Jul 31, 2007

Birds, Blooms, and Butterflies

As much as I love wildlife I've never been a serious bird watcher. Sure, I have the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds just as I have a reference book for nearly every type of animal I've even half considered painting. But I never actually did much to attract or observe real birds before. It's not that I don't like birds. I've just been more focused on large mammals such as deer. Recently, however, I've become more interested in birds and have discovered the joy of observing the beautiful little creatures since I installed a bird feeder and a bird bath in my backyard. I've been delighted to get quite a few visitors to my feeder in a fairly short time since its installation.

Up here in the Pacific Northwest, at least in the area where I live, the most common visitors to the feeder (of sunflower seeds) are the black-capped chickadee and the house finch. The house finch has shown up in both the pink and orange variety. We also get the occasional chestnut-backed chickadee, robin, dark-eyed junco, and a towhee (I have yet to determine if it's the spotted or rufous-sided).

Chickadees are by far my favorites. They are just so darn adorable! I also love sitting outside in the morning sun with my dog and a cup of coffee, listening to them sing. What could be more relaxing?

The cute little chickadees are not always so pleasant though. They seem to be the fussiest and messiest of all the birds at the feeder. They toss out 10 seeds for every one they decide is acceptable enough to eat. LOL Oh well, that's all right. The finches and juncos don't seem to mind cleaning up the tossed seeds off the ground. And I also have a nice garden of sunflowers growing now too. :)

Since I've become more interested in birds I've recently discovered a very nice magazine for anyone interested in attracting birds and other fun critters to their gardens. It's called Birds & Booms and has some wonderful images of birds and butterflies as well as tips on how to select and grow flowers that attract them. Definitely worth checking out.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention I also had a rare visitor to the feeder one day, a goldfinch! I'll end this with a the photo I managed to snap of him before he ended his very short visit. Isn't he cute!? I think I'll need to paint some birds soon.

Jul 30, 2007

Penguins, Polar Bears, and Global Warming

If you liked the movie March of the Penguins you might be interested to know about another film by the same team called Arctic Tale coming out next month that I just recently found out about. I really enjoyed their other films so I'm definitely be looking forward to this one!

"This summer, from National Geographic Films and Paramount Classics—the team who brought you March of the Penguins and An Inconvenient Truth—comes Arctic Tale. Narrated by Queen Latifah, this inspiring documentary chronicles the epic journey of a walrus pup and a polar bear cub in the icy world at the top of the Earth. The film highlights the beauty of the far north and the urgent danger its animals face as their habitat continues to vanish.

"In conjunction with the release of Arctic Tale, Paramount Classics has created an Arctic Fund to support four organizations working to protect the Arctic and its inhabitants. The Wildlife Conservation Society is proud to be among those chosen to share in a portion of the movie’s box office sales.

"Arctic Tale opens in New York on July 25 and nationwide on August 17. For more information about the film, visit www.ArcticTaleMovie.com"

It's amazing to me how many people still believe that global warming is not an issue despite all the signs such as wild weather patterns, glacial meltings, and rising sea levels. I hope films like these will do more to raise awareness that global warming is a real issue we need to start adressing right now, before it's too late.

Find out more about global warming at the Union of Concerned Scientists website.

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