Fun Facts About North American Birds

Stan Tekiela, author of Bird Trivia: Funny, Strange, and Incredible Facts about North American Birds, shares with us some more funny, strange, and incredible facts about birds of North America. Birds are amazing creatures that have captured the hearts and minds of people everywhere. From their outrageous shapes and colors to their unique behaviors, birds are endlessly interesting. North American birds have many incredible attributes to marvel at and admire. Learning about them makes for a fulfilling journey. Better yet, set up a feeding station in your yard to attract birds so you can see them in action every day.  Fighting Its Own Reflection Some male birds, such as male Northern Cardinals, are known to fight their own reflections in a window, vehicle mirror, or chrome hubcap. It is believed that these males see the reflection as a competing bird and attack it in an attempt to drive it off. Often this aggressive behavior continues...

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Discover the Centennial State with Colorado Day Trips by Theme

Have you ever asked, “What should we do today?” If so, you need Colorado Day Trips by Theme. This comprehensive guide to the Centennial State is jam-packed with hundreds of Colorado’s top spots for fun and entertainment. Take a simple day trip, or string together a longer vacation of activities that catch your interest. Destinations in the book are organized by themes, such as Annual Festivals, Craft Beer & Distillery, Outdoor Adventures, and Ski Towns, so you can decide what to do and then figure out where to do it. Useful for singles, couples, and families―visitors and residents alike―this guide by Aimee Heckel encompasses a wide range of interests.  Discover the state’s unique attractions―hot springs, mountain peaks, museums, national parks, and more. The book’s handy size makes it perfect for bringing along on your road trips. Plus, with tips for other things to do in the area, you’re sure to maximize the...

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Discover American Indian History and Culture in Arizona

Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized sites of American Indian history and culture, which predate the arrival of Spaniards and Americans by thousands of years, are an integral part of Arizona history. In today’s post, Leigh Wilson, author of Arizona Day Trips by Theme, recommends sights and activities to consider for anyone wanting to learn about the state’s various indigenous cultures.  Homolovi State Park  This state park near Winslow protects ancient ancestral sites of the Hopi people. The park was created in 1986 with the cooperation of the Hopi people. There are two main archaeology sites, Homolovi I and Homolovi II, the latter pueblo containing an estimated 1,200–2,000 rooms. Three trails provide just over 2 miles of hiking, with several points of interest, including milling points and petroglyphs. The park also has a small campground, visitor center, and gift shop. Although the park is open to the public, the land is considered sacred by the Hopi; please...

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How to Easily Identify the Butterflies of the Northwest

At the park, in the garden, or on a walk, keep this tabbed booklet close at hand. Based on Jaret C. Daniels’s best-selling butterfly field guides, Butterflies of the Northwest features only species seen in Alaska, Northern California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming. Butterflies of the Northwest is organized by color for quick and easy identification. Narrow your choices by color, and view just a few butterflies at a time. The easy-to-use format and detailed photographs, with key markings of more than 100 species (96 species of the most common butterflies and moths, as well as 12 caterpillars), help to ensure positive ID for even casual observers. The pocket-size format is much easier to use than laminated foldouts, and the tear-resistant pages help to make the book durable in the field. Good to Know Knowing the basics about butterfly and moth anatomy is the easiest way to improve your identification skills. The two diagrams inside...

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Winter is a Challenging Time for Birds

Winter poses several challenges for birds. Wildlife photographer and naturalist Stan Tekiela talks about the hardships our feathered friends encounter. Scarce food supplies and limited water are just a few obvious challenges to winter survival for nearly all birds. Extremely cold temperatures, strong winds, driving snow, and freezing rain are another set of problems that birds must overcome. Add to this the fact that long and dark nights can be deadly for birds. So just how do birds survive the rigors of winter? As you can imagine, birds have many adaptations to help them survive in extreme winter weather. One of these adaptations is more common than you think. Feathers are the first and best line of defense and are critical to a bird’s survival. But what do you really know about a bird’s feathers? Many of our wintering birds, such as the American Goldfinch and Black-capped Chickadee, add additional feathers in...

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Arizona Day Trips by Theme: A Comprehensive Guide to the Grand Canyon State

Have you ever asked, “What should we do today?” If so, you need Arizona Day Trips by Theme. The guide is jam-packed with hundreds of Arizona’s top spots for fun and entertainment. Take a simple day trip, or string together a longer vacation of activities that catch your interest. Destinations in the book are organized by themes, such as Airplanes & Railroads, Festivals, Ghost Towns & the Wild West, and Outdoor Adventures. This way, you can decide what to do and then figure out where to do it. Useful for singles, couples, and families―visitors and residents alike―this guide by Leigh Wilson encompasses a wide range of interests.  Discover the state’s unique attractions―lakes, museums, national parks, scenic drives, and more. The book’s handy size makes it perfect for bringing along on your road trips. Plus, with tips for other things to do in the area, you’re sure to maximize the fun on every...

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Banana Split Recipe for Backyard Birds

Celebrate the birds in your backyard with this Banana Split recipe from Adele Porter’s book Homemade Bird Food: 26 Fun & Easy Recipes to Feed Backyard Birds.  INGREDIENTS 1 peeled bananaTwo small scoops of suet base, suet-fruit combo, or nutty suetHalf an orange, peeled and cut into piecesHandful of grapes, halved2 cherriesShelled peanuts or other seeds1 crushed eggshell1⁄4 cup grape jellyLive mealworms (optional—but the warblers and bluebirds would say required!)  TOOLSIce-cream scoop Banana split dish or recycled container  BANANA SPLIT RECIPE DIRECTIONS STEP 1 Slice the banana in half lengthwise and place both halves in a dish that can be kept outside. (Secondhand stores often have banana split dishes for sale, or be creative and recycle a leftover container.)  STEP 2 Place two scoops of suet base between the banana halves. (Hint: Warm the scoop in hot water to allow it to scoop and release the suet more easily.)  STEP 3 Heat the jelly until it is melted. Drizzle the jelly...

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Stan Tekiela Takes a Look at the American Crow

Continuing his look at some of the more common critters that we see every day, Stan Tekiela shares with us interesting facts about the American Crow. I am often asked what is my favorite bird? This is like being asked to name your favorite child. I think all birds are amazing and super cool. But if I were pressed, I would have to say that the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) is near the top of my list, right next to hummingbirds. The name “American” crow is a clue as to where this bird is found and at the same time indicates that perhaps there are other crows found around the world. In fact, here in America we have four different kinds of crows and two species of ravens. In addition, there are over 40 different types of crows (Corvids) in the world, including ravens, rooks, and jackdaws. The American crow is extremely...

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