Human Effects Destroying Our Estuaries

In Florida one of the most important aspects of the waterside ecosystem is the estuaries that line the bays and waterways of the coast. These estuaries are the breeding grounds of many different species, both in and out of the water, proving ample protection and food sources for its inhabitants. There are many nutrients in the mix of salt and fresh water found here proving the perfect place for life to start. That is why it is also very important for the raptors of the area that rely on the food sources created in these coastal locations. There are many human factors that are contributing to the decline of estuary ecosystems which is putting stress on the food chain and effecting many different animals which can be found in these areas.

Overfishing is a problem as it removes some of the larger predators from the regions allowing for other species to get out of control. Fishing these locations is popular because they are easy to access and abundant with great fish to eat. It is important though that some of these areas become protected from the effects of fishing to leave the current mixture and balance of predators intact.

Pollution is probably one of the greatest contributors to the decline of life found inside of an estuary ecosystem. That is because these areas are generally fed by streams and rivers which tend to carry any pollutants with it and dump it into the body of water. This can include pesticides, fertilizers, waste and other materials that interfere with the composition of the water or provide dangerous threats to the life found there. When all of these chemicals and toxins begin to add up it can actually change the chemistry of the water killing off fish and other species which is a main food source for predatory birds.

There are some ways that you can help prevent global warming and other destructive effects to these environments. In Florida, air conditioning is a way of life for many with the intense heat throughout the summer. This requires an immense amount of electricity to run central units which is powered by dirty plants which create pollution that ends up in estuaries. There are a few tactics that can be employed to reduce this strain on power plants such as using a smaller and more efficient unit only when you need it. In order to do this you should check out portable air conditioner reviews from this website to find one that works best for your situation. This will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but also help decrease your electricity bills every month.

Recycling properly is also another great thing that you can do to prevent pollution from entering the waterways. This is much more than just throwing away plastic bottles in one container, you can recycle almost anything. Instead of simply throwing things away that you don’t want, spend a few extra minutes to sell old equipment that you don’t want anymore. For example, you can sell used cell phones at TechPayout to earn a few extra bucks and prevent these electronics from ending up in a landfill where they will eventually break down and leak toxins into the environment.

Our migratory raptors and other wildlife are depending on us to clean up our act before it is too late. We have done a sufficient amount of harm to the estuaries according to this article.

 

3 Ways To Pass Time While Bird Watching

Bird watching is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and natural beauty of this earth, but sometimes there are stretches of time where you guaranteed won’t be witnessing any activity. During the hottest parts of the day most of the raptors will be taking shelter from the sun on a cool perch. This will make it very hard to spot them in action, and they won’t be very active either while trying to conserve energy. This article can help you plan your day around watching these great birds in their prime. But what are you to do with the rest of your time? Here are some ideas.

Get in some exercise while taking your eyes off of the sky. Most of Florida bird spotting is done on the coast of Florida which is near water and back bays. The intercostal waterway stretches the entire length of Florida providing plenty of calm water for kayaking. This great activity provides a relaxing setting along with a great workout. Being on the water provides relief from the hot sun and is also quite enjoyable. Here are some of the best locations in Florida to get out on the water in a Kayak.

Sometimes it is important to just get out of the sun as too much exposure can be dangerous to your health. Instead of flicking on the TV, you should consider doing something a bit more productive such as playing a video game that stimulates your mind. One of the top rated video games used in many educational instances is Minecraft. Millions of players from all walks of life have been enthused with the game as it allows them to create their own games and incredible worlds. It is also very safe as you can create your own private server through a minecraft server hosting service like apexminecrafthosting.com. After you have all of this set up you can play on your server from anywhere in the world.

The last suggestion that we have for entertaining yourself while on a bird watching trip is camping outside and just enjoying nature. You don’t necessarily have to be trekking with a purpose, it is very simple to find a campground and set up a small camp to relax and enjoy. Here you can do fun activities such as cooking over the campfire and stargazing at night. You can find campgrounds in Florida at this website.

Planning the Perfect Birdwatching Trip with Young Family

Birdwatching is a great activity and gets even better when you can share the experience with your family. Its the perfect way to get outdoors and enjoy each others company while getting some exercise and seeing unique wildlife. While most birdwatchers are typically adults, it can be a great experience for young children as well and makes for a great family excursion. However, there are some differences when watching with a young family in tow. Below is a few tips on how to set up the best trip possible.

The right time – Birdwatching is heavily dependent on the seasons, with the most activity occurring during their annual migration periods, which is different for each species but is particularly heavy in the fall months and again in the spring. To maximize the birds you see try to plan a trip around either one of these times that coincides with kids’ school schedules. There is often a spring break in the school  year that can be used, or in the fall the Thanksgiving break works as well.

Keep Children Engaged – If you have small children the best thing you can do is keep them engaged so they don’t become bored. Sometime in birdwatching the action can be a little slow if there aren’t many birds around. Especially if you promised your children that they’d be able to see plenty of different species, they may become upset if there is nothing to be found. To keep them engaged its a good idea to talk to them about the different birds that live in the wilderness even if you’re not seeing them. Or if you hear bird calls ask them to point out which direction they thought the sound came from. Little things like this will keep them busy in the event that it is a quiet day in the woods.

Bring The Right Supplies – Small children will get cranky if they don’t have access to food they want and start to get hungry. Be sure to pack a big lunch as well as some small snacks that can be eaten while birdwatching. If you have an infant that is dependent on milk there are a couple options. First, you can use a pump beforehand to store some in a bottle that you bring along. Or, you can nurse while outdoors using a nursing bra. Websites like BestNursingBras provide reviews of different bras and showcase how they can help mothers nurse in any situation, even while out in the woods. The key here is to keep children placated so that they’re easy to handle and the whole family can enjoy the trip.

Set Limits On Time – Birdwatching can be a rigorous activity when you think of all the hiking that it involves. It can often take a half hour walk to reach some secluded areas where birds love to hang out. When you have smaller children they not may be up for such long walk without getting tired. If this is the case then the best plan is to set a limit on the time you’ll all agree to go watching. This should be a maximum of a few hours for smaller children. When you hit that points its time to wrap it up and call it a day.

Staying Cool While Birdwatching in the Hot Summer Months

Florida is warm all year round, however, summers are especially hot. Although it doesn’t seem like the best time to go birdwatching in Florida, you can discover a lot of opportunities to spot birds during this time of year. If you wake up just after dawn, you can find plenty of birds out and about in the early morning hours. You might also be concerned about getting a good night’s sleep when temperatures are at their most extreme. If you plan on waking up at the crack of dawn, you’ll need to sleep well throughout the night in order to be up bright and early for your morning nature walk. If you have trouble sleeping in the heat, bamboo sheets from this website will keep you cool and comfortable during those hot summer nights. Birds are a lot more visible and active when the hot sun is not at its peak. It’s a nice way to being your day, and to get some fresh air while protecting your skin from the powerful sun. It’s also a great time of year to visit the beach to catch a nice cool breeze, and to spot shorebirds. Not only will you get to safely work on your tan, and enjoy a nice swim in the ocean, you’ll also find the beaches alive with birds.

Shorebirds are very active in the summer. This is the time of year when they are feeding and raising their nestlings. The best place to locate these birds are in areas where there is enough natural shelter available. You will be able to easily find shorebirds in areas where it’s roped-off. It’s important that you are very careful in these areas — you should always have your binoculars with you. Always keep enough distance between you and their nests. The last thing you want to do is accidentally crush their eggs or nestlings. These birds are a threatened species and require undisturbed areas for their home and nesting sites. Any sign of aggression from birds means you are dangerously close, and you need to back up immediately. This is an area you have to be extra careful in because the nestlings have a tendency to be camouflaged in the sand.

It’s possible to stay cool in the summer and enjoy birdwatching outdoors in Florida. Get a good night’s rest and wake up early with temperature regulating, comfortable, and sustainable bed.

Automated Raptor Tracking For Footage

The day of needing to physically track down birds to get great footage is dwindling as there are some tools that will enable a system to automatically record footage of eagles in action. Some of these systems are completely automated, or can be remotely controlled by the operator from a more comfortable position. There is just some simple setup required after purchasing the right equipment, but the advances in technology recently have made these options much more viable for the average enthusiast.

How To Implement a Surveillance System

There have been a number of HD home security systems that have become available on the market in the last couple of years that are completely wireless and only cost a couple hundred dollars. Now this is of course intended for a home security system, but it also includes the exact features you would need to detect and record movement in a location. These systems have an eye that senses local movement and will adjust the position of the camera to track what is going on. This can then be recorded onto a disk and stored for later use and analysis. This is much better than the traditional systems that would continuously record meaning that you would have to look through hours of boring footage of nothing to try and spot an eagle. These new systems will only record when there is local movement on camera making it much easier to find what you are looking for without filling up countless hard drives with little data. These systems enable you to leave it in position for weeks at a time before having to crunch into the data. With wireless features, systems can be set up that the camera never has to be touched and the digital video will be delivered right into a cloud storage box for analysis. It is possible to find equipment with this functionality by reading home security system reviews at homesecuritysystemreviews.us. Although they will be intended for home usage, it is very easy to adapt the system to use for recording wildlife.

The largest problem with these remotely installed surveillance systems is that there is no source of power available. It is unreasonable to use a battery to try and power the entire system so you will need to think outside of the box for a solution. A generator won’t work due to the noise so the best option is to embrace the energy of nature itself and install a solar panel system. This can be used to power the system throughout the day and turn off at night as you won’t be able to get any good media during the darkness regardless. A small battery bank connected to the system will allow it to function properly even when there is some cloud cover outside as the batteries are continually charged by the solar panels. To find out more about how you can utilize solar energy for outdoor adventures with no source of power you just need a DIY kit.

Best Ways to View Migrating Birds

Each season when the migratory birds make their travels to the south it is the best time to go outside and do some bird watching.  This is a fun activity for any age and is a great way to spend some time outdoors and appreciate the wildlife that shows itself every year.  Many locals are used to this experience and tourists also join in the fun by booking trips that coincide with bird migration season.  Going outside at the right time can reveal huge flocks of birds that take up the whole sky.  Or if you’re sneaky enough you can get a close up view of them in their natural habitat within the marshes.  Anyone looking to get into bird watching should follow our tips on the best ways to view birds.

Camera With Telescopic Lens – You’ll want to document each bird you see with a nice picture, but you’re cell phone camera won’t do.  You’ll need to have a camera with a large zoom lens, one that can magnify the image of the bird when it is hundreds of meters away.  To get a good framing of the bird, telescopic lenses are often equipped with the best red dot sighting scopes that provide a partial magnification for which to line up the camera with.  Without using one of these sites it can be hard to get an initial sighting on the bird though the lens.

Bring Binoculars – The best investment any amateur birdwatcher can make is a pair of high quality binoculars.  Ones with variable magnification and large objective lenses are the best because they will allow for the clearest picture and variety of viewing angles.  The binoculars should also come with end caps that protect the lenses as well as a neck strap to keep it from falling and breaking.  Any pair with a magnification of 25x should be good for viewing birds up to 200 meters away.  At this distance you won’t be disturbing the birds and you can easily watch how they interact with eachother when they don’t realize they have viewers.  Binoculars will allows you to see the fine details on the birds feathers which will help in identifying them.  Often times different species can be classified only by slight differences in bill size, feather color, or feather shape.  You’ll need to have a good view to pick up on these features to get a right classification.  Anytime you are in the woods it is important to bring a self defense weapon in case you run into dangerous wildlife.  Usually something like an AR 15 with optics will provide you the means to defend yourself.

Identification Book – One of the joys of bird watching is keeping record of what species you’re able to see and trying to see them all.  For this to happen you need to know what you’re looking at and the best way to accomplish that is with a bird identification book.  Books like this are much like an encyclopedia that tell all the different information about each bird species.  Information can include geographical data of where the like to fly to at what time of year.  It will also include a detailed description of how each bird looks including size, color, and call.  There are sometimes slight differences between male and female versions of birds and the book will help identify them.  Use the book as a checklist and keep track of which birds you see.  You’ll soon find it addicting to fill out this list as much as possible.

3 Top Strategies For Effective Bird Sighting

Avid bird watchers know that catching a spectacular photograph of a migratory raptor is not a simple task. Due to their remote locations and tendency to avoid any developed areas you will need to chart into some remote territories to be able to find them. Most eagles will stay close to water meaning that you will be faced with the edge of the land where it meets the water which is generally difficult to traverse. Access by water is sometimes an option, but it has to be a good setting which allows you to launch a boat. There are a few other options for chasing migrating birds which might yield good fruit in allowing you to capture a raptor in your sights.

One of the most proven methods of bird watching is from the water that edges the land. It is recommended that you do not use a powered motor which will generate a lot of noise and destroy any chances of birds coming close. The remaining options would be kayaks and boats which are the most effective methods of transportation on the water and excel in different situations. A kayak is good if you are in southern Florida’s back bays that do not get rough and are protected by mangroves. The last thing you want to do is get stuck in a storm and have your craft capsize. If you are in an area that has a bit more open water such as a large bay or along the coastline you should consider a seaworthy rowboat. These can be much faster and do well in rough waters as this is what they are built for. You can see an example of a perfect row boat for sale at www.rownorwood.com who builds affordable boats by hand. Combining one of these crafts with your prowess for finding perfect locations will give you the flexibility to wander wherever you deem is best without worry. You can even fit two people on these boats which makes them fast and efficient.

Another opportunity for bird watching is from some of the remote state parks that have cut trails. There are many places that are full of birds but they are swampy areas that are loaded with dangerous predators such as snakes and alligators. Most of the state parks have cleared paths through dry land which tend to be much safer for travel by foot. If you don’t want to take to the water than seek out the advice and trails of a local state park ranger who will have all of the insider information you need. You can find state parks at www.floridastateparks.org. Some even feature bird watching trails that can hide eagles and other raptors.

The last opportunity for finding birds of prey and being able to watch them in action is to find a perfect spot and set up camp. Whether this is out on a comfortable boat or an open air camp, you can witness spectacular sights in this fashion. The birds will not be alarmed by your presence, it is only the movement and sounds that might frighten them away so by staying stationary they mind just come to you.

Bird Lovers Experience Christmas in April

For avid watchers of birds or for the true few who are simply curious about these beautiful creatures, the month of April in the Southern region of Florida can be quite the magical experience, because Spring is the season of the year where almost any type of species with a beak and wings can make a seasonal appearance. The joy in this experience is that it is relatively unpredictable, so birdwatchers are left surprised almost every year. In many ways it is like Christmas for bird watchers, and it is only a matter of time before the season of Spring reveals what surprise species will be visiting the residents of South Florida.

The influx of numerous winged creatures is primarily due to migration, a cycle that occurs twice a year for certain animals who relocate across the globe, typically seeking a lofty supply of food. This past Fall, a huge number of North American birds right up in the hundred thousands, journeyed from the northern portion of this continent all the way down to the South American and Caribbean. There was a beautiful series of images captured this last fall by a renewable energy company who could not help but notice an influx of various kinds of birds who transformed a maryland solar panels field into their own personal space to rest and relax before they made the long journey to the South. At first the company was alarmed that the birds may damage the hardware, but fortunately they had built such durable material and substantial renewable energy devices that the solar panels were level virtually unharmed.

Most of all these lovely creatures made a brief stop in Florida, which doubles as a resting space and a place to launch off. This is largely due to the fact that the birds will be traveling hundreds of miles, across large bodies of water with no land in site, to make it down to this portion of the planet. Florida is a resting and fueling ground for most species of bird migrating from the New England area of the United States all the way down to the island lands that neighbor our country. The distance between the state of Florida and our neighboring islands is anywhere from 100 miles to 500 miles, depending on which direction you travel. It is a life or death journey for a bird, so it is imperative they are well-fed, rested and fueled for the lengthy migratory trip.

The reason why April is so intriguing to bird lovers and enthusiasts is because it is the one month where birds typically reverse their normal route. Birds appear to deem it as a safe first landing after departing from countries like Cuba or the Bahamas. Spring migration in general tends to be a lot more exciting and more interesting to observe than other migratory seasons. Some bird enthusiasts jokingly state it is due to their vacation near the equator. Which can be compared to an old timer from up North’s seasonal winter escape to Florida. They tend to return to their home grounds looking fresh and rejuvenated, both the birds and the old timers. Spring can be defined as more alive for numerous reasons, but many believe its the variation and unpredictably of which species will make an appearance.

If you would like a visual understanding of just how many species make their way to the Southeast United States, take a look at the radar for the weather in the month of April. There is such a high concentration of migrating birds, it is visible on the radar in the shape of a cloud. You are capable of witnessing it throughout April and early May. You will even notice when they land and spread out once they reach South Florida. The weather dictates when and where the birds will choose to land, and often times, there are specific regions in which they decide to congregate. These areas are called migrant traps, though the name does not accurately illustrate the congregation, because these are simply natural places with native plants. The more well-known traps can be found in the Keys, and in Miami. The most random and interesting species make their way to these areas, and any birdwatcher will tell you it is something to look forward too. William from Petruzzo Photography is a professional wedding photographer but bird watching enthusiast who tries to make the pilgrimage to the South each year to capture this migration with his camera. When you hear a new kind of bird is in the area, it may not be the coolest animal to encounter but the exciting aspect of finding a new bird is that you never know what other species of birds will be right around it. Once again, April is a lot like Christmas morning every day for bird lovers.

Building designs that protect birds from collisions

Collision with glass is one of the biggest known causes of death in birds in the United States, claiming hundreds of millions or more lives each year, more than cat predation, hunting and pesticide exposure combined. Glass is a hazard because they see through it (the same way we run into glass doors) or they see reflected in the glass either the skyline, clouds or trees and they are unable to discern between reflection and the real thing.
There are many effective solutions at hand to either implement when constructing a building or to implement and make modifications to existing buildings. If you believe that your building may be a hazard to birds, be sure to find out what permits you need before making any changes to your windows or check with a building permit expediter to do it for you.
With existing buildings, the most cost effective solution to protect birds, excellent for apartments and individually owned homes, is to install screens or nets outside windows – it’s nearly invisible to us, it serves the purpose of keeping birds safe if installed a few inches from the glass and it keeps bugs out. Non-reflective window film, the type buses use for window advertising, can also be of great help as it’s inexpensive and it helps make it easy for birds to see that it’s a solid surface. Shutters, light shelves, blinds and (decorative) window film on the glass will serve the same purpose without causing any inconveniences to the people inside the buildings.
Another excellent solution would be UV-reflective and/or absorbing patterns on glass – this type of pattern is bird-friendly because the birds can see it, but we can’t. The problem with this pattern is that it’s not yet commercially available, but ornithologists have been hoping for its development for years because it would end all problems.
Eliminating mirrored glass, the type of glass causing the most collisions, would definitely help, but even mirrored glass can be used to help birds as it can be visually broken up, tilted to reflect the ground or small and tight decorative details could be applied to the glass to indicate that it’s a solid surface.
When it comes to constructing a new building while keeping in mind the safety of the birds, it’s good to know that architects can design decorative facades that wrap entire buildings, reducing collisions and giving the building an attractive look. Architects around the world have created striking buildings that incorporate little or no exposed glass or use architectural details to partially obstruct windows – these buildings look great, provide shade in hot climates and are also bird-friendly. Such imaginative building designs can look stunning while also serving to protect birds from collisions.
Balustrades and balconies are also an option as they act like facades while awnings and overhangs could prove somewhat useful by preventing flying birds from seeing the glass windows. Using frosted glass, opaque, stained or etched glass or applying ceramic patterns on the glass will reduce or eliminate collisions and they also look stunning, giving a modern appearance to any building.
When planning your building, make sure that your design and the windows are bird-friendly and either implement a cost-effective solution or integrate an attractive and effective design. Planning from the start with the help of an architect would be ideal, as it would be to check with a building permit expediter about the permits and documents your solution requires to make the process run smoothly. Making your building bird-friendly can be extremely cheap while protecting the birds or you could also plan an imaginative building design that will be eye-catching while keeping the birds safe.

How Ecologists Monitor Bird Migration

As the seasons change and weather patterns shift towards colder temperatures birds make the long trip from northern states to southern ones. They do this because the availability of food becomes scarce due to cold and snow but will return when it gets warmer in the spring. This yearly endeavor can often be observed when you see large flocks of birds flying south in the fall months.

Migration often involves hundreds of thousands of birds, which can have a huge ecological impact on the areas they are flying towards and leaving. It is because of this that ecologists, environmental scientists, and conservationists have particular interest in studying bird migration. Through monitoring the birds they hope to gather the information that will help them in their research. Their interests in the birds may be to study their biology, finding flight patterns, and monitoring the health of the birds.

In all of these cases researchers need a way to get close to the birds without disturbing them. In the past they have had to view them from a far distance in order for them not to fly away. But recently camera equipped drones are being used to gather the intelligence that is so desired.

The drones are quadcopters and made up of four motors with blades and a central flight control system.

Sensors within the control system keep the drone balanced in air and the pilot can control its movement using a radio transmitter. Drones can gain or lose altitude, spin, or track in any direction. Since it is able to stay level it can hover in place for long periods of time, providing wide area coverage while airborne. By putting a camera on the underbelly of the drone it is able to capture video footage and give people a ‘birds-eye-view’ of the surrounding area. The drones flight time is usually around 15-20 minutes, long enough to collect the necessary footage.
Scientists are buying consumer grade drones that are available for anyone to purchase and using them for their research. They are able to pilot the drones over the bird’s nesting areas to record footage of the large flocks. Later when the drone lands they analyze the video and count the number of individual birds to get an idea of how big the flock is.

For any aspiring bird researchers out there who want to get their hands on their own personal drone then a great resource to check out is this website of drones for sale where a whole directory of quadcopters are reviewed and available for purchase.

Drones are perfect for this type of research because they can access remote areas which people can not reach on foot. They also leave the land undisturbed like would happen if a group of researchers had to trek over it. The drones can fly at altitudes that the birds don’t even notice so it is the most noninvasive to watch them. The cost of the drone is minimal, usually a few hundred dollars. The increased monitoring ability of a drone makes it worth that price.