December 22, 2013

Turtle Doves (2nd Day of Christmas)



Hugs for Fran and Jim


  On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree
Two turtle doves…


A couple of years ago I was in Buffalo, New York, during the Christmas season. While at the home of my (Kensington) high school friend, Pat, I examined the ornaments on her tree. I was taken aback when I recognized that numerous ornaments were familiar—they were ones I’d sent her through the years.

This often happens, as our family Christmas card has, for 42 years, been a tree ornament. My sister Sally has a tree set aside to display our ornaments.

One goal on my “bucket list” is to complete one ornament representing each of the gifts listed in the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Because the ornaments are interspersed with other timely themes, I have many to do.

Couldn't use photo of baby doves

Couldn’t use flash…nighttime…best photo of baby doves

In June my friend watched doves nesting in a planter hung on her porch. I was fortunate to see the baby birds shortly after they hatched and the day before they left the nest. It was even more fortunate that I photographed the latter.

Ready...set...not yet...

Ready…set…not yet…

The picture of two now-adult (or late adolescent?) doves provided the theme for this year’s ornament—On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me, two turtle doves… In the musical piece the doves represent (more…)

November 16, 2013

Osprey and Seagull Photos



Hug for Fran



Osprey pictures taken in St. Lawrence County, New York.

First osprey:



Second osprey:


June 21, 2011

Bird Attack! Dive bombing birds attack humans!



Dive bombing birds attack humans!

     Occasionally while I sit on my patio, a bird will sit on a nearby tree branch and squawk at me. I’ve learned that this means the bird is unhappy with my presence, because the mother is nesting, nurturing her babies. I listen, and tell them I’m harmless, I’m not going to move off my patio, and they’d just better adjust to my presence.

     No bird has ever attacked me.


     As my husband and I traveled to Lakeside, Ohio, on June 13, 2010, I read several days worth of newspapers. There was an article about an angry flock of crows which had the audacity to attack the police in Everett, Washington.

     The angry flock of birds were swooping down and dive-bombing the officers as they walk(ed) to and from their cars. One police officer tried to scare the velociraptors by turning on his siren, to which the birds responded by decorating his car with droppings. Crows, allegedly, have face recognition, and if angered, remember the face. But they apparently cannot distinguish one police officer uniform from another.

     Because the police learned that the birds, which are very protective of their young, are (more…)

August 9, 2010

Osprey in New York’s St. Lawrence Valley



 …Atlantic salmon are the glamorous aristocrats (of the sea, as viewed by human eyes)…From 1865 to 1910, an habitant by the name of Napoleon Comeau was employed to guard the salmon in the rather inconsequential Godbout River on the north shore of the St. Lawrence estuary…Napoleon’s task was to make sure that nobody and nothing took so much as a smolt from the waters that belonged to (his employers, a handful of Montreal businessmen and politicos who had leased exclusive salmon fishing rights on the Godbout River)…For forty-three years, he and his assistants waged war up and down the river and in the adjacent waters of the estuary against “Those base enemies of the regal salmon: white whales, porpoises, seals, bears, minks, otters, mergansers, kingfishers, ospreys, and loons.”***(bold inserted).***


Osprey Nest     “What’s that?” my husband Monte and I wondered as we saw what looked like a bird nest on top of an electric pole on our route between Black Lake in Edwardsville, New York, and Edwards, New York.

     When Monte spotted a second nest, I proclaimed “STOP!” I put my camera strap around my neck as he compliantly pulled over. Pointing my camera, I put my trigger finger to work, and capturing a large bird flying from its nest. Then I moved in to record the nest itself, also dangerously constructed atop an electric pole.

     We arrived at Sunnyside of Black Lake, a nine-room series rooms, attached behind a house, nicely located on the lake. We mentioned the nests to the business owners, Karl and Carolyn Geiger. He explained that what we saw were osprey nests.  

     My interest in ospreys began with a visit to Googins Island, Maine, an osprey refuge. I’d researched them on the Internet, and was preparing a post on them (to read, click on: Googins Island, Maine: An Osprey Sanctuary).


Photo by Karl Geiger

     Ospreys can be considered Eagles based on their size, and certainly have overlapping behavior and habitats with eagles, such as the Bald Eagle. Ospreys, specifically, are very well adapted for living near shore, and feeding on shallow-water fish…

eagles, hawks and falcons differentiate based on size, shape, color, and method of flight, but there are many minor differences in behavior, habitat and feeding that can help with the differentiation.*

     Ospreys are typically found in New York’s St. Lawrence Valley between April and September—they migrate to South America for the winter. They catch their primary food, fish, by plunging into the water feet first. With needle-sharp hooked (more…)

April 13, 2010




Nancy Briskay Cornell Lipsius

     I sat in my “summer office” (a window-lined porch) on the cooler spring days, but on the warmer days I sat on my patio under a hemlock tree, writing. Either spot put me in view of nature’s spring glory.

     I watched as birds investigated and chose three of my four birdhouses for their nests. I saw my first Tiger Swallowtail butterfly, the first cardinal pair, the first bluebird, and numerous robins, those harbingers of spring’s arrival. I came across the following piece written by my mother, who died January 3, 1998.


     She is dull in appearance, brown-speckled front and a rather nondescript color to her back and wings but she sits on her porch with bright, alert eyes, cocking her head, peering into the breakfast room.

     She is always the first to arrive and the last to leave. She is also the bravest. We call her Jennie.

     Jennie calls to the others and soon (more…)

January 31, 2010

Nauru: Wealth from Bird Guano (Poop)



     It’s a joke.

     That’s what I thought when I read Joel Brinkley’s column on January 3, 2010. I thought he was writing satire about an imaginary country, Nauru, that became wealthy from bird poop.

     According to Brinkley, Nauru has known the best known the best of life, and the worst of life. Once it was once the second wealthiest nation on Earth, per capita. Today it’s among the poorest.

     Even though I thought he was joking, I went to the Internet to find out if a country named Nauru really existed.

     And I learned that Brinkley was not writing satire. There actually is a country named the Republic of Nauru. And it actually did make a fortune on bird poop. My research affirmed the statements in Brinkley’s column.

     Nauru is the smallest republic in the world, just eight square miles, and 80 percent of the territory is a forbidding, barren wasteland. Alone in the Pacific Ocean, on the equator northeast of Australia…*Brinkley wrote.

     The small, oval-shaped, western Pacific island is just 42 kilometers (26 mi.) south of the Equator. It is one of three great phosphate rock islands in the Pacific Ocean–the others are Banaba (Ocean Island) in Kiribati and Makatea in French Polynesia.**

     And this tiny island nation did once boast the second-highest per capita GDP in the world, following Saudi Arabia. Its nominal per capita GDP exceeded (more…)

July 13, 2009

Eliminate feral birds: A call for political action



A Call for Political Action

 This is a follow-up of a previous post, FERAL BIRDS: THE LATEST COMMUNITY HAZARD.  The stories keep coming in. Michael’s story is compelling!

      Michael’s story: It happened in June (2009), very early in the morning, between Ford City and Kittanning (PA). I was traveling on a work assignment. It was too cold to open the car windows, about 60 degrees.

     When it warmed up, I decided to put my window down. As I reached to do so, I saw something from the corner of my eye, on my left side. I thought it was a bird and that it would slip away, and shoot up the window to the other side of the car. But no sooner had I put my window down when something came into the car and nailed me in the head. It happened fast, and I didn’t see what it was at first—I just saw feathers flying.

     I looked to the right and saw (more…)

March 29, 2009

Battling squirrels at bird feeders II: to fight or join them



Protecting the seed

Spring is sprung, the grass is riz…to feed the birds, becomes my biz!

NOTE: In rural areas, summer bird feeders should not be hung until the natural food for the bear population has become plentiful, nor should they be out in October-November. If you choose to put them out, bring them in at night to prevent bear invasions.
To read articles on bears click on: 
 To read Part 1 on bird feeders click on Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them
 To read the conclusion of BATTLING THE SQUIRRELS, click on:
Battling Squirrels at Bird Feeders III: Types of bird feeders

    The use of feeders presents a problem for bird lovers: how to protect the food from a food predator, the squirrel. These crafty, agile critters can climb smooth poles, reach through small openings, and jump onto bird feeders from an object more than eight feet away, chasing away the birds and eating up to a pound of their seed in one morning.
     Squirrels are great problem solvers. You may think you have won the battle, but they continue the war. Whatever method(s) you use to defeat them, remember: it could take several attempts to get it right. Keep trying.
   To stack the cards on your side of the battle, you must understand


March 21, 2009

Battling squirrels at bird feeders I: to fight or join them



To Fight or to Join Them

WARNING: Bird feeders should not be put outside at night until the risk of bear danger is over, about mid-June, and should be removed before mid-October. Otherwise, not only is the bird seed threatened, but the bird feeders are at risk of being ruined. And who wants a bear looking in their window at three o’clock in the morning, while he enjoys a meal from the bird feeder? For further information on bears click on: BEAR STORIES ACROSS THE NATION & BEAR CONFRONTATIONS: SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

     I watched quite a while as the squirrel sitting on the branch intensely studied the birdfeeder. It was hung by fishline well below the branch, well above the ground and a sufficient distance from the tree trunk to be difficult for a squirrel to reach.
     Suddenly, the squirrel, which I dubbed Squodent, dove headlong into the birdfeeder. Seed sprayed out, scattering on the ground below. Squodent raced (more…)

April 30, 2008


Just after a private Gulfstream jet took off from the Santa Barbara, California, airport, a bird collided with its windshield, forcing the metal bird to return to the airport. It’s a pretty common event, according to the Santa Barbara fire department spokesman, John  Ahlman, said.

The passengers, Oprah Winfrey, and her boyfriend, (more…)

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