Showing posts from December, 2009

A Special Gift: Wildlife at the Bird Feeder

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: I don’t often blog about bird feeder happenings, but in honor of the holiday season, I wanted to let all of our friends know about a major triumph at our feeders. Kimberly and I are interested in all wildlife, of course, and sightings of wild mammals can be particularly exciting. What a treat, then, to actually attract one of these elusive wild creatures into our own backyard, where we can observe it and begin to learn about its habits. Imagine how thrilled we were when we looked out the window on Christmas morning and saw this: Yes, it’s a squirrel. If you have spent any time in wild habitats with tall trees, you may have seen these wary acrobats climbing about in the branches, far above the ground. Getting a good look at one, though, that’s another story. Kimberly and I had glimpsed these wily creatures around Oak Harbor, but we had hardly dared to hope that we could actually attract them to our own yard. But here was one of these elegant wild ani

Riding the Edge of Winter

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn writes: In fall, most birds migrate south before they would have to. Most migratory birds in North America leave their northern nesting grounds and start southward long before the weather begins to turn bad, long before the food supply begins to dwindle. The birds apparently are keyed to changes in the length of the day, not to local conditions, so they fly away from their summer homes while resources are still abundant. But there are exceptions. Not surprisingly, one of the exceptions is the surprising Sandhill Crane. Cranes are different from most birds in the nature of their migration anyway: their routes are learned, not instinctive. A baby Indigo Bunting, to cite an example of a typical migrant, is born with an instinct to migrate to Central America in fall without any help. A baby Sandhill Crane is born with an instinct to follow its parents in the fall. Cranes learn their routes and their stopover sites and their wintering sites, and they can change

iPhone Users: The App Is Out There

From Oak Harbor, Ohio, Kenn Writes: It’s finally out. We had a last-minute conference call yesterday afternoon -- involving Ithaca, Charlottesville, Philadelphia, Monterey, Singapore, and me in Oak Harbor -- making sure everything was set up, and then Todd told Apple to release it to the App Store. Within a couple of hours the app was available online, and reviews of it were appearing here and there on the internet. If you’re just joining us -- if you have been out paying attention to birds, for example, rather than the latest in tech toys -- "app" is short for "application," but the millions of people downloading these applications for use on their iPhones just call them "apps." An iPhone -- well, that’s like a supercharged combination of a cell phone and an iPod, and it can do everything from place calls to navigate cross-country, to check the stock market, to send e-mail, to store photos, to play games, to play music (of course, just like an iPod). An

All I want for Christmas is...a Winged Journey

Kim Writes: Several months ago, one of my dear friends, Sally Deems-Mogyordy, came to me with an idea. Actually, it was more like a dream, and when she revealed that my beloved Black Swamp Bird Observatory was a part it, I was more honored than she will ever know. The dream: Sally was teaming up with her friend, Bryan Holliday, to create something that would combine their astounding talents and celebrate their mutual love of birds. And, whatever the vision grew into, they wanted to include some way to use a portion of the proceeds to benefit BSBO. Sally and Bryan are both BSBO members and they have witnessed, first-hand, the dramatic impact that the Observatory's work is having. The Reality: Fast forward to present, and the dream is now a stunning and inspiring reality called, Winged Journey: A 16-Month Calendar of Birds . Positively maxing out the high-end capacity on the gorgeous meter, the photos in this calendar are courtesy of the incredibly talented, award-winni