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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

There are lots of birds waiting to be seen in lots of unusual places



1.     Utility line rights-of-way usually cut through wooded, undisturbed land. That  means plenty of nesting sites and protection for birds.

2.  Small streams entice lots of birds. Some are probably so small they don't have a name, and hardly have any water at some times of year.
 
3.     Sewage treatment plants and settling ponds have lots of good food for birds, and you’ll get used to the smell in about ten minutes.

4.     Urban lakes, ponds and reservoirs are excellent places for shorebirds and waterbirds. Remember, every lake in Texas (except Caddo) is man-made.

5.     Urban harbors and dock areas have lots of birds, especially if the water’s calm and there’s a minimum of boat activity.

6.     Vacant lots and abandoned industrial sites are usually full of birds, largely because of the lack of human activity, and the availability of nesting and roosting sites.

7.     Arboretums and parks are usually good sites, and many have benches and other resting places.

8.     Cemeteries are quiet and restful, often with large, mature trees, which birds love

9.     Roadside rest stops attract birds because of the availability of water, and (almost always) plants have been added to the sites.

10.    Landfills are almost always full of gulls. (notice I didn't say "seagulls" - there is actually no bird by that name)

11.  Farm fields are an excellent source of food, therefore birds.

 

Edges of rural roads provide good habitat – mice congregate here, so many birds hunt here. You can also stay in your car as you birdwatch.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Under the impression that suet is only for winter bird-feeding? That's a totally untrue myth.

Tufted Titmouse on suet
 

Some folks still think suet is for wintertime only. They believe the old myth that in the summer it might melt or be unappealing.  That’s true of basic suet (animal fat) from a butcher shop, popular in the early 1900s.  But packaged suet today is formulated to have a melting point of around 110-degrees. So it’s perfect for Jays, Woodpeckers, Titmice, Chickadees and lots of other north Texas birds, now and all summer long. (They’re hungry all year!)

If the temperature stays over 110,  you're likely to have bigger problems than what to feed the birds.

 

It takes a village....   The young, male Indigo Bunting alters its song to match what it hears from older Buntings in the same area. So small pockets of Indigo Buntings (often seen around here) will all sing very similar songs…with a very localized “flavor”. Youngsters can also tell, just by listening to the adults, if they’ve strayed too far from home.

 

 

OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at Yost87@charter.net in Denton.