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What Is A Sun Dial

 

The definition of a Sun Dial is simple, it measures time according to the position of the sun.

Standard sun dials cast a shadow on to a flat surface marked with each hour of the day. When the sun changes position, the shadow covers up more of the dial. Although that is the most widely seen sun dial, you can have a sun dial designed for any surface that can cast a predictable shadow.

Sun dials have been dated as far back as 3500BC, where they were said to be used by the Ancient Egyptians. The Romans hold the record for having the biggest sun dial built. Around 100BC it is said the first universal sun dial was built by a mathematician.

When thinking about how a sun dial is designed you have to know a few things first. The most common sun dial is a disk mounted on a bar. With this method the bar must be parallel with the earth’s axis. The disk has to be marked so that one you can tell the time from one end of the bar as the Earth rotates. During winter months one half of the disk will be hard to read because of the shading, and during the summer months the opposite half of the disk is usually hard to read.

As with all things new technology has taken over sun dials. Now there are many different styles of designs including the following.

  • Ring Sun Dials
  • Precision Sun Dials
  • Reflection Sun Dials
  • Analog Calculating Sun Dials
  • Optical Sundials
  • Digital Sun Dials

Let’s take a little time here to talk about digital sun dials, since this is what we are probably most familiar with. There are two basic types of digital sun dials.

The first one is an optical fibre sun dial the way it works is sunlight enters through a slit in the device and as the sun advances the light moves. The light shines on sockets causing digits to come up on the display screen, revealing the time.

The second of the two digital sun dials are fractal dials. These are a lot more complex, but the basis of constructions comes from fractal geometry. Hence the name fractal sun dial.

I feel since sun dials have been such a widely used tool for so long, that it’s important for you to understand what they can do. Although you may think it isn’t very practical to know right now, you may very well need to use it someday.

A lot of research is done with the use of modern sun dials, these modern sun dials are created by some of the world’s smartest people. If you want to see the worlds largest sun dial still built you can go to India. It is called the Samrat Yantra and the stone structure stands a massive 27 metres high. They have said it can tell time with a margin of a fraction of a second. I would love to see this in person someday, but it will have to wait for now.

How To Calibrate A Sun Dial

First thing you will want to also make sure of when purchasing or building a sun dial is this. Ensure the leading edge of the pointer has been placed between the 6am and 6pm markings on the sun dial. This is the only way your dial will be able to come close to telling accurate time. There are a lot more factors when calibrating your sun dial, this guide will fill you in on what you need you need to know. This way you will be able to set-up and calibrate your own sun dials.

Depending on where you live you will be living in different time zones from me, to try and find noon on the dial, find what latitude your time zone is in. For every seven degrees east or west you are you need to add/subtract four minutes to your sun dial. Once you have done these two steps you should have a sun dial that can tell the time pretty accurately. There are more factors to make-up for the irregularities you will notice when checking the time on the dials. It will be impossible to get your dials to be perfectly accurate. Even the biggest sun dial is still off by a fraction of a second. You can indeed have it telling time within minutes of the correct time though, pending you have an impeccable set-up and calibration.

With the factors involved in calibrating your sun dial it can be very difficult trying to do this. You need all your measurements to be exact, you will need to know how to tell longitude and latitude. This I think is what the hardest part of getting an accurate time is, it’s fairly hard to do this if you don’t have any experience with it. It may be easier to buy a digital sun dial which has been already calibrated by a professional, it will also come with instructions and a manual for your use. This is a lot easier and will give a lot more accurate time, if you feel you have the knowledge to take on calibrating your own then by all means go for it. I think calibrating it yourself will bring a lot more joy in having a sun dial. After all what is the point in having a sun dial that is just digitalized like everything else we see in today’s world. There are a ton of pictures you can look at online for finding out how your sun dials should look. You will also find lots of manuals and instructions for building your own sun dial.

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Things To Consider When Buying Wild Bird Feeders

The Beauty Of Decorative And Unique Bird Feeders

Bird feeders seem to come a dime a dozen nowadays. Looking through any pet supply web site or even your local pet supply store, you will come across many different sizes and types of bird feeders. It is a far cry from only a few years ago when virtually all bird feeders were of the homemade variety, pieced together out of a few odds and ends that the creator just happened to have lying around in the garage or attic.

That was then and this is now however, and as spoiled as we are for choices when it comes to bird feeders, this abundance only serves to make this hobby more enjoyable, more fulfilling and ultimately more rewarding.

Today you can take your pick from any of the more utilitarian bird feeders around…or you can opt for one of the more decorative and unique bird feeders.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with the simpler bird feeder designs available–like the classic and ever-popular platform bird feeder for example–a decorative bird feeder will greatly increase the beauty and charm of whatever location you place it in. Even a garden or yard that is already a study in landscaping perfection will benefit immensely from a more striking bird feeder design.

Bird feeders that are slightly off the beaten path come in various designs–some of them classic and elegant and some of them whimsical and charming. Depending on how far you are willing to go, you may also consider bird feeders that are almost borderline outlandish! All of these are only indications of the rich imagination of bird lovers and serve to announce their uniqueness and individuality to the world.

Some of the more popular decorative bird feeders base their designs on actual houses. They may be as simple as a log cabin or they can be as ornate as Greco-roman architecture. One of the more striking ones we’ve seen is built out of wrought iron in the form of a gazebo.

Other decorative bird feeders are almost comparable to art pieces in their intricacy and style. In fact, there are those that can actually stand as sculptures in their own right, making them functional art in the truest sense of the word.

With the wealth of decorative bird feeders to be had out there, there is simply no reason why you shouldn’t have one that is as practical as it is beautiful to behold!

Wild bird feeders come in a wide array of sizes, shapes, colors and designs and you can hardly go wrong with choosing any of the commonly available models. So how do you choose which particular type of wild bird feeder to go for?

One of the most important considerations for any beginning bird feeder owner is the type of bird that you wish to attract. Seed feeders–which are by far the most familiar type of wild bird feeder around–will attract the common songbirds such as cardinals, chickadees and finches. These types of feeders can vary in design from the simplest feeding tray type setups to more elaborate ones with latching feeding mechanisms.

Naturally if you want to attract a specific type of bird–such as a hummingbird or an oriole for example–you will want to purchase a wild bird feeder that is designed specifically with their needs in mind.

Another important consideration when purchasing a wild bird feeder is the material. Feeders made of plastic have been increasingly popular in recent years and for good reason: they are extremely durable and they are generally very inexpensive. Be aware though that they tend to discolor when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods, and they are harder to keep sanitary.

Glass models would be an ideal alternative given those considerations, but they are not without their own disadvantages. They are prone to breakage for one thing, and if they fall from a height–which is where wild bird feeders are typically installed–there is a risk of glass shards flying around when it shatters.

In any event, most commonly available wild bird feeders present very good value for the money and you will surely enjoy the color and life that they will bring to your yard!

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Types of Bird Feeders

Bird feeders–also sometimes called bird tables–are structures or devices designed to provide food for birds. They are typically installed outside the house in the yard, although they may also be installed in a porch or a tree.

The effectiveness of a particular bird feeder in attracting large numbers of birds is due to a number of different factors, among them: the location, the actual presence of birds in the area and the type of feed that they provide. This last factor is particularly important, given that different species of birds will have different preferences when it comes to food.

Bird feeders can be an effective enticement for birds of many types, and the presence of one in the home provides owners with an ideal opportunity for bird watching that they would not normally be able to enjoy otherwise. A fairly recent trend today is the installation of webcams focused on bird feeders, which broadcast 24 hours a day and allow bird enthusiasts all over the world a glimpse into their activities.

As simple as the design of bird feeders may seem, there are actually a few different types commonly used. The most popular of these by far is the seed feeder, which can vary in complexity from the simplest trays to the more complicated hoppers and feeding tubes. The most common types of seeds used in these designs are sunflower seeds, with some owners favoring mixed varieties. These feeds tend to attract songbirds such as finches, cardinals, and chickadees.

Hummingbird feeders, as you may have guessed from the name, are designed primarily to attract hummingbirds. It does this by providing hummingbirds with a sugar solution through a feeding tube. Some bird feeder owners have taken to infusing some red dye in the sugar solution in an attempt to entice hummingbirds. This practice is totally unnecessary however, as many hummingbirds will typically find the feeder if you leave it out long enough. Furthermore, the dye can actually be harmful to hummingbirds, so if you must resort to color, it would be better to choose a colored feeder in the first place.

Oriole feeders are another type of bird feeder designed to attract a specific type of bird. These are most often colored orange and are designed to attract New World orioles with either an artificial nectar solution or bits of fruit…or even grape jelly!

Finally a suet feeder is designed to provide insect eating birds such as woodpeckers, nuthatches and flickers with a block of suet from a metal cage like structure.

The Elegant Simplicity Of Platform Bird Feeders

Bird feeders come in a wide array of shapes and sizes, from the simple to the complex, from the strictly functional to the somewhat whimsical. One type that has stood the test of time however, is the platform bird feeder. This particular design is a marvel in simplicity, and in truth not many people really need any more than that. It is a design that has worked–very well, we might add–for a countless number of years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

One of the reasons why platform bird feeders are so effective is that they provide an ideal feeding set up for the greatest variety of birds. Large birds will obviously not be comfortable in feeders with perches designed for smaller birds, and many other birds will have very specific preferences when it comes to feeders. A platform bird feeder however, by virtue of its simple design, provides a wide open and flat feeding surface that virtually all types of birds will be comfortable in. From small perching birds to bigger birds that are accustomed to feeding off the ground, you can say that one size of platform bird feeder fits all!

Platform bird feeders can also be used to serve up a greater variety of food than other bird feeder designs. From birdseeds to fruit, from nuts to suet–even bakery goods–there is nothing that a platform bird feeder can’t handle.

So you see, it is not only the ability to handle a wide variety of foods but the ability to accommodate a wide range of birds that makes platform bird feeders the most versatile type of bird feeder around.

As simple as the basic design of a platform bird feeder is, there are actually slightly different versions available. There is the basic platform bird feeder, which is simply a platform suspended off a hanging cord, then there is the fly through platform bird feeder, which follows the same design as the basic platform bird feeder but incorporates a roof on top. This design provides any visiting birds some temporary respite from the sun or slight rain showers.

As your interest in feeding birds grows, so too will your needs when it comes to bird feeders. You may eventually find yourself exploring more complex types of bird feeders in the future. One thing is certain though, no matter where this hobby takes you, you will always have a place for a platform bird feeder in your yard.

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Everything you need to know a bout Bird Feeders

A Look At Wooden Bird Feeders

 

As you read this article, you may already be the proud owner of a bird feeder that is regularly drawing a crowd of playful, feathered creatures in your yard. That would not at all be surprising as bird feeders are one of the best ways to liven up any property. Even a garden or yard that has been landscaped to perfection by a professional can be improved immeasurably by the addition of a tasteful and elegant bird feeder.

If you are still in the planning stage of purchasing one however, or if you are looking for one or two more–one cannot have too many bird feeders after all! You may want to consider purchasing a wooden bird feeder.

Why should you go for a wooden bird feeder though instead of the popular ones that are typically made of plastic, glass or various types of metal? Well for one thing, unless you are willing to spend a lot of money on your next bird feeder, you will in all likelihood have to make do with one that is…er, less than stellar in the looks department. You will notice quickly that the offerings in the lower range of the price scale will not be as attractive, as well-constructed and simply not as appealing as other more expensive models. It is simply the nature of consumer products, and going for one that is more eye-catching will cost a lot more obviously.

Wooden bird feeders then provide an alternative that is not only quite affordable but looks good as well. In fact, looking through a listing of many different types of wooden bird feeders, you would be surprised at just how low-priced they are. This is all the more amazing when you realize that even the lowest-priced wooden bird feeders are a lot more visually attractive than even higher-priced commercial models.

If you are concerned about the durability of wooden bird feeders–as you well should be, considering that they will practically be spending the rest of their lives outdoors exposed to the elements–you need not worry yourself on that score. Virtually all the wooden bird feeders available today are constructed out of wood that has been treated to withstand the constant exposure. This will help ensure that any wooden bird feeder that you purchase will continue to provide your feathery friends with service–and you with viewing pleasure–for a good long time.

The Idea Behind Ground Bird Feeders

Ground bird feeders…at first it seems like a bad idea all around, doesn’t it? After all, who in his or her right mind would place a bird feeder right in harm’s way, within easy reach of cats, dogs and a host of other predators and dangerous elements? It defeats the very purpose of birds being able to fly up and out of danger. It is downright inhumane and all that. But is it really?

As it turns out there are a number of good reasons for using a ground bird feeders, and the most important one is that they allow a greater number of birds access to the food that you provide.

Because of their intended location, ground bird feeders admittedly put the birds at a slight disadvantage when it comes to predators and rodents who compete with them for food. For this reason, theses types of bird feeders are more suited to areas where there are no cats present and where you are reasonably sure that there is no large squirrel population around either.

One of the advantages of ground bird feeders is that they allow ground-feeding birds to feed in a setting that is more natural to them. Of course smaller perch feeding birds will be slightly out of their element, but given a safe enough environment that is free from predators, virtually any type of bird will soon learn to be comfortable around your feeder.

Being on the ground, it is also much easier for you to replenish the food stores of your ground bird feeders. This may not seem like such a big deal, but in today’s fast paced world where every minute counts, it is good to know that you do not have to spend any more time than is necessary in making sure that your bird feeder is able to keep your feathered friends happy.

This ground location also makes it easier for you to clean your bird feeder. Hygiene is always a primary concern when it comes to keeping birds healthy, and even if they are not really your pets (more like favored guests) you would like to make sure that they remain as healthy as they can possibly be wouldn’t you?

So you see, there are some distinct advantages that ground bird feeders can provide. With a little careful thought and planning as to where exactly you will put it, you’ll see that the benefits of ground bird feeders aren’t just for the birds!

How To Make Bird Feeders

The widespread availability of many types of bird feeders on the market has largely made it unnecessary for many people to even consider building their own. After all, why should you bother with all the work and effort involved in creating one from scratch, when you can simply drive to your local pet supply store or click on your mouse a few times and almost instantly have one sitting in your yard?

Well as it turns out, there are quite a few good reasons for learning how to make bird feeders, not the least of which is the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that you and your kids can gain from undertaking such a project. This will also help kids learn more about birds and their habits as well as provide you with an opportunity to teach them about responsibility and caring for the surroundings.

Those should be enough reasons to convince you to take on this task, so let’s get started building a simple bird feeder!

What you will need:
birdseed
a dowel or small wooden rod
a pair of scissors
thin wires about 2 feet long
nails for punching holes
a gallon milk jug

Here is the procedure:

Wash the milk jug thoroughly to ensure that any traces of milk are gone completely.

Put the cap back on and place the jug on a solid working surface

With a sharp knife, cut two large holes on the front and back sides of the jug. Make the holes about 3 to 4 inches in diameter and cut them about 2 or 3 inches from the bottom. This is where your birds will be feeding. It is important to make sure that any birdseed you place in the feeder will not spill out of these holes.

Using the nail, punch two smaller holes, one under each larger hole. Push the dowel through one of these smaller holes and out the other, so that they provide a perch for the birds.

Again using the nail, punch two holes in the neck of the milk jug and run the wire through them making a sort of loop. This is where you will be hanging the feeder from a suitable branch.

Fill the feeder with birdseed–black oil sunflower seeds work the best

Sit back and wait for the birds to drop by!

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Why You Should Consider Homemade Bird Feeders

With the wide range of bird feeders out on the market today, you probably have not given any thought at all to making your own homemade bird feeder. After all, with the sheer variety of different sizes, makes and models out there, there is no doubt that you can find one that will suffice for your needs.

However, there are many reasons why you and any other bird-watching aficionado for that matter, should seriously consider building a homemade bird feeder instead of going with any of the commercially available models.

For one thing, almost everyone has very specific size and space requirements for the various furniture and appliances that they have in their houses, and bird feeders are no exception. The wrong type of bird feeder or an oddly sized one can be enough to throw the most carefully designed garden or yard out of whack. If you have spent a considerable amount of money getting a professional to landscape your yard, it is all the more imperative that you have a bird feeder that enhances and accentuates the other elements. In this particular case, only a specially designed bird feeder will do.

One of the first decisions you will have to make is deciding what particular design of bird feeder you like. Some of the more popular ones are the Post Bird Feeder, which is ideal if you don’t have a tree to put your feeder on, the Hanging Bird Feeder, which is great for keeping any cats at bay, the Running Line Bird Feeder, which is a good choice if you want to avoid having to continually replenish the food supply, and the Ground Level Bird Feeder, which you should only consider if you are sure that you can provide a safe environment for any birds that will come to visit.

There are many plans for making homemade bird feeders all over the Web and if you are so inclined you would do well to check them out. Even if you are not confident enough in your woodworking skills to attempt the project on your own, they will at least give you a few ideas on the design that you want to go for and provide a starting point for whoever you will hire to construct the bird feeder for you. Remember: it’s your yard so don’t be afraid to let your imagination run free. As long as the birds have easy access to the food and it provides them a safe environment in which to frolic, your homemade bird feeder will surely be a smashing success!

Do you have any pictures of homemade birdfeeders to share?