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I recently joined the Pennsylvania blue bird society. (Cost was 10 dollars, and I got a really cool book and birdhouse for joining.)

I was never really into "birding" or whatever the fancy term is. But I have put up dozens of birdhouses over the years. This past year, we had several eastern bluebird nests going.

Anyone else belong, or do bird stuff? I have a beekeeper not to far away that is certified to keep hawks, but I will not be getting near anything like that.

I think the kids will get a kick out of monitoring, reporting, and seeing the nests as we report our bluebird boxes.
 

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Sister in Law is a birder and that is how they say it too. She belongsd to the local birding club.
she is easy at birthdays and Christmas. Give her 50 pounds of bird feed, a bird feeder or a bird house and she is in seventh heaven.

:mrgreen: Al
 

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We like to watch birds. We've signed up for Cornel Lab of Ornithology's "Feeder Watch" where you report the types and quantity of birds at your feeders. The project runs from November to April. There's a fee for materials. I think it's $15.

The lab also have a freebie project where you report the activity in your nest boxes including number of chicks, fledge dates, etc. Sounds like it would be fun. As soon as I make some more nest boxes I think I'll try it.

Texas Parks and Wildlife has a PDF booklet, Providing for Backyard Wildlife, on their web site that has plans for feeders and nest boxes as well as a list of plants to attract butterflies: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/pwdpubs/media/pwd_bk_w7000_0950.pdf

Walt
 

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I have blue birds come back every year to the same bos in the garden, will have to make repairs on it this spring since it has almost fallen apart, not bad for almost ten year old untreated box of pine.

G3
 

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I'm a real birdbrain when I have the time.
We used to have western bluebirds here but the house sparrows and starlings have just about wiped out any other cavity-nester around. I've spent the last month (to wet for real work) building sparrow traps and shooting house sparrows with my air rifle after work.
I put out ten houses but I think it's probably more about trapping house sparrows than providing blue bird nests.
 

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I saw some good sparrow traps somewhere on the net, could hold maybe 15 to 20 birds and was a simple build.

I like to watch the carolina wrens, they will build a nest just about anywhere and are fierce at defending their territory, like one of those little ankle biting dogs, lots of yapping but not big enough to do much, although they will give a blue jay or hawk a run for his money.

Last year there was an abundance of mocking birds around here (our state bird also).

G3
 

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I'm just beginning to be interested in all these little birds we have. I could stand at my front door all day and watch those fascinating little things.....how in the world did I miss out on that for so many years???

I am hoping to get my hubby to get me some bird houses and feeders, or make them or whatever it takes... I want more birds. I have fallen in LOVE with those pretty little blue ones with the black slashes on their faces that just zip around super fast! And we have some yellow and brown ones that are hysterical to watch, they seem so clumsy until they start to fly.

Where do I find more information about this birding stuff?
 

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When I am cutting hay the barn swallows will just about knock my hat off chasing the bugs that are coming up off of the grass, they are a hoot to watch with all of their acrobatics. When they hear the sound of the tractor they will come out in force, feed for a little while and then all dissapear to return in a little while.

mama beek, wikipidea has some great info on the birds and the sounds they make.

G3
 

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Mama Beek,
Cornell also has a website for bird identification. It links off the site that Walt mentioned. However, I find lugging the computer around with me so I can identify birds is rather tiring!
We have several bird identification books, but the very best, at least for me, is the National Geographic Society's Field Guide to the Birds of North America. It is arranged well, so you don't have to page through the whole thing to find a bird; the pictures are accurate; and there are maps so you can tell at a glance if the bird is in your area. Under no circumstances get the Audubon Society's Sibley Guide--you have to be an ornithologist to use it, and then you wouldn't need it!
The Nat'l. Geo. guide should be available at most bookstores, on Amazon, and used from Alibris.com. You don't have to have the latest edition--birds don't change that much.
So happy you are finding the joy of watching your birds!
 

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BKH you are so right, I had totally forgot about the field guides. I have a good collection of them as well...........

trees and shrubs
reptiles and amphibians
insects
eastern birds
wild flowers
insects and spiders

Some of mine are the Peterson Field Guides and some are the National Audubon Society, both are execellent books.

One of the biggest differences is Petersons uses only hand draw illistrations and Audobon has photos.

The last ones I got were in the $20 range, money well spent.

G3
 

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I love watching the birds. Tufted titmice are among my favorites. Although I must admit it is a little hard to watch the (quite beautiful) sharp-shinned hawk use my bird feeder as a, uh, well, a bird feeder!

Birdhouse voice-of-experience: Last year my sister gave me this great birdhouse woven out of grasses that looked like a bee skep. Really cool! However, the birds used it as a nesting material supply instead of as a house! By summer, it was torn to shreds. :(
 

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I have had a ball watching the birds here find stuff in the yard to build nests out of. They will pick up anything we let lay on the ground that they think they can work into the home. I've seen them take the string from feed sacks, rabbit fur, hair after I give the boys haircuts, cut grass.....it's crazy to watch but fun.

Thanks for the links, I'll be doing some reading when I have time to. I do have a very old smallish book with pictures and a brief description, maybe I should get a better book.
 

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Over at our old place I'd watch the birds quite often, fascinating creatures to say the least. I would laugh everytime when one of the cats would make the trip between the house and the barn. There would be 3 or 4 sparrows swooping away at them...didn't seem to bother them a bit.
 
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