Welcome to the Nature Nerd's blog. This will update you on Nature Nerd happenings, new events and also provide some discussion about the Nature Nerd's subjects. Hope you enjoy!
Every morning, my little gray kitty reminds me to turn on the entertainment. She tells me that her friends are waiting for her — or rather for me. I need to pull the curtain, open the door and feed the birds.
It's not just entertaining for her, but enjoyable for me, because now the birds are trained. They have come to expect this morning ritual. They know me, know my whistle; they even know when I pass in front of the windows.
I have the ultimate cat-ter-tainment in the form of birds feeding safely away from my enthralled cat, who is strictly indoors.
The crazy thing is, that it doesn't matter if they are birds that live here year-round, like the northern cardinals, or the Carolina chickadees, or birds who migrate back and forth, like the gray catbird or even the white-throated sparrows who winter here. They all figure it out. They learn quickly. It only takes a couple of times of repeated notes and a toss of seed out in the yard for them to understand.
There is no way for me to know exactly what the level of comprehension is, of course, but in my own little experiment, I refrained from whistling sometimes to see if they know that the food is coming from me.
They clearly know human lady equals yummy morsels of food because I have opened the door when there wasn't a bird in sight and they have flushed from the underbrush and nearby canopies to swoop down and wait.
The easy ones to prove my theory with blue jays. I can see their shadows passing on the ground as they move from tree to tree to grab a strategic spot overhead. Once I throw down peanuts in the shell, several swoop down to claim their prizes. They are smooth and quick, except when they stop to drop one and pick up another they think is better.
Birds weigh seeds to feel for moisture and fat content. The heavier the seed, the more nutritious for them and it makes it worth their time and energy to fly away with it. That is why you see some birds scatter seed and it is also why it's a good idea for the birds and your wallet to buy quality food for your feeders so as not to have waste and to get a lot of return visitors.
Recently I presented to a group of gardeners and was asked by one person why the birds weren't at her feeder. It turned out she was using seed purchased five months before and she had the same seed in her feeder for about three months. She was surprised no one had touched it.
When you see birds foraging and eating things in the wild, it's hard to think that they might turn their beaks up to something you bought, but as another person summed it up: "Just because you leave bread on the counter, it doesn't mean someone will eat it after a week." It's true, seed goes stale and it's not all the same.
Some folks stop feeding in the summer because they think there is enough natural food. A poster at Wild Birds Unlimited in Williamsburg says, "Birds Don't Take Spring or Summer Breaks."
Birds depend on reliable resources for food, from the berries in your yard, to your full feeders and word spreads as birds watch the behavior of others. If your favorite lunch spot closed, you'd be scrambling to find another spot and might even change where you hang out. Birds do this, too, as they are busy feeding babies, replenishing energy from nesting, and preparing for migration.
Many locally owned businesses on the Peninsula offer up quality choices to please your feathered friends. From Jamestown Feed & Seed in Williamsburg, to Wild Wings Nature Store in Newport News, the Peninsula Ace Hardware stores in Hampton, Newport News and Williamsburg, and the Wild Birds Unlimited locations in Yorktown and Williamsburg, you're bound to find everything from seed blends to suet nuggets and great feeders.
The brown thrashers are bringing their babies near the back door looking for peanuts to feed them. It's nice to know that I am helping and interesting to think that I have actually trained them. Or maybe they've trained me.
Find the article as published here:
So, it's a little confusing, but I have an alter ego. I was the Bird Nerd until I started diving. That's when I realized, I couldn't just be the Bird Nerd because I was photographing critters underwater. I was also into everything about nature: trees, insects, flowers, you name it, if it was outside, I loved it.
Nature Nerd seemed to cover all of the bases. When I moved back home to Hampton Roads, I went through the Master Naturalist certification, something I'd always wanted to do, but I was becoming known in the community as a bird person. As a Community Outreach Coordinator, I was educating the public about birds, in the same fashion as I had for over a decade in Lynchburg. My star was rising and I was asked to become a contributor for the local paper in the capacity of a birding columnist, so I went back to being the Bird Nerd.
After this, my artwork was accepted at a local gallery, Blue Skies Gallery, but they wanted to focus on my underwater photography because it was different. So in that capacity, I am the Nature Nerd.
This split personality thing is confusing and for someone like me who has a marketing background, trying to figure out how to meld the two is tough. I have some Tumblr blogs and will link them here, but this will be where my articles for the paper will show going forward.
So I hope you enjoy reading my blogs and columns.
Get outside and happy naturing!
The Nature Nerd is still on display at the Blue Skies Gallery in Hampton. Spend some time in scenic, historic downtown Hampton and have lunch at one of the great restaurants, stroll along the marina and soak in the salt water smells. Take a peek at my underwater photographs hanging up at Blue Skies Gallery. There you will find two sharks grinning, a giant Humphead Wrasse eyeing the observer in his beautiful coat of turquoise and gold and sea turtles. I also have some photographs of local birds, and notecards that make a great gift. http://www.blueskiesartgallery.com
All pieces are professionally printed and framed in UV glass to protect them for years to come.
If you're looking for something a little more terrestrial, check out some of scenic photographs at Momo's Cafe in City Center in Newport News. Situated in the Lyle Law building at Rock Landing and Canon, Momo's is a a quirky little cafe with delicious and one of a kind sandwiches, breakfast and complete to-go dinners. At Momo's you will find a Great Blue Heron in a beautiful weathered custom frame, a sailboat sailing through the Inside Passage of Alaska, some cheery Gerber Daisies, and a train barreling through snowy countryside. http://www.momoscaf.com
Currently, Nature Nerd Photography is on display in the Art of Virginia Gallery in Bedford, Virginia at 109 N. Bridge St. Starting February 1st, there will be Nature Nerd photos displayed at the Lynchburg Academy of Fine Arts in the Arts and Education Lobby Gallery. This showing will open on Friday the 1st during Lynchburg's First Fridays celebration from 5pm to 8pm. The Nature Nerd will be there to talk greet visitors and talk about her work. Be prepared for fun stories and to learn a little bit of natural history regarding her subjects. There will be local and exotic birds, botanicals and landscapes on display from her travels around the world and even some underwater shots from many dive adventures. Hope to see you there and if not, they will remain on display until the end of the month!