Tonawanda News


February 10, 2014

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Bird love is even better than puppy love

Tonawanda News — According to the internet, which is never wrong, puppy love synonyms include calf love and kitten love. It doesn’t matter what baby animal we are talking about, I have never been a fan of the phrase “puppy love.” It implies a crush and a passing or fading emotion — an emotion often felt by a preteen or tween. Those who adopt and purchase puppies need to know that in a few years, that adorable peach fuzz body, and squishy face with huge make-your-heart-melt eyes is going to be a large gaseous body with a slobbering face, not too different from human relationships.

There is no room for shallow, short-term love interests here for Critter Companion readers.  Before you commit to a new pet, think about your future and theirs.

Puppy love is in our culture. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote short stories about puppy love and artists Dolly Parton, Barbara Lewis, Paul Anka, Donny Osmond and an appropriately named rapper, Lil’ Bow Wow, all have songs titled “Puppy Love.” But, instead of puppy love we should strive to be like love birds.

Love birds are a small African or Madagascar parrot which are popular as pets. When kept by themselves they can become quite found of their owners. Their name comes from their behavior in the wild. Although the nine species of love birds are social and live in flocks, they usually pair up for life and can be seen sitting with their mate affectionately preening one another. This behavior can be problematic when kept as pets. The pairs will defend their territory (enclosure) to anyone (caregiver) that they think is a potential threat.

Love birds are cute but the most serious relationships, when it comes to birds, take place among our national symbol the bald eagle. Bald eagles can live between 40 and 50 years and they too are generally monogamous. Once a bald eagle finds a successful place to raise their young, they keep returning to the same nesting spot year after year.

In St. Petersburg, Florida in the early 1960’s one of the largest bird nests was found and it belonged to a pair of bald eagles.  It became so large that it made the tree that it was in fall over. Scientists went over to the nesting site and picked up all of the sticks and measured and weighed it. It measured almost ten feet wide and twenty feet deep, which is bigger than most people’s living rooms, and weighed over two tons. For those of you who are not familiar with how much two tons weighs, hippos and white rhinos weigh a little more than that. If you imagine a rhino up in the tree, it is no wonder why the tree would fall over.

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  • SUN LIFE fair story 1 072714.jpg More than rides & food

    When the Niagara County Fair opens Wednesday, hundreds of people will enter the county fairgrounds in Lockport for the first of five days of exhibits, shows, rides and food.

    But what not all of the visitors may realize is that much of this summer tradition is the result of months of hard work by 4-H Club members and their leaders and families, all focused on the words of the 4-H motto: “Learn By Doing.”

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE tattoo 1 072714.jpg COLUMN: Behind the tattoo gun

    Tattoos can be a touchy subject. Of course, people have heard they shouldn’t judge a book by its cover; still, people continue to report being denied jobs and being judged harshly for proudly displaying their ink.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - Crib Notes 2014 RGB.jpg CRIB NOTES: No matter what, the kids just want to play the game

    At 35 years old, I may be the oldest person ever to record an out in a kids’ T-ball league.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB CRITTER COMPANIONS: Visiting the neighbors

    This past week, our lovely neighbors went to the beach for their annual weeklong vacation.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE Open gardens 1 072014.jpg Stop and smell the flowers

    More than 90 private gardens throughout Western New York, and a number of public ones, are open to the public for select hours Thursdays and/or Fridays during July as part of the National Garden Festival’s Open Gardens program, now in its fifth year. The program is separate and distinct from local garden walks, and the gardens range from Gasport to Holland. They’re organized into districts of about five to eight gardens each, including Northtowns West (which includes gardens in Kenmore and the Town of Tonawanda) and Niagara Trail (which includes gardens in Lockport, Gasport and Lewiston).

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE terrariums 1 072014.jpg For the love of nature

    Sara Johnson lives surrounded by green and growing things. Showing a visitor around her apartment in North Buffalo, she pointed out the plants in every room, the balcony and even in two small greenhouses — houseplants, flowers, vegetables, even carnivorous plants.

    "I try to keep as much growing in the house as I can," she said.

    Another goal of hers is to show others how to do the same — and to that end, Johnson is offering a series of workshops this summer in connection with her business, Sylvatica Terrariums, and Project 308 Gallery in North Tonawanda, teaching people how to bring a piece of the outdoors into their homes in the form of a terrarium or other greenery.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE fresh air 1 072014.JPG Getting some fresh air

    As an effort to get children out of the big city and give them a chance to spend part of their summer playing outside, the Fresh Air Fund brings New York City kids to stay with host families for a 10-day trip to a place which is vastly different from their usually surroundings.

    “They will be running outside and playing in the grass and going swimming,” said Cheryl Flick, a fund representative of the Northern Erie and Niagara Counties chapter of the Fresh Air Fund at a picnic for the host families and kids. “They won’t be cooped up inside, they’ll be outside, getting fresh air and being active.”

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - SUN LIFE double trouble 2014.jpg Still waiting for that letter from Hogwarts

    I think it’s true of many parents, that amidst the many challenges and hard work of parenting, we anticipate the day our children grow up just enough ... to like the same things we like, whether it’s as an ongoing phenomenon or a fond childhood memory.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • sig - critter companions RGB Calling all the basic locavores!

    Did you know that the suffix “vore” comes from the Latin word “voro,” which means to devour? I probably knew that once, but I should have paid better attention in my Latin class. “Vore” is used to form nouns indicating what kind of a diet an animal has, such as omnivore, carnivore and herbivore.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • SUN LIFE NT tours 071314.jpg A closer look at NT

    When Explore Buffalo Tours got started about eight months ago, the business concentrated on specialized tours designed to showcase specific aspects of the City of Buffalo’s history, architecture and culture.

    Now the organization is looking to the future and trying out ways to highlight the other unique aspects of the Western New York region. The tours change out each month, but the more popular ones will circulate back in, according to Explore Buffalo Executive Director Brad Hahn. This month it’s test-driving its “North Tonawanda: Lumber City” tour, one of only a few to take place outside the City of Buffalo. (Although a Lockport tour is in the works.)

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo