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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are there enough dead trees in north Texas?

For birds to protect themselves from bad weather, and to raise little birds, there needs to be at least four dead, full-size trees per acre, according to 'Bird Watchers Digest'. Clearly, they make nests in them, or on the branches.  If all dead trees are totally removed, birds will simply go elsewhere.

Thirty to forty percent of all birds in north Texas nest in the "cavities" in dead trees. To keep those birds around my yard, when I remove a dead tree, I often leave a tall stump (6 ft or more).

Does your neighborhood make Chickadees, Wrens, Woodpeckers, Titmice, Bluebirds and Swallows feel at home?


Since thousands and thousands of bats, flying closely, don't ever bump into each other, we know that they're not blind. That's a total myth!

They each use an exceptionally fast and accurate sonar-like system called "echolocation" to avoid other bats, to avoid humans, and to find food (flying insects). Each bat makes an extremely high-frequncy sound and listens for the sound to bounce off an object. This happens in a millisecond.

Each bat has a slightly different sound so they don't interfere with each other. They can also use this unique sound to identify family members.
bats hunting at dusk, Uvalde TX

Monday, October 17, 2011

An owl's grasp is lethal to its prey, by design

Barn Owl


Great-horned Owl

An owl can grasp its prey with deadly effectiveness; anything from a field mouse to a squirrel.  They have razor-sharp talons which dig into the victim, puncturing whatever organ may be in its path. Also, all owls have outside "toes" that pivot forward and backward, making it adept at conforming its lethal grasp to the exact size of the prey.

Here in north Texas, frequently-present owls are the Great-horned, Barn, Screech and Barred.



Downy Woodpecker

Woodpeckers frequently hammer on a house's siding; often it's the Downy Woodpecker. If the siding's metal, or he's hammering on metal flashing, it can be annoyingly loud. He's sometimes looking for insects; but he's discovered that his hammering can be heard for great distances, by other woodpeckers. It tells other males to stay out of "his" territory.
Downy Woodpecker