Fowl and Foul Air

About a month ago I installed several bird feeders in the backyard. Nothing. No birds. So about a week ago I tied some Christmas tinsel to the feeders in an attempt to entice them with my shiny ingeniousness. I figure, I like sparkly things so, perhaps birds do too. Not to say I’m a bird brain, but if the shoe fits . . . I succeeded in attracting a few chickadees and titmice, but not much else. Well, except the mockingbirds, which have really helped the grasshopper plague, but I have to be honest, the mockingbirds scare me a little.

Anyhow, to further the birdy nerdiness, I’ve been spending my mornings on patio with coffee and my newly downloaded iphone/pad app called iBird. It’s Mitch Waite’s interface from WhatBird.com and it allows you to plug in a zip code to narrow the birds in your region and identify by size, shape, sound and color. Very cool. It even links to Birdipedia.

I’ve been having fun with the calls. Yesterday I put the cardinal call on loop and I had several cardinals buzzing about. Then I put the painted bunting call on loop and they were calling back, shy little things, they didn’t make much of an appearance. Although the buntings do love the fountain on the side yard, perhaps I should add a fountain in the back. With six bird feeds and three humming bird feeders, Chef would have a cow if I told him I was going to add more bird stuff in the yard. That is why we just do it and three weeks later when he notices we tell him it’s been there for a while. See how easy that works! Back to the original point, for the last few days, when I’ve called the birds with the app, they come. It is so fun.

Now for the downer. Not many birds around this morning because the air pollution from the local natural gas compressors and gas processing facility was so bad. Seriously, I had a headache within 15 minutes of sitting on the patio. It smells like vomit outside. I placed a complaint with TCEQ, but I’m sure, like always, they will arrive 10 hours later and nothing will come of it. My biggest fear is that the birds will end up like the grasshoppers and flying insects of last summer.

Should I feel guilty for installing the feeders? [insert big sigh] Oh well, I’m not going to think about it right now. Here are a few of the photos from this morning – I wish I would have had my camera out yesterday. And, FYI – they are stupid hard to photograph. I’ll try and get video soon, too. But I promise not to hide in any more trees while I do it. If you have any fancy tips for photographing backyard birds, I’m all ears.

Categories: Backyard Birds, Cardinals, Good Guys

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