Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mrs. Bluebird

She's often seen perching on the shepherd's hook near the bird feeders, though she doesn't visit the seed feeders.  She prefers suet or tasty beetles and other small insects that she can capture. 

When she spots something interesting, she's fast as lightening as she swifts down to the ground to snatch it.  With the prize in her beak, she'll briefly perch on the hook or a nearby electrical line then she disappears into the trees.  I consider her part of my back yard "family" and enjoy her frequent presence.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Crazy About Suet!

Birds love suet!  I try to keep the crunchy peanut buttery treat on hand for my back yard friends.  I always use the same basic mix but vary on the extra ingredients like raisins, cranberries, seeds, nuts, etc.  I've tried the store bought stuff, but it usually ends up in the trash because my bird friends won't eat it.  However, they love this homemade recipe.

The basic ingredients for this suet recipe are:
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup lard
2 cups yellow corn meal
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

Put it all together:  
Melt peanut butter and lard together.
Add dry ingredients and stir well.

Add extra ingredients on hand like 
bird seed, sunflower chips, raisins or dried cranberries, peanuts, etc.  

After mixing everything together, let it set for a few minutes. Spoon the mixture out and roll it into 1 to 2 inch balls or spread it into a sheet pan then cut it into squares.  I have also spooned the mixture into miniature muffin pans.  The shape of the mixture doesn't matter to the birds- they love it either way! Extra mixture may be stored in the freezer until ready to use.  

There are many variations on suet recipes so feel free to experiment.  I've tried others but this combination of ingredients has been the most popular with my back yard friends.  

Thank you for dropping in and I hope you all have a wonderful week ahead!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Nesting Great Egrets at Avery Island

On March 20th, my husband and I visited Jungle Gardens, located at Avery Island in Louisiana. Jungle Gardens is a self-driving tour which winds through 4 miles of beautiful gardens filled with live oaks, spanish moss, azaleas, tropical plants and much more, including some wildlife. Located within Jungle Gardens is "Bird City", a rookery which attracts thousands of nesting birds every spring.  A variety of egrets and herons nest here and raise their young.  

On the day we visited, we saw only the great egrets- hundreds of them.  It was mid-day and the sunlight was extremely bright which made it somewhat challenging to photograph them.  I went through my images and saved a few descent ones...

A great photo library of Bird City and Jungle Gardens is posted online here.  Some of their photos are amazing!  

Thank you for visiting.  Have a great Wednesday and a wonderful upcoming weekend!
Linked with Stewart for Wild Bird Wednesday

Monday, April 11, 2016

'Tis Spring, Say the Birds

I love the white blooms that spring up on our Cleveland Pear tree during the warm, sunny days of March.  They're the first blooms of the new season and they make a showy prop for bird photos.

The blooms are gone now, replaced by bright green leaves that will
turn darker as spring progresses and summer settles in.

May each of you have a wonderful week.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Spring, Splendid Spring

 The signs of Spring are everywhere around me...

The hostas planted last year are appearing
and the lilies have multiplied.
This is the very first bloom of the season.
A few thistles have shown up in the back yard,
along with a variety of wildflowers.
Pine cones are developing and new growth has appeared on the shrubs.
Frogs have come out of their winter hibernation
and birds are gathering nesting materials.

I'm thankful for the season and the new life it brings, 
and I'm enjoying the longer days.

"When the world is filled with sunlight, brighter and longer, 
when the song of Mother Nature becomes stronger and stranger,
Spring has begun".  ~ Camille Gotera