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Archive for the ‘fauna’ Category

This bird house is sized to attract, in my Midwestern American region at least, House Finches, Sparrows, and Chickadees.

91lrHPub0rL._SL1500_It’s made of a lightweight wood, as befits the modest price point. The front panel swings out at the bottom in order to give access for cleaning out the abandoned nest after the chicks have fledged. There are two holes for attaching the house to a post. One, at the top center of the rear panel, can be seen in the product photography. The other is in the center of the rear panel and can be accessed with a screwdriver when the front panel has been swung into its open position. (more…)

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After a positive experience and subsequent review of a different Gardirect insect hotel, the good folks at Gardirect contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to review a second product. With this full disclosure, I launch upon this review of the most recently arrived product.

I’m impressed. (more…)

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Our Midwest backyard is full of birds, bees, squirrels, and others of God’s great creatures, but we always want for more. I first saw this concept at an Amish store in upstate Indiana and—shortly after returning home to Indianapolis—sprang for the NiteangeL product.

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It’s so beautiful—I note more than one reviewer calling it ‘cute’—that my enterprising wife has coopted it for decorative purposes. It’s now cradled in a flower-filled space that used to be a bird bath (also coopted …), so I don’t know that we’ll get all the residents that can be expected to come to it when properly hung. Apropos to one reviewer’s note that there’s no nail or hook, mine does have an insert in the back from which the Insect Home can be hung from a nail.

The workmanship strikes me as everything that was promised. Given the creative purpose that our NiteangeL is now serving, I’m contemplating buying a second one for the bugs. So far, a satisfied customer.

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When our standard single-cake suet feeder mysteriously disappeared from our backyard (the crime remains unsolved), I took a chance on this nice roofed double-cake suet feeder. The results have been good.

41RY-gXSMiL._SL500_SS80_.jpgIt took our birds (house finches, various species of woodpeckers, chickadees, nuthatches, cardinals) a while to figure out how to maneuver their way into the right stance for getting at the suet, probably because the roof and its overhang briefly confused them. But then it was open season. The advantage of stocking the feeder with two suet cakes seems to be in reducing the need to re-stock to roughly half as frequent a job as it was before. That is, having two rather than one suet cake doesn’t seem to attract more birds; it just means that roughly the same number of birds have more supply to work on, so it lasts longer.

The quality and workmanship are very good.

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As an avid birder and a bit of a skeptic about most marketing, I confess that I’m not sure that birds care that much which brand of suet they’re fed. We live in Indianapolis and have used many kinds of suet. The birds have not turned up their beaks at any one of them.
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So I typically order on price, taking into account that Amazon Prime membership eliminates the shipping cost.Heath Outdoor Products has been a hit with three kinds of woodpeckers, countless chickadees, nuthatches, tufted titmice, and a motley assortment of other birds.

Plus, its economical. We and our birds are satisfied customers and will continue to order this product at this price point.

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The thing with introducing a new dog to the pack is, you just don’t know what you’re going to get.

When the dog being introduced is a little black fur ball of uncertain origins and the anxiously awaiting family members are big Rhodesian Ridgebacks, one of whom has had his eyes surgically removed, you really don’t know what you’ll get. (more…)

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When I first met Rhea, I was lying on indoor-outdoor carpet under a table at the Lucky Dog Retreat, trying to coax the scared little girl and her puppy sister Asa to have something—anything!—to do with me.

Thing were not going well.

Robin, the proprietor of Lucky Dog Retreat, accompanies Indianapolis’ animal control officers into what are gingerly described as ‘bad situations’ in an effort to keep some of our city’s hapless animals from being destroyed. A dark look came across Robin’s face as I asked her about Rhea’s and Asa’s origins. ‘There were too many human beings and too many dogs in that apartment’, she responded, clearly not wanting to go any deeper into her description. Rhea and Asa, alone among a tribe of dogs, were to be saved. Their fear of this big stranger lying on the floor suddenly sounded entirely reasonable, at least as far as Puppy Logic goes.

Rhea was improbable from the start, one of just two survivors out of ‘too many dogs’.

Rhea’s tough beginnings—she was clearly not treated well in her first, chaotic home—haunt her still.

My fiancée was half a country away. I described Rhea on the phone, the scared little monster with wan hope of a future. It was impossible to make Rhea sound like the Ideal Dog. Nothing about this waif’s life has ever come close to ideal. Karen was not absolutely opposed to adding a dog with a past to our collection of two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in the new life we would soon share. If we went through with this, Rhea would join a sister who had been the runt of her own boiling, brown tribe back in Costa Rica and a blind and badly abused brother Ridgeback from northern Indiana. Yet Karen’s assent could not be described as enthusiastic.

I was to marry an adventurous bride amid a pack of rejected dogs.

After a few more visits to Lucky Dog, Rhea came home. Improbably. We would live to regret our decision. And then, eventually, to celebrate it. And her.

 

 

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