with virtually identical characteristics, even when allowing for locality.

    I'm sure once you become familiar with birdsong it becomes easier (and more enchanting).
    It's a fair question. My guide is the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America. It, along with most guides I've seen/used separates the birds out based on type first eg owls, ducks, wading birds (herons, cranes etc), gulls/terns, warblers, sparrows etc. It has some great information and diagrams in the front that help identify the different parts/area on a bird and its wings. Then on each photo of each bird there are some annotations that point out the most distinctive parts/colors/whatever that make that bird that bird. There is also a map showing range, information on habitat it can be found it, more info on how to identify it based on appearance and what it's call/song sounds like.

    If you sit down with the book a little you will start to notice some distinguishing characteristics of each group they put them in. Then you will notice that in that group, often the birds are far more different than you thought they were. Example, when you see a wood duck, you will know it's a wood duck. There is nothing that looks like it. A sacarlet tanager and a summer tanager may both be red birds, but the summer is completely red while the scarlet has solid black wings and tail. Then you will realize that the all red summer tanager is quite distintive from the all red northern Cardinal.

    At first it may be tough but gradually you will realize there are some very stark differences in appearance.

    As far as them moving around and seeing them from a distance, yeah, it happens. But that's why I will stay in one place for a little. The birds will be closer than you realize and be easier. And the more you do it the faster you will be able to pick up on that streak of white you saw above the eye or that patch of yellow on the chest. And by that stime you will already be at a point where you can look at a bird, even if it's not a perfect view, and know the type/group right away and already have a it narrowed down.

    It took me some time to get proficient, but half the fun was getting out there and learning.

    And that's where the feeders come it too. Put them where you can easily see them from a window but not so close where you may spook them just by walking by. Use your binoculars and you will have a great opportunity to see them and look in your book to identify them as they will be in the same spot for a while feeding.
    Last edited by Proud2baLaker; 07-16-2015 at 04:40 PM.

  8. #188

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Proud2baLaker View Post
    It's a fair question. My guide is the National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Birds of North America. It, along with most guides I've seen/used separates the birds out based on type first eg owls, ducks, wading birds (herons, cranes etc), gulls/terns, warblers, sparrows etc. It has some great information and diagrams in the front that help identify the different parts/area on a bird and its wings. Then on each photo of each bird there are some annotations that point out the most distinctive parts/colors/whatever that make that bird that bird. There is also a map showing range, information on habitat it can be found it, more info on how to identify it based on appearance and what it's call/song sounds like.

    If you sit down with the book a little you will start to notice some distinguishing characteristics of each group they put them in. Then you will notice that in that group, often the birds are far more different than you thought they were. Example, when you see a wood duck, you will know it's a wood duck. There is nothing that looks like it. A sacarlet tanager and a summer tanager may both be red birds, but the summer is completely red while the scarlet has solid black wings and tail. Then you will realize that the all red summer tanager is quite distintive from the all red northern Cardinal.

    At first it may be tough but gradually you will realize there are some very stark differences in appearance.

    As far as them moving around and seeing them from a distance, yeah, it happens. But that's why I will stay in one place for a little. The birds will be closer than you realize and be easier. And the more you do it the faster you will be able to pick up on that streak of white you saw above the eye or that patch of yellow on the chest. And by that stime you will already be at a point where you can look at a bird, even if it's not a perfect view, and know the type/group right away and already have a it narrowed down.

    It took me some time to get proficient, but half the fun was getting out there and learning.

    And that's where the feeders come it too. Put them where you can easily see them from a window but not so close where you may spook them just by walking by. Use your binoculars and you will have a great opportunity to see them and look in your book to identify them as they will be in the same spot for a while feeding.
    Thank you. This is great.

    Some of our friends are birders and I imagine going out with them will also be fun and interesting. I think the idea was I might like it because I'm fairly observant and logical, and I also might find it naturally pleasant because I'm quiet (when not at a keyboard) and patient.

    Thanks again. I'll post as I'm getting into it.
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  9. #189
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    Thank you. This is great.

    Some of our friends are birders and I imagine going out with them will also be fun and interesting. I think the idea was I might like it because I'm fairly observant and logical, and I also might find it naturally pleasant because I'm quiet (when not at a keyboard) and patient.

    Thanks again. I'll post as I'm getting into it.
    No problem. I look forward to hearing about your experiences.

  10. #190
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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    Thank you. This is great.

    Some of our friends are birders and I imagine going out with them will also be fun and interesting. I think the idea was I might like it because I'm fairly observant and logical, and I also might find it naturally pleasant because I'm quiet (when not at a keyboard) and patient.

    Thanks again. I'll post as I'm getting into it.
    You can put bird feeders out fairly close to windows and the birds quickly become acclimated. As I sit here there is a cardinal, hanging out on my tray feeder, chirping (sharp high sound) literally 3 feet from me through the open screen. Even when we were in the city we saw a fair variety of birds.

  11. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by leswp1 View Post
    You can put bird feeders out fairly close to windows and the birds quickly become acclimated. As I sit here there is a cardinal, hanging out on my tray feeder, chirping (sharp high sound) literally 3 feet from me through the open screen. Even when we were in the city we saw a fair variety of birds.
    Yeah, for the most part this is true. Mine were always close. Close enough I could easily identify birds with the naked eye. There were a few birds though that were always timid and any sudden movement and they were gone

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    I'm afraid feeders are probably not an option in our yard, as we have two cats. They're uncoordinated and terrible hunters, but the birds can't know that.
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  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    I'm afraid feeders are probably not an option in our yard, as we have two cats. They're uncoordinated and terrible hunters, but the birds can't know that.
    Eh. If you hang them right (tall shepards hooks) you might be ok. Put them away from fences, shrubs, trees and other cover and the birds should be ok. Many birds are surprisingly smart and very quick.

    As les pointed out, they learn their surroundings quick. They will come to recognize your cats and know when danger is near. I'd encourage you to start with one small feeder on a shepards hook and see what happens. Buy a small bag of sunflower seed (cheaper than the safflower I mentioned but still attracts good birds) and see how it goes. If it doesn't go well at least you aren't out to much (and could maybe give the feeder to a friend or something). If it goes well you could expand to a few more or larger feeders.

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Had hummingbirds visiting my feeder all day the other day. Even saw a new one for me. In addition to the black chinned hummingbirds I have been getting all summer, I now have broad-tailed hummingbirds. It's only been the female but hopefull will see a male eventually. Males are similar to the ruby throated hummingbird out east but appear to have a bit more vibrant chin patch. Will be watch the feeder closely. Hoping I might see a rufous or calliope humming bird before the summer is over.

    Kep, we have a cat and some kittens at the moment. They are always outside and near the hummingbird feeder (which is on a shepards hook) and the hummingbirds don't mind at all. They come feed when we are sitting within 10 feet of it. It's definitely a feeder you could look into getting in the spring.

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    I saw an American goldfinch in the trees near my work this week. What a gorgeous bird.
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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Proud2baLaker View Post
    Kep, we have a cat and some kittens at the moment. They are always outside and near the hummingbird feeder (which is on a shepards hook) and the hummingbirds don't mind at all. They come feed when we are sitting within 10 feet of it. It's definitely a feeder you could look into getting in the spring.
    Thanks for the advice.
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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
    I saw an American goldfinch in the trees near my work this week. What a gorgeous bird.
    We have so many of those. They are really noisy. Chickadees are my favorite. When the feeder is empty they cling to the windowsill and peck at the window.

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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by Proud2baLaker View Post
    [hummingbirds] come feed when we are sitting within 10 feet of [our] feeder.
    Another way to attract hummingbirds is to plant zinnias. We have zinnias in our garden every year and they come to visit those flowers frequently. We have been sitting in the garden without moving at all, very still, and have hummingbirds come within a foot of us, almost as if they were checking us out as a potential food source!
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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Quote Originally Posted by leswp1 View Post
    We have so many of those. They are really noisy. Chickadees are my favorite. When the feeder is empty they cling to the windowsill and peck at the window.
    They think your house is feeding them...
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    Re: The thread for birds and birding

    Smallest bird ever at my feeders: ruby throated hummingbird
    Largest bird ever at my feeders: great horned owl (perched on top, looking down at the buffet*)
    Largest bird seen from my living room window: bald eagle (soaring about 300 yards away)

    *the squirrels cleaning up scraps on the ground below the feeders had no idea ...
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