Hope for Musically Challenged Birders (Like Me)

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Belted Kingfisher

It’s early morning, too early, I groan, but the air is full of sound. Even before the sun crosses the horizon, I can hear the birds calling, singing, squawking, and chirping, all right outside my open bedroom window. Granted, that’s what I get for putting the feeders up close to the house, where they can easily be seen. But still—all that noise, just because dawn is coming?

As I lay in bed, I can distinguish the cooing of the pigeons from the two similar calls of the Mourning Doves and Eurasian Collared-Doves. I know that most of the noise is coming from the flock of House Finches that seem to spend all their time in our yard. And that harsh screeching means the magpies have returned.

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I’m Thankful For This…

Wild Turkey_CheyenneMtnZoo-CO_LAH_2224

Happy Thanksgiving! I’m sure you’re busy today, so today’s post will be short.

In honor of all the turkeys that will give their lives so we can celebrate God’s generosity, I’d like to share a cartoon I recently discovered. Not that it’s new. This website has been around a while now. But I didn’t know about it, and if it’s new to me, then it might also be new to you.

Please click on over to Bird and Moon and prepare to be delighted. I’m linking you to one of my favorite cartoons, but be sure to check out the rest of them, plus the store and everything else. Just don’t let dinner burn while you’re distracted!

Bird and Moon: Science and Nature Cartoons

(No, I wasn’t paid to promote this. I just think it’s awesome!)

A Recipe for Botany

blog captureAre you a gardener, or interested in gardening? How about going deeper and delving into a bit of botany? Do you like to cook? I find great satisfaction in planting a seed, nurturing the crop to harvest, then discovering the tastiest way to prepare the results. Plus, I want to understand the plant I’m eating. That’s why I was so excited to discover a new-to-me blog, The Botanist in the Kitchen. (I’ve added it to my list of links for your convenience.)

I immediately realized that the two authors, PhD biologists Katherine Preston and Jeanne Osnas, are my kind of people. In fact, it was blog-love at first sight.

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A Different Kind of Birding Blog

Birder's Rules screen grab

Birding travel. Recent sightings. Ornithological news. Most birding blogs cover these and similar topics. That’s fine—it’s always enjoyable to hear about someone else’s birding adventures. But Birder’s Rules, written by Nicholas Lund, takes a totally different approach.

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Birds Are Smarter than I Thought

We ooh and aah over their colorful plumage. We adore their antics. We marvel at their ability to soar, turn, and plummet. But how often do we admire birds for their intelligence? Read The Genius of Birds, and you’ll realize that being called a “bird brain” can be quite a compliment.

From fascinating behaviors to the minutest details of neurophysiology, author Jennifer Ackerman takes us on an incredible adventure into how birds think. Meet Alex, the African Grey Parrot who had a vocabulary of hundreds of English words, and knew how to use them. What’s more, he understood the concept, not only of numbers, but of zero.

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Misplaced Birds

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This is NOT a Saker Falcon!

I was happily immersed in a amusing story—a bathtub-reading kind of book, long on entertainment and short on talent—when I was rudely interrupted by a glaring error—at least glaring to me. The heroine was hiking in the Montana wilderness. The author waxed poetic about the deep green evergreens, the sparkling white snow, curious deer peering from the thickets, and the Saker Falcon wheeling overhead. Wait! What? What’s a Eurasian falcon doing in Montana? Continue reading “Misplaced Birds”

Plant Science for Gardeners

How Plants WorkNew gardening books seem to pop up as regularly as springtime dandelions. Most simply rehash what has been said before—perhaps with a new twist or better photos. But How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do (Science for Gardeners) isn’t your typical treatise on how to grow what. Instead, the author, Linda Chalker-Scott, explains the “why” behind the “how.”

An extension urban horticulturist and associate professor at Puyallup Research and Extension Center, Washington State University, Chalker-Scott knows what she’s talking about. This is her third book on horticulture, but there is a lot more. She’s written a series of articles on “Horticultural Myths” that I strongly urge you to read. Then, learn more at “The Informed Gardener,” a series of podcasts, or the informative Garden Professors website. She’s also a driving force behind the Gardening Professors Facebook blog (an extremely helpful research-based Q&A site).

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