Saturday, February 9, 2008

Preventing Bird Strikes

Well, I’ve given up trying for photographs for awhile; but I can tell you the black nylon bird-netting I’ve hung over my big kitchen window (and the back door with the 15 little panes) seems to be working. My dog, who knocks at the back door to come inside, pulled down the loose netting and before I could get it back up, I’ll be darned if yet another bird hit the glass! Arg!!!

The netting is ugly and loose; I’m trying to make it exceedingly easy for a bird to see the stuff and its working. More than once, I’ve seen something scatter birds, one or more heading directly for me, sitting inside, only to veer off well before they hit. I like this a great deal, but it’s totally messing up my photography…actually looking through the window ya hardly see the stuff, but the camera does.

The netting is the stuff one can put over a tree or shrub to keep birds away from fruit. It seems quite robust, but as the snow melts, it forms icicles on the netting where it’s not against the window, the weight of which pulls down the netting. Sheeshhh, it is temporary, but it gets old taping over tape every other day!

Soon the sample from CollideEscape will arrive…I’ll tell you all about it when it does. I was curious if it matters which way I hang the film (it doesn’t) and just how stark it will look from the yard (you can get it printed with just about anything…but that costs more). I rather like how the sun heats up the porcelain tile floor I have in the kitchen, but the film will cut down on UV rays. That’s a good thing, right? But can I really see through it? Can I learn to focus my camera past it? So many of my most recent photos show the webbing shadowed in each attempt, making my shots look even more childish than they really are.

I’ve been avoiding paperwork. I am the worst at sitting down and writing checks. I have no idea why…except that perhaps I’m afraid I’m not going to have enough money to pay all that I owe. Times are getting a bit scary; the utility bill at the shop, usually less than $80 for a month, was more than $350 for the thirty-one days of January. I find that scary; how does the cost of heat jump over 400%? I do not want to loose another 2/3 of my ‘retirement’…I have no idea what I would do were that to happen again. I’m going to go watch birds for awhile.

I’ve spent several long sessions at the kitchen window avoiding paperwork. At one time, I watched three Woodpeckers (both male and female Hairys and a little male Downy), two White-breasted Nuthatch, a bunch of Juncos, two or three Chickadees and the ever-present Eurasian Doves. I love the woods around here; they are thick with birds and offered up yet another I had not seen before. Well, perhaps I have but I failed to really notice it, other than to realize it looks much like a chipmunk with its rich chestnut and white-stripped body; the brown being much richer than so many of the other little brown birds. I will teach myself to look at birds.

This bird, though, had a black or velvet-grey crown and dark bib, with white cheeks and still those stripes of brown on its head; like a chipmunk. These days I try very hard to notice these things so perhaps I might identify the bird later. I remember telling myself: ‘black head and bib, white cheeks.’ The closest I found were the Harris’s Sparrow, though there was brown on its head, flanking the dark crown, and the cheeks were white...and there was the very dark bib. I wonder what it was…this little bird that only eats from the ground.

Heck, even the blasted Doves eat from the feeders; like huge bees trying to get inside a small flower; I’m not talking flat, tray-feeders here, this is a tube feeder with two narrow rings around the edges. These Eurasian Doves actually manage to perch, precariously on the edges and feed…not unlike the pesky squirrels! I am beginning to consider squab for dinner...

Okay, kidding aside, if anybody has a clue what this new little brown bird, here in Huerfano County (early February), might be…please leave a note. I’d appreciate it.

Oh, and I discovered two things today; a Slate Junco is not a Black Phoebe, and I could have Pine Warblers at my feeders. I recogonize the Siskins, and perhaps the American Goldfinches...but the olive-green backed, bright yellow-breasted little things might be Pine Warblers, no?

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