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.
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:
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.