Vitamin D Insufficiency

Vitamin D Insufficiency

To absolutely no one’s surprise, I’m running on insufficient amounts of vitamin D again. I happened to ask my oncologist if he could order the blood test last time I was in. It was on my list of things to do for my primary doctor, but I’ve been kind of busy being sick.

I guess you know it’s bad because I don’t feel well enough to go to doctor appointments.

Anyway, I have reinstalled the DMinder app on my phone to help me manage my supplements and sunshine. I was doing so well a few years ago. In the summer of 2021, I was up in the 70s, but I have fallen below 30 again. It sucks because I am photosensitive. (I thought this was because of medications, but now maybe something autoimmune is complicating things too.)

My articulating arm that holds my phone while I type broke this week. I got a new one, but it’s too hard to move or I’m too weak or both, so I might update less frequently. I’ve been contorting to make this one work for me, but I think it’s part of the reason my neck and shoulders hurt so much. I’ll get the non-matchy kind again, but it’ll have to wait until next month’s SSDI.

All of that to explain why this blog might be quieter than usual.

While I’m here, might as well post some birds!

The meadowlark might not be for real. I didn’t see it, and those damn starlings and their mimicry. Dan is not really into the photography thing right now, and he’s the only one in this house that can walk without a rollator, so he’s got his hands (and feet) full right now.

To end on a happier note, that Eastern Wood Pewee is one of the cutest things I have ever seen.

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Eurasian Tree Sparrows in St. Louis

Eurasian Tree Sparrows in St. Louis

(placeholder photo from Pixabay until Dan gets me one)

Pardon me for another post about birds so soon, but there are Eurasian Tree Sparrows in St. Louis. I repeat: there are Eurasian Tree Sparrows in St. Louis.

Merlin identified this non-native species on Day 1. I didn’t initially confirm it. I figured Merlin was probably confused or high and skipped it, not recognizing the species packs I’d installed in the app were actually for North America and the Midwest and so something else had to be going on.

Ignorantly, I did a quick—not thorough—Google search, because: confirmation bias. The map on Wikipedia showed a distribution of about what you’d expect for a species with Eurasian in its common name. I was like, “Yeah, no. That’s not my birb.”

These are my birbs. The ones that woke me up pre-dawn.

The Ruby-crowned kinglet is migrating.

Anyway the little Eurasian Tree Sparrow popped up in another recording the next day, and it made me more curious. Long story short: I got my first rare bird. In. My. Back. Yard.

Hello dopamine.

It turns out in the 1800s homesick Germans brought Eurasian Tree Sparrows to North America, and today they live only in St. Louis, across the river in Illinois, and parts of Southeastern Iowa.

From a wonderfully written piece on the matter (read it!—it includes a fascinating piece of St. Louis’s German-American history and it’s got swears):

On April 25, 1870, roughly 20 Eurasian Tree Sparrows were ceremoniously released in Lafayette Park.

Danke sehr, meine dudes.

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I have so many things in common with the writer, too. Like Collin, I enjoyed birding during the pandemic. Got a backyard feeder. Set up a tripod. Saw a grosbeak for the first time. Started tripping on endorphins.

But ongoing cancer stuff and the move to the St. Louis Metro East (basically suburban St. Louis but Illinois) sidelined this hobby. For a while. 

As you know, I picked it up again this weekend. And on social media where I was like, Eurasian Tree Sparrow my ass, someone sent me the links to Collin’s article in Riverfront Times and an online fact sheet from the Missouri Department of Conservation, which revealed the bird is a thing here and also sometimes called the German Sparrow.

Another local follow on Bluesky mentioned he recently bought a Birdbuddy feeder. And, you guys, my Wishlist has been updated.

I talked to Dan—my husband, caregiver, and personal photographer—about driving me around for birding adventures. 

“I could do the audio and IDing with Merlin from the car! You could get out your fancypants DSLR again!”

He is amenable. Watch this space.

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See who else visits my backyard.

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