Tag Archives: i and the bird

Skywatch at the pumpkin farm

30 Oct

Pumpkins 2008

Along the coast
Fog hugs the shore in a wet blanket
Everything grows in the rich soil
Moistened by the air, cool but not too cool
And pelicans fly over the artichoke fields

©2008, Liza Lee Miller

Extreme Close-Up
(Extreme close-up)

For more skies, foggy or otherwise, visit Sky Watch.

After visiting some skies, make sure you stop by I and the Bird #87.
Birds and skies go hand-in-hand, don’t you think?


I and the Bird #78 – Summertime Birding Adventures

25 Jun


Summer time and the living is easy — for teachers.  We teachers just spend the summer kicking back, eating bonbons, and getting pedicures.  So, of course, I volunteered to host I and the Bird in the summertime.  Sure, I’m busy with sipping my ice cold iced tea by the cabana but I figured I could squeeze it in between reading that great summertime novel and supervising the pool boy.

And now, back to reality.  Sure it’s summer and I’m not working but my two kids need a chauffeur, my husband expects to be fed regularly, my house is a disaster area, I’ve got to plan for next year’s batch of kids, kitchen/dining room remodel isn’t finished, the backyard landscaping has been designated for me to manage, and did I mention my house is a disaster?  I know:  whine, whine, whine.

Yes, I do have the summer off and yes, I am enjoying it to the fullest.  Still, I’m not above taking a shortcut here or there.  So, when I learned about Wordle, I was ecstatic.  This is great, I thought, now I don’t have to be clever and come up with a witty theme for I and the Bird #78.  I can kick back, relax, and let  Wordle to the work for me.  (Maybe I can squeeze in a pedicure, after all!)

So,  Wordle works like this:  you take some text (like, say a whole bunch of posts about birds submitted to the world’s favorite birding carnival!) and you tell  Wordle to make it pretty.  And, it does.  You can fiddle with the fonts and colors until you are happy with it and bob’s your uncle (or something like that!).   Wordle is a free service and comes with no strings (that I’ve been able to see!).  You can take your  Wordle results and use them as you will — make t-shirts, make postcards and send them to all your friends and relatives, needlepoint a pillow for your Aunt Clementine, sell them on street corners, or whatever.  That’s pretty cool.  They’ll even let you use them to illustrate a Blog Carnival!  🙂  Oh, and rest assured I have absolutely no affiliation whatsoever with Wordle except that I think it’s pretty cool and I read the FAQ which is how I know all that stuff.

But, without words, Wordle art is a picture of a polar bear looking the other way in a snow storm (as my unartistic 5th graders used to say to me while staring at a blank piece of paper).  So, I am extremely grateful to the contributors to this edition of I and the Bird. You’ve seen their words as art — now go read their posts — see if you can figure out who contributed which words.

IATB #78’s Hard-working Contributors:


Can you believe the third anniversary of I and the Bird is here already? Three years of the best bird blogging on the planet deserves something special so instead of talking about birds (boring!) let’s talk about ourselves! For the first anniversary, Mike asked everyone to write about why they bird, blog, and/or blog about birds. For the second anniversary, he urged everyone to summarize why their blogs were must-read material. After all this time, Mike has another question, one that he hopes the hundreds of contributors we’ve had over the years will consider and confront: Why are you still bird blogging? Don’t take this question the wrong way! We want to know what wonderful experiences/insights/interactions bird blogging has rendered unto you over your weeks, months, or years of micropublishing.

What makes this anniversary edition of IATB even more exciting is that it’s being hosted by Charlie Moores, the second-ever host of our favorite blog carnival and someone who helped shape this collaboration from the very beginning.  So write a post on your blog tackling this pointed question by Tuesday, July 5 and send your link to Mike (mike AT 10000birds DOT com) or Charlie (charlie10000birds AT googlemail DOT com) for the July 7 edition.

Meet Tom!

22 Mar

Peeping Tom

Meet Tom — Peeping Tom. Tom is a raven who visits my classroom everyday. He walks on a roof and looks in the window to the classroom. He kronks up there loudly. Walking back and forth in front of my window, kroking. The window is up high in my classroom which is why it’s hard for us to see Tom well.

Peeping Tom

Tom is looking at me here with particular intent because he knows that I totally beat him this time. I have been trying for weeks to get a picture of Tom to share with you all. Even though I’m in the classroom on the other side of the room, he is gone the minute I pull out my camera. Rotten bird! 🙂 But I got him this time and he knows it.

Peeping Tom

Can’t you just hear him thinking, “Drat that woman and her camera!” Tom shows up during Math almost everyday. The kids totally lose focus and point and talk about him (They call him “Peanut Butter” which is just silly — his name is clearly Tom! Sigh!). Their easy slip into distraction is completely my fault — I shared my enthusiasm for Ravens with them and they found that more compelling than my enthusiasm for adding and subtracting like and unlike fractions. I had to tell them that if Tom is too big a distraction that the blinds will have to close during math. It is pretty cool to watch them see him up there, want to point and shout out about it, struggle to stay calm and at least partially focused on their work while still sneaking peeks up to Tom. They are such great kids!

These ravens at school are wonderful. I do worry a little bit though — they are so smart and Tom is watching through the window during Math — what if he’s picking up how to add and subtract like and unlike fractions? Are we really ready for a population of educated Ravens? The mind boggles.


And, while you are recovering from boggled mind, head on over to I and the Bird #71 – The Quotable I and the Bird. Clare of The House and other Arctic Musings did a fantastic job. Lots of good weekend reading — enjoy!

At it again . . .

9 Feb

Our friends at 10,000 Birds are at it again. In order to promote the very fun, Great Backyard Bird Count, they are hosting a contest with another fabulous prize.

The Great Backyard Bird Count is a fun citizen science effort where you count the birds you see in your own backyard and report them in where they are compiled along with results from all over the place. It is really exciting. I’ve done it myself and done it at school with my students. Really fun! (Don’t miss the GBBC blog!  New this year, the blog lets Rob and Laura keep us up-to-date on all the haps behind the scenes at the GBBC!)

The prize over at 10,000 Birds looks wonderful (of course!). It’s a new Audobon book on Backyard Birdwatching. It’s put out by DK who generally produce wonderful books with great imagery. I have already added it to my Amazon Wishlist!

So, huge thanks to Mike, Charlie, and Corey for their continued efforts at supporting the bird community and their fantastic generosity in offering wonderful, coveted prizes! 🙂

Oh, and one more thing . . . what do you have to do to enter this contest? Simply nominate your favorite backyard bird by visiting their contest page and commenting on what your favorite bird is. The bird with the most votes will be named Backyard Bird of 2008. An honor that the birds are already vying for. Can’t you just see some cute cardinal with the tiara posed delicately on her head? Or a sparrow holding the huge bouquet of roses?

As for me, I am nominating the Chickadee as my favorite backyard bird. Chickdees come in many flavors all around the country but they are all uniformly cute, cheerful, and brazen. My flavor of Chickadee is the Chestnut-backed Chickadee. They are my morning burst of happiness at my kitchen window feeder. So, come on, Chickadee fans, let’s get the vote out. We need to do it . . . for the birds! (Besides, Ravens don’t actually come into my backyard! 🙂 )

Chickadee in the rain

Oh, and while you’re at it, don’t miss the latest version of i and the bird! Sure we’re down in the dumps with wintery misery but you know what they say . . . misery loves company and sometimes it just helps to know you aren’t alone.