Good news! The solar panel roof of my AI bird feeder with a camera arrived. I ordered it in January after a covey of quail leaped onto the bird feeder and it fell off the fence into the wash behind our house.
The tiny metal piece that plugged into the camera from the cord to the solar panel broke. It seemed like it would be an easy fix, but the Bird Buddy folks said my only option was to order a new solar panel roof and they’d give me a discount. I waited until June for it to arrive! In the meantime, I charged the camera every few days in the house.
I’ve been disappointed with my birds because two species are bullies and take over. White winged doves and mourning doves. They literally sit at the feeder and eat until it’s empty. So all my photos and videos for the past few weeks have been of big gray birds. I would get the occasional house sparrow which was a welcome treat.
Sunday morning I was shocked and thrilled to see a Cardinal! YAY! Here’s a video:
I’m also enjoying a few families of quail, even though our nest of eggs never hatched.
Here’s a video of quail mom, dad and babies visiting our yard:
Here’s a House Sparrow getting a turn at our Bird Buddy
What do you have planned this week to enjoy the world around you?
Here’s a quail selfie from my Bird Buddy AI bird feeder.
Twice this week I spotted baby quail. Once was on our morning walk and a mom and dad were followed by the teeniest quail babies I’ve ever seen. They must have hatched that day.
Yesterday afternoon, a family of quail marched into our backyard from the wash. They were a little older and didn’t stay long enough for me to get a video or picture.
I immediately ran to the front of our house to see if our quail eggs had hatched.
Our nest of eggs in a planter of Elephant Feed.
No, the eggs are still there and it’s been a month since I’ve seen a momma or papa quail in the nest.
Unfortunately, the quail chose a planter next to our garage. At first, I’d see quail fly away when I’d pull into the garage or back the car out. Raising the garage door was enough noise to make the parents take flight.
I’m afraid the quail were scared away and they abandoned their nest. Or something could have happened to them. It’s a wild world out there. I’ve read what to do with eggs to get them to hatch. The most sensible advice is to wait and see. I also realize that I’m not opening the garage door very often. Maybe the quail parents are there, but not when I’m there.
Does anyone have advice while I wait for our eggs to hatch? Do you think the nest has been abandoned?
I have seen several articles the past few days about how listening to bird songs or watching birds is good for mental health. There’s been a number of studies from the US to Finland that back this up.
Maybe that’s why I’ve been in a good mood lately? It certainly doesn’t hurt to enjoy my Bird Buddy feeder with a camera or sit in the backyard and listen to birds.
My phone alerted me to a story about studies connecting better mental health to birds in the Washington Post. It’s behind a paywall so I didn’t read it. But I did read one by Desert News called “Being around birds can boost mental health, studies say” by Britney Heimuli.
The Washington Post said, “In one study, researchers asked about 1,300 participants to collect information about their environment and well-being three times a day using a smartphone app called Urban Mind.”
The Post said the data collected, which included other variants like sleep and air quality, showed seeing or hearing birds had a positive association with improved mental well-being in participants.
“Everyday encounters with birdlife were associated with time-lasting improvements in mental well-being. These improvements were evident not only in healthy people but also in those with a diagnosis of depression,” according to that report.
Another study the Post reported showed that, out of 295 online participants who were asked to self-assess their emotional state, those who were randomly assigned to listen to different kinds of bird songs reported reduced depressive symptoms and a decrease in feelings like anxiety and paranoia.
Not the most attractive bird but a frequent visitor — a curve-bill thrasher. I wonder how he got his name? /s
It does make sense that connecting with birds helps our mental health. I think being outside in nature does that with or without birds.
In an article from Time Magazine called “Birdwatching Has Big Mental-Health Benefits” by Angela Haupt said:
Researchers have long sought to understand the perks of observing birds. A study published in October in Scientific Reports found that seeing or hearing birds improved people’s mental wellbeing for up to eight hours. Nearly 1,300 people used a smartphone app to log their mood several times a day, noting whether they could see or hear birds. People with depression, as well as those without a mental-health condition, experienced significant improvements in wellbeing when they had these encounters. The benefits weren’t explained by other environmental factors, like seeing trees, plants, or water, all of which the study controlled for.
The early birds I’m talking about aren’t these gorgeous creatures in my backyard. I’m talking about me and my hubby.
We’ve become the couple we used to laugh at. You know, the ones who have dinner at 4:30 or 5 p.m. to save money. Now, when we go out, we go early to take advantage of early bird prices that end at 6 p.m. Only these days, it’s no longer called “early bird specials” but “happy hour.”
A neighborhood couple invited us to dinner for restaurant week that features three-course meals at reduced prices. We declined because their reservation was too late for us! It was at the wee hour at night of 6:30 p.m. To be fair, my husband works in the financial world and he’s on east coast time. His work day begins three hours earlier than most people out west.
This is the state bird of Arizona, the cactus wren.
It’s gotten hotter the past couple weeks. I began setting my alarm so that I’m up before sunrise. We’ve changed our walking schedule to avoid the heat. We are heading out the door before 6 a.m. — which also makes us early birds.
One of our neighbors told us her method for walking. (Who knew you needed a method?) She turns right out of her driveway and continues to walk on the right side of the road. By doing that, she said she hits every road and cul-de-sac in the neighborhood — and ends back at her front door. My husband and I have been random walkers, going whichever way our whims take us. But this week, we tried it and not only does it add a little distance to our walk, we’re seeing streets we were previously missing.
I wrote about successful people who are early birds HERE.
What are your thoughts about early bird specials and getting up early?
A common theme this week is the color yellow. There are yellow blossoms on trees, cacti and bushes.
My week included enjoying my Bird Buddy. This is a juvenile Cardinal. His coat is getting hints of red. Males are brilliant red while females are brown.
Blooming yuccas at our neighborhood park.
This staghorn cactus is bursting in blooms.
Palos Verde trees are common in our neighborhood. They are in their full glory of yellow blossoms.
I can’t help but remember my daughter who loved the color yellow but called it “lallow” as a toddler.
Our house guests are gone, we have friends visiting from Seattle who arrive today. We swam and walked, I cooked, I was productive in my new space. We made it to breakfast last weekend at our favorite cafe and I had a delicious latte and bagel with lox and cream cheese. It was a good week!
I swam Tuesday and Thursday after not swimming for five or six months. Thursday I almost cancelled because it was a cool windy day and the pool was cold on Tuesday. I told myself that I had enough to do to get ready for guests. But I decided to go. If I was freezing, I could get out. I was thrilled to discover the pool was a perfect 81 degrees (at least perfect to me. That’s too hot for people who swim faster and harder than me.)
Another plus happened Sunday. I took my husband to the coffee shop where I met a longtime friend last week. I wrote about that HERE. Hubby and I went for lattes and breakfast. We never get lattes, that was a one off for us, but so delicious.
They roast their own beans and I bought their House Blend for my pour over set-up the kids got me for my birthday in March. The coffee is smooth and delicious.
Speaking of delicious:
This was my breakfast. It’s called Avocado Smash, and I added an egg. It has lettuce, tomato, goat cheese, capers, pickled onion and a vinaigrette — and avocado of course. YUM!
During the week, we drove to a Mexican restaurant my friend recommended. She’s lived here for 15 years. Her son went to culinary school and was a chef in Palm Springs. I take her recommendations about restaurants to heart. She told me about the Carefree Coffee Roastery, for example. Her Mexican restaurant suggestion was a hit. I wrote about my quest for Mexican food in Arizona last week HERE.
“It’s the closest thing in our area that is like the Original Las Casuelas,” she said referring to one of our staples a few blocks from our old house.
The restaurant she suggested is called Plaza Bonita. I finally found my huevos ranchero fix without having to drive 45 minutes to an hour!
I’m not sure what this is? Cellular tower? On our morning walk we pass several fake saguaros. This one is getting a face lift.
Olive the cat is checking out my new workspace in my official office. I think she likes the view.
Another highlight this week was reading some amazing blog posts that really moved me — especially on The Heart of the Matter. The connections and similarities to my own life and other bloggers was comforting. I’m honored to be in this blogging community.
I loved having Bird Buddy up and running. I was thrilled to get Cardinal photos and videos. Here are two photos I got yesterday. I love this Cardinal’s attitude.
Why does this shot remind me of Kramer from Seinfeld? Do you see it, too?
What are some of the highlights of your week? Have a happy weekend!
After waiting patiently from January until now for a new solar panel for my Bird Buddy AI bird feeder with a camera, I made the executive decision to take it out of storage, charge it up and use it without the solar panel roof.
I emailed the company and they said I should receive it this month. Until then, I’m enjoying Bird Buddy and have to charge the camera every four or five days.
I’ve written about Bird Buddy before. You can read those posts HERE and HERE if you missed them.
My son works for a crowdfunding company that helped raise money and marketed Bird Buddy. I think it was one of their more successful campaigns.
In one of my prior stories I wrote about my trouble setting up Bird Buddy. There was an awkward small space to plug in the charger or solar panel. I found it frustrating and I had to get my husband to help me. However, when I set up my 91-year-old dad’s Bird Buddy, he cleverly showed me you can plug in the camera before you put it inside the feeder! Duh!
This is a House Finch who can eat a lot of sunflower seeds!
Bird Buddy takes “postcards” (these two photos are examples.) There was an update to the software and now there are videos, too. It works with an app on your smartphone, identifies birds, gives details and you can play their songs and calls.
Here’s a video of a House Sparrow and Cardinal competing for the bird feeder:
What birds do you have in your neck of the woods? Which are your favorites?