Featured Blog: Nutty Birder


Meet Rob Ripma, our newest featured blogger. The Birds & Blooms staff was able to meet Rob at The Biggest Week in American Birding, and he even makes an appearance in our birding music video! Rob, along with his brother Eric, write the Nutty Birder blog where they share photos from their birding adventures both near and far.

Rob Ripma of the blog Nutty Birder

What was the inspiration behind your blog and how long has it been around?

I started Nutty Birder in order to share my own birding adventures and those of my brother Eric. With the amount of traveling that we both do (combined with the fact that Eric works a lot of fieldwork jobs and I bird around Indiana a lot), we thought people would find our birding stories interesting. We uploaded our first post on August 12, 2008 and have posted over 450 times since then.

How did you get into birding?

I started birding about 10 years ago but had previously been dragged along on many birding trips prior to that time. As a kid, I really had no interest in birding. But with my mom and brother’s interest in birds, birding became a large part of most family vacations. Everything changed for me on a trip to Florida in 2003 where I finally started paying more attention to the birds, and then I was officially hooked after my first trip to Magee Marsh in 2005.

What’s one of your favorite or most popular blog posts and why?

We have had so many awesome posts over the last four years that it’s very difficult for me to pick a favorite. I always love the posts that we do about our birding vacations. It’s a lot of fun to look back and relive the excitement of the trips.

As for our most popular blog post goes, that one is pretty easy. We have never had a post as popular as our post announcing that Eric had found an Orange-billed Nightingale-Thrush in South Dakota during the summer of 2010. It was only the third US record for this species, and it made our blog quite popular!

When you’re not birding, what is your favorite outdoor activity?

I really enjoy any type of wildlife watching, whether it is mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, or just about anything else. I view anytime outside as a chance to see things that you have never seen before and to explore all kinds of new places.

If you could go anywhere in the world to bird-watch, where would you go and why?

This is a tough question for me, because there are so many places that I want to go! But the first place I would choose would have to be Ecuador. I have never birded in the tropics, and it seems to me that Ecuador would be about as awesome as tropical birding gets.

  1. says

    I had the priviledge of meeting Rob at last September’s Midwest Birding Symposium in Ohio. He and his mom were so great to show me around Magee Marsh. He’s also a monthly contributor to BirdingIsFun.com. He does a lot of good work to further the joy and passion for birding to people of all ages.

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  2. Debbie says

    I’ve got a remarkable story to share with all of you. It’s about a hummingbird. Now, bear with me while I tell you this.
    Last week I went outside to let my doggies out to go potty. I hear the strangest noise in our Gazebo. I looked around and didn’t see anything. I looked up, and there it was. A poor scared hummingbird stuck in my gazebo. She was flying around trying to get out. I put out my arm, hoping she would come to my arm to rest. Nope. So I went and got a broom handle to help her fly onto something to rest and get her slowly out of the gazebo. No that didn’t work either.
    She finally flew onto the screen part of the gazebo, and her feet were on the metal part that brings the screening and the top part together. I slowly approached her, and prayed that I could wrap my hand around her gently. I had to be careful, because her beak was down in between the screening and the metal bar. If I was able to get her, I would have to slowly pull her up straight, as not to break her beak.
    I did it! I was able to put my right hand slowly around her, and gently as not to crush her. I pulled her straight up and set her into my left hand to rest. I was actually able to pet her and tell her it was alright. She was alright now. I slowly walked over to the opening of the gazebo, and she flew out. BUT she landed on an ornament we have (a hummingbird spinny thing). I knew she would get all cut up from it, because it’s metal. So once again, I put my hand around her gently and put her into my left hand, and she flew away!! Up Up Up!! I never knew they could fly that high. I watched her to make sure she was okay, and watched her until I could no longer see the spot in the sky!
    Isn’t that just amazing. Who in this world can say in their lifetime,that they could pet a hummingbird! I can now!!!

  3. says

    I would like to share an extraordinary story about the rescue of a distressed hummingbird by my son Douglas Specht July 2012.
    Doug was in his pole barn working and heard this loud distressed banging at the barn window. Upon investigating he found the hummingbird continually banging against the window trying to escape. Not knowing quite how to catch the hummingbird he decided to reach out his arm with the palm up toward the bird. The hummingbird flew to my son’s hand, landing on the palm then crawled into the cup of his hand, sitting still. Doug gently walked the bird toward the open barn door and left it fly away.

    This was an extraordinary happy ending for a very distressed little hummingbird. How unusual but I feel that the bird some how knew that my son was trying to help it. What a happy ending.

  4. John Kuenzle says

    Hi Nutty Birder
    I live in Elm Grove Wisconsin and for the last week of so there are 2 brown hawks who have been putting on a show for us here in late July and now August 3rd. The fly around making shrill calls to one another. I think they are red tailed hawks but I am not a birder. Isn’t this an unusual time for Hawks to be courting? Is it the drought? Just thought I’d ask.

  5. Jeannie Sparkman says

    A quote for the squirrel picture: “I am so glad summer vacation is over and the kids are back in school!”

  6. Arlene Passier says

    I want to submit a caption for the opossom sleeping in the birdhouse: “Could somebody, please, get me a pillow?”

    October/November 2012 issue

  7. says

    I have been on this website and finally gave up as to where to enter my
    “phrase” for the Opossum contest………….sorry but I finally gave up on
    locating the spot

  8. Sandy Balme says

    Blog: Captioned for Downward Spiral

    Ralph Really! you said we were going show skiing not snow sliding, you old coot.

  9. Sue Orlowski says

    Caption for female cardinal in downward spiral in Dec./Jan issue. Remember the song “Slip Slidding Away!” well, I think that fits!!!

  10. Virginia Pilecki says

    I have a question for anyone. I have a Coopers Hawk that visits my backyard alot. I have feeders out in my yard and he has just dicovered them. He has already gotten 2 piegons. He was out there the other day on the ground looking for the birds. My question is, Do I stop feeding the birds? I hate the thought of not seeing all my friendly birds, but if I must then I will. Worried in Michigan

  11. cheryl wiggins says

    I still have a rubythroat hummer using a nectar feeder in December.I have asked many different people what to do.It has been below 20 degrees here in kansas already.Two different bird experts said not to worry back in November she would leave . So now what? Does anyone have a opinion on whether she will leave if I take down the feeder?I have and she has a fit flying around like crazy.I don’t want to starve her but it is going to get tooo cold soon. Please help..

  12. Thea Anttila says

    “Blowing in the Wind” Photo from Feb/March 2013 issue:

    “Give me a partner and show me the steps. I’m heading to Dancing With the Stars!”

  13. joe says

    I saw bird can’t ID. I live in NW Ind.and in my crabapple tree where birds that appeared green _grey with black mask yellow border eyed the beak was parrot like? I thought they might be from Canada?

  14. says

    Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this website?
    I’m getting tired of Wordpress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  15. Mike Frampton says

    Looking for article that appeared in B&B a few years on how to keep larger birds out of feeders by building enclosure from 4×4 posts and rat wire. Looking for copy of plans. thank you

  16. mary jewett says

    I would like to submit a caption for the catbird fledglings…..Oh what a beautiful morning
    and for Edgar Jewett…..Ave Maria.

  17. Carol says

    I witnessed something I will probably not see again in my lifetime. – My husband and I had put up a birdhouse, not expecting anything to happen real soon. Within days we saw a bird entering, but it was too far away to tell what kind. The next day I grabbed my binoculars just in case a bird arrived. Soon I saw a chickadee sitting on the entry. My thought was it was much smaller than the bird I thought I’d seen. He entered the birdhouse. Then a male bluebird came. OH OH – He sat at the entry pecking and pecking at the chickadee. I thought, “If you kill him it is going to be very hard for you to get him out.” Pretty soon the bluebird entered the house and the chickadee shot out! YEW! “I’m free’ Soon the male bluebird exited and later we saw a female going in and out. “The right place at the right time!” We love watching the birds even if they are eating us out of house and home. :)

  18. BARBARA TRIPP says

    I am seeing a strange, bizarre occurrence with bluebirds…they are flying into my windows and doors, not hitting the glass, but just trying to “get in” the windows and doors. They try to perch on the edge of the window moulding, trying to grab hold of the frames, and just constantly keep doing this. I have never seen this happen before, especially with these birds..no other birds are doing this? Does anyone have an explanation for this strange behavior?

  19. Marnie Roberts says

    I just had an experience that I really want to share. We had a nut hatch hit our storm door window about an hour & half ago. We watch trying not to scare it while it recovered. It still hadn’t moved after an hour. Other birds came by to take a look at the bird but nothing happened. We just about resigned in thinking something was wrong with the poor creature when another nut hatch came along. It came up along side of the bird and both flew off together.

  20. robert abraham says

    Page 44 of the may issue . You don’t say Caption for female Cardinal photo. “Can’t you see, I am in my Wedding Dress!”

  21. Jaccie Uehling says

    I have an indigo bunting that keeps flying into my windows like he is trying to get in. He goes from one window to another and flys directly into it. He has been doing this for 3 days now. A female sits close and watches him. What can I do to help him? Is he really trying to get in? Is he looking for a place to make a nest for her? I really don’t want him to get hurt. He makes quite a thud when he hits the window.
    Thank you for your help

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