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the Wizard Composter, a large, slow composter becomes a bird hotel in bad weather…mostly common and European Sparrows, but hidden among are the Fox Sparrows and the Carolina Wrens

february 14, 2014

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Meep, a Carolina Wren, survived the Polar Vortex!

We were worried about the little bugger because the weather has been bugshit cray cray.

-8F and 50F in the same week. Seriously. WTF?

Carolina Wrens don’t migrate. They just slowly expand northward until a sufficiently cold winter kills them. 

Not-So-Intelligent Design, I guess.

february 14, 2014

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I’ve been chasing three Crows for a few days…they were bickering over a frozen squirrel carcass (I suspect the Cooper’s Hawk has visited again) and one of them, playing lookout, snitched me out and they took off. Here is one of them peeking at me  from behind a branch just above the prize remains…february 5, 2014

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European Starling, up in the tree enjoying the sunshine on an otherwise frigid day (7 degrees F)…january 23, 2014

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With much of North America in the Deep Freeze, now is as good a time as any to remind y’all to put some suet out for our feathery friends.

Store bought suet is fine, anything that gives the little birds some extra calories and fat will work including peanut butter, but this year we decided to make our own suet.

We rendered about 4 or 5 lbs. of beef suet (from the meat dept. or the butcher’s shop) liquid.

As it cooled we stirred in flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, dried mixed fruits, dried cranberries and steel cut oats. We totally forgot the peanut butter, but that’s okay. It’s a loosey goosey (bird joke!) recipe…it really depends on what you have on hand or what kind of birds you wish to attract. 

You can use lard in place of rendering the fat because let’s face it, the smell was vile.

You could also make your suet in the fall when you can open the windows…

We poured the concoction into some used yogurt tubs and let it cool the rest of the way and placed the suet in baggies for freezing.

As you can see, within minutes the suet cakes were visited. The bird in the image above is a male European Starling (note the blue base of his beak). 

And don’t forget to put out water every few hours because the birds have scant access to it on these frigid days.

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and just because it is so frigid out there right now here’s a couple warm summery shots of Hummybooboo, a Ruby Throated Hummingbird, zipping past the zinnias trying to decide which one looks the tastiest.

september 11, 2013

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more of the Cooper’s Hawk, stalking birds and squirrels..november 12, 2013

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