Sunday, December 30, 2012

BlueJays, Good or Bad?

Now there is a GIANT debate online about Blue Jays. Some people love them and feed them, and other people despise them in their yards. I'm torn myself. I think they are super beautiful, but they really munch down the suet. It can get expensive keeping up with their giant peanut- suet loving appetites. I also think they bully my cats, lol. They squawk bloody murder when they see my cats (which is a normal warning call they emit for possible predators), but it scares my cats to death.  Salem freaks out when she sees them out the window, and I'm sure she would gobble one up whole if she was capable of catching it. 

This picture came out really nice so I wanted to share it. This Blue Jay scarfed down half this suet cake, lol. The picture is a tad bit grainy, but cool how it shows him in action with a mouth full. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dark Eyed Junco and a Titmouse *giggles*

Nothing spectacular here today, just a quick post showing off a new bird siting or 2. First up we have a Dark Eyed Junco. I knew I would not see one of these till winter, But The Dark Eyed Junco's have finally arrived. Pretty neat little birds they are. I fear for his a life little though since he is a ground dweller, I wonder what my cats will make of him. Can you say, CRAPPY PICTURE? Yup yup, the photography gods were definitely not shining on me today. You win some and you lose some.

Next we have a Titmouse. As immature as this sounds, the name still makes me giggle like a school girl, *giggles*.  The photography gods decided to show up some here, they felt so terrible about the Junco Picture they wanted to make up for it with this lovely Titmouse, *giggles*.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wild Birds Unlimited APS Bird Feeding System

I took the big PLUNGE and lost my mind and went out and purchased Wild Birds Unlimited APS customizable Bird Feeding System, otherwise known as APS. I got tired of changing bird feeders and having the squirrels rob me blind.  In total I bought 3 different systems for three locations around the house. You may ask, 'Are these systems affordable'. The answer to this is, ' UM HELL NO', lol!!! Be prepared to fork over an arm, a leg and a lung when you decide to purchase these. I can't even imagine what got into me, but what's done is done. I think I spent close to $1000.00 on all this crap, lol. I should seriously get by head checked at this point. The system is very addictive and the pieces add up quickly. I hope these is the LAST bird feeding system I ever have to purchase. I have literally thrown away a ton of money trying new feeders and wasted bird feed going to the squirrels, so hopefully this solves the problems. If not...please point me to the closest bridge so I can JUMP :) 

(UPDATE - 2015 - It's been just over a year since I purchased this system and I have to say it was the smartest thing I ever did. It was worth every penny and than some. Everything is still going strong, and I no longer feed squirrels expensive bird food mixes, I feed birds! I love how you can change the unit depending on your mood for the season. I will continue to purchase pieces to expand. I can not say enough about these units - they are GOLD).


I also have a Hawk Guard and a Cylinder Feeder for up top when I take the House Feeder Down. In additional I have also added a feeding tray under the House Feeder for smaller birds. This feeder plain rocks. Not ONE Squirrel has been able to make it's way up to this thing. They tried at first, but NO GO and finally gave up the battle. The baffle has done the trick. I can safely place expensive bird foods all over this thing and know that only the birds are eating from it. I also have seen a BIG decrease in House Sparrows and Grackles as well. 


Another beast of a unit. I have added a Feeding Tray to this for Cardinals,and it too is anti squirrel. LOVE IT. Nothing has been able to climb that baffle system. My expensive blends of nuts and fruits are protected. My birds have never been happier.


Now this one is NOT squirrel proof, but I combat it by only using Pepper suit cakes here and it works wonders. I also make my own suet cakes for here and just add tabasco sauce or pepper flakes. In a years time I have never seen a squirrel near this unit. My Norther Flickers LOVE this feeder. I have added a double suet feeder to this in hopes of attracting the elusive Pileated Woodpecker. We will see...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Container Garden Loot

Today I harvested some of my Container Garden Vegetables. I got some really neat stuff for a first timer! I'm going to salute them up and have a wonderful side dish for tonights meal. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Chipping Sparrow

Today is a really quick post with just one picture of a Chipping Sparrow. This little guy is super cute. To me he looks like he has on a stripped racing helmet. very different, and I was able to spot him out very quickly amongst the other sparrows. Glad he came for a visit today. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So Proud of This Moment In Time...Suet Balls

Anything is possible, lol. I wanted to include this here because I am super proud of it and it is part of my bird feeding. I created my own suet balls and was thrilled at the outcome. They came out pretty spectacular. Check them out...

Now that they are made, the key is DO THEY WORK? They can look fabulous, but if the birds don't eat them then you can consider them failed. The whole point is that they need to attract birds, right? So I placed them out with pretty low expectations. I was even okay if they attracted house sparrows, lol. ANYTHING, to validate that my suet balls would be irresistible to the birds. Here is what proceeded to happen..

Not only did I get a bird, I got an BALTIMORE ORIOLE!!! Now the lighting on these pictures isn't as great as the original shot, but how lovely! I had only seen one in my yard prior, and was really hoping to see more. It seemed very attracted to this new food I put out. HOW THRILLING!!! The suet balls were gobbled up! 

I used a recipe from this amazing book right here. My husband actually sniffed this out in a book store when we were at our yearly lake vacation. I LOVE THIS BOOK. I highly recommend it and if you see it grab it. If you are not able to find it in your local book store, it's available on

Another day in the life of bird lover. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Where Did You Guys Come From, and Why are you In my Garage? :)

I knew it was a matter of time before this happened. We keep our garage door open a lot in the Spring time, and sure enough a few wanderers found their way in. Two different birds within the same week.



Both I believe made it out alive, but what a PAIN to get them out. The Hummingbird was the worst. The more I tried to help it out the more it freaked out. It worked better to open both doors and wait it out. Both made it out on their own. I was smart enough to lock up my cats, these things would not have had a chance in hell if my cats where out there. The garage is their territory! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Snap Snap :)

Today we had a really cool visitor in our yard. As Kelly was outside watering flowers he noticed this amazing looking snapping turtle just wandering about our grass. The neighbors have a poop pond, GAG-GAG, and I think that is were he came from. The poor fellow lives in poop! 

Since Kelly was watering flowers, he decided to give the little guy a bath to help cool him down some and clean off some of the poop. It was really hot out today and I was afraid he might over heat otherwise. I do not know anything about snapping turtles, so I'm assuming he was hot! We sprayed him down with the hose. It was a light spray (not as forceful as it seems in the picture. Nothing beats a nice refreshing cool shower on a hot day.

I think he's ready to head back to the neighbors poop pond :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Butterfly Beauty

A little too bright and a little too grainy, but still there! This butterfly was so big and beautiful I just had to snap a picture of it. I was lucky to even get this terrible picture. Butterflies are so super hard to photograph. They move so quickly and I never get a chance to set up my camera fast enough. I will leave the Butterfly pictures to the professionals. My camera was apparently taking a nap today, lol. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Moo??? Who's Baby is this?? THE COW BIRD

First time spotting one of these today, a Cow Bird. I read all about these bird, and I was really hoping I would get to see one, I did today. First impressions was this thing is BIG!!!! I can't believe it goes depositing it's babies in other peoples nest for them to raise. What a LAZY bird, lol. If you have not had the pleasure to read up on this bird, I would highly recommend it. It's so really different from any other bird out there. It's pretty FUGLY too :)  

Bluebird House is Erected - Build it and They Will Come?

This has been a long time coming, Kelly and I constructed this bluebird house ourselves. Today it finally went up. I have on seen a bluebird once in our yard before, but I'm hoping this lures him in. I can also be luring in the House Sparrows as well, lol. We will have to wait and see if any eggs appear. The birdhouse looks so awesome out in our yard like this. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Another I Told You So, Introducing Mr. Oriole

This is one of my favorite posts because I can say, 'I TOLD YOU SO', to Kelly yet again. I told him I wanted to try and lure in a Baltimore Oriole, and he basically outright laughed at me, lol. He should know better, especially after the Pileated Woodpecker and The Blue Bird, does;t he realize I posses magic Bird skills. He said he had grown up in these parts and never seen one. My Bird Book clearly stated that they were in this area during Migration in the Spring. He looked at me as if I was crazy, will the man every learn??? So I proceeded to read up on the best things to feed them, and the best ways to get them in your yard. This is the feeding station I came up with. I call this the crazy bird lady contraption, hahaha. We got Oriole Nectar, Oranges and Grape Jelly. How could any passing Oriole resist this?

WELL THEY COULDN'T - check this out!!! Hello Mr. Oriole. I seriously did not believe it myself. Maybe I am the Bird Whisperer after all.  I think I took a 100 pictures I was that excited! I was at my kitchen window and trying really hard not to spoof him. I needed pictures for PROOF OF LIFE for Kelly, lol. 

He seemed to really love the jelly the most. Unfortunately jelly = ants, so it's something that really has to be monitored. Jelly also = bees which I'm allergic to, so caution has to be taken when feeding jelly.  Look at his beak coated with the jelly, oh so awesome. 

He took a break to the trees for a bit...

I went out and rearranged the crazy contraption, and decided to spear the orange on the top of the Shepard's Hook instead. He seemed intimated by the original orange feeder.  He came back down several hours later and seemed very pleased by the upgrades.  The sun also came out and my pictures improved ten fold. These are my favorite ever bird pictures. This is one of my most treasured times in all of my bird hunting time so far. I could not be more pleased with the crazy lady Oriole Attracting Contraption I created, HAHAHA :) 

The best part of this all was texting some of these pictures to Kelly at work and saying, 'I TOLD YOU SO' to him yet again. I think he was more surprised than me to see that I actually pulled off luring one into the yard. I think he is getting tired of me saying I told you so. The man needs to not question my awesome bird skills anymore and I believe after this he has stop questioning the magic, lol. I give new meaning to the words beginners luck. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Rose Breasted Grosbeak, ummmm WHO?

Today I had an unusual sighting, and I had to document it here. This bird is new to me, it's a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. It took me awhile to look it up and identify it. I had never seen one, and did not even know these existed. It's a super cool bird and instantly reminded me of a cardinal, which they are related to.  I love seeing new birds and running over to my bird ID book and trying to figure out who they are. Seemed this one was looking directly at me. Hello there birdy, and welcome to your new home! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Black Velvet Petunia and a Frog - Ribbit

Today I spent a few hours taking some shots of flowers and testing out my new Canon 60D. I'm new at this, but I got some really cute shots. I even got a frog that has set up home in our pond area.  We draw in a lot of frogs with the ponds, there is quite the habitat forming there. We had this old birth bath (if you are a follower you would have seen this in a past post filled with orange water lol). It was just laying around in the back yard getting really yucky so we cleaned it up and brought it up front to plant in. We added some ivy from our back yard, a pretty center grass I picked up and the local nursery as well as Black Velvet Petunias. YES, you heard me correctly, Black Velvet. They were gorgeous and I have to do these again soon. 

This is a new plant below that we added this year. It is a Mini Columbine that I found at Lowes. I love love it, and so do the my Hummingbirds that visit this yard. I have went back several times to look for another one and I'm not able to find another. I will have to split this one, once it gets established. It is a perennial so it will come back each year.

Below are my Daisy's trying real hard to bud and flower. Can't wait to see what this one turns into. 

Below is another planter that Kelly and I threw together from some extra plants we had that did not make it into the ground.  We always end up with extra and this is a great way to incorporate them into the garden. 

This pink plant is new as well. I for the life of me can not remember the name? I do remember it's only an annual.  If anyone know definitely leave it below in the comments. I know somewhere in this house I have the plant tag for this (I save my tags every year). When I found it I will update this post with the name. 

Ground cover is fun as well. The chick in Hens is super pretty and the white plant is a type of Baby's Breathe. Very pretty and great for covering bald spots.  Our Garden is really new so, so until it gets established it will have lots of bare spots! 

Next up is my Frog. It was really cool to see them start living in our pond. It's awesome that we have created a beautiful bird, animal and flower habitat in a place where there was only overgrown half dead brush. I'm learning a lot about gardening as I go along. 

The Cardinal, The Squirrel and The Grackle - Oh My!

Do you know when you take a picture of something, and totally love it, well that happened to me today a few times today. Check out this gorgeous pictures of a male Cardinal that came for a visit today. The word stunning would be an understatement.  I love the black mask he has on his face, it makes him look like a super hero.

Then this fuzzy cutie showed up. I love this picture so much. The detail I captured is so amazing in this fox squirrel (I think that is what he is). I'm loving my new camera. I love how he seems to be creeping along, probably planning to rob one of my bird feeders, lol. Our yard is filled with these, so I'm going to have to come up with some good anti squirrel bird feeding techniques.

Finally I had a VERY unwelcome visitor today as my last guest. This here is a Grackle, and I hope to see as few of these as possible. The shame is I actual think these birds are gorgeous looking. They have an iridescent blue sheen on them that lights up in the sunlight and it makes them look very sleek. Unfortunately, they will gobble up your seed in a matter of a few minutes. I allowed this one to pose for a picture and then I promptly shoed him away, lol. Yes I was the crazy lady running across her lawn and up to her bird feeder screaming, 'Get Away Get Away!!!!'. 

That's a wrap for today. See yogis again soon! 

Mr. Goldfinch and my Shepard Hook

I took a few shots of several Goldfinch that visited me at my front Kitchen Window Hummingbird Feeder ook today. They are attracted to the new Shepard's hook. I was able to snap a few awesome shots that I wanted to share. This curious little fellow was peekin' into my kitchen window at me, as I clicked away with my camera.

(Canon 60D 1/400s 70-300mm f/5.6  ISO 100)

I love these pictures! I happen to get lucky with the right settings that day for my Canon 60D.

(Canon EOS 60D 1/400s 70mm-300mm f/5.6 ISO 320)

It's as if the cute little Goldfinch posed for me and the camera. Talk about a ham lol. I love the way his feathers are blowing up in the wind. Sometimes this camera makes me look like a professional photographer (note the word SOMETIMES). 

(Canon ISO 60D 1/500 70mm-300mm f/5.6 ISO 400)

These were all taken through my kitchen glass window, so I'm very pleased with how they came out. 

I Told You So (AGAIN) - Blue Bird

One of the main birds I have been trying to attract to this yard is a Blue Bird. According to my Bird Books they are in this area in abundance. I know a lot of time they are attracted to worm feeding, but I can not bring myself to do it.  Since I do not worm feed, I figured my chances for spotting one would be extremely low. I asked Kelly about them and he said he had never seen one in our yard before. I was not to hopeful, but I set out to work my Bird Magic and see if I could lure one in. After the Pileated Woodpecker sighing, I figured anything was possible, lol.


This is the coolest of all things. It traveled quickly through the yard, but I knew I had to grab a picture or Kelly may not believe that I actually saw one here. When I sent him the picture he was totally shocked :) Just call me the Queen of luring in birds, lol. Oh wait, I TOLD YOU SO YET AGAIN!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The White Breasted Nuthatch

I have a cute little White Breasted Nuthatch that has been visiting here a lot. The recent intense heat is keeping all of my birds well hidden. We are in the midst of a severe heat wave here in the Midwest! My birds really are not liking it at all, and neither am I. They are eating less and less at my feeders and are in hiding (the shaded trees). My food has been untouched.

The picture quality on these are not that fabulous as is usual these days, lol. I'm still working with my camera to get things right. I figured taking bird picture would be easy...point, auto focus, and shoot. I'm now realizing there is much more to it than that :)