Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Grape Jelly for the Birds~Good or Bad?

Howdee all,

Since Ballie was diagnosed with CRF I have been sticking close to home and hanging out with him to see how he reacts to the medications.

Ballie is doing much better~not gaining weight, but he seems happier.

He likes looking at the birds and chippymonks.


My parents put Grape Jelly out for the Baltimore Orioles

MOM AND DADS_005There is a constant flow of birds to the jelly…

MOM AND DADS_007An addictive food…

MOM AND DADS_008I wondered how good it really is for them..So I googled and found this information.

From Laura's Birding Blog a post from 2007

Laura was questioning  her own  use of Grape Jelly for the Orioles

A reader sent the following…go to Laura's Blog to read more…

Kay Charter, who writes:

I confess that I had a prejudice against this practice [feeding jelly] the first time I saw it...about twenty years ago in a relative's yard. It just didn't look right. So I did some much as it is possible to do, which isn't much and it certainly hasn't been quantified, but it all makes sense. One source was a good friend who is an internist...he said that high sugar foods may trigger a bird's satiety gland, much as it does in children, causing it to feel satisfied when it has had little in the way of nutritional value. He also said that sugar may be addictive for birds as it certainly can be in humans, and that a bird might develop a strong liking for jelly and spend less time searching for natural foods.
Then I queried my friend, Kent Mahaffey, who was manager of the San Diego Wild Animal Park's famous free-flight Bird Show for more than two decades. Kent had primary care responsibility for hundreds of birds from many families. He said he would never allow any birds under his care to have jelly

  • In general, any food that exceeds the balance of sucrose in a bird's natural diet is suspect. Natural nectars contain 12% to 30% sugars, while jams and jellies are more than half sugar. He also said that higher than normal sugar loads may outstrip a bird's ability to adequately process the sugar (as it does in humans); and products high in sugars are an ideal environment for bacterial growth.

He summarized as follows: "Birds developed the way they did by adapting to the environments in which they lived and the foods that sustained them. We do our best for them when we stick as closely as possible to their natural diets."

Birdchick commented on Laura's Post

I'm not sure I'm ready to jump on the anti-jelly bandwagon yet. Birds do have a way of regulating their diet. Orioles do stop eating jelly and that ends right about the time oriole chicks hatch--I think they know enough to switch to protein heavy foods.
Also, when people tend to go through jelly the most is during migration, you aren't getting the same oriole coming all day long, you're getting several coming through out the day, they aren't eating only jelly.
Of course, this is only based on anecdotal evidence so it's not scientific.


This information from the Birdwatchers General Store

This brings us to a subject that many oriole fans don’t like to think about. In recent years, offering birds grape jelly has become super popular. In some cases it’s become the birds’ food of choice. As is the case with many humans, orioles like anything sweet and the sweeter the better. Grape jelly is very sweet, maybe too sweet. It has a higher concentration of sugar than oranges or the sugar water mixture we put in our feeders. There’s a concern that the birds are ingesting too much of a good thing. And what is worse, the adults often feed globs of jelly to their babies. That’s bad. Our good intentions could cause young orioles to have unintended health problems, not to mention astronomical dental bills.

My suggestion is to use jelly in May when the orioles first arrive. It will give them the boost of energy they need after their long migration. However, it’s been suggested that we discontinue using jelly when the babies hatch in June and early July. Also, use “low sugar” jelly, but not anything with artificial sweetener in it. (Even birds hate that crap) And most importantly, offer jelly in very small amounts. It’s critical that we do all we can to prevent the birds from getting the sticky jelly on their feathers. Each summer wildlife rehabilitators have to clean scores of helpless orioles that end up with sticky and matted feathers.

Via Birdwatchers General Store

Duncraft has BirdBerry Grape Jelly that they say is better for the birds because it contains no corn sweeteners.

I still don’t know what the right thing to do is for the birds..

Anyone out there want to chime in with some information?

The Oriole wants Jelly.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Not a spider

Howdee all,

While hanging outside with my sick Balliecat I see this crittter.

Harvestmen (Opiliones)

I called them Daddy long legs as a kid.

not sure the exact one..but I think I have the correct family

flowers in mom and dads garden_083

Easily separated from spiders by the broad fusion of the two body segments, so that the body appears to be composed of a singular segment. Also, as they do not possess silk glands, harvestmen can't form webs. Uniquely among the arachnids fertilization is direct: males possess a penis (also referred to in the literature as pene, aedagus or intromittent organ).via the Bug Guide

must be a little penis~I didn’t see one Winking smileOr perhaps this is a female.

flowers in mom and dads garden_084


Only 1 pair of eyes which may appear to be mounted on stalks

  • Long spindly legs
  • Do not have a waist and therefore appear to have only one body segment

flowers in mom and dads garden_087

Most species of harvestmen feed on other invertebrates although some consume plant matter. Others are scavengers and will feed on the carcasses of dead birds or mammals.

flowers in mom and dads garden_089

Harvestmen eat everything (omnivorous). They catch small insects or eat the decays of any dead animal, bird dung and other facial material, all kind of plant material and fungi.
They are normally active during the night. 

Via ~

flowers in mom and dads garden_091

Habitat and Distribution:

Members of the order Opiliones inhabit every continent except Antarctica. Daddy longlegs live in a variety of habitats, including forests, meadows, caves, and wetlands. Worldwide, there are over 6,400 species of Opilionids. 


flowers in mom and dads garden_093

Does anyone know which Harvestman this is?


Update~taking one day at a time with Balliecat. Giving him as much attention as I can. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Here’s Waldo

Howdee all,

Here's Waldo~

He's sitting in my pocketbook ready for an adventure.

flowers in mom and dads garden_115

I haven't taken him out much…I have been too preoccupied with my sick 16 year old Balliecat who has CRF.

He is on a few meds and is doing much better~The appetite enhancer, Remeron, which is used as an anti depressant for humans is helping.. The drug was compounded for his weight. I was worried about giving it to him, but my vet insured me it would work well. “This is an EXCELLENT anti-nausea medication for cats and also a strong appetite stimulant.”

So far he is happier, more alert and eating more. I know I cant expect miracles, his kidney is not functioning well and his body is trying to compensate for that.

Here he is yesterday, looking for Chippymunks…

flowers in mom and dads garden_066So as you pet owners know…

The end of a pets life can be a Roller Coaster ride…

I am hanging in there…and so is he.

flowers in mom and dads garden_062

Thanks for all of your kind words and encouragement..they have helped me tremendously.

And Ballie says Meow

Friday, June 10, 2011

Friday Funk

Howdee all,

Most people will be saying TGIF

Today..I am in a bit of a funk..

around mom and dads_053My little fur ball is getting old..

He is having kidney issues…He went to the vet for what we thought was an infected was an ulcer caused by excess acid in his system. He has lost 2 pounds in the last year..His hind legs aren't as strong either…another symptom of his sickness.

Ballie is 16 years old


He will be on meds to see if he can put on some weight and to help his kidney values.

This is Ballie when he was younger..

Its hard to say goodbye..but I am preparing myself.


I am crying as I type this and I haven't even lost him…he is till living and purring and doing the things he likes to do…and not in pain.

around mom and dads_055Ballie as a kitten…

ballieplayI am trying to find the courage to be strong when I know he will begin to fail..

around mom and dads_061Ballies step brother Nobbie..

Passed three years ago ~age 13

Three months he was sick..I was sick along with him..

Took a while for me to get over his loss..

collageBallie Collagecollage2 (Small)Pets bring such joy..

Its sad to see him get old..

I'm not good at it..

Not strong enough…

I admire those who can put the whole situation in a different practical perspective..

around mom and dads_040Me..I am still standing..

but my petals are gone.

around mom and dads_043

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Purple Martin Majesty

Howdee all,

I visited a high school classmate and facebook friend recently. She and her hubby have a birdhouse walk around their property.. .

We saw a few different nests in their nest boxes~the Tree swallows lined their nests with beautiful white feathers and the Wrens nests were made of twigs.

I didn’t take photos until the end of the Birdhouse trail, the last of the nest boxes.

Purple Martin houses..

Checking the houses for eggs.

around mom and dads_020

Inside the condo egg around mom and dads_022 Inside  the one family houses we find…

around mom and dads_019Four eggsaround mom and dads_014and in another three eggs….

The Martins pluck leaves from trees and put in the nest

There are many theories as to why they do this..

Check out this link.

around mom and dads_018

While walking in the boggy woods of their property I spotted this..

I think it is Orobanche uniflora ~One flowered Cancer root

~thanks Corey Husic for the ID.

around mom and dads_010


Meanwhile back at the ranch..

In the beautiful planter Attillio made..

MY flowers are growing..

Jasmine and morning glory in the back..

Cleome, Coleus, Sweet potato vine, zinnias

around mom and dads_034

A cool moth found in a nearby town..

Hickory Tussock Moth ~thanks Lisa Salt for the ID

around mom and dads_063

I Hope you all are having a great spring.

Summer is just around the corner. 

Jeff and I will be in CT until the end of the month and then head north to Acadia National park where we will stay one month.

From there a few weeks on Cape Cod, before returning to Mom and Dads driveway for a month…then back north to MA. for a few weeks to visit Jeff's family.

I hope to set up two bird outings in September…One from CT and one from MA. Hope you can join us!

What do you have planned for the summer?

Monday, June 06, 2011


Howdee all,
I know many of you are waiting for my final posts on
The Biggest Week in American Birding and Magee Marsh.
I’ll get there…
I am just slow these lazy days of almost summer.

fam picnic and home_043I slow down to see the neighbors Clematis.
fam picnic and home_045I am easily distracted and find myself doing other things rather than put together a blog post I have to think about.

fam picnic and home_050Yeah…Lazy summertime
Do me a favor and play this song as you read the rest of my post and think of me..

Thats me these days...
  Lazing around in the sun
Not getting much done.

fam picnic and home_053looking at the morning dew....
 fam picnic and home_055
Lying on the ground next to the poppies...
 fam picnic and home_059looking deep into the Peonies...
 fam picnic and home_060
And not doing much of nothing..
fam picnic and home_061
 Gotta go...
The noonday sun is calling my name..

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Birding with a Weedpicker and a Celebrity

Howdee all,

I have yet to tell you about the second bird festival we attended last month..

The Biggest Week in American Birding

I am working on several blog posts about our two week is my first post on our birding trip to the area..stay tuned for more.


Birding with a Weedpicker and a Celebrity


While in Ohio and during the Biggest Week, we were invited by Cheryl Harner to join her, Greg Miller and a group of birders for a bird walk at Sheldon Marsh.

It was a pleasure meeting Cheryl for the first time. I have been reading her blog for several years now. Cheryl is extremely knowledgeable when it comes to wildflowers and everything nature.

Two great nature bloggers…Cheryl's blog Weedpickers Journal

Greg's blog… Greg Miller Birding  Did you know that Greg is being played by Jack Black in the upcoming movie The Big Year?  Read Birdchicks post about the Movie The Big Year~~ I cant wait to see it!


Sheldon Marsh

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_004

In the early 50's, a Sandusky physician named Dean Sheldon, bought a 56 acre tract of valuable lakefront land in Huron Township. Although many local developers thought it was a waste of valuable land, Sheldon worked to develop the land as a nature preserve. Recognizing the value to the community and the local habitat, The Ohio Department of Natural Resources purchased the property in 1979 and combined it with an adjoining 330 acre marsh and in 1980 dedicated it as "Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve"


Biggest week sheldens farm_025

It was a beautifully overcast morning..

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_036Pink petal on grass

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_003The fog softens everything..

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_006Wildflowers

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_005Wild Geranium and mossy rock

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_008Cheryl told me what this was..but..forgetsies

Thanks Michael Bartneck for your kind ID

Hydrastis canadensis Goldenseal

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_009Oh lookie here..I found some droplets..

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_012

Another nice thing foggy mornings bring..

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_013We are here to bird as well as check out the plants..

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_016Mallard on log in the fog..

Biggest week sheldens farm_035I love Greg Miller!

What a sweet man, not to mention an extremely knowledgeable birder. He is a super teacher..I learned allot the few times we were birding with him…wish I could tag along with him some more. Oh.and did you know he is a secret pirate? Argh..

Here, Greg talks to a young birder we meet along the way. He gives the birder his card, tells him about the soon to be released movie and a photo is taken. Memories made for this young birder.

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_017We did see birds…Warblers and other goodies

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_019Willow tree me thinks..

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_020Our birding group..taken by my camera on a timer next to Greg Miller :)

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_023

Birders doing what they do best…

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_029

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_025Fox squirrelBiggest week sheldens farm_024Critter in a shell..Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_031Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_034

Most of the area is easily accessed via this cars

Biggest week sheldens farm_030Ant for Breakfast …Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_040Snake hanging out in a shrub..

Biggest week sheldens farm_038It was a lovely morning..

Biggest week sheldens farm_034

Human plantings blending with mother nature’s plantings..

Biggest week sheldens farm_026

We had a Super time hanging out with our new friends Cheryl, Greg Miller ,Greg & Leslie and the other birders.

Thank you Cheryl for inviting us to this event and others during our stay!

You are the best Hostess..Thanks for making us feel so Welcome in your neck of the woods!

Sheldons Marsh Old Womans Creek_035

Greg Miller Birding

Birdchicks post about the Movie The Big Year

 Cheryl Harners blog~Weedpickers Journal

Stay tuned for more of the Biggest Week