Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wonders of the Natural World

Tomorrow: the studio. Today: the backyard.

A 10-lb nest in a 5-lb box

The nest was built by house sparrows this spring. (The box was cleared out over the winter.) Two groups of hatchlings were reared in the box one right after the other, but the Bird Master, Bonnie, decided that enough was enough since house sparrows have been over-populating and crowding out songbirds. House sparrows can raise up to five broods in a season with good weather, food and a desirable nesting site such as this blue box.

Here's a closeup of the nest that contained all kinds of things from grass to dog hair to plastic to cigarette filters. It was lined with moss and lichen.

This photo compares a wren house and nest on the left with the sparrow nest and house on the right.

Closeup of the wren nest

Wren nests are mainly built of small sticks or pine needles with a few feathers. The sticks almost completely fill the available interior space and stick out the front and sides of the box.

The wrens have raised one brood in this house so far this spring and we like having them because they have a very joyful song. However, they like to have their nest boxes cleaned out between broods. Bonnie checked on this to see if she should clean it out, and as soon as she rehung the cleaned-out box, the male wren was back to claim it and start nest building. (As with sparrows, the males find the nesting sites and begin building the nests.)

This bird box does not hold a nest or a bird.

It appears to be empty

But it's home to a tree frog who stays in it most days, apparently venturing out at night to sing.

And just in case you thought this was only about birds and bird boxes, here are some other wonders of nature:

It's the fabled hairy mushroom

There were several of these weird-looking things in the yard that started out looking like regular mushrooms and then overnight sprouted this soft white stuff.

Read About Art Here

From Mira Schor's blog: Otto Dix - Portrait of the Dancer Anita Berber, 1925. Oil and tempera on plywood, 47 3/8 x 25 1/2 inches, Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart.

In case you really wanted to read about art, I recommend the link that I found on Brenda Goodman's blog to an essay by Mira Schor titled Reality Show: Otto Dix. This is the premiere post on her new blog, A Year of Positive Thinking. In this post she brilliantly connects Work of Art, the Bravo TV reality show on art, with  two current New York exhibitions: Otto Dix at the Neue Galerie and Greater New York 2010 at MoMA P.S.1. This is real analytic and critical writing the way it should be and well worth reading the rather long post.

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