Bird watching thread

Max Roscoe

Pelican
Orthodox Inquirer
Any tips for attracting more birds to my yard?

I have a couple of pair of cardinals, occassional blue jay and humming birds, and plenty of sparrows.

I often see hawks circling high above my house.

Should I get a water feature like a bird bath?

I have lots of squirrels and deer so I don't want to fool with feeders. been there done that, squirrels will eat everything.
Talk to someone local, as it depends on the type of native birds you have there, but in general you want to create "cover" for the birds (places for them to hide and feel comfortable, food supply, and water. If there is not a lot of water nearby, just having a small bird bath will encourage them. Also plant some plants that have berries and other things they eat. Then of course put out feeders. But the local audobon group or even the Wild Birds chain of stores are a good resource to talk to.
 
At my home here in the Philippines, Starlings live in large numbers and dominate the skies. They are incredibly energetic little birds, who will ferociously fight each other to the death at times, for choice nesting spots and mates! They even sneak into my house on a regular basis, to make nests.
 

Attachments

  • starling.jpg
    starling.jpg
    7.9 KB · Views: 3

marco_polo

Chicken
Orthodox
Hey Roosh, I've been thinking a lot about this recently and - with regard to birds, deep christian faith, true art - and me being a musician and composer myself, I really feel I should bring to your attention a special man from the 20th century, whose life and work perfectly embodied those three aspects and qualities while at the same time being completely *uncorrupted* by the filth and stench modernity: the french composer OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908- 1992).

One of the greatest and most original musicals minds who ever lived, absolutely unique and amazing! He was a composer, and organist, a devout catholic AND ornithologist, he loooved birds. And he had such a perfect ear that he was able to notate birdsong ornithologically correct. And he incorporated these melodies, pitches and rhythms from various birds into his music!

In that vein, you might wanna check out his orchestral work "Oiseaux exotiques"! But his monumental "Turangalila Symphony" is full of "birdly" elements too. Yes, at first this is going to be a shock for most contemporary listeners, because you will most likely never ever have heard something like this before in your life, ever... but don't let your initial reaction repell you from this incredible music, you will not regret it!

Here is a famous quote by Messiaen on his view of music, God, modernity and birds:
quote-my-faith-is-the-grand-drama-of-my-life-i-m-a-believer-so-i-sing-words-of-god-to-those-olivier-messiaen-69-82-67.jpg


And this is what his grave looks like - do you recognize something particular about it? :)
6d354e_8cb39312c36446a0b1da2ea94bc183d3~mv2.jpg


4533078-Olivier-Messiaen-Quote-It-s-probable-that-in-the-artistic.jpg


Messiaen had been for almost 60 years the chief organist of the church of St. Trinité in Paris, right until the day of his death:
Composer-Olivier-Messiaen.jpg

One of his most famous organ works is "L'apparition de l'église éternelle", the "apparition of the Eternal Church". Check out any recording of this work by Olivier Vitry...

"I am convinced that joy exists, convinced that the invisible exists more than the visible, and that joy is beyond sorrow, and beauty is beyond horror."
 
Last edited:

marco_polo

Chicken
Orthodox
Hey Roosh, I've been thinking a lot about this recently and - with regard to birds, deep christian faith, true art - and me being a musician and composer myself, I really feel I should bring to your attention a special man from the 20th century, whose life and work perfectly embodied those three aspects and qualities while at the same time being completely *uncorrupted* by the filth and stench modernity: the french composer OLIVIER MESSIAEN (1908- 1992).

One of the greatest and most original musicals minds who ever lived, absolutely unique and amazing! He was a composer, and organist, a devout catholic AND ornithologist, he loooved birds. And he had such a perfect ear that he was able to notate birdsong ornithologically correct. And he incorporated these melodies, pitches and rhythms from various birds into his music!

In that vein, you might wanna check out his orchestral work "Oiseaux exotiques"! But his monumental "Turangalila Symphony" is full of "birdly" elements too. Yes, at first this is going to be a shock for most contemporary listeners, because you will most likely never ever have heard something like this before in your life, ever... but don't let your initial reaction repell you from this incredible music, you will not regret it!

Here is a famous quote by Messiaen on his view of music, God, modernity and birds:
quote-my-faith-is-the-grand-drama-of-my-life-i-m-a-believer-so-i-sing-words-of-god-to-those-olivier-messiaen-69-82-67.jpg

Messiaen on Birds I​

Messiaen on Birds II


Messiaen's use of birdsong​

 
Last edited:

Cartographer

Pelican
Gold Member
Just saw a really stunning red-bellied woodpecker at the feeder.

220px-Red-bellied_Woodpecker-27527.jpg


Though not as rare (around here) as the red-headed or arguably unique as the pileated, it's not as common at my feeder so it was pretty cool to see. Nice change from the cowbirds today.

He seemed to be having a harder time with the smooth boards than with the rough bark of the trees and fell backwards off the feeder and had to catch himself mid-air.
 
I wish I had a working camera: my chickens have been engaged in an ongoing turf war with a pair of Sandhill cranes for the past few weeks. The cranes have a substantial reach advantage but a Rhode Island Red rooster is as game as they come. It’s hilarious to watch.

In my neighborhood it is the cats versus the chickens. The adult cats realize it is foolhardy to try to mess with the roosters and hens, who will ferociously peck at them, but the kittens have to learn the hard way. A family moved here, and they had a grown housecat unfamiliar with chickens. This cat carefully "hunted" a large rooster, and when he attempted to pounce on the bird, it spread it's wings and the cat ran away in a state of terror! Lol
 

Sisyphus

Woodpecker
Any tips for attracting more birds to my yard?

I have a couple of pair of cardinals, occassional blue jay and humming birds, and plenty of sparrows.

I often see hawks circling high above my house.

Should I get a water feature like a bird bath?

I have lots of squirrels and deer so I don't want to fool with feeders. been there done that, squirrels will eat everything.

Think like a bird. What does the bird need? Food to eat, water to drink, a place to hide/nest, and a place to perch. A layered habitat is your best bet. Edge habitats are really good for species diversity.

The only truly squirrel proof feeders I've seen are poles coming out of the ground with a wide conical baffle. Anything attached to a deck or a tree isn't going to work. Greasing the poles or using hot pepper won't deter them.

Water will attract birds - some will use it to rinse off and others to drink. You can get heated versions of basins that won't freeze in the winter or agitators that prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Otherwise, planting some thick low lying shrubs will attract a lot of birds to the area. There are also certain flowers you can plant to attract hummingbirds.
 

Cartographer

Pelican
Gold Member
Think like a bird. What does the bird need? Food to eat, water to drink, a place to hide/nest, and a place to perch. A layered habitat is your best bet. Edge habitats are really good for species diversity.

The only truly squirrel proof feeders I've seen are poles coming out of the ground with a wide conical baffle. Anything attached to a deck or a tree isn't going to work. Greasing the poles or using hot pepper won't deter them.

Water will attract birds - some will use it to rinse off and others to drink. You can get heated versions of basins that won't freeze in the winter or agitators that prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

Otherwise, planting some thick low lying shrubs will attract a lot of birds to the area. There are also certain flowers you can plant to attract hummingbirds.
Have you seen the parent hummingbirds teaching the young ones to drink from the flowers? Apparently they bat the baby's heads toward the opening of the trumpet flowers with their beaks. I haven't seen it yet but this girl told me about it. My neighbor has a beautiful garden outside my window and I've been watching but I guess I have to wait til next spring.
 

Sisyphus

Woodpecker
Have you seen the parent hummingbirds teaching the young ones to drink from the flowers? Apparently they bat the baby's heads toward the opening of the trumpet flowers with their beaks. I haven't seen it yet but this girl told me about it. My neighbor has a beautiful garden outside my window and I've been watching but I guess I have to wait til next spring.

I haven't witnessed the behavior you're describing but that sounds like it would be beautiful to see. I have seen hummingbird courtship flights in which they'll orient their bodies perpendicular to the ground and slowly fly upwards only to rapdily swoop down and curl back up. You can distinguish different species based on the shape of the flight (more like an L or a J for example).

Another behavior I've heard about but not seen is how kingfishers train their young to fish. The parent will take a dead fish, fly up above the water, and drop the fish down so the offspring can easily see where it lands and can dive in after it. The parent may repeat this over and over again until the offspring learns to do it correctly.

I've seen Spotted Owls feed their young. The owlet will attempt to swallow a mouse whole and will fail, essentially slobbering all over it before it dribbles out. The parent will patiently present the mouse many times until the young figures out how to eat it in smaller chunks. A great example for us all.
 

Sisyphus

Woodpecker
At my home here in the Philippines, Starlings live in large numbers and dominate the skies. They are incredibly energetic little birds, who will ferociously fight each other to the death at times, for choice nesting spots and mates! They even sneak into my house on a regular basis, to make nests.

It's nice to see Starlings in their native habitat. You may or may not know that they're a pretty destructive non-native species here in the US. We are told to hate them, but I can't bring myself to hate a bird created by God, not even the ubiquitous House Sparrow. They didn't ask to be brought here. I like their iridescence and the murmurations when large flocks of them fly together.

If you're not familiar with the story of the introduction of Starlings to North America, it's quite astounding. A troupe of Shakespeare enthusiasts decided they wanted to be able to look out the window and see birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays and be reminded of whatever verse they were mentioned in. They decided to import 100 Starlings and let them loose in Central Park in New York City with a little ceremony.

Soon after, that population of 100 exploded to the order of hundreds of millions in the absence of natural predators. They oust a lot of cavity nesting birds from nest sites, sometimes even birds much bigger than themselves due to their superior numbers.

A previous employer of mine applied for a permit to band birds on federal land, and the government said they would only issue the permit if they agreed to euthanize any Starlings that made their way into the net. The employer refused to agree to this and said they weren't in the business of killing birds. The feds relented, and I found the actions of the employer very respectable although one can only wonder how many blindly comply without a fight. The first bird I ever banded was a juvenile Starling which is another reason I have a soft spot for them.
 
Top