The past few weeks were for the birds… Satori and I went on several hikes and went birdwatching. We have put out new bird feeders on our deck. We’re going to start to watch The Life of Birds DVD from Netflix soon… Last week we added some bird books to our library. The only bird identification books I had before this month was specific Colorado bird field guides. So I picked out a nice selection of books that should help me learn more. Mama got some for herself…

as did Satori…

I had stumbled across this very cool WhatBird Make-a-Guide (MAG) feature that allows you to print out your own bird books. After trying a few demo books that were emailed instantly (limited to 5 birds each), I then got a 3-month subscription ($9.95) for as many books as I wish, and can add 900 birds each. I added these pages to Satori’s Bird Book journal, and also used this to create my own flashcards. To do this, I chose their 6×9 inch 2 pages per bird book. Once I noticed that the odd pages had full pictures of the bird, I knew it would be a cinch to create my cards. I printed out only the odd pages, 4 pages per printed page, and pages 4-85. I then cut out each bird photo, and laminated 5 photos per page.

I ended up with 25 pages of birds!

I then cut them, rounded off their corners, punched a hole in the upper left corner, and now they are all held together by this handy ring. The below collection are the birds Satori has studied so far in her Burgess Bird book.

The ones we haven’t studied yet are in their own ring.

Here is a side view so you can see how many birds we have to learn yet! There’s approximately 100 birds covered in our book.

We also have had our kitchen computer set to Phoebe the Hummingbird and Molly the Barn Owl web cams. Both were due to have their eggs hatch this week. Unfortunately, poor Phoebe’s eggs were not viable. We had been watching these two eggs for a few days… One looked like it had a peck hole in it, but there had been no movement for a long time.

Then yesterday, all of a sudden Phoeoe went on defense mode, whirring about. Soon, the culprit showed his face, a monster Godzilla lizard! (Actually, he was probably a very small lizard, these eggs are the size of peas or tic-tacs.) Phoebe successfully drove him off until he fell off the branch. Sadly, the second she returned to her nest, she used her beak to flip one of the eggs out of the nest. People were saying it wasn’t viable anyway and its smell attracted the lizard.

And today, people are all saying the second egg is not viable. Phoebe left her nest alone most of last night and is leaving it for too long a period.  The color doesn’t look like there is a bird growing in it (or so people say). So this was a tragic but enlightening view of a life of a hummingbird.

So now our interest turns to Molly, the barn owl with her five eggs. This morning we listened to a live discussion with the owner and a 4th grade class. We learned that he put out this owl box two years ago, and it cost him about $4500 to get it all set. Then they had to wait… and wait… Only after a windstorm this January of 2010 did Molly and McGee (the male) make the box their home. The owners were ecstatic! The eggs were laid a month ago and the first is due to hatch probably within the next 24 hours.