by on April 27, 2021
How to get birds to nest in my garden?  Nesting birds are wonderful to observe, and it can be riveting to see a bird nesting close to your home. From those initial stages of finding a safe nesting spot and collecting nesting material, to the actual egg-laying stage. What a delight it is when the gift of eggs arrives, a sign of baby birds to come. And after some patient waiting, the egg pips. A small beak prying the shell. If you’re lucky you’ll spy the chicks as they feed and grow, eventually...
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by on February 23, 2021
When you think of birds and love, a pair of doves are probably the most likely image that springs to mind. Many a wedding celebration has seen the release of a couple of doves. And while the typical symbolic white doves are mostly bred in captivity, their greyer cousins are just as striking and just as good at showing a connection, although seemingly less symbolic.  White doves are clear symbols of love, and they are a symbol of peace for many. These albino doves are often woven into rituals,...
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by on January 27, 2021
  Did you know there are over 320 species of hummingbirds? These tiny birds are considered a great prize among many birders, both for their beauty and because of how difficult they can be to photograph! Identifying a hummingbird to the unpracticed eye can also be tricky. Knowing where the bird was seen will give more context in helping to identify these birds. The most well-known species found in the USA is the ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).  Ruby-throated Hummingbird...
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by on December 4, 2020
Food and nesting space are simple answers! Birds migrate to improve their chances of survival and reproductive success, and while temperature may influence migration, birds can survive in very cold conditions. Their main reason for migrating is to follow their stomachs (aka food) and find safe spaces to nest. It’s one of the wonders of the natural world and, if you’re fortunate enough to witness migrating birds en masse, it’s a spectacular sight. Many birds migrate in line with vegetation cha...
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by on October 28, 2020
Family time, birdwatching is an activity for everyone   The memory of waking up early to drive to special places is a key takeaway from my childhood. Nature, wildlife, and especially keeping track of birdlife have all been a part of my family for as long as I can remember. My father always packed a bird book in the car, and since we loved seeing places off the beaten track, we were often blessed with some incredible sightings. Sharing the joy of nature with your children in a pursuit you e...
460 views 9 likes
by on May 21, 2020
Congratulations on starting your journey to become one of the millions of birdwatchers across the globe! Apart from being a fun and exciting hobby for people of all ages, the physical and mental activity involved in birdwatching is good for your general wellbeing. Birdwatching doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby so don’t let budget get in the way of making a start. All that you will probably need to buy is a pair of binoculars. You can pick up a pretty decent pair of new entry-level birding...
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by on April 28, 2020
Bleary-eyed and still dreaming, I was woken early this morning by my 3-year old daughter who informed that “Mummy, the birds are too noisy, they are waking me from my sleep!”. It was still pitch black and a little after 6am but she was right, the birds were being particularly raucous. For them the day had begun. Sitting here now, in my home office that looks on to a beautiful pepper tree, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have a ring-side seat to the wildlife that is in full flow around me. Here...
616 views 11 likes
by on April 27, 2020
What land animal has the largest eyes? With a diameter of 5cm (2 inches), the Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) is said to have the largest eyes of any land animal. They are about the size of a billiard ball and five times larger than the human eye! You can see when you look closely that their eyes are quite beautiful with long eyelashes to protect them. However, they take up so much room in their head that their brain is actually smaller than either one of its eyeballs. With such impressive ...
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by on April 24, 2020
With winter fast approaching here in Cape Town, bird feeders are a good way to help out our feathered friends when food is more scarce. We already have a wooden birdhouse feeder that is a popular eating spot for some of our regular garden visitors, such as the Swee Waxbill, Red-eyed Dove and Forest Canary, but we decided to give these great craft ideas a go. They are both fairly simple to do with basic household items and such fun for kids to help you create.    1. Hanging Birdseed Ornamen...
555 views 3 likes
by on April 23, 2020
Bingo or “Beano” as it was originally called in the United States, is a hugely popular numbers game that dates back to the mid-1500’s. It started in Italy as the Italian Lottery or "Lo Giuoco del Lotto D'Italia", where players had cards with numbers in rows, winning numbers were drawn from a sack and players competed to match their numbers first. The game became so popular in Italy that it crossed borders to France in the late-1700’s where it was known as “Le Lotto”. The French altered the game ...
1k+ views 7 likes
by on April 8, 2020
It is always great to discover new ideas for keeping your kids busy during holiday times or weekends, but particularly now, when we have been trapped in ‘COVID-19 Lockdown’, for what seems like in an interminable amount of time. And with all the toilet-roll stock piling that’s been happening in recent weeks, we’ve found a great use for all those empty rolls!  Our girls (Christina 3 years, Jessica 22 months) have always had a love of being outside and it’s times like this when we are thankful ...
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by on October 14, 2019
When looking at the heaviest bird in the world, there are two distinct categories. The first is the outright heaviest bird in the world and the second is the heaviest flying bird in the world. The heaviest bird in the world is the Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) with an average weight of 104kg. Most subspecies of the Common Ostrich weigh between 63kg and 145kg. The North African subspecies of the Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus camelus) is however the heaviest with a maximum weight of up t...
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by on October 9, 2019
Many people think that birdwatching is a hobby for the middle-aged or retirees. The 2016 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey, however, paints an entirely different picture. The survey shows that birdwatchers who go birding 'Away-from-Home' have an average age of 49 with 47% being under the age of 45. For ‘Around-the-Home’ birdwatchers, the average age is 54 with 33% being under the age of 45. Wildlife Watchers by Age Age Group Away-from-Home Around-the-Home ...
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by on October 8, 2019
The rare birds of Kruger National Park is a list of South African species that are generally only seen in Kruger National Park. For example, 2,956 of the 2,981 (99%) of Yellow-billed Oxpecker sightings were seen in Kruger National Park. So, it’s safe to say that Kruger is the place to visit if you want a good chance to tick the Yellow-billed Oxpecker on your life list. Although some of these species may be commonly seen in Kruger National Park, all of them will not be commonly seen anywhere else...
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by on October 7, 2019
Someone with a casual interest in birds who likes to quietly observe their garden comings and goings, or who enjoys seeing birds on their Sunday walk is likely to be described as a birdwatcher. Could this sort of activity be considered a sport? No, probably not. And for most of us the idea of ‘sport’ conjures up images of participants at least trying to break into a sweat. Not something you are likely to do from a garden bench with a pair of binoculars. Birding on the other hand is a whole di...
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by on September 26, 2019
Digital photography has been a game changer for birders and given rise to bird photography at a level never seen before. More and more birders have added long lens cameras to their birding equipment arsenal and have begun identifying birds based on their photographic records rather than just what they see through their trusty binoculars. Choosing the correct size (aka focal length or magnification) camera lens for bird photography has therefore become a really important decision. A camera len...
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by on September 19, 2019
Looking for a new pair of birdwatching binoculars and wondering if you should be going for 8x or 10x magnification? 8x or 10x simply refers to the magnification or how much closer an object will seem when looking though the binoculars. The small difference in magnification may seem trivial, however, it has a significant impact on factors such as the weight of binoculars, the level of detail that is visible, the ability to locate and focus on close birds, maintaining a stable image, low light ...
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by on September 13, 2019
Birdwatching is important for many personal, societal and conservation reasons. Birdwatching provides huge amounts of data to conservation researchers, it is good for one's physical and mental health, it has a massive positive economic impact, it helps connect people with nature and addresses the problem of ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ in children.    Conservation research Birdwatcher’s contribution to bird research cannot be underestimated. The amount of high-quality research grade data t...
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by on September 9, 2019
So, you have probably heard birders taking about their life lists and wondered what they were referring to. If you are new to birding/birdwatching or you just want to know what people are talking about, then this explanation will give you some insight into a life list and the minds of the birders that keep them. A birding life list is typically a list of all the species that a person has seen over their lifetime. Birders describe adding a new species to their list as seeing a new ‘lifer’. For...
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by on September 5, 2019
If you are just getting into birding, you may be surprised by the multiple ways that people spell birdwatching | bird-watching | bird watching. I was just as surprised, so since I’ve been starting to write more and more about birding, I decided to do a bit of research to see if there is a correct or most commonly used spelling! Based on my survey of major dictionaries, birding authorities and birding websites I found that although there is no definitively correct spelling, the one word spelli...
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