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Category Archives: Birds

Behind the Scene

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This week I think I am spending almost as many days at the Howard County Conservancy as I did on my job before I retired. Sunday. Tuesday. Thursday. Saturday.

The Fall Festival was an immense success. As usual. Lots of my Facebook friends went. Loved the hayrides. Pony rides. And all the other things offered. I was there early to set up.

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Putting up the apple peeling, and apple cider tasting table. Thanks to MOM’s for their contribution, and to Harbin Farms for their collection (labeled) of all the varieties available here in the MidAtlantic.

Then, helping with the tent (which we took down because it turned the welcome area into a wind tunnel)

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then checking out the “bee people”.

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The honey is awesome, by the way.

After about an hour helping set up, I went off to tend to my garden. Today, I returned to spend time harvesting food bank vegetables.

Thursday I am there for the new kindergarten program, for Northfield Elementary School.

Saturday, I can’t wait to hear about bats. A free program presented at 10 am.

Such an asset to the area. The Conservancy really does have universal appeal.

Just Us Chickens

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The total chicken post. For whatever reason we just have chickens everywhere we look. Watching the girls run around England Acres (and getting to feed them, if you want).

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Or, how about the tour tomorrow. See the Conservancy web site, if you want to join us. After all, chickens are immensely interesting.

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The baby chicks at Tractor Supply. I always get inspired and want to buy some and get a coop, but then we just “chicken out” for some reason. While we were there last week, I wanted to take a few pictures of the adorable chicks but they prohibit picture taking.

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The joys of free range chicken eggs. The colors. You don’t need to dye these eggs for Easter. They already are amazing in color and designs.

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Who can resist the lure of these fresh eggs, with so much flavor.


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Chickens …

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… in a fun tour of coop-to-coop.

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April 12th. 10 am to 2 pm. A number of Howard County chicken owners are opening their coops for the chance to meet the “girls” and see what fun chickens are. Sponsored as a free program from the Howard County Conservancy. Visit the upcoming event page to learn all about this program.

You can get a description of the tour and some information on the coops. Visit as many as you like.

I saw this great program a few years back in a blog about living in Sonoma County. Suggested the program to our friends on the committee at the Conservancy. This is the inaugural event.

There are eleven sites on the tour. Come out with us. Bring your friends. I really think this is a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.

Updated: Because one of the links isn’t working right for everyone. Visit the Conservancy page to see about the event and get a corrected copy.


Feeding Frenzy

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Our little feathered friends were going crazy today, looking for seeds in the swirling snow. At one point, I counted close to a hundred birds in the bushes, on the ground, in the trees and on the feeders.


This is just a subset. But, look closely to see the red winged blackbirds out there. They usually return in late February or early March. I think they got more winter than they wanted. They certainly were vocal out there when I went to add water to the birdbath. It was a very popular spot since the heater gives them access to water even in these temperatures.


The juncos are still hanging around. In the above view, you can also see we got about five inches of snow. Much less than that original forecast of 10+ inches.

Now, we just have to make it through temperatures in the negative numbers overnight. I will have to check RIMPO in the morning to see how low the temps get.

As I type this, the reading was 5 degrees Fahrenheit at the Dayton site.

If you can find a place to put out seeds or nuts for the birds, they will certainly find you. As will lots of other little critters. There are all sorts of tracks across our yard.

Another Day, Another Snowstorm

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Winter is getting old, and it’s only January. So far, as I write this we have about 8 inches of snow on the ground. Plus, all of it blowing off the roof and piling against the doors.

The birds are frantic, as usual.


The robins are fighting for heated bird bath space.


The juncos are happy the food is under cover, at least for a while.


The cardinals are hanging out in the burning bush.

We have checked the heat pumps. Checked the storm drain outside the basement door. Cranked up the heat a bit.

It is going to be another series of very cold, very uncomfortable weather.

Heard Around the Water Cooler

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Or should I say the heated bird bath.

Look who showed up today. The first visit this winter. Along with scads of robins out below the crab apples.


And, finally the cedar waxwings.


There were three cedar waxwings in our crab apple. Boatloads of robins everywhere you looked.

And happily for me, the four bluebirds that came for a drink from our heated bird bath.

I have said often. Provide water year round for the birds. They will nest and return over and over to your yard.

There were peanuts in the shell on the ground for the blue jays. Suet for the woodpeckers. Seed for the juncos, titmice, chickadees, nuthatches, sparrows and cardinals.

Keep them fed, and give them water. They will never leave.


Frigid Weather

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The next few days are going to be tough to deal with, around these parts. Temperatures below zero degrees tomorrow night.


We have snow on the ground and the birds are pretty active looking for food under the patio table and around the deck. We have unfortunately also had a number of hawk attacks. Lost a few small birds.

I am keeping the bird bath full. It is amazing watching them get into the basin and fluff up their feathers after dunking themselves a few times.


We now have quite the collection of red bellied woodpeckers. There were three out there yesterday. I refilled the suet holders for them.

Tomorrow (today by the time I post this past midnight) is Little Christmas, the day I usually take down the decorations. I think that will occur later in the week when it warms up.


The tree needs to be taken out to the landfill later also. They recycle them into mulch. As for the garland, it will become a bed around the rhododendron, where the pine needles can continue to add some acidity to the soil.

I have been heavily using the crockpot, making another batch of venison chili today. I learned a lesson though. My method of putting frozen items in the pot has resulted in a hairline crack in the ceramic insert.


Thankfully, I do use the liners. Still, I have to buy a new insert. And stop putting the pot on high.


I am slowly making my way through the Larriland tomatoes in the freezer. Next year I will be getting many more than this time, as they make a world of difference when used in soups and chili.

As for the next few days, I think we will find some indoor projects to tackle. Until it warms up a bit.

Stay warm, and watch out for black ice. And, think of spring.



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