Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Visit in May

In May, a blogging pal and I met…a first for me. And what a treat, not only is she a delightful companion with whom to bird, she is an awesome photographer. Debbie graciously allowed me to use the photographs she took while on her trip here to La Veta. I will only post smaller versions of her gorgeous photographs…be sure to visit her blog for the full sized photographs and many more, too. She tells wonderful stories (her blog is aptly titled “DJB Photo Adventures”) of everything from nesting bluebirds to a large variety of raptors she finds while out and about. Like I said, her pictures are awesome. Do visit Debbie’s JDB’s Photo Adventures! And talk about a serious birder; in addition to a regular job, Debbie has 5 Breeding Bird Atlas blocks and volunteers at Cheyenne Mountain State Park where they just finished up their first season of owl monitoring. Cool, huh?

Another blogging buddy, Bosque Bill, sent a note mentioning how he enjoyed seeing such wonderful pictures of what I talk about here…from a good photographer with good equipment. It is because of his comments that I decided to post Debbie’s pictures here. These are mostly from my back yard; but Debbie’s pictures are so much better than mine. Thank you so much for letting me use them, Debbie.

Let me start by saying we used her blind…which is something like the one shown here. I found this picture at; it’s called a doghouse blind and it folds up into a nice little package (with backpack straps!), much like those foldable windshield shades. It was way cool.

I’ve labeled the photographs, but for the story, do visit Debbie’s blog. The only photograph of a bird here not in my yard, is the Lewis’s Woodpecker. Another birding pal of mine, David, who accompanied us to a new friend’s acreage at the edge of town, took us to the other side of town, along the road in Wahatoya Valley (see #5 of the Spanish Peaks Trail in the Rocky Mountains Piece of the Colorado Birding Trail) where he knew dozens of the pretty birds to live. It was wonderful to see and hear these interesting birds. Thanks again, Dave!

The last bit I’ll embellish on; Debbie’s piece on how to tell the difference between Black-headed Grosbeaks and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks. Okay…easy enough with the males apart (unless they hybridize… they do, yanno), but it can be difficult for us newbies to identify a female of either. Debbie did a good job with her descriptions and includes even more photographs of the two Grosbeaks. The recap: Both females have the heavy bill of a typical Grosbeak with wings and back dotted with white and both have the heavy, white eye line over the eye to the back of the head but…

Female Black-headed Grosbeak:
  • Orange coloring at throat without streaking
  • Bi-colored bill, dark on top
  • Little streaking at breast

Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak:

  • Light tan coloring at throat with streaking
  • Pink bill – solid colored
  • Heavy streaking at breast
Thanks Debbie…I’d only read about the breast streaking and that both the Black-headed Grosbeaks show yellow under wings. You’ve taught me a lot and your excellent photography helped immensely.

All bird photography in this piece by DJB Photography. Be sure to visit Debbie's Blog to see more pictures and the full-sized versions of these wonderful photographs!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

More on Outdoor Cats

Thank you to SeEtta over at Birds and Nature for making me aware of this new clip. You all must know how I feel about this serious problem...and that I tend to be a bit off-putting with my passion against outdoor cats. Yes, I used to have cats and I still like them...but should I ever have another cat, it will be an inside cat. It's just the responsible way to behave. Having said that, this clip is gentler...I hope it works.

Thank you to the American Bird Conservancy for this important information: if we are to save our birds, we need to remove outside cats! As SeEtta also pointed out, you can find more information here.

I don't know why the clip is so large; it won't fit here. Just click on the movie again, immediately after it starts, and you'll get to watch it at YouTube the way it's meant to be seen.

I was thinking about how we cat owners like to allow our cats outside and thought how cool it would be to build an outdoor exercize area built up against the house where one could open a window to let the cat into the screened area outside. Yeah, keep the cat in the 'cage'; it'd work! It could be large, with a climbing pole and fun stuff inside (including an easy to clean litter box)...but built to keep birds out. Perfect, huh? I like it.