Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.
Fifty pounds of black oil sunflower seed for $16.95. That's the current price at Krause Feeds in Hope, Minnesota, an hour's dash down I-35 if you are a southern suburber. That's just a twitch above cost.
Gyrfalcon (we should be so lucky)
Common Eider, female: two plus a juvenile seen in Duluth and Two Harbors recently.
There’s not been much innovation in the design of birding field guides from Peterson forward. With the exception of Crossley’s book with its Cineramic and odd presentation of birds in every posture and pose, guide books have been pretty much cut from the same template forever.
There is an exception, a new guide from Princeton University Press that takes a fresh look at combination of illustrations and text, a change that makes very good sense. The subject of the book is a little off the useful track in Minnesota, being the well-done second edition of “Birds of New Guinea,” but that’s beside the point.
The authors — or the designer if there was that specific person — have paired bird illustrations with facing pages containing abbreviated text with range map, enough information to answer the pressing question — what am I seeing.
The second half of the book contains the expanded versions of this information — the details on size, status, plumages, habits, voice, and range. This is where you go for the more discussion of what you might have seen on today’s trip into the field.
This design offers the reader a more convenient book. It's a good idea.
Rufous Hummingbird update: While Wildlife Rehab Center personnel continue to look for a plane and pilot to fly the bird to Arizona, it is resting comfortably at the center. In the photo you see this handsome bird in its travel cage, a cage smaller than the flight cage it would occupy if not being prepped for travel. It enjoyed the large care after its capture on Tuesday. (See previous posts.) At the far right you see the business end of a syringe used to feed the bird. It is given a mixture of nectar mixed with the proteins and vitamins hummingbirds need for a balanced diet. Nectar alone will not sustain the bird for long. In the wild, the hummer would be eating insects. The search for a ride has turned to private or corporate planes, with pilot. Working with commercial airlines is complicated, according to Tami Vogel, communications director for the center.
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