Showing posts with label cardinal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cardinal. Show all posts

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Book Review of What It's Like to Be a Bird

Robin in my Backyard

 Are you ever curious about the habits of birds?  Did you realize that a bird's senses of vision, hearing, touch and smell many times surpass the same senses in humans?  Did you know that if you "ate like a bird" you might eat more than twenty-five pizzas each day?  These are just a few of the many things you'll learn about birds in the book What It's Like to Be a Bird.  


I received a copy of this book as a Christmas gift and have found it fascinating.  It is a rather large, coffee table type book that is full of information on the birds of North America.

The book is divided into three sections.  In this review, I will give you some insight into each of the sections.  The photographs I am including in this review are birds that I photographed in my backyard.


First Section: Introduction

Female Downy Woodpecker

  • The introduction section of the book is 32 pages full of information on birds in general.  This section talks about the feathers on birds, the senses of birds and how they relate to human senses.  There are sections on 
  • Food
  • Survival
  • Social Behavior
  • Movement
  • Physiology
  • Migration
an much more.  This area is full of interesting information.  Some examples include:
  • There are 11 thousand species of birds today and 800 are regularly found in North America.
  • Birds visual ability varies greatly between species.  Owls have great night vision  and Eagles see five times more details than humans and 16 times the colors.
  • Some birds spend their entire winter in the air, even sleeping while they fly.

Second Section: Main Body of Book

In this section of the book the author tells us about over 200 different species of birds.  The author has two pages for most species and they include beautiful colored illustrations of the birds and are full of interesting facts about each type of bird.

One good example is the section on Finches.  The first page shows a beautiful illustration of a male and female House Finch building a nest.  The information says that these finches are aptly named because they have adapted to living around houses and often make their nests on items around the houses such as hanging plants and window ledges.  On the page with Goldfinches we are told that they travel in flocks almost all year and it is believed that some birds stay together in small groups for months or even years.

Third Section: Listing of Birds in this Book

In this last section of the book you find a list of all the birds that have been covered in the book.  It includes the page number for more information along with a paragraph summarizing that particular bird.

Here is some of the information included on the Northern Cardinal.  It tells that the bird is named for its bright red color which is like the cardinals in the Roman Catholic church.  The paragraph goes on to say that the Northern Cardinal is one of the most widely recognized birds in North America.  It adds a couple of interesting facts such as that it is common for male cardinals to feed the adult females.  In this way they are signaling their ability to find food.

This is a book I would highly recommend for anyone interested in finding out more about birds.
Here is a calendar I made of my backyard bird photos.  It is offered on Zazzle.
  



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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Review of Bird Photography in the Snow


I love photographing birds and in the winter a snowy day can give a wonderful backdrop for my bird photographs.


Female Cardinal


As I reviewed articles online in preparation for writing this article, I found many tips on photographing in the snow.  Most of these talked about protecting your camera, wearing gloves with the fingers cut out and that type of tips.  I have a different setup for photographing birds right from the comfort of my own home and that is what I will be sharing in this article.

Photographing through Glass



The photograph above, as well as all of the photos on this page were taken through glass.  I have tripods set up in my home that I use to photograph the birds in our yard.  The photograph above was taken through our sliding glass doors in the kitchen.  I often get a surprised reaction when people hear that I photograph through glass, but it has worked well for me.

               When photographing through glass
                be sure to keep the glass clean.

I keep a cloth handy to quickly wipe away any smudges on the glass.  On a snowy day I will frequently open the door to wipe away sleet or drops that have formed on the glass outside.

                Set up the camera as close to the
                glass as possible.

I have my cameras set up on a tripod just inches away from the glass.

My Setup


I have two cameras that I use to take my bird photography.  Both are set up on tripods.  
  • Sony A57 DSLR set up with a Tamron 200-600 zoom lens.  This camera is perfect for getting the birds that are at a bit of a distance.  I use these when the birds are at my far feeders, up in the branches of the trees along the back of our property or in the bushes.
  • Sony a6300 mirrorless camera.  This camera set up with a 70-210 zoom lens is perfect for the birds on the deck and in the closer feeders.  I use it in connection with a wireless remote so that I can sit at the kitchen table and trigger the shutter release when I see a bird.  I used this setup in photographing the BlueJays pictured below.













Bright Colored Birds on a Snowy Day


I love to photograph all birds but catching some of these brightly colored birds against the snowy backdrop are my favorites.




















Dark-eyed Junco or Snowbird


Another favorite of mine is the Junco which is commonly called the snowbird.  It has a dark top and white underside which looks great on a snowy day.


Zazzle Products from my Photographs





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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review of Facts and Photos of the Northern Cardinal

Male Northern Cardinal
The Northern Cardinal is one of my favorite birds.  They frequently visit my backyard feeders and birdbath and I never get tired of photographing them.  I find both the male and female to be very photogenic.

Fun Facts About the Northern Cardinal

  • State bird of 7 US states
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Kentucky
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Virginia
    • West Virginia
  • Diet consists of seeds, insects and berries
  • Also known as redbird
  • Featured as the name of numerous athletic teams including my favorite St. Louis Cardinal baseball team.
  • Beautiful songbirds who sing year round.  Loud whistling song that has many variations including: cheer,cheer,cheer and purty,purty,purty.
  • Male sings to defend nesting territory.
  • Cardinals do not migrate and live their entire lives within a few miles.
  • Cardinal lifespan can be up to 15 years.
Thanks goes to my granddaughter Kate for sharing some of her Cardinal facts with me.

Differences between Male and Female Cardinals


The male Cardinal is perhaps the mostly widely recognized bird in the USA.  Male is completely red except for small black mask and a black chin.  These birds have heavy bills to deal with their diets.

Although the female is duller in color, I think they are equally beautiful.  They are a tawny brown with a small amount of red on the crest, wings and tail.  I love their bright orange/red beak.


Photos of Cardinals in my Backyard

This little guy is all puffed up against the cold winter winds.


I like the look on this Cardinals face.  He seems to be saying "it's my turn here now...stay away!"

Products with Northern Cardinals

Because they are such a colorful and popular birds you can find numerous products that feature cardinals.  A search on Amazon will show you toys, household decorating items and much more.  Here are a couple that caught my eye.

I love this colorful Cardinal trivet.  What a great way to bring this colorful bird into your home.


                                                           
If you are looking for some decorations with Cardinals for your deck or patio this beautiful wind chime is just for you.  I love the sound of chimes in the wind and I'm sure you will love this colorful decoration.
                                       

Cardinal Magnet from my friend Vicki's Zazzle store




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Review This is Dedicated to the Memory of Our Beloved Friend and Fellow Contributor
We may be apart, but You Are Not Forgotten

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