Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Bird Photo Booth: Take pics as birds feast on seeds

December 2, 2013



Homeowners love the sound of birds chirping during the day. Some of them attract these winged creatures onto their front yards by putting up bird feeders. As much as you want to observe these birds up close, you know they just fly away if you get too near.

Let Bird Photo Booth solve that problem and even save those moments forever. It is a bird feeder with a slot inside where you put your old iPhone or GoPro camera. The camera is connected to a device inside the house via Bluetooth or WiFi, enabling you to snap photos of feeding birds yourself without disturbing them.

This weather-resistant contraption is made of sustainably harvested white oak hardwood and comes with a macro lens and circular polarizing lens that zooms in the birds automatically while providing finer details. It also has a lens cap protector, stainless steel perch and bowl for the seeds, and foam inserts for both iPhone and GoPro.

The iPhone foam insert also works with 4th and 5th-gen iPod Touch, while the GoPro protective foam insert fits all models, including the new GoPro Hero 3 editions. Android device owners will have to wait a bit, as usual.

The company even suggests you could also communicate with the birds using FaceTime, but that might just scare the birds away. They also recommend to turn off the device’s auto-lock functionality so you won’t miss a moment.

The Bird Photo Booth is available online for $150, plus shipping.


Gardening is for the Birds

May 27, 2008

Hummingbird Mix

We bird feeders know of a hidden cost in the rising price of oil and gasoline: The cost of bird seed is going through the roof. Nyjer (thistle), imported from India and Africa, has tripled in price this past year. Black oil sunflower seed, home-grown for the most part, has doubled in price.

We’ve made a bargain with wild birds. We agree to supplement their diet with various seeds from constantly stocked feeders. In return, they provide us joy. They would survive without us feeding them. We would survive without the joy. But the world would be a poorer place. The lives of millions of wild birds would be harder and the lives of millions of humans less happy.

So, we’ll keep feeding wild birds and they’ll keep eating. But there are some things we can do to lower our costs while improving their diet.

One way of feeding your visitors less expensively is to plant bird-friendly gardens. They’ll have nectar, pollen, and insects to go with the seed you provide. You’ll benefit because the new mini eco-system you create will lure new bird species to visit. If you have a big yard, get rid of some of that grass and replace it with some bird-friendly plants. Manicured lawns provide little food or habitat for birds. (Lawns also have to be mowed, fertilized and watered and watered and then watered again, ad nauseam.) If, on the other hand, you live in an apartment or condo with only a small balcony or porch, plant a few pots.

Here are some tips for creating a bird-friendly garden.

Buy a few bags of pre-mixed specialty seeds. There are some excellent mixed seed packets, selected especially for the birds. Coincidentally, we sell these seed packets in our web store. Here are the links for the three varieties pictured in this post. Hummingbird Haven,Hummingbird Habitat Garden,Bird-Lovers’ Flower Garden. Click on them and through the magic of the internet, you will be whisked to our store where you can buy them from us.

If you have the space, plant your own sunflowers. Give your birds cut up oranges, grapes or raisins. Save your raw egg shells, then bake them in the oven for 20 minutes when you are preparing a meal, crush them and put them out for the birds. They are almost pure calcium and wild birds need calcium.

After your seeds start to grow, skip the pesticides. They poison the birds and pollute our water. Instead, buy some lady bugs. If you can’t find them at your local garden shop, you can actually order them. What the birds don’t eat, the lady bugs will.

And, as we always tell you, birds are attracted to water. In fact, water may be the best wild bird lure in the world. Birdbaths and water saucers will bring them to your new bird garden faster than greased Peregrines.

A bird garden: If you plant it, they will come.

Crickets and Temperature

December 4, 2007

This is supposed to be a birding blog, but many birds eat crickets so that is close enough for us to post the formula about deriving the air temperature from the number of times a cricket chirps.crickets.jpg

The Farmer’s Almanac has the formula. But so do we, since we copied it from the Farmer’s Almanac, hoping and assuming that it is not copyrighted. Here it is:

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature.

Example: 30 chirps in 14 seconds + 40 = 70̊ F

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius, count number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get temperature.

Example: 48 chirps in 25 seconds/(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20̊ C

A couple of caveats: You have to isolate a single cricket. If 50 crickets are chirping and you count all of them, you’ll get an air temperature high enough to melt crickets. Secondly, it only works down to about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Any colder and the crickets don’t chirp reliably. Male crickets do the chirping by rubbing their legs together. They establish territories and attract mates by chirping. It is a great sound unless it is echoing around your bedroom from the rafters above your bed and you are trying to sleep. For that you need a trained cricket-eating bird. Maybe a Greater Roadrunner.


October 1, 2007

Bird feeding can be as simple as scattering seed on the ground or as involved as providing an entire backyard of feeders or habitat. When setting out feeders, it’s all about location, location, location. Keep in mind that not only do you want to provide feeding stations for the birds, but you’ll also want to enjoy viewing birds as they feed. It’s also good to think about birds’ safety. Setting a feeder near a bush or tree where birds can go for protective cover is important. If cats are lurking about, it’s best to keep feeders out of their reach.

There are five basic types of birdfeeders—feeders for birdseed, nectar, peanuts, fruit and suet. You may want to find out what birds frequent your area, but a great place to start is by hanging out a tube feeder with black oil sunflower seed in it. Black oil sunflower seed is an excellent seed for birds and appeals to a wide variety. This type of feeder and seed can be used year-round.

Spring through Fall is the time to hang out a hummingbird or oriole feeder. These feeders are primarily for nectar, but orioles also love oranges and many oriole feeders include places to add an orange. In fact, our Orioles ignore any nectar and go straight to the grape jelly. See our post about Oriole feeding here. During the winter months many birds will come to suet feeders and there are specially made baskets that will hold blocks of suet.

Tray feeders are used for fruit, seed or peanuts.

Try any or all of the above and you are sure to be rewarded with the company of birds.

This post is the first in a series of “Tips” for which we have added a category on the right side of his page.  We’ll keep them all there as a reference.

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