Today I got to see our first pair of House Finches at the feeder. I always celebrate each new birds’ arrival with a few extra sunflower seeds, a couple of raisins, and a mealworm or two, just in case the new birds don’t get their favorite from the tall feeder right away. According to AllAboutBirds.com (from Cornell Labs) the House Finch is a relatively new bird here in the East. I had gotten used to seeing them back home in Arizona, and so was surprised to read that!
As you can see from these photos, the male has a pretty reddish or purplish head and breast. Both birds sing, and it’s a long, “twittering” song, but mostly what I notice is the noise from the groups that will perch in our trees and “bomb” the feeder in bursts, sometimes scaring off the smaller Chickadees, Nuthatches and Titmice.
Purple Finches appear to prefer the black oil sunflower seed the best, and I can see them tossing out the safflower and smaller millet seeds as they work their way through the offerings I have out for them.
Apparently, some enterprising business person tried to sell House Finches as a cage bird (“Hollywood finches”), but when that experiment failed, they were turned loose on Long Island to fend for themselves. They successfully made the transition from a Western bird to the East, and have colonized across the eastern US and Canada since that release in the 1940’s.
The male House Finches’ color is dependent on its diet! Whatever he eats while he’s molting has a direct effect on how red he is, and females prefer to mate with the brightest red males they can find. This makes sense in that the better fed the male, the better chance he’ll be healthy and able to help feed babies.
Another way that House Finches are different is that instead of defending a territory, the male bird defends his mate. Like many birds, he helps by bringing nesting material to the female, but she’s the one who does the actual building. House Finches have been seen nesting in hanging plants and old woodpecker holes, and when she’s got it just right, she’ll lay two to six eggs that are bluish with a bit of small speckling. She’ll incubate the eggs for 12 to 14 days, and baby birds fledge anywhere between 11 and 19 days later.
Baby House Finches are exclusive vegetarians! Parents don’t feed their young any insects at all, which is pretty rare. The parents must have to work extra hard to find enough protein to keep those babies growing. The male bird will continue to feed the young for a while after they’ve left the nest, but the hen will often find a new mate and start another family while the rooster takes care of the first clutch.
Purple Finches have a lot more red on the males, and the females’ belly stripes are more clearly defined. They’re a common winter bird here in Kentucky, but are often confused with the House Finch.. I know I’ve seen a few that I wasn’t sure which species it was!
Purple finches are the losers in the colonization game. They appear to be losing territory to the introduced House Finch here in the East, and seem to be less assertive at the feeder and in other “birdy” interactions.
An interesting fact about Purple Finches is that they add sounds of other birds to their warblings. Some of the birds they’ve been recorded as imitating are American Goldfinches, Barn Swallows, and Eastern Towhees.
Purple Finches like to forage in open forests or scrubby cover, sometimes on the ground. Their favorites are sunflower seed, millet and thistle seeds. They’ll nest in a tree fork or on a horizontal branch, or possibly on a small ledge under your porch roof!
Male Purple Finches have a lovely little courtship “dance”, where he raises his tail, puffs out his chest, and droops his wings. Then he will vibrate his wings so that he lifts into the air just a bit! He may sing a song to the hen as he dances, and he may also hold nest material in his bill during his performance.
Purple Finches migrate during the day, unlike many songbirds. They will travel in a flock, and they tend to move sporadically during spring and fall.
These finches like to eat tree buds, berries and small fruits in the spring and fall, and in the summer they’ll take beetles and caterpillars. Seeds are the mainstay of their diets through the winter months, and if you want to attract them, plant a few Ash or Elm trees, along with a big block of Sunflower and Safflower. You’ll be rewarded with crowds of these and other small birds through the summer, fall and winter!
Happy Birding, and as always, feel free to drop me a line at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com if you have questions, corrections, or comments! I LOVE to hear from you 😉
You’ve seen that crazy video of the tiny infant with a baby Sloth and you just HAVE to get one? Well, dear reader, perhaps you want more info first…!
SO, there’s a BUNCH of stuff about Sloths that you’d need to know BEFORE you brought one into your home. For instance, did you know that Sloths only poo once a week, and that when they do, it’s a pile that amounts to about a third of their body weight? (Ewwww!!!)
And, despite that lovely video, you might want to know that Sloths don’t really like being held and cuddled after they’re about a year old. So don’t expect that cute “huggy” stage to last very long!
Most of the Sloth species are at least classed as “endangered”, which means that there are already not enough of them in the wild. Even more distressing is the fact that most of the baby Sloths that are made into pets have seen their moms shot and killed, so that baby is about the right age to be “cuddly” for some amount of time.
And, even worse is the fact that people who are unknowing or unthinking enough to buy a wild animal for a “pet” have no idea what to feed them, how to take care of them, or how long they live.
These facts add up to Sloths in rescue centers, very likely never able to survive in the wild and never being able to reproduce and have their own babies.
The Tropical rain forests where Sloths live are slowly being cut down to make room for cocoa plantations, cattle grazing operations, and cultivation. Sloths can’t live in those areas anymore, and most species are slowly dropping in numbers.
Sloths sleep for ten to twenty hours every day. They have a really difficult time regulating their body temperature, so have to move into and out of the shade to stay comfortable.
A Sloth will generally only leave its protective canopy spot once a week to go poo in its particular potty spot. It’s very vulnerable then, to jaguars and other predators, and the only other reasons it will come down and go walkabout is to find a mate or because it has run out of food in that area.
Orphaned baby Sloths take a lot of care and holding to grow up properly! Moms hold their babies for around six months, and the babies usually stay close to their Mom’s range, continuing to communicate with her for a year or more.
Oh, and that cute smile? It’s actually just the way their mouth is shaped! They look like that even when they’re upset or uncomfortable.
Want to learn more about the six different species of Sloths? Still fascinated? Purchase “My Sloth Journal” at https://amzn.to/2TxaHOA, and spend the next couple of months with facts, trivia, and a few quotes to help you be more mindful of the countless ways that Nature has found to increase life on this, our amazing planet!
As always, feel free to shoot me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with questions, corrections, or just to chat!
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The short answer to that question is: A Coatimundi is a long-nosed raccoon. But, if that’s not enough for you, here’s a bit more on the subject;)
Coatimundis are an interesting exotic pet, and a really intelligent animal. Here’s a photo…
As you can guess from this photo, Coatis are flexible, a little cat-like, and very entertaining. Zoo keepers describe them as escape artists, and with their clever little hands (a lot like a raccoons’), that shouldn’t be a surprise.
Coatimundis are native to the southwestern US, Mexico, and all the way down into Central and South America. There are several different species, but they all have that long narrow snout and a long fluffy tail. Some species live almost entirely in trees, but most are comfortable either there or on the ground.
They eat fruit, insects,small mammals and reptiles, poking their long nose under rocks, and digging with their long claws. Females and young generally travel in bands of 10 to 30 individuals, while males are solitary.
Some Coatis are nocturnal, but others forage during daylight. Bands traveling in tall grass keep track of each other with clicks, grunts, barks and even whistles.
As a pet, a coatimundi will definitely keep you on your toes! They’re extremely curious and very high energy, so they need a lot of early socialization and daily attention. They’re not a pet for the faint-hearted or timid person, as they can and may bite if irritated!
If properly socialized and kept active and engaged, though, a coati can be a treasured part of your family for many years. Coatis have been known to live to 16 years old in captivity, so they really take some planning and commitment.
Many people who have kept coatis in their families describe them as “like having a perpetual three-year-old”, so if you’re not ready to coati-proof your home, it’d be best just to visit some at the zoo!
If you do decide that a Coati is that perfect companion animal for you, do find a reputable breeder who will give you all the information you need to keep YOUR Coatimundi healthy, happy and lively for many years to come!
As always, feel free to drop me a line at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with any questions, corrections or concerns. I LOVE to hear from my readers!
If you’re interested in learning more about Coatis, purchase “My Coatimundi Journal”, available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2E71VOF
for more facts, trivia, and quotes to get you thinking about how amazing this planet and all its life really is!
Thanks for reading and God Bless!
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Do Seahorses make you scratch your head and go “Hmmm…”? Seahorses are fascinating creatures that have captured human imagination for thousands of years. Maybe because of their distinctive shape, slow moving style, the fact that the male carries the eggs and “gives birth”, or maybe it’s that tail or their camouflage?
Whatever your reason, it’s a good one! And if you’re thinking how cool it would be to have a few in an aquarium in your home or office, here’s a few things to remember:
Seahorses are NOT a beginner’s fish! They do need a “cycled” saltwater tank with a filter, protein skimmer, lots of anchor points for them to hang onto, and appropriate sized food.
They can be kept in a smaller tank, though, if you’re only keeping a few. It depends on what size Seahorse you’re wanting, as well. The Pygmy Seahorses are smaller but are more hardy and a bit easier to keep alive, and you could keep a larger group in the same size tank as a couple of the larger species.
Please do your research first! Your Seahorse tank will be a touch of serenity in your space, but only if they’re healthy. You’ll have to feed them two or three times every day, and the water temperature needs to be between 74 and 76 degrees. You need to set up a shrimp hatchery so that you can feed them live shrimp, as well as feeding dried or frozen Mysis shrimp.
You’ll also want to remember that Seahorses don’t do well with other types of fish, and can be hurt by a fast-moving tank-mate.
Get your Seahorses from someone who has raised them or knows where they were raised! Captive-born Seahorses are healthier and will live longer.
Don’t expect a lot of flashy movement from your Seahorses! They like to grab a seaweed frond or coral branch and wait for food to come to them!
If you still want to get Seahorses after you’ve done your research, go for it!
They’ll make a lovely addition to your home or office, and there are few things more attention-getting than a well maintained Seahorse tank!
Also, please consider purchasing “My Seahorse Journal” (at https://amzn.to/2T8bHII ) to help you in your horsey journey! Feel free to contact me at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with questions – while I may not know the answers, I can sure find them;)
As always, thanks for reading and God Bless!
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I think I fell in love with horses the first time I saw one, because I can’t remember not loving them. I adored everything about them, the flowing mane and tail, those lovely expressive eyes, those muscles! And Drafts seemed to me to be even more than a regular horse, so much more.
Even draft ponies like these Haflingers get my attention! Something about the power inside that warm, furry body, the intelligence in the eyes, just speaks to my heart.
We got our own draft cross several years ago, and she’s amazing. Our Belgian, Tess, is so darned smart and funny that it seems crazy sometimes.
When we got her she was barely trained to ride, and despite the stereotypes of Drafts being sedate, she was an adventure! The first time I rode her she tried to buck me off (although I do have to say that she didn’t try very hard), then set off at a dead run. Whew!
Draft horses (and ponies) have a long history with humans, and although they are hardly seen in the mainstream media, they have some very devoted followers. Here’s five facts about Drafts you may not know:
There you have it, 5 things you probably didn’t know about Draft Horses.
If you’d like to learn more about these gentle giants, I invite you to purchase “My Draft Horse Journal” on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2Evzf0u for people who love Drafts, want to learn about them, and practice mindfulness and gratitude all at the same time.
Thanks for reading, and have a FABULOUS day!
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Owls are fascinating if only because they are so quiet in flight. I have been “overflown” only once, but I distinctly remember the feeling of my hair lifting and the breath of air that brushed my cheek as I realized an enormous Great Horned Owl had just gone past!
If you’ve ever seen the talons on one of these guys close up, you can only have respect for these fierce but silent predators. Those Great Horned talons are nearly as long as my fingers, and razor sharp!
At home in Arizona, we started having problems with something killing our chickens. They were roosters, in a big cage on the ground, where they’d be safe from skunks (which we had a lot of) or raccoons. We had an acre that was fenced with 6 foot chainlink, so I never worried about the coyotes.
Anyway, these roosters were pretty happy in their cage, they got moved every day to eat grass and had a roof to keep from getting hot and provide some shelter if it should rain. And the cage was made out of one-inch chicken wire, so we figured they’d be fine.
But one morning I went to feed before going to work and two of my roos were dead. They’d had their heads ripped right off! Ewww!!!!! Their poor bodies were just lying there, and the rest of the roos were terrified.
We immediately thought “skunk or raccoon” and so that night my hubby set the live-trap up on top of the cage. We double-checked the live-trap to make sure it was ready to go, and went to bed, expecting to have to carry some furry miscreant creature off to the release site (20 miles away) the next day.
Imagine our surprise in the morning when we found, not a skunk (thankfully), not a raccoon, but a nearly full-grown Great Horned Owl in that live-trap! Now, I have to say, that Owl was determined, because he didn’t have room to turn around once he got in that trap.
And those eyes! His (or her) eyes were as big around and just as bright as a new copper penny! I could have held his head in two hands (If I wanted to lose some flesh in the process) it was so big. That wicked beak! And remember those talons, too!
We could tell that it was not mature just by the fact that it had gotten crazy enough to climb into the trap, and were really relieved that it wasn’t hurt. When hubby released it, he said it was just incredible to see that nearly six-foot wingspan unfold out of that 8X8 inch trap!
I remember one researcher that I worked with many years ago telling me a story about an owl that didn’t like him – he was playing a recording of an owl call to find a particular species, and one night he finally called one in. The last time he played the call that night was just before the owl flew up behind him and bonked him on the head with its balled up talons. He said it felt like getting hit with a ball bat!
So, remember tonight to listen for the owls, whether huge, majestic Great Horned Owls or itty bitty Burrowing Owls. They’re all amazing!
I have to say that I never realized how fun a “simple fish” can be as a pet until I met my Aunt Lorraine’s Betta, “Mr. Fish”.
I started feeding Mr Fish in the evening after work for her, and he quickly figured out what was going on! Within two weeks, he’d come up to the surface of the water under my hand to get his food, and a week after that he started jumping for it!
My hubby was still working out of town at the time, and I was hanging with Auntie to keep her company while we sold our property down the road.
Mr. Fish learned really fast that if he jumped out of the water at my hand, that I’d let the food drop, so it became a twice a day ritual. I’d call his name, touch the side of the tank, and here he’d come, rocketing out of his hiding place, ready to roll!
I remember telling Jim on the phone about it one day because his reaction was complete disbelief! He actually thought I was making it up! I told him “Fine, but I’ll show you when you get home for the weekend…”
Boy was he surprised t how high Mr Fish was able to jump to get a bite of food, and how funny the look on his face was!
Fast forward about 15 years, and our son asked if we couldn’t get some fish….
Okay, I told him, but just a couple of guppies or… “This one! I want this one! Look Mom, he’s red, white and blue!” And so, Rico came home with us. Rico was your average WalMart Betta, small, very hungry and VERY shy.
And, so it took a little longer for Rico to figure out that when I said his name, and touched the side of the aquarium, that meant food was on the way. But, figure it out he has!
Last week I had Tyler feed Rico, and he actually followed instructions…He said Rico’s name, he touched the side of the tank, and then he put his hand down over the water.
Then he jumped and hollered! “Mom, he touched my finger! He jumped out of the water to grab his food!”
And so he had. Rico may be “just a fish”, but he’s a special Betta to us. He’s helped show our son how special every life is, and how much we still have to learn about animal intelligence and behavior.
Betta fish are easy to care for and can teach you and your kids a lot! Give a Betta fish a great home, and they’ll repay you with their beauty, elegance and relaxing ways for years to come. What better investment for just a few dollars and a bit of your time?
Want to learn more before you jump in the water? Not sure your kids are ready for a pet?
Available on Amazon: My Betta Fish Journal https://amzn.to/2QZy7H4
As always, feel free to drop me a line at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com if you have any questions or comments!
You know cats are kind of different anyway, right? But you also realize that your Siamese is truly unique, even in the cat world? Here are some fun Siamese-only facts that you may not have known:
Siamese are named after the country they came from originally: Siam (now Thailand). An ancient Thai manuscript (The Cat Book Poems) is illustrated with a Siamese. This manuscript has been dated as being from somewhere between the 14th and the 18th century A.D.
The Siamese we are familiar with today is a lean and lithe, athletic cat with a triangular face. Originally, however, they were a lot stockier and had a more rounded face. Both types are still around, and it’s purely personal taste which you like better.
The Siamese star of “That Darn Cat” (1965) was played by a rescue cat named Syn. He’d been left at a shelter because he was too independent, and an animal trainer adopted him for five dollars. He went on to win the first PATSY award for animal performers!
In Thailand, Siamese are called ‘wichien-matt’, which loosely translated means ‘moon diamond’.
Siamese’ “points” aren’t there when they’re born! All Siamese kittens are born pure white, and their color doesn’t begin to develop until they’re a few weeks old. This is caused by an enzyme that reacts to body temperature, and it only works on the cooler parts of the cats’ body.
Siamese mix cats (like the one in this photo) are just as interesting and individual. Officially, there are several accepted point colors including lilac, blue and chocolate, besides the original seal point.
You’ve probably found that your Siamese is very vocal and opinionated! They seem to believe that we are only here to provide for their well-being, and that we should anticipate their wants and needs. I know that my Siamese mix, China Belle, believes that she should be fed whenever I walk into the kitchen! To prove it, she jumps up onto the tub where her dish is located, and meows to make sure I know where she is and what she wants.
If you’re looking for a responsive and verbal companion, but you’re not quite up to having a human roommate, a Siamese may be just the thing! They generally snooze the day away while you’re at work, and are happy to see you when you get home, as long as you realize that their wants come before yours!
I invite you to purchase “My Siamese Cat Journal” at https://amzn.to/2pyRjjh if you’d like to learn more about Siamese, or if you want to record your Siamese’ latest adventures! You’ll find facts, stories, quotes and trivia to remind you how precious our furry family members are!
As always, feel free to shoot me an email with questions at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com, and God bless and have a Fabulous day!
Have you wondered about those interesting looking hermit crabs that you see at the pet store? Maybe your kids want one? Here are some fun facts that you might not know!
1). Hermits have to have a variety of shells in their habitat. They don’t change shells until they ABSOLUTELY have to, and when they do emerge, they must go right into a new shell. If there isn’t one that’s the appropriate size, they’ll die.
2). Hermit crabs can live to 15 years old, if they’re taken care of properly!
3) Hermit crabs are easy to feed! There are several different hermit food formulas out there, and if you also provide daily bits of fresh fruits and veggies, they should be happy and healthy. Sometimes hermits don’t eat at all for several days (especially if they’re molting), but you’ll still need to provide food every day.
Live or dried insects like crickets or mealworms are great treats, along with unsalted popcorn, unsalted crackers or raisins. Most hermits are nocturnal, so you’ll do best to feed them in the evening as they wake up for the night.
4) When one hermit decides he’s changing homes, he’ll be surrounded and climbed on by a bunch of his roommates. As soon as one shell is vacated, someone will move into it, and the process continues down the line.
Remember that they keep growing their whole life, so add in bigger shells and take out smaller ones every few months.
5). Hermits like to live in groups, and they like to climb on rocks or each other! They’re a fun pet to watch, and are very low maintenance.
Cage cleaning can be done once a week, and food and water must be changed daily, but that’s about it. Use sand or dirt in the bottom of your hermit environment, so that if any of them fall down climbing, they won’t get hurt!
So, go ahead and add a few hermit crabs to your family! You’ll find they can be just as fascinating as any pet, and because they’re easy to take care of, you’ll get a pretty good bang for your buck with these tiny creatures!
If you want to see if your kids are ready for the responsibility, I invite you to get “My Hermit Crab Journal” at https://amzn.to/2DBR7qj, and have them brush up on care feeding and info on hermits for 45 days first!
And, as always, shoot me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with questions. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll surely find out!
God Bless and have a fabulous day!
You probably know that Llamas are basically a camel without a hump. But did you know that Llamas are actually a purely domestic species?
Apparently the native people of Chile and Peru not only domesticated Llamas four to five thousand years ago, they also began selectively breeding them at about the same time. With our human need to “improve” everything, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise to learn this.
Today, Llamas are still important as pack animals and wool producers worldwide.
As pack animals they have few rivals! With their leather-padded feet, they don’t tear up turf or loose soil, and they are extremely agile and sure-footed. Although they can’t carry a heavy load like a horse or donkey, they can travel farther on less water and less feed than either.
If you’re into hiking, a couple of Llamas can make a back-country expedition a lot more enjoyable! They’ll carry food and water enough for you and themselves, and a lot more besides. They’ll browse a little, but generally don’t even leave a trail, so the “leave no trace” thing is very do-able with a Llama or two.
Your Llama will need to be sheared every spring, so you’ll want to either learn how or hire someone. Their wool is very fine and dense, and can command a respectable price at any spinner/knitter event.
They generally eat hay, as you’d suspect, and they are easy to clean up after for the simple reason that they choose a potty spot and stick with it! It’s SO much easier to shovel up Llama ‘beans’ because of this habit – they’re always in a pile in the same place. You don’t have to walk all over their corral looking for piles and that’s a time-saver!
One thing to remember is that while your Llama will probably get used to your own dog, they’re quite intolerant of wandering canines. Llamas make great herd guardians for sheep and cattle because they’ll actually attack a coyote or a strange dog. And while they may look comical, they’re pretty scary when they’re in protection mode. They can easily break an arm or leg, and if you’re on the ground, you’ll get stomped pretty badly!
If you do get a llama, it’s better to get two! They’re very social animals. If you can’t get two llady llamas, you can generally keep two neutered males together. Llamas don’t really fight each other, they just don’t care much for strange canines. If you think about it, that’s pretty understandable, since coyotes are their primary predator in the wild.
If you like to hike a LOT, and you have the room, get a couple of Llamas to take on your next vacation! They’re interesting, intelligent companions, and will carry a couple hundred more pounds of gear than you can carry by yourself without complaining.
And don’t worry about overloading your Llamas. If you put more weight on them than they can carry comfortably, they’ll just sit down till you fix it!
If you’d like to learn more about these interesting and versatile animals, I invite you to purchase “My Llama Journal” on Amazon here : https://amzn.to/2VrHdia and enjoy finding out more facts and trivia while practicing gratitude and mindfulness.
As always, feel free to drop me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with questions, comments or criticisms!