Author Topic: Backyard critters  (Read 74250 times)

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Offline skippy1999

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1750: April 17, 2020, 10:38:17 AM »
Poor little fella. Had to keep his social distance from all the other squirrels.

Meanwhile, working at home I'm experiencing a parade of urban birds on my balcony.  I'm not sharp at posting photos, but a mourning dove, a crow, and at least a couple other species are regulars.  They watch me type at my computer and say, "C'mon dude, you really don't have any yummy suet or tasty white bread to leave here for  us? " I tell them it was PAssover and I didn't think they'd like the whole wheat matzah, but they are going to ask me what my excuse is now.

Last week, the condo chopped down the tree that branched by my window, so I think they are going "WTF?" 

lol yea we have a bunch of birds too, I'm thinking of getting a book that will tell me what the heck they all are.  My friend lives around the corner and she put a box in her tree and she has a screech owl living there now, dying to get me my own owl but with 4 dogs the chances are pretty slim :lol:

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1751: April 17, 2020, 10:49:13 AM »
lol yea we have a bunch of birds too, I'm thinking of getting a book that will tell me what the heck they all are.  My friend lives around the corner and she put a box in her tree and she has a screech owl living there now, dying to get me my own owl but with 4 dogs the chances are pretty slim :lol:

Seriously, I'd be as worried about the well being of those elderly mini-dogs of yours as I would be the owl. Those birds take cats.

Offline skippy1999

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1752: April 17, 2020, 11:36:22 AM »
Seriously, I'd be as worried about the well being of those elderly mini-dogs of yours as I would be the owl. Those birds take cats.

hahah hey only one's a mini!

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1753: April 17, 2020, 11:58:02 AM »
Love the squirrel picnic table!!!  Too cute.

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1754: April 30, 2020, 01:05:37 PM »
The migrators are returning. We’ve seen male and female hummingbirds, an indigo bunting, and an American redstart so far. Meanwhile the juncoes seem to have moved on.

Other signs of spring: The goldfinches are now bright yellow, a cardinal couple is building a nest in the same underbrush they nested in last year, and a phoebe pair has completed their annual repairs to the nest they attached to the house several years ago, and appear to be sitting on eggs.

That phoebe nest is well-used. For the last few winters, a pair of Carolina wrens has remodeled the nest each fall, then uses it as a winter roost. Every spring, the phoebes return, evict the wrens, rip out all the wren remodeling, and remodel the nest to suit themselves.

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1755: April 30, 2020, 01:18:00 PM »
lol yea we have a bunch of birds too, I'm thinking of getting a book that will tell me what the heck they all are. 


One of the best bird ID apps is from Cornell, called the Merlin Bird ID. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions - where did you see the bird, on what date did you see it, what size is the bird, what color(s) are the bird, and what was it doing. The app will then return a list of possible birds. The list contains several pix of the bird, and you can hear their songs and calls. You can even download packs specific to your location, so someone like you in FL isn’t wasting time looking for birds that are only on the West Coast.


It’s an easy easy app to use, and best of all its free. I downloaded from the Apple App Store, but I believe there’s also an Android version. I’ve been birding for years, and this is the best and easiest ID guide, book or app, that I’ve ever used.

Offline Natsinpwc

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1756: April 30, 2020, 01:31:15 PM »

One of the best bird ID apps is from Cornell, called the Merlin Bird ID. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions - where did you see the bird, on what date did you see it, what size is the bird, what color(s) are the bird, and what was it doing. The app will then return a list of possible birds. The list contains several pix of the bird, and you can hear their songs and calls. You can even download packs specific to your location, so someone like you in FL isn’t wasting time looking for birds that are only on the West Coast.


It’s an easy easy app to use, and best of all its free. I downloaded from the Apple App Store, but I believe there’s also an Android version. I’ve been birding for years, and this is the best and easiest ID guide, book or app, that I’ve ever used.
Thanks. Going to try that to Id some of the big birds here in Orlando.

Offline blue911

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1757: April 30, 2020, 01:33:04 PM »
I can’t tell the difference between a Trumpeter and Tundra swan

Offline Natsinpwc

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1758: April 30, 2020, 01:42:49 PM »
Thanks. Going to try that to Id some of the big birds here in Orlando.
Ok. The regular ones are Great White Egrets and Great Blue Herons.  They seems to stake out different parts of the lake for themselves. We’ve also had flocks of Pelicans on a couple occasions. They are uncommon here per the app.

Offline skippy1999

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1759: April 30, 2020, 01:58:08 PM »

One of the best bird ID apps is from Cornell, called the Merlin Bird ID. All you have to do is answer a few simple questions - where did you see the bird, on what date did you see it, what size is the bird, what color(s) are the bird, and what was it doing. The app will then return a list of possible birds. The list contains several pix of the bird, and you can hear their songs and calls. You can even download packs specific to your location, so someone like you in FL isn’t wasting time looking for birds that are only on the West Coast.


It’s an easy easy app to use, and best of all its free. I downloaded from the Apple App Store, but I believe there’s also an Android version. I’ve been birding for years, and this is the best and easiest ID guide, book or app, that I’ve ever used.

awesome, thanks so much!!

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1760: April 30, 2020, 02:15:57 PM »
I can’t tell the difference between a Trumpeter and Tundra swan


Looks like size and the face are the critical ID points. Trumpeter is bigger, and is solid black between its bill and its eye. The tundra has a small yellow patch between the bill and the eye. If you haven’t done much birding before, it takes a bit of practice to quickly zoom in on obscure points like that on a live moving bird.  :)

Offline blue911

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1761: April 30, 2020, 02:22:15 PM »

Looks like size and the face are the critical ID points. Trumpeter is bigger, and is solid black between its bill and its eye. The tundra has a small yellow patch between the bill and the eye. If you haven’t done much birding before, it takes a bit of practice to quickly zoom in on obscure points like that on a live moving bird.  :)

Cataracts and distance. Both like to sit out in the Blackwater River so it’s hard to get a good look. But I’m a champ at telling muskrats from nutria.

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1762: April 30, 2020, 03:22:10 PM »
A decent pair of binoculars helps a bunch.

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1763: April 30, 2020, 07:47:06 PM »
awesome, thanks so much!!

This can be a surprisingly good reference if you are trying to pick between birds (like sparrows).  Abstracting the bird's face into images like this is really helpful.

https://www.facebook.com/BirdsFaces/

Offline Mathguy

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1764: April 30, 2020, 07:54:21 PM »
But I thought you were friends with MDS ?

I can’t tell the difference between a Trumpeter and Tundra swan

Offline blue911

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1765: May 01, 2020, 06:07:07 AM »
A decent pair of binoculars helps a bunch.

Yes. I have been too cheap to get a good pair. Maybe when Blackwater reopens.

Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1766: May 01, 2020, 09:05:05 AM »
Try shopgoodwill.com. It’s Goodwill’s online auction site. People (or their estates) donate some really nice stuff to Goodwill.  There’s some bargains to be had on all kinds of things, but as with any auction site have a general idea of prices so you don’t overbid. I just checked and there are several name-brand binoculars currently up for bid.




Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1767: May 01, 2020, 09:38:14 AM »
Yes. I have been too cheap to get a good pair. Maybe when Blackwater reopens.

If you're looking at backyard birds, you can get away with binocs that are well under $100. 7 is a good magnification 42 or 50 is a good field of view.

That said, I bought my wife a pair of Nikon Monarchs ($500ish) and the difference is astounding. And then we looked through a pair of $2,000 Swarovskis... lol. 

Offline blue911

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1768: May 01, 2020, 03:09:54 PM »
If you're looking at backyard birds, you can get away with binocs that are well under $100. 7 is a good magnification 42 or 50 is a good field of view.

That said, I bought my wife a pair of Nikon Monarchs ($500ish) and the difference is astounding. And then we looked through a pair of $2,000 Swarovskis... lol.

I have a pair of 7x35. I really need a 10x to get better resolution. if I’m going to upgrade I might as well get something with a decent field of vision.

Offline blue911

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1769: May 01, 2020, 03:10:13 PM »
Try shopgoodwill.com. It’s Goodwill’s online auction site. People (or their estates) donate some really nice stuff to Goodwill.  There’s some bargains to be had on all kinds of things, but as with any auction site have a general idea of prices so you don’t overbid. I just checked and there are several name-brand binoculars currently up for bid.

Thank you. An excellent idea

Offline skippy1999

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1770: May 01, 2020, 04:32:59 PM »
This can be a surprisingly good reference if you are trying to pick between birds (like sparrows).  Abstracting the bird's face into images like this is really helpful.

https://www.facebook.com/BirdsFaces/

Also very helpful! Cannot tell you how much the birds at our feeders have fascinated me whilst sitting at my kitchen table working the last four weeks!

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1771: May 01, 2020, 05:21:27 PM »
Also very helpful! Cannot tell you how much the birds at our feeders have fascinated me whilst sitting at my kitchen table working the last four weeks!

It's really fun once you get to "okay, this is a woodpecker." Red-bellied? Yellow-bellied?  Downy, or Hairy?  Or,"it's a sparrow." White-faced? Song sparrow? Swamp sparrow?  That's when BirdFace helps a lot.

You should start keeping a log.  Just for fun.


Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1772: May 02, 2020, 04:15:12 PM »
Just saw the first Scarlet Tanager of the season. That is the most spectacular, drop-dead gorgeous bird. Makes even the male cardinal look a trifle dowdy.

Offline GburgNatsFan

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1773: May 02, 2020, 05:44:58 PM »
Just saw the first Scarlet Tanager of the season. That is the most spectacular, drop-dead gorgeous bird. Makes even the male cardinal look a trifle dowdy.

Saw a female American Redstart on my hike this morning.  We set up for hummingbirds today, too.



Offline wj73

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Re: Backyard critters
« Reply #1774: May 03, 2020, 01:05:32 PM »
Bought a trail cam. Think we’re going to have a lot of fun with it. Got this nice pic of a pileated woodpecker yesterday.





Then last evening moved the cam to get a wider view. As we suspected, one of our neighbors is trespassing at night. Caught red handed climbing out of the remnants of the pond he destroyed last fall.