Buntings return in full color

Color me happy in vivid chartreuse, indigo and reds. We saw painted buntings return to our big boulders birdbath on April 23.

eBird.org (with an app) stores my bird sightings. A quick eBird check shows my first reported painted bunting in 2016 and 2017 was April 25. It’s fun. It’s free. It’s amazing. It helps scientists.

Even now, as I stitch together tidbits (with recovering KissMe, his stiches removed, by my side in his stroller) the reflection in the wall mirror in front of me gives me a painted bunting and lesser goldfinch to report on eBird. On April 24 I reported an indigo bunting.

Wally Rudzinski brought a new feature of the Merlin app to my attention when he and Cathy stopped to view the birds in front of our house. “Explore Birds” on Merlin will pull a list with photos of birds most likely to be seen on any particular day in Mountain City. A click opens more photos and ID Info, with options for sounds and map. 

Color me sad that several domestic cats have recently snared wild birds we’ve attracted to our certified wildlife habitat property near the Live Oak Drive cul-de-sac. We do not know who owns them. We know neighbors have cats, but we don’t know who owns the trespassing cats.

Shooing the cats has not prevented the return of these roaming-at-large predators. Neighbors, please keep cats confined to your property. If this is not possible, please try a vivid-colored birdsbesafe collar cover (or something similar) over a breakaway collar. Thank you.

Search for an article by the Humane Society “How to Bring a Cat Indoors”. “Allowing your cats to roam outdoors can significantly shorten their lives. Potentially deadly dangers – parasites, catching diseases from other cats, being hit by cars, stolen by strangers, attacked by predators, or just plain getting lost – are constant threats to an outdoor cat. And cats themselves can be deadly to local wildlife.”

The birdsbesafe collar cover is featured in a science article in Audubon.org with results of studies. A spring study showed cats killed 19 times fewer birds when wearing the birdsbesafe cover that goes over a breakaway collar. Most birds can see the bright colors.

Oak trees get some protection from oak wilt when homeowners follow guidelines published on texasoakwilt.org .  Now (February 1 – June 31) is the season when live oaks should not be pruned or trimmed, if at all possible. A particular tiny beetle can bring oak wilt into a tree through even a small wound. The disease kills that tree first and then spreads to neighboring trees through interconnected root systems. The slow process continues for decades.

Kesa Larsen completed four decades of life on Monday. Lucas surprised her with a gigantic decorative yard sign. Happy 40th, Kesa!

As I complete one Montage, it’s time to start another. Kindly help me with tidbits. Email ptom5678@gmail.com (subject: Tidbit) or leave a message at 512-268-5678. Thanks! Love to you, Pauline.

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