Bard College Bird Friendly Campus

Summary of the program:

When I returned to Bard in August, I had an article ready to submit to the Hungarian Birding Association Magazine. I only needed a few more pictures to illustrate. While I took the pictures showing working on the nesting boxes, I was happy to see that all of them (12 boxes) were taken and all of them had a successful hatch.
Later on when Bill Maple and I needed to think about the feeding season I designed a squirrel proof feeder, but as soon as I was ready with the professionally designed plans I received the newest issue of the Audubon Magazine. I saw exactly the same designed feeder in it called the “effortless feeder”. Mr. Maple got in touch with the company and they offered us 6 feeders for a very reasonable prize. When we received them Bard Students from Bill’s ‘field studies’ class put them together and placed them all around the busiest campus spots.  I heard back from students that this is a good idea and they were asking about the program. I think our program is getting to be more and more well know by the Brad Community. It takes a little time but we just started, and I am very positive. So we were feeding on these  feeders from late October until April.  I believe we have fed around almost half Ton -or even more- of seed, which is quiet a lot. The Bard Arboretum program covered our expenses, but in the future we need to find other springs, where the money could come from. Bill, I and an other voluntary Bardian did the feedings ~2-4 times a week, or whenever they were empty.

In September I started to collect lumber from the Bard Theater’s dumpster. They throw out very useful pieces of wood, which are perfect materials for bird houses! 🙂 So we did not need to buy anything, just the screws what I brought from Hungary:) It took me quiet a while to finish 30 new boxes, but I am also in school and I am doing two degrees at Bard (and the third one in Hungary right now). 🙂 When the mating and nesting season started I placed out 15 boxes for bluebirds. They started to check them out asap I left. It was a happy moment when I saw them doing it. The Bard College Buildings & Grounds team gave us paint to paint the boxes so they will serve birds for a longer longer period. They are also very helpful when we need tools and other help.

I could not hang all of the boxes. Only 15 out of 32 because of the busy semester ending, but I am going back to Bard in late June so I could do it then. They will be ready for next spring.
I also have two “half ready” drinking stations which I will place out during the summer.

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At home!

After a long period of time, without taking any pictures of nature, finally I got a chance to escape from the world and spend a few hours alone in the Hortobágyi Puszta.

On June 15 there was a lunar eclipse, and I was lucky because the sky was perfectly clear above the Puszta. Originally I was going to take pictures of a White Stork nest and the moon, but for some reason the birds did not use the nest this year. (as I remember they have been using it for at least 15 years). So I needed to get to the “B” plan which did not work either:) There was no well near by the stork nest, but finally I saw the plan “C”,  a small herd of  Hungarian Grey Cattle. After making a deal with the herd (we call them Gulash=gulyás, and the famous soup is named after these people) I climbed the electric fence and started to do some experiences with the composition. In less than 5 minutes, I was covered by giant mosquitoes. Luckily I had  a mosquito spray in my fishing box in the car which just saved my life. By the way this spray is from Bence Mate (The BBC Naturephotographer of the Year 1010) and I took it accidently when I visited him a few years ago. Sorry Bence:)

Let’s finish this little intermezzo and get back to the topic. A few years ago I have seen a lunar eclipse in the states, but the Moon was on the top of the sky. This time in Hungary the Moon was on the horizon and its red color made it even more exciting to take pictures of. The cattle were very relaxed and did not care about me, so i could get some nice shot.

On the way back home, I saw a gas-park object with a high performance light. There are only pipes and gas related things and to avoid robbery they set up this light, which I think makes it easier for the robbers to steel in the middle of nowhere:) All in all the lamps attracted billions of mosquitoes and other bugs and they all together made an exciting theme to photograph.

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