Owlbox: Pop in and say hi

I love hearing from people who read my blog and also seeing where they're from both in terms of Geography and the cyberspace i.e. did you come via the web, the Powerguides, another blog etc. To this end I've added a new tracking gadget from Feedjit to my blog which gives me some of the cyber info.

The Feedjit widget is cool but for those of you who haven't done so, please pop in and introduce yourself. I love reading about your birding background and it only takes a few seconds to answer the questions. In case the hyperlink above doesn't work just copy and paste this address into your browser: http://owlbox.blogspot.com/2007/11/are-you-out-there.html

I'm looking forward to hearing from you very soon!


April fools: Favre coming back

There were reports circulating that the ultimate gun slinger was returning to the NFL but they have been proven to be mere fabrications. It seems that a couple of reporters (idiots) in LA got a bee in their bonnet that Favre's rep was checking around the league to see if anyone would trade for him. Honestly people, what the heck are you guys smoking… So your story is that not only is Favre coming back, but he's going to another team after playing 99.9% of his incredible career with the Packers......
I love Favre and I wish he played another season, but he'd be a massive moron if he came out of retirement, especially after only 20 odd days and then took up with another NFL team. Clearly these reporters don't give the guy much credit.
Now do us all a favor and leave #4 alone - he's paid his dues to the NFL community. All Favre wants to do is relax and spend time with his family. Isn't there a Tony Romo story brewing somewhere? Clearly this year's April fool is the LA Times reporter who broke this 'non story'. Congrats there Sam Farmer!

Featured blog: Birding Limpopo

Black Breasted Snake Eagle

Lizzard Buzzard in Casper's garden

Three Rondawels

As I mentioned I came across a new South African blog - Birding Limpopo via the Powerguides and with the blog owner Casper's permission I am featuring some of his photos. I would encourage you to check out his blog as he is in a PRIME location for birding in Southern Africa.

Keeping up with the blogs

There are so many ways to read blogs using RSS readers, iGoogle, Outlook etc etc. and it's pretty tough to keep up with all the blogs around the world. One good place to start, is a blog network like the Nature Blog Network which currently lists close to 250 blogs! When I joined the network, there were a lot less than that and I was also ranked a lot higher........ Another awesome place to find blogs to add to your RSS feeds or readers is the Powerguides. The Powerguides tracks a myriad of different blogging topics (Artists, Auto, Fashion Clothes, Food & Cooking, Bird Watching, Environment, Farming, Fishing, Gardening, Horses, Teaching & Education and Multiple Sclerosis). Each of these guides in turn list the most recent 10 posts. If added the Powerguides birding guide to my blog as well as to my iGoogle page and I've found some very cool blogs along the way. Of course as I find new ones, I also add them to my iGoogle page which is becoming larger and larger. The nice thing about the Powerguides is that it allows you to scan topics from blogs you may not subscribe to. If you want to add the Powerguides to your blog there is a form that you can complete and they'll send you the HTML code to paste into your blog. The neat thing is that the feed is customizable based on the color scheme that you use.

My main inspiration for this post is the fact that I found a new South African blog (Birding Limpopo) while skimming through the recent top 10. Ironically the only reason I visited the blog was because the title was Owl box! I guess my countryman is trying to attract a Spotted Eagle Owl to his garden and in the process of putting up the box he managed to get himself stung by some hornets.......
How do you read blogs and what tricks do you have to find new ones?


Nothing says Spring like......................

To me Spring isn't 'real' until I hear and see the Tree Swallows zooming around the garden. This morning I had one of the early scouts checking out the nesting boxes and it brought and instant smile to my dial. Soon the battle for housing will begin between the Blue birds and the Tree Swallows. The Blue birds will definitely take one house, while the Tree Swallows will take the other two.
What signals Spring for you?


Wordless Wed: Scenery

Would the real owlman please stand up

Well I took the leap and got rid of my old profile pic. I created the picture in Photoshop and it was supposed to be a joke, but I guess quite a few people were scared of it as they thought it was some weird mask. Who would have thought that my Photoshop skills (NOT) would actually scare people.

In the spirit of attracting new readers to the blog I decided to change my profile pic to my God given profile. Personally I think this picture will scare more people than the 'owl mask', but I'll let the public-at-large be the judge of that. Luckily the Packers cap hides most of the balding spots ;-)


Peregrine Falcon: PBS Raptor Force

I saw this AMAZING show on PBS called Raptor Force that shows the flying ability of raptors. They focus on the INCREDIBLE Peregrine Falcon showing how it actually dives to the earth. Here is a clip that shows how the Peregrine goes into the dive. If you notice it turns it's head at a strange angle, which they explain is actually due to the bird sweet spot in it's vision. The Peregrines sweet spot is not straight on center, but is actually off center.

Here's an explanation of the Peregrine's attack path by Tucker, Tucker, Akers and Enderson :
"When diving at prey straight ahead from great distances at high speeds, a peregrine has a conflict between vision and aerodynamics: it must turn its head approximately 40 degrees to one side to see the prey with maximum visual acuity at the deep fovea of one eye, but the head in this position increases aerodynamic drag and slows the falcon down. The falcon could resolve this conflict by holding its head straight and flying along a logarithmic spiral path that keeps the line of sight of the deep fovea pointed sideways at the prey. Wild peregrines, observed with binoculars, telescopes and a tracking device, did approach prey the size of American robins (Turdus migratorius) and smaller birds from distances of up to 1500 m by holding their heads straight and flying along curved paths that resembled the logarithmic spiral".

Poll reminder: The hoo in taboo

Just a reminder that this months' poll is up and running. I'm interested in finding out what you think about revealing owl roost locations. Is it ok to do it and under which circumstances?

To date we've had 16 votes and there are 16 days left. I'd really appreciate it if you would stop in and vote and also leave me a quick comment here or here.


Pheasant football a.k.a soccer

The Ring-necked Pheasant is still around and in fact he’s becoming pretty tame. He used to hang out at the back of the property but now he’s a regular at the feeder.

In fact he’s so tame that I thought he might start playing soccer with the kids.

I love hanging him around but I do worry about the dog chasing him. For the most part he just runs away and he seems very lazy to fly. One of my friends is convinced that he’s a pen raised bird. Apparently hunters hand raise some pheasants and then release them for hunting. Has anyone heard of this practice? This guy definitely is not the most street wise bird I’ve ever seen and judging from his tail feathers he’s had some run in’s with thugs…