The Professional pen

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” ― Mark Twain

Do You Know Where These 7 Bird Expressions Come From?

For many people who work a typical Monday through Friday week, trying to get everything done during those precious 48 hours we call a weekend can be challenging. It’s especially challenging if you want to experience anything that even comes close to a weekend. You...

Birds Have Squatters’ Rights

Now that the first clutches of nesters have fledged, many wild birds are heading into their second round of raising more chicks. This is the time to clean out nesting boxes, especially bluebird houses. Bluebirds will continue to build one nest on top of the other,...

Why and How Birds Take Baths

While I was recording the video below, I was thinking about how much watching birds take a bath is like watching an infant in a kiddie pool. Arms are flapping and slapping the water. Giggles erupt with each smack of their chubby hands. Droplets of water fly every...

Molting: A Bird’s Bad Hair Day

We have our natural hair color and then we have those colors that, at the time anyway, seemed like a good idea. Birds are the same. Not about hair of course, but about their feathers. Birds have their "basic" plumage, which we often see during the winter or...

How Do Birds Get to Where They’re Going?

Birds are amazing for so many reasons. For example, how can I get lost in my own town when a bird can travel thousands of miles back to where it was born? Talk about having a sense of direction! Scientist are trying to find out how migrating birds get to where they’re...

How Do Birds Cope With Hot Weather?

Yes, it's spring and it isn't hot in most parts of the country yet. But don't let 7 inches of snow in the Midwest fool you... summer is coming. And with hotter temperatures come more challenges for backyard birds. WHEN THE AIR GETS HOT I'm always amazed by how Mother...

What Happens to Birds During Heavy Rain?

Light, springtime rain showers pose no threat to birds that visit our feeders. They continue their Gene Kelly impersonations as the rain rolls off their feathered backs. Those same feathers keep air trapped against their bodies, and it’s the air that keeps them warm....

How Do Birds Cope with High Winds?

Last winter, during a snowstorm with an impressive northern wind, a mourning dove perched on a maple in my mother's yard. It stayed there for hours. Mom called me with deep concern, not the least of which was a fear it would be blown away. "I don't understand. How is...

Worm-Eating Birds Can Use Your Help

I remember high-school biology lab when I and 11 other confined students were expected to dissect an earthworm. A dead, preserved, wrinkled, gross-smelling worm. This for a diploma? Of course, when you cut into something as decrepit and skinny as a formaldehyde-soaked...

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