Monday, February 28, 2011

Best part of the Oscars last night...

Quote for the day...

Use the talents you possess - for the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except for the best.  ~Henry Van Dyke

Backyard Birdwatching 1

  It doesn't matter where you live,if you feed them, they will come. Having birds in your backyard is as easy as feeding them.Once they start coming, you'll probably begin to wonder about their names and why they behave the way they do. Before you know it you'll probably get a book about them, and if you're really hooked, a pair of binoculars to see them up close. Birdwatching is enjoyed by over 65 million Americans, and once you start,you'll see why.

    Getting started is pretty easy. First you'll need a feeder. Bird feeders come in all shapes and sizes and can be homemade from everyday items found around the house or store bought. Fancy or simple, the birds will come. As your knowledge of your local bird species increases you'll be able to attract certain types of birds to your backyard. I generally like them all, but there are some that I like more than others.
    Pictured above is my backyard feeder.It consists of a 4" x 4" x 8' post sunk 2' in the ground with a little concrete for support, a platform with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage, two sides and a roof. On the sides of my feeder I have placed two suet feeders as well. The wood came from scraps left over from a construction job at Camp David in the nearby Catoctin Mountains, so you could say that our birds are getting the presidential treatment! The wood I used is red oak and has held up very well for the past 6 years without any special care.

    The object of a feeder is to provide a clean,safe feeding station off of the ground where seed can become moldy and  get exposed to potential contamination by dampness, bacteria, animal droppings, lawn fertilizers and pesticides. Not all birds will visit your elevated feeder,some are ground feeders, but you would be surprised at the number of ground feeders that secretly convert when no one else is looking. Here is a link for an easy platform feeder: . Your backyard feeder can be as simple or complex as you wish, here are some plans for wide variety of feeders: .

    Another way to attract birds is to have birdbath close by with a steady supply of fresh, clean water. Water left too long can develop algae in warmer climates and possibly spread disease among our feathered friends, so make sure and maintain your birdbath by cleaning it regularly and changing the water. Below is our birdbath which I put together from on old concrete birdbath basin and a communication tower beacon.

The tower light came from the top of a 450' guyed tower on Maryland's Eastern Shore in Salisbury,Md. Once you have a bird feeder and a birdbath,you'll be well on your way toward endless fun and learning as you progress in your knowledge and appreciation of your own backyard wonders. Good Luck!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Awesome Pic of Jupiter - Thanks Lynne!

Image from Hubble:

Quote for the day...

“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett

Pictures for Sunday Feb 27th 2011

A lone cow near our home.
A regular barn, right?....Look closer at the door.
Hog Heaven!
Guyed tower in Urbana,Md.
This tower is having its TV antenna removed from the top by Vertical Technology Services  They are using a gin pole to accomplish this rigging intense job.
The gin pole is the yellow structure attached to the tower near the top.The TV antenna is on the very top and weighs about 5,000lbs.
This is a winch.It will do all the heavy lifting in this operation.

Here is another perspective.

Bluebirds 2011 #1

After breakfast this morning,while looking out my kitchen window, I saw a pair of Bluebirds checking out the prospects of our backyard. We have a Bluebird nesting box, but it is in dire need of repair, having lasted five years and about 6 nesting pairs of both Bluebirds and Wrens.
It is a nice solid box, one of a pair that my friend Walt built for himself and graciously gave me one. We were both construction workers at the time and our Birding conversations always got us strange looks and comments from the guys; How could you possibly be a construction worker and talk about birds?

Anyway, after my wife Candy found a simple blueprint for a nesting box from the National Bluebird Society: , we decided to build two for our backyard. How hard could it be? 
So we broke out the tools, after a short trip to the local Home Depot to pick up some lumber, and proceeded to start our ambitious plan to populate our backyard with, hopefully, two pairs of Bluebirds this year.
We bought the required screws listed on the plans but they turned out to be too big for the wood, so we ended up pre-drilling the holes and using galvanized nails. Sanding and painting will start tomorrow and hopefully by the end of this week we'll have some new homes for our backyard friends.