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April 08, 2019
What a glorious weekend, weather wise.
Temperatures in the mid 60's (F.), and enough sunshine to sooth most people.
Thump, Thump, Thump, Thump.
Another sign of spring.
Yes, neighbor kids bouncing basketballs for what seems like an eternity.
Am I getting old?
Whatever happened to kids playing baseball?
The crack of the bat.
The snap of the glove, when leather meets leather.
More on baseball at a later time.
Brandy the poodle pup has made herself at home.
Lots of pictures of the new fur kid,my apologies in advance.
(Playtime, nap time, shredding the cat grass, and a pose or two.)
Snickers, slowly is warming up to the idea of a little sister.
Playing one moment, and a royal chastisement from Snickers a bit later on.
Scared puppy yelps and cries for a few minutes.
Karen gets angry.
Within reason, I try to let it all sort out as things generally do.
Hierarchy and all.
It has to be on Snick, Snick's terms, however.
Miss Penny and Sophie (cats), still have their nose out of sorts.
The Tree Swallows have arrived, from the extreme southern United States, Mexico, and parts beyond.
You may not always see it, yet almost everyday of the year, migration is taking place.
Female robins and Red-winged blackbirds have arrived.
Territories are being settled, let the courtship begin.
Hummingbirds continue to settle into their homes, while others of the species continue to migrate north.
What I do, and you may want to also.
I juice up my hummer feeders for the first couple of weeks.
Instead of the basic 4 to 1 ratio (water to sugar).
I will increase the sugar portion.
My spring and fall migration ratio is 3 to 1 (3 parts water to 1 part sugar).
3 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar.
Hungry birds need high-octane to recharge the batteries.
After all, that is a long flight, and nature doesn't always guarantee flowers or tree sap.
Yours feeders can play a vital roll.
There is no set formula, and you will cut it back in a couple of weeks.
Blue birds are nesting and hatching babies in the deep south.
Thank friends from all over, as you share pictures and information on local birds and migrations.
The next couple of weeks, I will attempt to inform you a bit more on bird migrations.
A few things are redundant from other letters, most is not.
With readers coming and going, some things need to be repeated.
Today is more on length of day, next week on weather affecting migration.
(Sleeping on top of Karen's slippers.)
Why do birds migrate?
There are a number of explanations for migration.
(1) Birds migrate to areas where food is more abundant,
(2) There is less competition for nesting space,
(3) The climate is milder, or
(4) The daylight hours are longer.
These enhance the chances of survival of a bird and its brood.
Most birds require a rich, abundant supply of food at frequent intervals because of their high metabolic rate.
Adequate food is not available throughout the year in most regions.
North American birds must endure the hazards of winter or migrate to more friendly climates.
In winter they migrate to the warmer, southern regions of the United States, Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America where food is abundant.
In the spring, these birds fly north to habitats where spring and summer provide more food production and less competition for food and nesting sites than in their winter habitat.
Summertime at northern latitudes also means more daylight hours to seek food for themselves and their nestlings.
(Getting in some playtime.)
What birds migrate during the day?
Swift, strong fliers and hunters are often daytime, or diurnal migrants.
These include pelicans, herons, birds of prey, hummingbirds, swifts, swallows and finches.
Yes, hummers are strong fliers.
Some of these birds can feed on the wing, especially the swallows.
What birds migrate at night?
Nighttime or nocturnal migrants usually are birds that live in thick vegetation and rarely venture out of it.
They include waterbirds, cuckoos, flycatchers, thrushes, warblers, orioles and buntings.
Nighttime movement gives them protection from their diurnal predators.
They feed and rest by day to build up energy stores for their long-distance flights at night.
What external factors prepare birds to migrate?
The pituitary is influenced by environmental factors such as day length and the intensity of the sun.
The pituitary responds to increasing day length in springtime by accelerating the development of the gonads and all other metabolic processes.
This includes the development of the thyroid, to prepare the bird for migration north.
What initiates migration?
The same factors stimulate migration and reproduction.
Before migration, metabolic changes occur.
The thyroid gland controls these changes.
Food consumption increases and fat accumulates under the skin tissues.
This will provide the energy for long flights.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird stores enough fat to fly 26 hours non-stop at 25 miles an hour.
This is enough to span the Gulf of Mexico.
Variations in metabolism and related phenomena are controlled by another endocrine gland, the pituitary, located in the lower part of the brain.
It sends out instructions by way of hormones.
(Tug of War, below Brandy sheds the pot of cat/dog grass.))
Next week, I will try to touch on temperatures and weather factors.
While length of day is the key, weather does play an important roll.
Well, it is time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
“By setting your own standards you develop these expectations of yourself, and you start to say, "I do things because that's me." They can be as basic as "I don't lie, cheat, or steal", but it can also be "How good is the work that I do?"
Stanley A. McChrystal(1954 - )
Retired United States Army four-star general
This can also be a cop out, or lame excuse for for not stepping forward, or stepping out of your comfort zone.
It can also mean choosing to be a sluggard, or cheat.
You choose which way you go.
You choose which way to serve.
From the word of God.
"Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24: 15
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors,
We borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb.
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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