Wilson Post Blogs
Our Feathered Friends - Oct. 3
My Hummers are starting to thin out a bit as the weather here has cooled and fall is in the air. There are maybe 10 to 15 that are still fighting for their place in the lunch line, which is down quite different from the 40 or 50 that were here. I have just returned from a pilgrimage through my neighborhood to retrieve all my Hummer feeders, wash them and put them up for the winter season. I will still keep out a pair on the front porch just in case of stragglers who might have missed the first boatload. I had rather err on the side of the Hummers.
Remember me writing about the millet plants in my backyard? Well, finally my hungry visitors returned the next day to feed and I did have my small binoculars handy so I could identify the eaters. The stalks were plenty sturdy for the birds to land on the plant without riding it to the ground. A small flock of House Finches were feasting on the seed. After breeding season the birds usually go through a molt and lose most of the reddish feathers and almost look like the females. There used to be a family of Northern Cardinals over at the old house where the beautiful male would molt at the end of summer and looked terrible until the next spring when his hormones kicked in and he returned to the bright red we all are familiar with.
There are two sets of binoculars in my possession for watching birds. My largest that is used especially for bird counts is a pair of 10 X 50 Bushnells that I bought through Amazon.com. The 10 refers to the magnification, or it makes an object look 10 times closer. The 50, is how big the front lens is in millimeters. The larger the lens diameter is, the more light that comes through. Some people have laughed because I take my binoculars with me on an Owl Prowl, which increases the ability to see things in low light. The only draw back to a large set is that you might be too close to an object to actually focus on it. Some people prefer to buy an expensive set with a price tag of from $200 on up to $1000, which is a much higher price for much finer optics. I will stick with a price below $75 because I really get out into the underbrush and rough places without worrying about getting a scratch on them.
That is where my smaller set comes in handy. It is also a Bushnell, 7 X 35mm which will focus on an object much closer than the large size. My old birding buddy, the late John W. Sellars had a spotting scope which we used to really bring a bird up much closer. It was a 15 - 60 power zoom telescope that you had to place on a tripod because the vibrations in your hands would make it difficult to see through. We used it back at Reelfoot Lake where we would set it up for Bald Eagle watching. Once you got it locked in, other people could step up and see the birds, and not knock it out of focus. It always came in handy for birding, and I wish I had one of my own today.
This reminds me of a birding trip where we were conducting a count in the spring many years ago. Most of my friends that I bird watched with have passed on to their heavenly reward, as I almost did a year ago two weeks from now. Mr. Robert Hosier, who taught at Castle Height Military Academy, was out with John Sellars and myself counting spring migrating Warblers when this large red butterfly flew up right in front of Mr. Hosier's binocular. All he could see was this giant red blob. Mr. Robert got so excited that he was hollering, “There is a giant red bird somewhere in front of me." John and I almost busted a gut as we were laughing so hard. I truly miss my friends.