I first noticed some­thing was afoot when I was doing my morn­ing walk. The crows were in an uproar!

We have sev­eral pairs of crows that live in the trees near our hay field. Despite their neg­a­tive rep­u­ta­tion, I adore crows. I enjoy the way they call back and forth from the tree­tops as if they’re hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion. And they aren’t fright­ened when I walk by–they just keep up their dialogue.

Crows are quite smart and can mimic the sounds of other birds and even humans. Although they may chase small ani­mals, it’s all just part of their crow-minded entertainment.

“Hoho! Isn’t it fun to ter­rify the Papillons!”

Crows can live to be 20 years old. They often re-use their nests each year. And crows that aren’t mated pitch in to help raise the other young birds. They also will col­lect any­thing they find that is bright and shiny. Who wouldn’t love a bird who appre­ci­ates glit­tery finery!?!

So this morn­ing, the crows were hav­ing a fit.

The woods were FILLED with a humon­gous pack of birds singing their heads off. I couldn’t see the bird pack, but I could cer­tainly hear them. And the crows appar­ently were hav­ing quite a con­ver­sa­tion about how to han­dle the situation.

I couldn’t iden­tify the mys­tery bird sounds because they were all chat­ter­ing at once. But while I was gaz­ing out the win­dow and munch­ing on my icky, puny, sad salad lunch, I saw what I believe was the cause of the ruckus. Hun­dreds and hun­dreds of Red-Winged Blackbirds!


The male Red-Winged Black­bird is very distinctive–a jet black with a red epaulette on his wings. The females are more drab brown, but with dis­tinc­tive streaks on their undersides.

The bird books all say that the Red-Winged Black­bird is a com­mon bird in Mary­land and Delaware. Well, I don’t care what the books say, we don’t really see much of them except in the win­ter. And when they do arrive, I usu­ally only catch a glimpse of one or two.

My Stan Tekiela book on the Birds of Mary­land & Delaware, which is prac­ti­cally worn to shreds from being fran­ti­cally thumbed through, says that up to thou­sands of these birds will gather in fields like ours.

Well, today was a stel­lar bird day because, as you can see, there were hun­dreds. This photo only shows a small part of the field that they covered.


Of course, you can count on a Papil­lon to keep things excit­ing, so Sarah chased them into the trees.


They gave her what-for.

Too bad I actu­ally have a job and can’t keep look­ing out the win­dow. A bunch of Robins have finally arrived en masse today too.

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Dec 06

More Googling Fun

Since I started look­ing at the sta­tis­tics for Bum­ble­bee Blog and the search terms that bring peo­ple here I have learned quite a lot.

For exam­ple, I have learned that if you post any­thing this time of year about Christ­mas gifts, even if it is about wacky gag gifts to your lit­tle brother, peo­ple will find you dur­ing the hol­i­days with search terms such as “use­ful Christ­mas gifts,” “gifts for my bro” and “best Christ­mas gifts” and even “spir­i­tual Christ­mas gifts for my mom.” My blog traf­fic has increased expo­nen­tially dur­ing this hol­i­day sea­son because of the goofy story about giv­ing my brother gifts such as taxi­dermy and nose-picking gar­den trolls. I hope the silly gift exchange with my brother didn’t offend the folks look­ing for reli­gious gifts!

I have also learned that if all you care about in blog­ging is the num­ber of peo­ple click­ing on your URL, make sure you use racy, sexy titles and phrases. You don’t have to use a lot. Just a few here and there will work just fine. After the com­ment exchange from my orig­i­nal post, Peo­ple Google the Strangest Things, in which peo­ple men­tioned some unin­ten­tion­ally provoca­tive post titles such as “Wet and Wild” (about plants) and “Naked Gar­den­ing” (about the bare­ness of the gar­den), I started get­ting numer­ous hits for search terms such as “naked Greek people.”

Hoh! Not here!

Sue at the Bal­cony Gar­den attracted a Googler’s atten­tion when they were look­ing for “Sex in the Beau­ti­ful Gar­den.” It landed that per­son at a story about the mat­ing habits of the leop­ard slug!

Patrick at Bifur­cated Car­rots writes infor­ma­tive and detailed posts about such things as the foun­da­tion of his 325-year-old house in Ams­ter­dam and weed burn­ers. Nev­er­the­less, the largest num­ber of hits he has received was from a light hearted post about Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

Carol at May Dream Gar­dens posted a Top Ten list of how peo­ple find her blog. It’s mostly plant related, but if you go back to the story she wrote around this time last year about blog­ging search terms, you’ll find some amus­ing search terms that landed them at her infor­ma­tive blog.

Thanks to fel­low blog­gers who posted related sto­ries. Please visit them at:

Bal­cony Garden

Bifur­cated Carrots

May Dream Gardens

On a related note, I was curi­ous that some of the com­menters on the orig­i­nal story said that they don’t know how to check their blog sta­tis­tics or search terms. Although I am by no means an expert in this area, I will say that if your blog host­ing ser­vice doesn’t pro­vide this infor­ma­tion you can prob­a­bly add it fairly easily.

Two ser­vices I have tried are Google Ana­lyt­ics and Stat­Counter. I pre­fer Stat­Counter because it pro­vides much more detailed infor­ma­tion, includ­ing the geo­graphic loca­tion of vis­i­tors, their paths through your blog, sta­tis­tics about length of time vis­it­ing and repeated ver­sus first-time vis­i­tors. The draw­back of Stat­Counter is that if you get a sig­nif­i­cant traf­fic you may have to pay for addi­tional storage.

To track sta­tis­tics using either of these ser­vices takes a min­i­mum of exper­tise to accom­plish. To get started, gen­er­ally you must sign up with the ser­vice, gen­er­ate some HTML code and paste it into your blog in an HTML edi­tor. I pasted mine into a wid­get in the menu bar so that it is auto­mat­i­cally inserted into each page some­one vis­its. Then you sim­ply log into the ser­vice to see how things are going.

Happy blog­ging!

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Garden and food writer Robin Ripley is co-author of Grocery Gardening. Her new book, Wisdom for Home Preservers, will be released later in 2014 from Taunton Press.

Bumblebee is about her life in rural Maryland, her garden, cooking, dogs and pet chickens. She also blogs about food and chickens at Eggs & Chickens. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Thank you for visiting.


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