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Lily Valley

BIRDS (and how to look at them)

261 posts in this topic

2 minutes ago, KiDisaster said:

I actually have had to stop, get out and chase ducks off the road before. Apparently I am scarier than my several ton car. Ducks are weird man. 

Years ago, I lived in an area that was almost but not quite rural. We used to get turkey jams on the roads. And there's nothing you can do about it except wait for them to move along. They are HUGE birds.

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16 hours ago, drawkcabi said:

Sorry. But I think anyone who had a pet bird when Jurassic Park after seeing the movie never looked at their "Tweety Pie" the same way again. I know I didn't.

 

It's kind a weird that the closest living relative to a T. rex is...a chicken. 

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My grey mystery bird was back today, the bill is slimmer than a grackle's, more like a thrasher.  I didn't have my notebook and forgot what the song sounded like.  It went to the telephone pole in the front yard which gave me a better view cause it's closer to the house.

The scope attachment I got for my bird goggles is a complete piece of crap.  No adjustment for phone size.  It seriously looks like someone copied the SHAPE of a scope attachment with none of the working parts.  

Also, there's a fine tuning adjustment on my binoculars that I can't figure out how to dial in, it's interfering with the binocular vision.  It's only on one side.  Every time I fool with it I feel like I'm at the eye doctor and he's going, "Which one is better?  A or B?  A......or B?" and you know their the exact same lens and he's just fucking with you.

The technical instructions are either beyond me or I'm just doing them wrong or I'm not looking far enough away or they hired an idiot to write them. Entirely possible that it's me.  Finals week over here and my brain is at half mast.

Anyone know how to adjust that stupid knob?  I want to turn it OFF.

I saw a white-winged dove this morning.  S/he was late to the morning meeting so I caught her before my shower.  I could HEAR the mockingbirds this morning but I couldn't find them to look at them.  Fuckers.

Edit:

@Xray the Enforcer, thanks for the field guides!  I really think it's a grey catbird, but I was expecting a "mew" sound for those.  My students are taking a test, but I'll go ahead and irritate the shit out of my colleagues after class playing all the calls trying to jog my memory.  I may invest in a little recorder to go with my notebook.

With the goggles, I keep thinking the bird is BIGGER than it actually is, that's why seeing it sit next to a pigeon was so awesome. "Smaller than a pigeon" would be about mockingbird size and the head is ...crested?  Is that a word?  Shaggy like a growing out mohawk and the tail is not nearly as pointy and flippy as our saucy mockingbird's.

Double Edit:   

OMG.  I just read that the grey catbirds WINTER here.  Which means that THERE WILL BE DIFFERENT BURDS HERE IN THE SPRING.   :mind blown:

Edited by Lily Valley

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3 hours ago, KiDisaster said:

Be any bird you like, except a duck. 

Fuck ducks. They are jerks. They love to stand in the middle of the road, blocking traffic and practically daring you to hit them. They shit all over everything. They smell terrible. They squawk at little kids and scare them and chase people down the street. 

Also they wear dog masks. What are they hiding? 

Fucking ducks. 

They do taste pretty good though. Also ducklings are cute as hell, shame they eventually transform into assholes. 

 

2 hours ago, Crazy Cat Lady in Training said:

Crows are jerks. Blue jays are even bigger jerks. They will tag-team dive bomb juvenile crows mercilessly. I've seen them steal peanuts right from the squirrels in my yard and bully their way to the bird feeder. The poor finches and starlings don't stand a chance. 

About a month ago, I saw literally thousands of Canada geese flying overhead. We must be directly in the flight path. I wish I'd gotten that on video, it was amazing! We just moved to this house last November so I don't know if that's a normal occurrence here or not. It was really something to see, though.

 

I will agree 100% with the sentiment on ducks if it's changed to adult male ducks are jerks. Because I love the mama ducks and their ducklings. I've seen mama ducks around here in the Spring after hatchings with 14, 16, even up to 20 babies! The ducklings are so sweet, as long as they are with mama they're fine, following her in line with their clutch mates, if an obstacles gets them out of following mama even for a second they start chirping for mama, "I'm here, please don't abandon me!"

If you feed them regularly, they get to know the times you come out and are ready for you. They will see me step out back and all the ducklings will run on their little legs, come all the way up to me that I could pet them. Every Spring and Summer it's like that.

Male ducks are total complete assholes. So many times I've had to come outside my house because i hear a cacophony and it's a group of drakes trying to rape a female. They are constantly trying to do this. I've had to break them up to give the female a chance to get away more than once. When the female is a mama the males will intentionally separate her from the ducklings to distract her to get a better chance at getting at her. 

Then when the mother lays her eggs, it's always the mother that makes the nest, guards the eggs, hatches them, then look after the ducklings until the get old enough. You never see a drake with a duck family unless its trying to get the mother.

Contrast this with the geese. You always see a mother and a father goose with a clutch of goslings. When they are walking through the neighborhood you always see it the same way, a parent goose in front, then the goslings, then the other parent bringing up the back. When the family is foraging for food you always see one parent goose pecking at the ground with the babies while the other goose is standing with it's head straight up and alert on watch. It is also not rare to see geese families adopt goslings that for one reason or another have lost their parents.

That being said, around here people like the ducks but the geese are often sources of complaints. Their poops are huge. They're as big as a small dog's. Imagine you got hundreds of dogs that pretty much hang out in the same neighborhood and just poop all over.

The geese population fluctuates, they are here year round but in Spring and Fall some do leave and return in migration patterns. At peak times I've seen definitely over a thousand on and around the pond in the middle of our neighborhood. During migration times huge flocks arrive either to use the pond as a stopping place and then they continue on, or they decide this is where they want to stay. Like I said in another post, they snore all during the night. At dusk and dawn when they are coming in or taking off you hear this huge rumble of honks. At peak times I've seen hundreds, maybe up to a thousand in the air coming in for landings. It always makes me want to hum "Ride of the Valkyries".

I would suspect seeing that sort of thing where you are common in the Fall, look for it in the Spring too.

The geese are territorial. If one family is grazing in an area and another either solitary goose or geese family gets too close, there's a fight. Sometimes a big rancorous fight. Almost always a loud fight. The geese try to avoid people mostly, but sometimes they decide to stand tall, spread their wings, and chase after people instead. They bully all the ducks and other birds. They peck at the grass constantly messing up yards and gardens. I once saw a rabbit try to go through a geese family that was a barrier for it getting to a neighbor's garden. The parent goose on guard chased that rabbit back and forth all over. One of the funniest things I ever saw.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Crazy Cat Lady in Training said:

It's kind a weird that the closest living relative to a T. rex is...a chicken. 

There's an Aesop Fable type story with a moral in there somewhere. The great tyrant king. The most feared creature on Earth for millions of years. Top of the food chain, ruler of the land, a name that invokes terror.

To become a creature whose name is synonymous with "coward". To be seen as silly, nonsensical, and so mundane and common, eaten by just about everybody that more exotic foods are often described as tasting like you. 

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2 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

...

Also, there's a fine tuning adjustment on my binoculars that I can't figure out how to dial in, it's interfering with the binocular vision.  It's only on one side.  Every time I fool with it I feel like I'm at the eye doctor and he's going, "Which one is better?  A or B?  A......or B?" and you know their the exact same lens and he's just fucking with you.

The technical instructions are either beyond me or I'm just doing them wrong or I'm not looking far enough away or they hired an idiot to write them. Entirely possible that it's me.  Finals week over here and my brain is at half mast.

Anyone know how to adjust that stupid knob?  I want to turn it OFF.

 

Is it one of those with numbers from -3 to 3 or something similar? I thought those were intended to adjust for a difference between your eyes (for people needing glasses). Probably setting it at 0 should work, if you know the difference in prescription between your eyes use (in diopter) use that I guess.

edit: ie this thing http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/diopter_set.html

Edited by Seli

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6 minutes ago, A True Kaniggit said:

Penguins. The most awesome of birds. 

Have you checked out "Atypical" on Netflix?

Penguins are great, but in my heart macaws will always be #1.

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6 minutes ago, Seli said:

Is it one of those with numbers from -3 to 3 or something similar? I thought those were intended to adjust for a difference between your eyes (for people needing glasses). Probably setting it at 0 should work, if you know the difference in prescription between your eyes use (in diopter) use that I guess.

edit: ie this thing http://www.birdwatching.com/optics/diopter_set.html

OMG, that makes so much more sense than these ridiculous instructions.  I just found the +/- mark on them (bottom) and reset it.  I have about a +.5 difference and CLEARED THAT RIGHT UP!

The geese at the park get pretty aggressive with people sometimes.  I find it extremely amusing when they chase people back to their cars.  

All of our campus birds can be a menace because the students feed them.  As far as I'm concerned, the aggressive ducks can feed ME.

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28 minutes ago, drawkcabi said:

Have you checked out "Atypical" on Netflix?

Penguins are great, but in my heart macaws will always be #1.

Oh yeah, I saw "Atypical" around a month ago.Can't wait for season two.

And since you brought up Macaws I'd like to remind people that Blu and Jewel from the movie "Rio" are Spix's Macaws. Blue Macaw is just a nick name.

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42 minutes ago, A True Kaniggit said:

Oh yeah, I saw "Atypical" around a month ago.Can't wait for season two.

And since you brought up Macaws I'd like to remind people that Blu and Jewel from the movie "Rio" are Spix's Macaws. Blue Macaw is just a nick name.

I didn't know that. I never saw "Rio" just commercials for it, I thought he was a Hyacinth Macaw.

 

I wonder if somebody saw this and thought "Hmmm, birds vs. pigs and a makeshift sling device. I have an idea for an app game!"

 

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Redwing blackbirds,  lovely birds and they have a pretty trill.

 

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7 hours ago, drawkcabi said:

 

That being said, around here people like the ducks but the geese are often sources of complaints. Their poops are huge. They're as big as a small dog's. Imagine you got hundreds of dogs that pretty much hang out in the same neighborhood and just poop all over.

 

The geese around here have been a nuisance for a while. The county parks are filled with them and their droppings. Really a mess. I've seen one solution is to train border collies or other herding dogs to constantly harass them so they eventually find other grounds to congregate. It's a tough situation since the parks are ideal habitat for them in addition to people constantly feeding them.

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9 hours ago, Lily Valley said:

 

@Xray the Enforcer, thanks for the field guides!  I really think it's a grey catbird, but I was expecting a "mew" sound for those.  My students are taking a test, but I'll go ahead and irritate the shit out of my colleagues after class playing all the calls trying to jog my memory.  I may invest in a little recorder to go with my notebook.

With the goggles, I keep thinking the bird is BIGGER than it actually is, that's why seeing it sit next to a pigeon was so awesome. "Smaller than a pigeon" would be about mockingbird size and the head is ...crested?  Is that a word?  Shaggy like a growing out mohawk and the tail is not nearly as pointy and flippy as our saucy mockingbird's.

Double Edit:   

OMG.  I just read that the grey catbirds WINTER here.  Which means that THERE WILL BE DIFFERENT BURDS HERE IN THE SPRING.   :mind blown:

Gray Catbirds have a HUGE range of calls and songs. The better online field guides and apps always have a section of audio files for calls, songs, etc. Word of note: it's considered a giant faux pas (and actually unethical to boot) to play bird calls really loudly outside, especially during breeding season (in the US that would be between May and August). That's because the birds can get super stressed out, or they'll be chasing a potential mate who is actually your fucking phone. So, yeah. Bird call recordings are great, but be careful of how you use them. :)

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4 hours ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Gray Catbirds have a HUGE range of calls and songs. The better online field guides and apps always have a section of audio files for calls, songs, etc. Word of note: it's considered a giant faux pas (and actually unethical to boot) to play bird calls really loudly outside, especially during breeding season (in the US that would be between May and August). That's because the birds can get super stressed out, or they'll be chasing a potential mate who is actually your fucking phone. So, yeah. Bird call recordings are great, but be careful of how you use them. :)

LOL, I'm just terrifying my office mates.  They HATE my new hobby.

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Swans. Swans are the aggressive ones. I have seen a German shepherd (a really cowardly one, but still) make herself all small and try to hide in front of a swan. These birds spread their wings and stretch their neck and are bigger than small children and they hiss at people like a cat and try to bite. Scary, majestic creatures.

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Pileated woodpeckers are big beautiful birds and the drumming noise they make when pecking at a tree can be heard from almost a mile away. They are hard to spot since they tend to be shy. 

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This morning the meeting was dominated by Thrashers.   All of them were saying "CROW CROW CROW!  DUCK DUCK DUCK DUCK!"

Cannot escape the goddamn ducks even in my OWN HOME!

I'm headed out on a trip for work and looking forward to some strange birds.  

Also, ebird is a global project for citizen scientists to track bird populations and migration.  I don't have enough time during finals to add to their checklists right now, also I lack the confidence to properly identify species.  I DID spend way WAY too much time yesterday looking at the data they've collected.

http://ebird.org/content/ebird/

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19 hours ago, drawkcabi said:

 

 

I will agree 100% with the sentiment on ducks if it's changed to adult male ducks are jerks. Because I love the mama ducks and their ducklings. I've seen mama ducks around here in the Spring after hatchings with 14, 16, even up to 20 babies! The ducklings are so sweet, as long as they are with mama they're fine, following her in line with their clutch mates, if an obstacles gets them out of following mama even for a second they start chirping for mama, "I'm here, please don't abandon me!"

If you feed them regularly, they get to know the times you come out and are ready for you. They will see me step out back and all the ducklings will run on their little legs, come all the way up to me that I could pet them. Every Spring and Summer it's like that.

Male ducks are total complete assholes. So many times I've had to come outside my house because i hear a cacophony and it's a group of drakes trying to rape a female. They are constantly trying to do this. I've had to break them up to give the female a chance to get away more than once. When the female is a mama the males will intentionally separate her from the ducklings to distract her to get a better chance at getting at her. 

Then when the mother lays her eggs, it's always the mother that makes the nest, guards the eggs, hatches them, then look after the ducklings until the get old enough. You never see a drake with a duck family unless its trying to get the mother.

Contrast this with the geese. You always see a mother and a father goose with a clutch of goslings. When they are walking through the neighborhood you always see it the same way, a parent goose in front, then the goslings, then the other parent bringing up the back. When the family is foraging for food you always see one parent goose pecking at the ground with the babies while the other goose is standing with it's head straight up and alert on watch. It is also not rare to see geese families adopt goslings that for one reason or another have lost their parents.

That being said, around here people like the ducks but the geese are often sources of complaints. Their poops are huge. They're as big as a small dog's. Imagine you got hundreds of dogs that pretty much hang out in the same neighborhood and just poop all over.

The geese population fluctuates, they are here year round but in Spring and Fall some do leave and return in migration patterns. At peak times I've seen definitely over a thousand on and around the pond in the middle of our neighborhood. During migration times huge flocks arrive either to use the pond as a stopping place and then they continue on, or they decide this is where they want to stay. Like I said in another post, they snore all during the night. At dusk and dawn when they are coming in or taking off you hear this huge rumble of honks. At peak times I've seen hundreds, maybe up to a thousand in the air coming in for landings. It always makes me want to hum "Ride of the Valkyries".

I would suspect seeing that sort of thing where you are common in the Fall, look for it in the Spring too.

The geese are territorial. If one family is grazing in an area and another either solitary goose or geese family gets too close, there's a fight. Sometimes a big rancorous fight. Almost always a loud fight. The geese try to avoid people mostly, but sometimes they decide to stand tall, spread their wings, and chase after people instead. They bully all the ducks and other birds. They peck at the grass constantly messing up yards and gardens. I once saw a rabbit try to go through a geese family that was a barrier for it getting to a neighbor's garden. The parent goose on guard chased that rabbit back and forth all over. One of the funniest things I ever saw.

I live right on the Ohio River. We're well acquainted with geese, ducks and gulls--I had just never seen that many flying geese overhead at once. I had one chase me once on a fishing trip. I was terrified--the top of the goose's head came up to my chest and it wouldn't leave me alone. I must have gotten too close to its eggs or goslings. 

I used to be on the board of directors at our rec association. We had a real problem with goose poop on the fields and there's really not much you can do about it. It comes with the territory when you live near large bodies of water, and not just the river, but lakes and creeks as well. 

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