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Sunday, March 23, 2008

My New Backyard...

I pray that everyone is having a wonderful Easter!

It is cloudy, windy, and quite cool out today, and so I am being a bit lazy. I have been going over some landscape ideas in my head as well.

You know... daydreaming.

Yesterday I put out two hummingbird feeders in hopes of attracting some hummingbirds to my backyard. You may remember that last year I had to wait many, many weeks before I saw my first hummingbird visit my feeder at my home in Oklahoma.

You can only imagine the surprise and excitement that I felt when I saw not one, but TWO Black-Chinned hummingbirds at my feeders by early evening!

This afternoon, I was privy to another amazing sight that I have never before seen. I saw the pendulous acrobatic flight of a male Blacked-chinned hummingbird courting a female.

I will most certainly try to keep an eye out for any hummingbird nests! That would be sooo exciting for me if I found one.

Hopefully I will also see some other hummingbird species come and visit my feeders other than the Black-chinned Hummingbird!

I am really enjoying my new backyard which is now filled with a great variety of birds who are visiting my feeders and birdbath. The birds that I have identified so far are:

The American Goldfinch

The Tufted Titmouse

The Black-crested Tufted Titmouse (Which, by the way, there were a pair inspecting my little bird house today!)

The Inca Dove

The White-winged Dove

The Northern Cardinal (I don't know why they call it the "Northern" Cardinal as it is a very common species here in the Texas Hill Country.

Bewick's Wren (Click on the "bird call" button on this page to hear what the bird sounds like. I must have quite a few of these as this is a common call that I hear in my backyard.)

The Carolina Chickadee

The Loggerhead Shrike

The Mockingbird (This is the Texas state bird.)

The House Finch

The Downy Woodpecker

Overhead, gliding through the skies, is the buzzard. Also known as the Turkey Vulture.

Of course I have a multitude of sparrows which help to empty my feeders on a regular basis. I also have a few grackles that show up. And then there are the dreaded Brown-headed Cowbirds that are "brood parasites". This means that they don't make a nest of their own, but instead lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. This reproductive habit of the Brown-headed Cowbird is a serious threat to other bird species as it often leads to the death of one or more of the foster parents' brood.

I believe that I have listed all the birds that I have seen in my backyard to date. I am anxiously keeping an eye out for the mysterious Painted Bunting which is usually only fleetingly spotted in the Texas Hill Country.

I'm also considering purchasing some meal worms so that I can hopefully attract some beautiful Eastern Bluebirds. Mom has quite a few at her house, but she lives in a less wooded area of the Hill Country so I don't know if I'll see any here or not. They like open pastures quite a bit. Mom has also has put out quite a few Bluebird houses out on the fence posts as well. If I see one I might put out a house for them.

In the evenings I get about six or more bats that come to my backyard. Since there are 32 different types of bats in Texas, I cannot tell you which kind I have. I would have to probably capture one and look at it up close to be able to identify it. However, since I live fairly close to Longhorn Caverns the chances are that my bat visitors are the Mexican Free-tailed bat which numbers are in the millions in the areas surrounding my home. I have observed their flight in the evenings and have surmised that they are the type of bat that eats insects. So that's what they probably are, the Mexican Free-tailed bat.

My house is near Ink's Lake. Not at the water's edge of course, I can't afford waterfront property! But nonetheless I can see a small part of the lake from my driveway and the water's edge is about 1/2 of a mile from my house. A very nice walk on a beautiful day. My neighborhood also has two "POA's" (point of access) to the lake where I can access the water free of charge.

Large bodies of water attract all sorts of wildlife. There are deer in my neighborhood which means I will need to be selective on the plants I choose for my landscape. So I think the chances of me seeing a large variety of bird species is pretty good. I live almost directly across from Inks Lake State Park albeit it is on the other side of a narrow part of the 800 acre lake. I can see the park's golf course from my driveway. Here is a neat video put out by the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife about Inks Lake State Park.

I am very thankful for the house that I have and consider it to be a wonderful blessing.

Hopefully I will capture some photographs of the critters that visit my backyard. If I do I will most certainly share them with you guys.

Have a wonderful week everyone!


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Black-chinned Hummingbird is the more western cousin of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. This type of hummingbird is generally duller in color than the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and it also has a shorter tail and longer bill then their western cousin the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Females are similar to a number of other female hummingbirds, and the best way to tell them from the Calliope Hummingbird and species in the genus Selasphorus by their lack of rufous on the flanks and in the tail. Anna's Hummingbirds are larger and have grayer chests, while Costa's Hummingbirds differ only in subtleties of facial pattern and tail pattern. Black-chinned Hummingbird females are not safely separable from female Ruby-throateds except in the hand. The best way to distinguish the Black-chinned Hummingbird from all other hummingbird species, except the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, is by their call.

There are also very distinct identifying features for the adult female Black-chinned Hummingbird. Their bill is long, slightly curved and lighter in color than the male Black-chinned Hummingbird's bill. The female Black-chinned Hummingbird has a grayer crown and a less contrasting head then its cousin the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. It is also grayer in overall color then its male counterpart. The female Black-chinned Hummingbird weighs an average of 3.42 grams, which is slightly more than the male.

If you would like other information on a wide variety of subjects about hummingbirds, please visit the address below.


Zoe Ann Hinds

March 24, 2008 9:12 PM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Thanks for dropping by and visiting Zoe Ann!

And for all the additional info!


March 25, 2008 5:45 PM  
Blogger Diane said...


I am looking for input from veterinary practitioners, and those who work in vet hospitals or clinics, about credit card processing.
What are some problems you are facing with your current merchant service provider?
How many checks are you guys accepting in overall method of payments? Any bounced checks?
How soon is the money being deposited into your account?
What is important to you when processing credit cards?

Thank you,


March 28, 2008 10:17 AM  
Blogger The Domesticator said...

Hey TJ,

I am glad to hear you are settled in an enjoying the beautiful nature around you. Those caverns look so cool, too! Are you close to Austin? My cousin lives there with his wife. I hear there is an incredible music scene there as well (that's why he moved there)

March 29, 2008 10:43 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hey Pattie!!

Yes... I am about 1 to 1 1/2 hours from Austin, depending on which side of town you're wanting to go.

Music in Austin? That's an understatement. It is quite amazing what all they have created in the music and film industry in Austin. They just finished having a huge annual music and film festival. It's called South by Southwest aka SXSW. They even have a web page about it all:


It's really good to hear from you. As things settle in I hope to be able to 'visit' more.


March 29, 2008 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whats a good software program to run my new practice?


March 31, 2008 9:40 AM  
Blogger It's me, T.J. said...

Hi Crystal...

There are a lot of veterinary specific programs out there these days. What I think people should look at are the program's capability for expansion as your practice grows. Especially if you want to become a totally paperless practice. For example: If you are wanting to use digital radiographs it would be best to choose a program that will allow you to incorporate those images to the patient's file. Some veterinary software does not have that capability and others only allow attachments. I think the best software is the kind that seamlessly integrates the processing of the images into the existing Pt's file with little to no effort from you.

I hope that this helps.

April 02, 2008 8:59 PM  
Blogger Mimi Lenox said...

You've been royally tagged by Mimi Queen of Memes. Have fun!
Message In a Bottle

April 10, 2008 6:59 PM  

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