My life is about living with nature – here you can live it with me!

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Terns in Myrtle Beach

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Sandwich Terns – Adult with juvenile

By: Pat Coate

Don’t see too many terns in my part of Western NY, so I enjoyed seeing a couple species while in Myrtle Beach. Both were life birds for me.

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Birdie Blog

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Tina, Brenda, Pat, Tammy, Vicki and Chris

By: Pat Coate

Just back from the annual Jersey girls’get away golf weekend in Myrtle Beach. We had good weather, good times and even managed a birdie or two.

There were lots of other birdies to be found too. Below are pictures of laughing gulls and willets. Next week will post the terns.

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Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release: Red Foxes

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Fox Kit – so tiny and cute, and motherless

By: Pat Coate

Over the years I have had the opportunity to meet several wildlife rehabilitators. Each one has been a remarkable, passionate person. Wildlife rehab is incredibly hard work (exhausting really). Often the animals taken in are babies and orphans, and, like newborn children, require attention nearly 24/7. The work is NOT glamorous, IS dirty (and smelly), with a seemingly endless cycle of pen cleaning, feeding, watering, and administering meds. It doesn’t pay well (if at all) and there are a lot of detractors who wonder why rehabilitators don’t just “let nature take its course.”

The payoff, that makes all the sacrifices worth it, is the moment when the animal they’ve worked so hard for is set free to live the life it was meant for in the wild. I had the chance to observe and participate in the release of three foxes – and witness the joy, satisfaction, and really the validation of all the effort, felt by the rehabilitators. Amazing!

Note: All photos from Michele, wildlife rehabilitator located in Ontario, Canada.

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A Couple Life Birds

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Marsh Wren

By: Pat Coate

Picked up marsh wrens earlier this year down in Delaware. These are wetland birds that are partial to cattails and whose diet consists largely of insects. They vigorously defend their territory and will try to destroy the nests, eggs and nestlings of neighboring birds. This behavior is thought to reduce competition for food.

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More “Moosing” in Algonquin Provincial Park

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Moose (adult female)

By: Pat Coate

I am not really sure what it is about moose, but I really like seeing them in the wild. A few weeks ago I was excited to find two moose along Highway 60, though slightly off the beaten track, in Algonquin Park (Ontario, Canada). Given the fact that the two were together in the same bog and that they headed off into the woods together made me think that they were a mother with her first year calf. Calves born this year will generally stay with their mothers for a full year or more.

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Barred Owl

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Barred Owl

By: Pat Coate

Barred owls are found in forests throughout the eastern U.S. They have begun to move into the Pacific Northwest where they are putting pressure on the already beleaguered spotted owl.

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White-tailed Deer in the Fall

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The boys of fall

By: Pat Coate

Recently I’ve observed some interesting deer behavior and learned a couple new words/terms in my readings about white-tailed deer.

Male deer tend to live in groups of three or four except in the mating, or rutting, season. We have often watched a group of males over the summer and early fall as they have fed in a nearby field. Recently this group has been seen (seemingly) playfully sparring, or perhaps testing the waters, while grazing together. Perhaps it will become more serious in the upcoming weeks as the mating season heats up, so to speak, and the group breaks up. I guess it is not too unlike a group of human male friends who become interested in the same girl and the strife this can cause.

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Immature Turkey Vulture

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Immature Turkey Vulture

By: Pat Coate

Vultures certainly don’t fall into the glamour bird category. Their little bald heads and hooked bills have helped them evolve into nature’s perfect clean-up crew. And though we may not like to think much about them or their jobs, in areas of the world where their numbers have significantly declined the services that they provide are now being done by rats and feral dogs. The increasing numbers of these replacement scavengers has led to increases in human rabies deaths.

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The Ubiquitous Song Sparrow

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Song Sparrow

By: Pat Coate

The number of song sparrows reported in the area is increasing as the southward migration picks up and the days are starting to grow noticeably shorter. The song sparrow is a common bird throughout the United States, though there are some color and size variations by region. The photos shown here depict the eastern form and were taken this past April.

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Young Ones Part 2

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Adult Grackle feeding its youngster (early summer)

By: Pat Coate

We are continuing to get lots of families and first year birds visiting or passing through our backyard. The more typical visitors have been purple and house finches, rose-breasted grosbeak, cardinals, starlings, grackles, mourning doves, and ruby-throated hummingbirds. The most exciting visitors were ravens – we’ve had loud begging young crows before but the ravens were a first.

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