October 2011

Make a Flight Cage for Your Pet Bird

"For under $50, you can create an outdoor or indoor flight cage for your birds."

If you have an indoor bird, you can create an exciting outdoor adventure for them by building a flight cage.  Your flight cage can be as simple or elaborate as you desire, and can give your indoor birds a fun way to pass the day in warmer months.  If you have the space for it, you can bring your flight cage indoors to let them live year round.

We built a flight cage for two cockatiels and two parakeets by using one-inch hardware cloth on a one-half inch PVC pipe frame.  It measured six feet long, six feet high and three feet wide, which was more than ample for those four birds, and it allowed us humans to go in without having to stoop.  You need to be careful when choosing your supplies to be sure they will not emit toxic fumes or paint chips that can harm curious birds.  The hardware cloth wire can be tied to the PVC pipe.  Make sure you tie frequently to avoid any gaps they can squeeze out of.

You Can Make Hummingbird Food at Home

Homemade hummingbird food costs just pennies and can be made in a matter of minutes.

Hummingbirds are beautiful, energetic little creatures.  The way they flit around from flower to flower, always humming a pretty tune, make them perfect guests for backyards.  They are very easy to feed, too, and you can amass quite a gathering of eager birds by simply installing a couple hummingbird feeders on your porch or in a tree.

A word of caution, however: hummingbirds are greedy little buggers and a family of them can quickly wipe out your food supply.  If you buy commercial hummingbird food from the store, this can quickly add up to being a very expensive hobby.  Fortunately, hummingbird food is very easy and extremely inexpensive to make at home.  All you need is sugar, water and optional food coloring.

24th Annual Festival of the Cranes

"Sandhill Cranes fly south for the winter and congregate in flocks of more than 10,000 birds!"

The 24th Annual Festival of the Cranes will take place on the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge near Socorro, New Mexico November 15-20, 2011. This popular birding festival, which celebrates the annual return of huge flocks of Sandhill Cranes, promises to be better than ever. Socorro, New Mexico is about 100 miles south Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sandhill Cranes are an ancient species with a fossil record that goes back 2.5 million years. These birds look prehistoric too and they seem to delight the imagination of all observers. Sandhill Cranes fly south for the winter and congregate in flocks of more than 10,000 birds!

The festival will feature workshops, lectures, fieldtrips, birding from horse back, and even a cruise on a houseboat! Topics will include Sandhill Crane behavior, duck ecology, digital photography, bird banding, songbirds, and other birds of the refuge. This year keynote speakers will be Dr. Travis Perry, a mountain lion researcher, and the infamous Mark Obmasclk, author of "The Big Year."