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Old 12-03-2008, 03:33 PM
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birder birder is offline
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"birding" fun

I started birdwatching from canoe at age 11, and haven't stopped. I'm not really a "lister" but love the beauty, variety, and lives of birds about us. Since coming back to the Northwest have studied reptiles, amphib and insects, although am a novice at all. I have had an interest in turtles my entire life, having made temporary "pets" of Eastern painted and Spotted turtles as a youngster in NY state. Presently have 2 turtles and a tortoise, one snake. All pet store varieties although in the summer we have some temporary residents of other types. (mostly bugs and snakes these days).
This very morning we had a pair of river otters fishing in front of our place and a group of mergansers and goldeneyes too. (with a Bald Eagle fly-by hoping for a snack) Otters are not a normal resident here, usually prefer the River (5 or so miles north) but really cool to see.
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:09 PM
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Your dscription of your home sounds a lot like my place. We have a resident flock of somewhere around 100 sparrows living in our lilacs, along with a nearly equal number of starlings. I think about half the chicken scratch I put out for the domestic flock winds up feeding the wild ones. During the summer there is usually at least one pair of Red Tail hawks nesting in one of the neighbor's elm trees, occasionally a pair of merlins nest in ours, and at night both greater and lesser horned owls are regular visitors. We also have a couple of pairs of Western Tanagers as summer residents, along with the usual mix of house finches, gold finches, wild canaries, robins, flycatchers, etc. We've had both bald and golden eagles stop overnight during their migrations. Now that I no longer have the daily grind to worry about, I get the opportunity to spend weekday mornings drowning worms at my favorite fishing hole (about ten minutes from the house) while watching beaver, loons, bald eagles, and even an occasional lost pelican. Having the critters around helps make the fishing absolutely excellent, even if the catching usually stinks.
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Old 12-03-2008, 09:16 PM
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Gharbad Gharbad is offline
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My brother started birding and I tagged along.
I guess I was around 12 or something like that.

I also got into everything nature pretty much... stargazing, reptiles, insects, mammals and recently trees. I don't really get into too many details, just identification (sometimes vaguely) and some general ideas. I just really enjoy looking around and seeing something, rather than just another whatever.
It fit very well with my family, since my parents have been hiking forever and they dragged me along since I was 4.
We also tend to photograph these things, and used to have frequent road trips to various parks in North America.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:34 AM
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SCEtoAUX SCEtoAUX is online now
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I never really considered myself as a birder until I noticed that I was keeping a list of all the birds that visited my backyard. Many years ago there were a lot, but lately there has been a drastic drop in the number and variety. Most likely cause would be the loss of habitat in other areas.

The National Wildlife Federation (US) published some photos in the latest edition of the magazine. One shows a red winged blackbird singing. The three notes of its song are visible as condensation of the breath. In the photo you can see the three notes.
National Wildlife Federation Photos
It is the 12th photo. Looks purty neet.
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Old 12-04-2008, 07:50 AM
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Wow! Great find SCEtoAUX! THat is one neat picture. I guess I used to be into birding more when I lived back home as a kid. There was a lake and a small natural prairie nearby. It made it easy to see lots of birds. Now I live in the city. Not as much bird activity, although I do get to glimpse a couple Peregrine Falcons now and again :D
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:47 AM
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That is a cool pic and a great idea! Willygoat, can't be too bad birding to get peregrines! Darwin, western tanagers, yes definately similar birding. Today is cold and frosty, yesterday a rb nuthatch was pecking on my shop, about 12 inches from the window! Very cute and hardy little things.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:23 AM
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I must admit that I don't always go looking for them. There is a local building that used to have bug problems with Starlings and other birds making a mess of things. It was so bad, that the area was considered a bio-hazard. So, in conjunction with am area project to reintroduce Peregrins to the area, the pest birds were taken care in a way :D Here's the link top the web page

Woodmen of the World Peregrine FalconWatch
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:06 PM
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Willygoat, the local big city (Idaho Falls.....look, here in the sticks, an urban area of nearly 100,000 souls is a big city) was having a terrible problem with pigeons until a few pairs of redtails moved in. Not only is the pigeon problem now bearable, but the population of bush-tailed tree rats has also declined considerably.

This spring, we had problems with a male robin trying to get into my shop building. The silly little bugger literally spent hours trying to get through the windows to get inside. He was around the house all summer, and never did completely give up on moving inside. Our guess is that someone probably raised him as an "orphaned" nestling and got him used to being on the dole. We don't get too many red winged black birds here at the house, but can hear their calls....there is a creek that runs about a quarter mile from the house. During spring and fall, it isn't uncommon to find some Canadian geese visiting in our goose pen. As I was typing this, the resident redtail made a low flyby outside the shop. Hope he wasn't after the phesant pair that has been mooching scratch grains from us during the cold months....there are few enough of the game birds around as it is. Between racoons, foxes, skunks, and magpies, the local gamebird population has really taken a beating (not to mention our chicken flock).
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Old 12-04-2008, 03:09 PM
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I've mentioned how I got started in birding in another thread, but suffice to say, I got started watching the birds on my back porch when I lived a couple of miles north of Prineville, Oregon. I don't keep a list of sightings, but I do enjoy photographing what I see.

Speaking of photos, great shot SCEtoAUX and congrats on the selection.

Birding is what got me interested in the other things I shoot. While out bird shooting (photo-wise), I saw an interesting insect I wanted to remember and find out what it was, so I photographed it. That led to shooting butterflies, dragonflies, beetles and everything else I now shoot. When I'm asked what I photograph, I generally say, "Anything that flies or crawls around on more than two appendages."

It's fun for me to be outside wandering the high desert, looking for subject. Of which, by the way, lizards have fast become my favorite subjects.
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Old 12-04-2008, 08:09 PM
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Well, I guess I'm not that much into birding except I do like birds and all the critters outdoors a lot and like to figure out what they are. I'm also afraid I'd end up with yet another time consuming and highly enjoyable hobby! Beyond hummingbird, sparrow, hawk, finch, etc. I'm pretty much lost for the identifications.

Except finally last week my wife and I figured out what kind of owls we have have in the backyard. We like to cook over the fire by the creek frequently and always hear owls. We just called them quiet owl and loud owl based on some of their calls. Turns out after listening to a bunch of calls at an owl website that we've got banded/hoot owls (loud owl) and great horned owls (quiet owl).

We also found out that quiet owl is actually really vicious, he eats banded owls and hawks amongst other things including scorpions, snakes, cats and small dogs. I hope he eats those copperheads that bit my dogs I've seen one of the banded owls a couple times across the creek and one afternoon he flew about 3 feet over my head while being chased by crows. I'll probably remember that 'til the day I die - incredible experience.

I do like owls, plus I like the He 219 Uhu a lot and even have a couple kits. Coincidence? I don't think so...
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