Showing posts from July, 2014

Latin for Bird Lovers

Attention bibliophiles, logophiles, linguaphiles, physisaphiles and especially aviphiles.  I just found a book that may satisfy all of your obsessions in one package. I have always been interested in language and words.  When I was in school, I took an odd little nerdy course called Latin and Greek in Current Use.  It looked at the etymologies of English words derived from the classical languages.  It turned out to be useful studying for a career in health care (bradycardia = slow heart). Some English words have the same etymological meanings, but different connotations.  Examples are synchronous (Greek) and contemporary (Latin).  Once in a while it is possible to deduce the meaning of an unfamiliar word if you know the meaning of its roots.  Ever since I took this course, I have found myself wondering about words and their origins. Now move ahead more than thirty years.  I love exploring the natural world in my neighborhood and blogging about it.  I want to know everything

Eurasian Collared Dove

Three years ago, my neighbor sent me a photo of a Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) in his yard.  It has taken them three years to make it the quarter-mile or so to mine.  I now see this pair hanging out in my yard every day.  They appear to be attracted by the feeders. This world-traveling species has an interesting story.  Their original homeland is south Asia, India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, according to iBird .  During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, they spread across Europe and eastward to into China.  By 1953, they had reached Britain .  Then in 1974, they were introduced into the Bahamas.  By the mid eighties, they were seen in Florida.  Since then, they have colonized most of the U.S ., also reaching southern Canada and northern Mexico.  South Fidalgo Island now appears to be part of their range. They are extremely shy.  If I get anywhere near the front yard, they escape to the big firs.  I had given up ever getting a picture.  Then, the other even

Uncle Robin

Uncle Robin, that's me!  An American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  picked the fuchsia basket on my entry porch to build her nest.  Needless to say, this has made watering and picking off old blooms a bit complicated.  I am basically banished from the porch. The fuchsia needs to be watered two or three times a week.  The method is to peek out and find a moment when the parent is not there.  Then quickly go out and water around the sides of the nest before dashing into the house again.  I've given up on picking off the old blooms to keep it flowering.  The birds are more interesting anyway. When she was sitting on eggs, she rarely left the nest.  Now she has three little mouths to feed and this is keeping her busy from dawn to dusk.  While she's out foraging, I get a chance to go out and water. Dad might be helping out with the feeding.  With the poor lighting, it's hard to tell, but that could be Mom in the first photo, Dad in the second and third. When I go

Draw to a Pair

I was at the Kukutali Preserve once again this morning.  It has become a favorite spot for wildlife viewing.  Not only is it close to home, seasonal crowds can still be avoided here.  I have also found a back road route between my house and the Preserve.  I can get there easily without traffic or stoplights. From the parking lot, visitors hike along the causeway to Kiket Island.  I have learned to check the tallest trees along at the east edge of the island, especially one just north of the road.  This is a favorite hunting and loafing perch used by  Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) .  Between 8:00 and 8:30 in the morning is the best time to spot them in my experience.  The sun is also in the perfect position for photos. This morning, it was not difficult to find this fellow.  Just like the eagle that visits my yard, he was engaged in a continuous monologue of screeching and chattering.  I wonder if he was proclaiming, "this is my place in the world."  Right-cl

Lonesome George

I think this is George, but I'm not sure.  It could be Martha.  I know it is one or the other because of the white feather in the middle of the breast.  This is one of the birds that has been visiting regularly for the last few years. I use "lonesome" to describe his apparent social status when visiting, not as part of his name.  The real Lonesome George was a sole surviving Pinta Island Galapagos Tortoise who died in 2012. A Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  has spent a lot of time alone in my trees over the entire Fourth of July weekend and since.  I hear chattering up there all day long.  Summer is the breeding season for Bald Eagles.  There is a nesting pair about a quarter mile up the road.  I have been wondering if this is one member of that pair. Bald Eagles are year-around residents in this area.  Pairs usually remain monogamous for life.  Two birds  often stop by together , but only one has been visiting lately.  Both parents will incubate and