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Monday, June 30, 2008

Baby Birds

Lots of people ask us what to do because they have found a baby bird. If it is a healthy fledgling (fully feathered and can hop or flutter, such as the fledgling robin above) chances are the parents will care for it if you put it back where you found it and keep pets and humans away from the area.

If it is so young it has no feathers, few feathers, feathers in their sheaths, or still seems too young to hop about or fly, try first to put it back in the nest, if you can locate the nest. Or make a fake nest of a berry basket or margarine container and put it nearest where the original nest was. Watch quietly from a distance for an hour to see if the parents care for it.

If truly abandoned, or if it is injured, you need to get it to a licensed bird rehabilitator as soon as possible. It against the law to keep native baby birds. Licensed bird rehabiltators have special expertise to care for sick, injured and abandoned birds, which they care for with the goal to release them back into the wild.
To find a directory of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in your state click here:

You can also call your nearest audubon society or nature center and get the names of licensed bird rehabilitators near you.

Meanwhile, while caring for a baby bird while waiting to get it to a licensed bird rehabilitator, keep it in a warm, quiet place, such as a shoebox with ventilation holes, or a box or berry basket with soft kleenex as a nest. Baby birds need to be fed about evey 20 minutes during daylight hours. Suggested emergency food can be high protein puppy chow ground to a fine meal in the blender, moistened with warm water until it is the consistency of yogurt. Others use canned dog food, or chopped mealworms. Feed with a blunt ended instrument such as a baby medical syringe, thin wood coffee stirrer, very blunt tweezers, or straw, and gently placing the food down the nestlings throat until it swallows

See here, and here, for more information about caring for baby birds

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Threats to Birds

One of the threats to birds is the danger of birds running into power lines. According to today's story in USA Today, "scientists are increasingly concerned about the number of birds killed by running into power lines and wind turbines, said Al Manville, a senior wildlife biologist with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service." On the positive side, research is taking place in North Dakota with power lines near water areas where birds such as American Coots are found. The study shows that placing "diverters," brightly colored spinning coils, on power lines, can prevent birds from colliding with the lines. More research needs to be done on what can help bird safety near wind turbines.
We will be busy for the rest of the week, so see you Monday.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Recently this large, female Snapping Turtle came walking up the hill next to our house, looking for a spot to lay her eggs. There was something both frightening and fascinating about this large reptile. We just observed and respected her from a distance and let her go about her mission.

Snappers are widespread in the eastern three-quarters of the country and live in ponds, lakes, and marshes. They're especially fond of water where there is a soft mud bottom and lots of submerged and emergent plants. In April to June, female snappers leave their ponds and travel to areas such as shorelines, gravel banks, railroad tracks, etc. to lay eggs. They may dig several false nests, possibly to confuse predators, before digging the real nest. Most nests, sometimes 100% in a year, will be dug up by predators like skunks, foxes, raccoons and mink. You can see the evidence as a hole in the ground surrounded by the shriveled, leathery, white egg-shells. So, sometimes it ain't easy being a Snapping Turtle.

If they survive, the young snappers hatch in 3-4 months and make their way back to the pond. Snappping Turtles can live at least 47 years. For more info. see Stokes Field Guide To Amphibians and Reptiles, written by Tom Tyning.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Corgis, Judges, Birding


Blogger Phoebe here again,

I'm borrowing the blog from Don and Lillian so I can get to talk about me, me, me, but don't you worry all you birders who read this blog, I've included some bird photos for you.

I had quite a week last week. On Tuesday one of the judges for the Mayflower Pembroke Corgi Specialty dog show came to visit me at Bobolink Farm where I live in NH. My mom and dad, Lillian and Don (you know, the bird people) took Vicki and me birding. We saw some cool Bobolinks in the fields at my house and other birds. Then I got to sit on Vicki's lap so she could admire me.

Then we went to the dog show and on Thurs. took judge Patty out birding at Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in MA. The rules are you gotta' keep the judges away until the day they judge, so they don't become biased by seeing the dogs beforehand. We found out dogs are not allowed on the refuge impoundments like they used to be, so I waited in the shade in the car in the parking lot, then was lifted out to have my photo taken in the parking lot. So birders, don't take your dogs here. Some National Wildlife Refuges do allow dogs, so check before going.

We saw lots of birds such as Yellow Warblers,

Baltimore Orioles

and a Veery, which was a "life bird" for Patty. Who says you can't be a birder and a Corgi lover as well.

Now here's one of my favorite tricks, so listen up all you show dogs. They held me up so I could have my photo taken with Patty.

Then I planted a big smooch on Patty. It's called kissing up to the judge.

I was at the dog show on Friday all day. Some people there know me because I was the cover girl for the winter issue of the Mayflower "Corgi Cryer" magazine. Here I am with Cindy the editor who is holding up the issue of the magazine with my photo on the cover. If you want to learn more about Corgis, you can subscribe to this magazine which I rate as three tails up.

There were things that you could buy at the show and Lillian and Don were considering purchasing this sign. I wonder why??

I made some friends, and learned that his handsome dude is my half brother. We both have the same father, "Ch. Slavenik Sweet Thoughts" who is one prolific dad. I was born in 2006 and my half brother here, Ch. XIII Maples Stellar Idea, was born in 1997.

The judging got serious as the show progressed and I had a great ringside seat where I could check out all the entries.

The breeders and handlers worked hard to show off all their beautiful Corgis.

Here's a video of the winners and me congratulating one of the cute boys, Happiharbor Saddle Lane TY. He came came over and touched noses with me.
(Click on the arrow to play the video)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Mayflower Dog Show

Mayflower Pembroke Welsh Corgi Specialty show, 2008

Blogger Phoebe's ringside seat

"Tina" (CH Merthyr I Thought So Too), wins Best in Show

Tina getting congratulated, "Yeah! You won!"

Blogger Phoebe here,

I've just been to the Mayflower Pembroke Welsh Corgi Specialty dog show, where Corgis from all over New England, and even other areas of the country, come to compete for Best in Show. I had lots of fun and saw all the action from my ringside seat. I even took the judges out for a day of birding, before they had to judge. I'll be bringing you up to date with more, but the news flash is that Tina, that beautiful tri-colored Corgi female, won Best in Show.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Heat Wave!

American Goldfinch, male, at bird bath

Ruby-throated Hummingbird, male, at feeder

While the mid-section of the country continues to get drenched, much of the East is having a heat wave, with heat advisories and, in some areas, dangerous air quality. Here in NH, at our home, Bobolink Farm, we try and help the birds through this:

1. Keep birds baths full of fresh, clean water for birds to bath and drink. Scrub baths out with a stiff brush and refill daily, or several times a day. Birds can coof off with a fresh drink and also by bathing and gettihg the water under their feathers.

2. Keep the hummingbird feeders filled with fresh, clean nectar. Replace the nectar every 1-2 days in hot weather as the nectar can be subject to mold, harmful bacteria or fermentation very quickly. It's not always easy to remember to change the fluid in the feeder, but it is essential for the health and safety of your hummers. We clean feeders with a little vinegar and hot water, using a small brush, then rinse. For quickness, we make the hummingbird nectar solution in the microwave:
- take 1 cup water
- add 1/4 cup of white table sugar
- Microwave on high for 2-2 1/2 minutes. Stirring once halfway through the cooking time to help disolve the sugar.
- Cool, refill in clean feeder

Remember to take care of yourself, so you can take care of the birds! Limity outdoor activity to early mornings or late in the day, when it it not quite as hot. Drink plenty of water. Wear a hat and sunscreen. Stay cool!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Birding Festivals

American Avocet

Us doing a booksigning at a prior ABA convention

There's no better way to get your feet wet in birding than to attend a birding festival. Birding festivals are held all over the country, in just about all months. They center around some spectacular birding event, such as the gather of thousands of Sandhill Cranes in NM at the Festival of the Cranes, or celebrate some astonishing natural habitat that lures birds at a particular time of year. Festivals have keynote speakers (we have been ones at many festivals), workshops, field trips run by experienced leaders, and lots of other fun things. By attending you learn lots, can increase your life list, make friends, have a ball. A birding festival brings dollars into a community because of the birds, thus inspires the community to contiue to protect the bird habitat. Win, win for all.

Here's a list of what bird festivals are coming up soon:

Atlantic Puffin in Maine

* Acadia Birding Festival
Mount Desert Island - ME
June 12-15, 2008
Celebrate the ecological wonders of the birds of the Gulf of Maine at the 10th Acadia Birding Festival. Explore Mount Desert Island and its birds through numerous events and venues. See warblers on early morning birding walks, visit with Atlantic Puffins and pelagic birds at sea, and observe Peregrine Falcons at an active breeding site in Acadia National Park

* 4th Annual Adirondack Birding
Speculator - NY
June 20-22, 2008
Celebrate the Boreal Birds of the Adirondacks. This 3 day event will feature hikes, canoe trips, walks, outings, & seminars. Events will take place county wide, in Speculator, Piseco, Indian Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, Inlet & Long Lake.

* American Birding Association Annual Convention
Snowbird, UT
June 23-29, 2008
See an astonishing number of Utah's birds including those at Utah's Great Salt Lake which was named a Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network site, so designated for its importance as a staging area for millions of migrating waterfowl and shorebirds.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Chestunt-sided Warbler, male

Lillian and Don Stokes, on boardwalk at Magee Marsh

Just can't get enough of the warblers, the crown jewels of the bird world. Here's some photos of a Chestnut-sided Warbler I photographed on our recent trip to Magee Marsh in OH. Aptly named, this warbler has chestnut sides and a lemon yellow cap. I sometimes joke that it's the "fruit" warbler because in the fall that lemon cap turns to lime. Get to know your warblers now in spring and you will be better prepared to ID them in fall, when many molt into more subtle, or sometimes very different, plumage. To help you better ID warblers in spring or fall see our Stokes Field Guide to Warblers.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Black-and-white Warbler

Black-and-white Warbler, male

They can climb headfirst down limbs and tree truncks while foraging

More typical warbler view shows the black and white striped undertail coverts

This a.m. we heard a Black-and-white Warbler on our property, singing it's wee-see-wee-see-wee-see song, one of the more memorable warbler tunes. This was new, as we had not had one hanging around yet this spring.

What was he doing? Most likely spending some time, looking for a mate. Birds may come to an area, sing, see if they can find a mate, then, if not, move on. There is a lot of fluidity in bird movement at this time. Many birds have migrated to their former breeding grounds, sung, gotten a mate, and are breeding. Others, such as possibly this warbler, haven't yet accomplished this. So he (it's usually the male birds that sing, but in some species femles do also) may stick around for a while and see if he has any luck. Hope he does.