Posts Tagged ‘Bird Feeders’

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.


Backyard Ecology

January 14, 2011

WARNING: GROSSNESS ALERT – What follows could be considered gross by any rational human being. Feel free to skip this post and come back next week.


We’ve never had a problem with seed falling to the ground from our bird feeders. Yes, the songbirds drop a lot of it but we have a few pigeons – and we don’t mind pigeons; in fact, we rather like them – and the dogs love to vacuüm the seed.  They eat a lot of the fallen seed, but they don’t actually digest much of it. Most of it comes out from the other end the next day. Still it is a means of collecting the spilled seed that compacts it and makes it easier to pick up.

But this week we discovered that the pigeons don’t want any seed to go to waste. Here is the photographic proof:

The Ecology of Efficiency

Yes. That is what you think it is. A photo of pigeons picking seed out of the dog poop. We warned you it was gross, but you have to admit: It’s efficient.


Spring Cleaning is for the Birds

March 9, 2010

Hurtling through space in its unceasing orbit around the sun, tilting on its axis, the earth approaches another change of season. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere spring arrives it in fits and spurts and the birds begin to migrate once more.

Which means it’s a good time to clean house, both yours and your birdhouses and bird feeders. According to no lesser an authority that Wikipedia, the practice of house cleaning in March in North America and Europe began because it was warm enough to open the windows for dusting. Remember, vacuum cleaners had yet to be invented.

Spring cleaning as a rite began earlier. The Persian New Year corresponded with the first day of Spring and Persians “shook” their houses in preparation. Since ancient times observant Jews clean house before the beginning of Passover to rid it of chametz. (leavened bread crumbs)

While keeping bird feeders and bird baths clean is a year-round chore, this is a good time to do a thorough job because the migrants are on the way. Birds can get bacterial and fungal diseases from contaminated bird feeders and water sources. Avian diseases can spread rapidly because they eat communally.

Many non-toxic solutions and techniques make this chore easy and safe for the birds and the environment.

Find a tub big enough to hold your bird feeder(s), get a scrub brush (long brushes sold at birding stores are effective), a pair of gloves, some scent-free mild liquid soap or detergent, and white distilled vinegar.Put the feeders in the tub and fill it with warm water and a squirt of liquid soap or detergent. Wearing gloves, scrub the parts of the feeders you can reach, then rinse thoroughly. Empty the tub, fill it with clean water, and add four cups of vinegar. Let the feeders soak for an hour. Rinse thoroughly.

Nectar feeders for hummingbirds and orioles often develop mold. Hydrogen peroxide is an effective cleaning agent for that. Spray the peroxide directly into the feeder, let sit for an hour or so, then rinse thoroughly and dry.

Don’t forget to wash your hands after you finish.

Fill the clean feeders with fresh food. Throw away old or moldy seed. Birds don’t mind a few bugs in their seed, but they dislike old, stale seed as much as we dislike stale bread.


The “Blue Marble” photo of the earth is the most detailed true-color image of the earth yet made. Here is an animated version. (No sound)

Photo Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Image by Reto Stöckli (land surface, shallow water, clouds). Enhancements by Robert Simmon (ocean color, compositing, 3D globes, animation). Data and technical support: MODIS Land Group; MODIS Science Data Support Team; MODIS Atmosphere Group; MODIS Ocean Group Additional data: USGS EROS Data Center (topography); USGS Terrestrial Remote Sensing Flagstaff Field Center (Antarctica); Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (city lights).

What Happens if You Forget to Feed the Birds

April 24, 2009

We are often asked if forgetting to fill your bird feeders matters to the birds who frequent the feeders at your residence.

This cannot happen at our house; the Border Collies won’t allow it. Feeding the birds at our house requires coordinated teamwork.  A minimum of one human and three Border Collies is necessary,

Border Collies Feeding the Birds

Border Collies Feeding the Birds

As far as we are able to tell, it is the job of the first Border Collie to see to it that the human who actually fills the feeders goes to the appropriate places in the correct order with the right seed for each feeder.  The second Border Collie herds the first to insure that he makes no mistakes herding the human.  The third is a general purpose back-up in case of mistake.  Mostly though, her job is to herd the second Border Collie; Border Collies seldom make mistakes.  All three remind us daily to feed the birds, so we never forget.

Apparently, the job of bird feeding is more complicated than letting the chickens out of their coop each morning.  Only one Border Collie is required to oversee that job.  And, at the same time, he checks the property to insure that no cats have snuck onto the property during the night.  In this way the dogs minimize the risk to the birds of domestic cat attacks, one of the leading causes of song-bird death.

The breeder who sends us our Border Collies is either a Border Collie in disguise or the world’s greatest expert about dogs. As she teaches, “Border Collies know 150 separate commands and they make you perform each perfectly.”  She also interprets their behavior and empathizes with them.  It must not be easy, she says, to have to live with such dimwitted beings as humans who have to think before they do anything.  Always thinking; seldom acting: That’s how dogs see us.

So, for us, it is a hypothetical question of what happens to the local birds if we fail to fill the feeders; as we said, the dogs won’t allow it. But not everyone has a team of dogs to remind them.  What happens if you forget?

No one knows for sure, but the answer is probably not much — at least during times of good weather.  The birds who frequent your feeders are opportunistic feeders and feed on a wide variety of plants, seeds, and bugs and will survive without your feeders, especially if there are other feeders in the neighborhood.  If you forget one day or are gone for awhile, they’ll be fine and will return to your feeders as soon as they notice they are filled again.

rubythroathummer65That is not always true during times of harsh weather.  Mounting evidence indicates that some bird species are not migrating because of the availability of human supplied food during winter and the shoulder seasons of early spring and late autumn.  Significant numbers of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, for instance, no longer migrate to Central America, but remain in the Gulf Coast region of the United States during winter.  There is no doubt that supplemental food helps non-migratory birds survive winters.  And, as we always remind people, providing fresh water is at least as important as the food you put out.

But how you are going to feed your birds without a team of Border Collies is simply beyond our power to imagine.

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