Category Archives: Animals

Weekly Puzzler Answer #144

Did you know last week’s bubbling bird song? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you’ve probably read posts about this bird. It’s one of my favorites–the Carolina Wren.

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One of my favorite posts of all time was about the wren–called 4 Things we can learn from Carolina Wrens. 

This baby wren keeps falling asleep!

This baby wren keeps falling asleep!

Another post I like is about surprise gift that I found one day when I was tidying up for visitors–called a gift from wrens and still another, this one a weekly quote about resilience and telling the story of wrens that nested in our yard. And then ONE more! about a wren making me smile.  (Because he kept falling asleep even though he was supposed to be fledging)

You can attract wrens to your hanging a bird feeder, especially one like this* that has room for suet. (Here’s a recipe for making your own suet, though putting it out in the hot months of the year is not recommended)

I hope they make you smile, and that you enjoy your Sunday. See you again soon.

 

Weekly Puzzler #145: Name that Bird!

So last week’s puzzler was a bird song–one of our most lovely, the Carolina Wren. I thought I would do another bird, this one common throughout much of North America, especially the southeast, and west to California. If this bird hasn’t found a mate, it might get desperate–much to the dismay of homeowners everywhere– and sing in the middle of the night–not bothering to wait until sunrise.

Listen here. Then give your guess using the comment box below.

Weekly Puzzler #144: Bubbling Song

Listen to this bird’s song.

Do you recognize it?

Check back next weekend to see if your guess was correct! And don’t forget to use the comment box below to give your guess. I give away a prize to one subscriber each quarter. All correct answers will be entered in the drawing–drawings are the first day of each season, so summer will be the next drawing. Good luck and see you again soon.

Quote of the Week #80

FLYAWAY-2085I haven’t met many people who don’t enjoy butterflies. After all, what’s not to like? They are beautifully colored, fly gracefully, don’t kill things, have amazing life cycles and just generally bring a smile to your soul when you see one.

They start out as a tiny egg, hatch out, then eat, eat, eat, molt several times, make a chrysalis, and then, some days later, transform into a lovely butterfly–a sure symbol of something we all can use–HOPE.

So, this week’s quote:

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly.

If you live locally to western North Carolina, please come out and join me THIS TUEDAY (April 18th) night at 7:30 for my first program –about butterflies and moths–with my new Meetup group, called Share Nature More. To learn more, or to sign up, click here.

If you don’t live locally I’m sorry I will miss you! You can click these links to see some amazing butterfly transformations (these will knock your socks off! )-a monarch here or a red-spotted purple here, or the emergence of a variegated fritillary here. Or if you want, check out 10 things you might not know about butterflies.

He Cleans…Then He Dances! Watch this Amazing Bird.

In the past I have focused my blog posts primarily on nature in North America, wanting to highlight those plants and animals that most of my subscribers would have a chance to encounter if they spent time outside in their backyards or wild areas. But sometimes I come across videos or other resources that shed light on animals and plants that live elsewhere on our planet and absolutely amaze me. The variety and perfection of adaptations in the natural world is astounding! In honor of this fascinating diversity, I am adding a new category to my blog posts, called It’s a Wonderful World.

Some new friends on a recent trip to Costa Rica alerted me to the existence of a new series called Planet Earth II. Many of you are probably familiar with the first series of Planet Earth which came out many years ago. The first one I watched in the new series featured a bird of paradise called a Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. This bird is amazing! First he cleans his “dance floor” of leaves, stick and other debris, then he belts out a tune to call in the female and after she arrives, he proceeds to put on a magnificent display. You can see it here! First the short version–just one minute from the Lab of Ornithology, and then below that, a longer version that is 30 minutes from National Geographic. Enjoy! And as always, I’d love to know what you think! Drop me a comment in the box below to share your thoughts.

See you again soon!

 

It’s Spring…Have You Done This Yet?

feeder2-3360Guess who’s headed north? It’s that time of year again when the ruby-throated hummingbirds are heading back from their long migrations to their northern homes to breed and raise babies. You can check out their progress here to see if they are in your area yet.

Are your feeders out yet? If not, it’s time to put them out! The sooner the better as birds finding feeders on their way might be tempted to stay and nest if they find suitable food sources nearby.

My hummingbird feeders. I have 5!

My hummingbird feeders. I have 5!

Here’s a recommendation I have for a couple of great hummingbird feeders:

  1. My very favorite feeder is a suction cup feeder *that has a built in ant moat. I own two of these and love them! The moat keeps the ants out and the suction cups allow me to have it mounted on my second story office window where I can watch the birds feeding all day long. It is less than 6 feet from my chair so I am at eye level when the birds visit. They don’t usually seemed phased at all by my presence if I sit still. I never tire of watching them, and getting this close-up look is fabulous. If you have young kids, they will love this… or if YOU are a kid yourself, you will love it! (You can see this feeder in action here if you want)
  2. This hanging feeder works great in the garden or on a hook on your deck and you can add an ant moat that sits above the feeder. What I most love about this one is that it comes completely apart for easy cleaning. When it comes to feeders, this is SO IMPORTANT as many do not open and so it is impossible to clean them, which means mold grows and can harm the birds. Another plus of this feeder is that it has no yellow on it. Know why this is good? Because bees, yellow jackets and other insects are attracted to yellow. There is no reason to use yellow when the red parts attract the birds.

So you probably know you can make your own nectar–saving some money and NOT supporting the red dye products that may be harmful to the little birds. Just mix up four parts of water to one part of regular white granulated sugar. You do not need red dye!

Here are some previous posts I wrote about feeding hummingbirds:  If you’re not doing THIS, you may be causing hummingbird deaths: 8 things you need to know, or why you should NOT use red dye, and one more about attracting hummingbirds, including some plants to offer, and the recipe for making nectar. And then, just in case you want to be amazed, read this one about 10 things you may not know about hummingbirds. Or check out this 1 minute video of a male hummingbird–what a brilliant red gorget!

Don’t you just love these amazing birds??

*Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you buy something using one of the links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. All of the opinions about these products are mine. I only feature products I own, or would own.

Weekly Puzzler Answer #142

Hello friends! Happy holidays. Isn’t it amazing the month of December is nearly over and another year is about to begin? I wish you and your family a happy and healthy New Year filled with all things that make you smile and bring joy to your heart.

rnsnake-3580Did you know the snake in last week’s puzzler? It is a ringneck snake, also known as a ring-necked snake or Diadophis punctatus. Of course when you see the whole snake you can understand how perfect this name is for it as it has a ring around its neck and a gorgeous yellow/ yellowish-orange belly. There is a northern and a southern ringneck snake, differentiated by a row of black in the middle of the yellow underside in the southern species. Northern ringneck snakes lack this row of black. These snakes are found throughout the eastern two-thirds of the United States and into Canada.

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It is a little snake, growing only 10-15 inches long. It is my favorite snake because it is so easy to handle and my experience with them is that they are very gentle–so perfect for letting kids touch them–and proving once and for all SNAKES AREN’T SLIMY! Salamanders are slimy. Snakes are smooth and dry.

The best place to find them is under logs or fallen trees. Have you ever seen or handled one?

Ringneck snakes lay eggs–2-7, in early summer. 6-8 weeks later the babies hatch out, crawling off in search of food. Ringneck snakes eat slugs, salamanders, earthworms, baby snakes, insects and other invertebrates. Want to learn more about snakes? Check out some past posts about them, including cool things you may not know about snakes, are you afraid of snakes? or 10 things you may not know about rattlesnakes and lastly, what do you know about copperheads.

Perfect for holding!

Perfect for holding!

So on another note, I have, as you may have noticed, been writing less often these days. Since early November and the election, I have been in a pretty dismal state, lacking the energy and enthusiasm to do even the simplest of things. I feel that it’s my place to be inspiring and positive but these days I lack hope. Thus, I have decided to take some time off from my blog posts, perhaps a couple of months during which time I will do some traveling as well as some soul-searching and will hope to return when I have something worth sharing.

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…until then, my fondest wishes to you and yours for a joyful and safe holiday. Happy winter…see you next year.