Bird Scarers

Ever since the advent of agriculture there have been problems with birds partaking of the harvest. There are all kinds of methods today to try to deter crop predators, the most well known being, of course, the scarecrow, which has existed for at least 3000 years. Approximately 2,500 years ago,…

Birds and Newt

  I am speaking of the salamander, not the politician once seeking the Republican nomination. In the valley and on the coasts of California the California Newt is pretty common in the moist springtime. Growing up to eight inches long and colored orange-yellow-brown, it is easy to find. Like a…

The Scarecrow

[caption id="attachment_9651" align="alignleft" width="499"] DCF 1.0[/caption] One blog I talked about bird scarers- the human ones. Obviously a boring and tedious job that probably paid minimum wage. So farmers devised a human substitute, the scarecrow. Why it’s not a “scarebird” or “scarestaring”, I don’t know, but the Egyptians were apparently the…

Plastic Owls

I was contacted by a Real Simple Magazine writer a few years ago asking if putting a plastic owl in a window would prevent songbirds from hitting the glass. My slightly smart-alecky answer was that an Elvis doll would be as effective as a plastic owl. Shortly after the article…

Bird-Safe Buildings

  A while back I blogged about birds pecking at windows when they see their reflection and about birds running into windows. About a billion birds per year fly into windows and die, the second greatest source of human-caused avian mortality; cats are first . Birds run into windows because…

Birds and Folklore

[caption id="attachment_9593" align="alignleft" width="641"] Bald Eagle[/caption] I’m not sure I know the difference between myths and folklore, but it seems that myths are deep-seated, mystical, significant stories and folklore is a narrower and less significant collection of beliefs. And then there is just boloney. Like the old saw that says…

Latin for Birdwatchers

[caption id="attachment_9577" align="alignleft" width="317"] Timber Press[/caption] My wife and I wrote a book on birds. This one was a bit more challenging than others I have written. It’s called “Latin for Birdwatchers.” Nunc hoc in marmore non est incisum … Like every scientific discipline and related endeavors, there are many words derived…
  A few years ago I visited  Kamchatka, a peninsula in far eastern Russia, 2000 miles across the Bering Strait from Anchorage, Alaska. In recent years this area has become a destination for fishermen from around the world because of the number of rivers and the abundance of fish, mostly…

Hummingbird Red

I get called or e-mailed once in awhile because someone has the problem of hummingbirds getting trapped in their garage. It happened to me a couple of times before I figured it out. If you have an electronic garage door opener, it has a safety pull which you can pull…