Saturday December 7, 2013
Backyard birders may specifically plant fruit trees for birds, but fruit farmers often suffer losses to birds when hungry flocks damage crops. According to Phys.org, a new trial using dancing inflatable figures is showing promise to help protect the crops without stressing the birds. The air dancers - the same tall figures that often grace used car lots - have enough random motion to discourage birds and were the most effective of several protective measures tested in New York vineyards and blueberry orchards.
Different birds do damage to different crops, but many birds - particularly thrushes, waxwings and starlings - can easily strip trees and consume hundreds of pounds of fruit in just a few hours or days, depending on the size of the flock and other available food sources. If you have fruit trees, how do you protect your produce from the birds? Share your tips in the comments!
Photo © Rusty Clark
Friday December 6, 2013
All hummingbird lovers know the proper nectar recipe to feed their favorite flying jewels, but new research is showing that hummingbirds can digest more forms of sugar than previously believed. According to News Medical, a University of Toronto study has compared how hummingbirds digest both glucose and fructose, switching from one form to another with easy to support their high-energy lifestyle. It is hoped that further research about hummingbird digestion could lead to treatments for humans who have difficulty digesting sugars.
Hummingbirds may not be around to sip too much sugar water at this time of year, but if you do have overwintering hummingbirds in your area, make sure you take steps to keep hummingbird nectar from freezing on the coldest nights!
Photo © Larry Hennessy
Thursday December 5, 2013
Today marks five years since I became your Birding / Wild Birds Expert, and wow, has it been a crazy five years! From daily bird news, weekly featured birds and hundreds of articles to photo galleries, monthly photo contests and more, there's always something fun to share about birding. In just this past year I've introduced the Featured Feeder each month and I've added more do-it-yourself projects for bird houses and feeders. I hope to do even more outreach in the next year, including some exciting new promotions. Thank you for flying along with me!
Now, let's make the next five years even better - share your ideas and inspirations in the comments, and I'll work to make all your birdy aspirations come true! Feedback is always welcome, of course and I'm always open to suggestions.
Frosting and Candles
Photo © TheDeliciousLife
Thursday December 5, 2013
This week's featured bird has some of the most colorful plumage of all woodpeckers in North America - the Lewis's woodpecker has black, green, pink and silver-gray coloration instead of more classically camouflaged colors. A western bird, this woodpecker is named for explorer Meriwether Lewis, and is a target bird for many birders visiting the appropriate western habitats.
Have you seen the Lewis's woodpecker? Share your sightings in the comments!
Photo © Kevin Cole