Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!


The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.

Friday, February 27, 2009

JJ steps back into the Frame.

After two weeks without my camera, the birds were getting slack. They had stopped their usual minute of posing.

Today though, just telling the postman that he had made my day, made me feel good already, because I knew that him knocking the door meant that he would have something to deliver!

Francis was already standing at the kitchendoor, looking up at the sky, to see if I would be able to get out on a ride to the bay, but could tell him that the weather was too wishy washy. (I had been out of bed a lot longer already by then!)

Anyway, enjoy JJ's photos. I am just glad my camera is back and working properly again.

And just as I am uploading my photos onto this blog, these pictures were born, thanks to this littlevisitor, not as welcome as my Garden birds though.
Looking at its markings, I'm surprised that it is the same colour/markings, as the one I have photographed before and posted here last summer, I think.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Watch Out! Flying Doors in the air

In the Nature Reserve, Oostvaarders Plassen, which is to the north of Amsterdam, a couple of Sea, or White Tailed Eagles, started breeding in the reserve in 2006. Across the world, the parents and the offspring were followed via webcam, hosted by the Woodland Trust.

In summer 2007 I was introduced to a pair of breeding Peregrine Falcons, Pa and Ma, in Holland, I was asked to translate for a UK forum, where we kept a diary of their chick's progress. Their nestbox was on top of the KPN radio tower in the small village De Mortel,North Brabant, a province in the south of Holland. (the other part of the province-South Brabant-is in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of Belgium).


When In Holland in 2007, friends, Nettie and Nora had a few ideas for us, and apart from returning to my childhood's forest and village on my birthday. So, as fellow birdlovers, we dropped Francis off at a nearby air traffic musuem, while we went down to the Oostvaarders Plassen, for a drive through the reserve, along the west coast of the Zuid Flovoland polder. While we truly enjoyed the many Buzzards, sitting along the road, and the sight of Cormorants overhead and along the coast, among the many birds we saw that day, I had hoped for a glimpse of the young Sea Eagle, or one of the parents. Apart from a camera crew standing on a scaffold like set up in a parking bay next to the road, there was no sign of the Eagles. The crew were waiting for the same birds, only we didn't have their patience.

This summer I will be glued to several webcams again, so to speak, plus following the live action again around here.

The National Trust, wants to let the site naturalise even further. Grazing is done by wild Koninck Horses from eastern Europe, to keep forestation in control, so that the area remains a wetland of marshes, necessary for the local wildlife.

As in the UK, talk of re-introducing Wolves and Wild Boar among other species, are high on the agenda again. I'm not sure, but I do think that beavers have been introduced some time ago.

Last year, it was the first time that two Eagle chicks had hatched.

Flying Doors is a very Dutch name for the White tail or Sea Eagles, something like cigars, a name for a flying Cormorant, I guess.
(and no, it has nothing to do with The Flying Dutchman)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Some more birds from last year.

What I miss most, being without my sweet camera, is the trips out to the bay. I haven't been able to get my wheels to move themselves to the bay. So I found it only fitting to add a few pictures of the birds in or at the water-side.

Anyway, I've promised Old Crow to post a few Jackdaws, so these I have here also.

When we moved in in 2000/01 we would get a flock of Finches move in to come and feed in our garden for the winter before leaving again in March/April. The flock would consist of Goldfinches, Siskins, and Greenfinches. Male Chaffinches would be around the garden already, all year around and others would arrive from the continent. Flocks of Chaffinches would leave from Belgium, from where the females would leave first and the males would come later.
The flock of Fiches did not show up in October of 2006/07 and instead of arriving before winter, they arrived in March/April 2007, and to my surprise they stayed to breed. I need to add that this was a much smaller flock than the one which used to overwinter here.
2 pairs of each species did visit during 2007, at times, and these were the only ones I would be seeing at a time. A far cry from the 6 Siskins hanging at the peanutfeeder in the early years. Last year I did not see much of them, they might show only now and then until say, summer, and from that time I haven't seen any Siskin, Greenfinch or Goldfinch. However, that is the charm of birds. It is what they decide to do! Not what I want!

My Chaffinches were crying out to be added to today's post too, as they do each day.
So, this was last March.

Female Chaffinch


Here are a Mute Swan and two Redshank, one of which is so curious it needs to have a closer look at its mate. in Bantry harbour.

And two young Mute Swan, Cygnets.

Also, and why not, two of last year's pics of Nina.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rooks, Dogs, and Dolphins: Who is in control here?

Most of us do feel that our pets are having a good life; we care for them in a responsible manner by feeding at regular times, leaving some water to drink, and taking the dog for a walk. (or, as these days is becoming more popular, letting the dog go for a run on the treadmill.) The latter might be a good solution for many with busy schedules, but what about the other aspects of going outdoors with your pet; is it fair to omit the outdoor air, the sounds and smells of nature, which are perceived in a whole different manner by your Dog, Cat or even pet birds.
The Chinese understood this a long time ago already and would take their pet cage bird to the village or city square, and hang the little cage in a tree. Before long, the whole tree would look like a Christmas tree, with cages hanging from almost every branch.
The BBC's series on China, shown and repeated, last year, showed this aspect of the Chinese culture in one particular area. The owners of the birds, mostly male, would take their birds out so the pets would be able to meet others of their own -avian- kind. And indeed, the chatting started even before the birds had found their spot on the tree.
At least these pet owners are well aware of the fact that a cage is restricting the life of the bird very much, but how aware are you, while you are adjusting the switch on the treadmill so your pet can have his daily run.

I remember that a few years ago, I was going home from the village, and when we were passing the Sparrow hedge" along the little road, I got hold of this delicious waft of some Wild Flowers. I was so much intrigued that I went back along the road, unable to locate this lovely scented flower or plant. I stayed back there for some time.
I might not be a dog, but I can imagine that a dog would be just as intrigued.

Smells and sounds are part of Nature, and sometimes it is hard to hear these natural sounds above the many mobile telephone tones or radios.

I think my best "Pet" was a wild Rook, which used to come and visit me, through the open window of my bedroom. It was the wild aspect which made me like him/her. The fact that he/she could come and go as it liked and it wuold play with the teaspoons standing in a a cup with the coffee maker. The Bird wouldn't come in whenever friends were around, neither wuold he/she show when we were sitting outside at the back of the house.
It tried pecking at one of my cacti flowers once, and since then he wuold stay away from them. I never named it, because even as a 16 year old, I realised that I wuold claim it somehow as soon as I would place that label around his neck.

So then why did I give the young Jackdaw a name, after the fledgling had started coming here for some time? Is that not claiming the poor soul?
To be honest, I never understood those people, at the different fora/forums, who do name the birds coming to their garden. So am I turning into one of them also? Or was it pure laziness and that instead of writing about he/she his/her, etc. I used the first logical word which came into my head; Junior.

A woman at Rehabcare told me last time that she too "had a Rook as pet", while it stayed just as wild, like the one which I saw as a kid.

Luckily, we were both very aware that of course we never had these birds, but that they simply chose to visit us because they are very inquisitive.
I already had a window feeder , a very small, say 15x15cm and a little red roof on top. I had been into birds since I was a youngster and perhaps this is what drew the rook to my window in the first place, even though, Els-my mum, and I had left the little birdtable on the window of the smaller bedroom, which had been mine until my sister chose to run away from house when she was 17 and I was 14. I would do my homework in my old room, while watching the birds as they came to feed. From my bedroom I would still watch them fly to and fro the window next door, and perhaps the Rook came here because it was quieter than the other window. Yet the Rook was still attracted by the availability of food.He/she lived in the forest behind and around our house, which was my favourite place to go whenever something bothered me, or whenever I wanted to be alone.

When did we start to think that we had the right to control these animals which we took into our houses and from then on decided what the pet was allowed to do, ruin, and what it should eat and drink. Did it start with Huskies, which were vital to the lives of humans in the snow and ice of Alaska, or did humans setttle there as a last resort, after having colonised most of the planet already? It doesn't really matter where or how it started, it is what we do with this control which matters.

And we do not stop there, with our pets. No, we do like to think that this control we have extends to areas way beyond our own house.
We like to go swimming with Dolphins, which seems to be very good for your spiritual being and very good for children. But what about the Dolphins themselves? What do they get out of it? It is not very natural, is it?

Dony, or Georges a bottlenose Dolphin, with a habit of crossing open waters like the English Channel, North Sea, or country borders on the European continent, is also one of those friendly Dolphins" yet whose is he?
I know, this sounds like a strange question because we are talking about a wild animal.
A wild animals which made people flock to the bay where he was spotted in 2001. The problem which arose when it became apparent that these visitors spent money in the town, and so two villages wanted to claim that Dony was the Dolphin in their area of the bay.
Irish Dolphins Website
Swimming with Dolphins in the Azores
The Queen and King Rook

One of the Rooks which flock above the house and garden daily and which come and feed here, as ell as in the school yard.

The young Jackdaw, born last summer in the chimney of the school, next door. Although he is just one of four Jackdaw juveniles, that summer, it is his character which stood out from the start and he would (and still does) feed mostly on his own.

Chaffinch female in the garden,

One of my Blue Tits: