Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Guide to Care for Baby Cardinals

Is it just me, or do cardinals remind you of the popular Angry Birds, too? Jokes apart, cardinals are very pretty songbirds that are found almost all over North America. The Cardinalis Cardinalis, also known as the Northern cardinal, redbird, and common cardinal, is a medium-sized bird with a crest on its head and a mask on its face.

The male cardinal is a very vibrant red in color, and has a black mask on its face. The female cardinal is a more sober, dull-brown in color, with a gray mask. These birds mark their territories through their songs. Sweet, eh

Unfortunately, birds are constantly fraught with some or the other kinds of risk―their nests can be destroyed because of felling of trees, cats, dogs, and bigger birds who are on the lookout for a feast, or a storm may not be very merciful to these little creatures. So, it cannot really be considered a big surprise if you come across a baby bird that needs help, but what can you do for it without putting it into further danger? In this Buzzle article, we’re going to discuss taking appropriate care of baby cardinals in particular.

Identifying a Baby Cardinal
To begin with, how can you identify a baby cardinal? We understand that you may get muddled between different types of little ones ’cause they do look somewhat similar, don’t they? Though there is a stark color difference between the male and the female cardinals, the young tend to look like their mothers before they get their feathers. Now, the possibility of you finding an abandoned feathered cardinal is almost nil. So, we’re attaching a picture of the young ones so that you know what they look like when you see them. Note the adorable father feeding his babies!

Taking Care of a Baby Cardinal
Taking care of a baby, be it of any kind, is no easy task. You need to make sure that everything you’re doing for the baby is going to be only beneficial, and not end up harming it. However, it is one of the most satisfying things you can do, and so, make sure you follow the guidelines given below to ensure your little cardinal is well-taken care of.

Important things to remember
First and foremost, please bear in mind that possession of a wild bird without a licensed permit is illegal in America. Don’t be tempted to keep a baby cardinal with you only because you’re attached to it or you want a pet, you could get into serious trouble for doing so. Get involved in taking care of a wild bird (including cardinals) only and only when there is no other way out. We don’t mean to sound heartless, but if you feel the bird can fend for itself, let it be.

Really.

Get in touch with your local wildlife sanctuary, wildlife rehabilitation center, or even the vet, who may be able to help you further. These centers are well-trained and licensed to take care of the birds much better than any of us are. They might not have a pick-up service, but see if they agree to take the bird. You should try raising the baby cardinals on your own only if they refuse to help or admit the bird.

Identifying if a baby cardinal is abandoned
Before concluding that the bird is abandoned or orphaned, perhaps it would be a good idea to get all our facts straight. Check if the baby cardinal has begun to feather or not. If it has opened it eyes, has begun to feather, and is hopping around on the ground, there’s a good chance that it hasn’t been abandoned, but is learning to fly. Babies tend to fall from their nests, from where they eventually learn how to take flight through little hops and jumps. If you feel the cardinal is in danger from being nicked by a cat or dog, try to keep the vicinity free from these predators, or simply move the bird to a low-rise branch or bush.

In case the baby cardinal has not opened its eyes yet, and you find it on the ground, try looking around for a nest. It is a very popular myth that a mother bird will not accept the babies once a human has touched them. Birds have a poor sense of smell and can rarely understand if a human has touched the young ones or not. Don’t disturb the nest, but leave the bird in it, and don’t stay in the immediate vicinity as you might scare the parents off.

Handling
When handling baby cardinals, be very careful. Once you’ve decided to raise it on your own, pick it up gently in your cupped hand and don’t hold them by their legs or wings. Don’t make loud noises around the baby birds, it may greatly disturb them. In case the baby cardinal is squirming or jumping, gently restrain it by holding its lower neck between your thumb and forefinger. However, we repeat, be very, very, very gentle.

Enclosure
Place the baby cardinal in a warm, comfortable area of the house. A box or a similar container can make a good house for the little bird. Put some shredded newspapers or uneven pieces of cloth to give it a nest-like feel. Flat surfaces are said to harm baby birds. Making your DIY nest with hay or straw may not be a good idea as the moisture in it will cause the bird to get really cold. Change its bedding regularly.

To keep the baby cardinal warm, you can either place a heating pad set on low under the box (not inside the enclosure in any case) or place a lamp at quite some distance from the bird’s box. This will ensure that the baby cardinal receives enough warmth, just like it would have if it had been in its own nest.

Feeding baby cardinals
When it comes to feeding baby cardinals, again, be very careful. Some people believe that feeding milk through droppers is ideal, but this is not the case. Baby cardinals, in fact, birds, do not have dairy as a part of their natural diet, and mother birds do not nurse their young. Don’t ever try feeding the baby cardinal milk or lactose products as it will do more harm than good.

You can soak cat food or dog food in water, and then feed it to the bird in a mashed form. You can even make a paste with your blender. The easier it is for the baby cardinal to eat, the better. Contrary to popular belief, bread is not a good feeding option. As the baby grows older, you can introduce it to things like mealworms and other items which it will find outdoors such as berries or seeds. Feed using tweezers or a dropper, depending upon how old it is. Feed the bird about every 20-30 minutes, but don’t force it in any way.

You mustn’t give the baby cardinals water. Its water needs will be fulfilled through the moist food that you give it. Ask a vet for assistance when it comes to fulfilling the bird’s water needs.

Once you see that your bird has begun to eat on its own, stop feeding it with your hands. You need to remember that it has to return to the wild, your hand-feeding habits, though out of sheer concern, will not help it survive outdoors.

Release
As it begins to eat on its own, move it into a bigger cage or enclosure, and place that outdoors (in a safe place, of course, or a cat might get to it) so that the bird is used to the sights and sounds of the wild. Once you can see that the bird does not need you for food, let it go. We understand that this separation will be extremely hard, but it is for the best. Cardinals belong in the wild. You don’t have to physically let it go on your own, just leave its enclosure open so that it flies away on its own. It might keep coming back to the cage for food and water, but you’ll know that it has successfully adjusted into the wild once it stops visiting.
Remember, possession of any kind of wild bird, including cardinals, is illegal. The best thing you can do if you find an orphaned baby cardinal is to contact the local animal shelter or wildlife rehabilitation center, as they are well-trained and well-aware of what needs to be done and how. Also, make very sure that the bird is orphaned or abandoned, or your efforts might actually be depriving the cardinal from its natural habitat.

Tips for Back Exercises with Resistance Bands

download-8For fitness fanatics and exercise enthusiasts, a resistance belt is a great alternative to free weights and dumbbells. Resistance bands are very effective for carrying out exercises that target and strengthen the upper body in particular, so using them for strengthening the muscle groups in the back is a very good option. There are several different back exercises that can be performed with the help of these bands, and the best part is that the person using the bands has the flexibility to perform these exercises at any time that he sees fit.

Exercises with resistance bands need to be performed very slowly and under controllable circumstances, as doing so strengthens the muscles more. Moreover, the shorter the band, the greater the tension, and this will in turn increase the effectiveness of the workout.

There are many different back exercises that can be performed with the help of a resistance band, and the intensity with which these exercises are performed and the variations that can be incorporated will depend entirely on the person who is using the band. People who have a severe distaste for using free weights, people who have had some back injuries and are nursing their way back to full fitness, and even people who just want to perform a quick workout at home or at the office, will benefit from the back exercises mentioned in this Buzzle article.

Upper Back Exercises Using Resistance Bands

Row
For this particular exercise, you need to hold the ends of the band after it has been placed around a tree, a pillar, a fence or any other heavy object. You will need to stand upright and lower your shoulders first, and then pull the band and make your elbows bend as far as possible. Then you will need to slowly straighten out your elbows again and go back to the original position. Ensure that your feet are placed properly so that you do not lose your balance while performing the exercise. Another way of performing this exercise is to keep your feet, shoulder width apart, and stand on the resistance band, and then bend down slightly and pull the ends of the band upwards.

Reverse Lat Pulldown
This upper back exercise is similar to the previous exercise, the only difference being that the object around which the band is pulled will be above your head. As a result, you will be standing below the resistance band and then pulling it inside towards you. The posture and the technique will remain the same as in the previous case.

Lat Pulldown
In this scenario, you will be in the same position as the reverse lat pulldown. The only difference here is that when you pull the band and bend your elbows, your palms will be facing downwards. In the previous case, your palms had to face upwards as you pulled the band towards you. All of these exercises are very effective for strengthening the upper back, and the deltoids in particular.

Stiff Arm Pulldown
The resistance band will again be pulled around an object that is higher than you. For this exercise, you will need to pull the band downwards till both your arms are right beside you. The elbows will not need to be bent in this case, and you will know that you are performing the exercise correctly if your wrists come in line with your belly button, when you pull the band down. These are just a few of the many back exercises without weights, that can be performed.

Lower Back Exercises with Resistance Bands

Side Bend
In order to perform this exercise, you will need to place one foot on the resistance band and then hold both the ends of the band right above that foot itself. Keep the band short so that you can increase the tension as you pull it till your waist. Now you will need to laterally bend towards the side of the foot that is above the band, and then revert to your original position. You will need to repeat this exercise with the other foot as well.

Lower Back Extension
You will need to sit on a chair and then place both your feet on the band, shoulder width apart. Grab the ends of the band and leave your hands near your ankle on both sides, and bend down so that your chest touches your knees. Now you must slowly sit back upright while allowing the band to get stretched further, and then go back to the crouched position for the next repetition.

Squat
Like regular squats, this exercise will also work on the muscles in your lower back. The first thing you will need to do is step on the band with your feet, shoulder width apart. Then you will need to hold both ends of the band and perform a squat like you would without the band. You must try to keep your hands straight, and you will feel the strain on your lower back when you come back to your original standing position. Alternately, you can also hold the ends of the resistance band and then lift your hands till your chest, before you perform the squat.

Lunge
Like squats, lunges can also be performed with the help of a resistance band, in order to further aid the muscles of the lower back. You will need to place one foot on the band and then hold both the ends in your hands, and then perform a regular lunge. If your right leg is on the band, then you will need to lower your body (keeping your back erect and straight) until the right thigh is parallel to the ground, and then come back to your original position.

Apart from these, there are plenty more variations that can be added as well. The flexibility and the options that resistance bands provide are unmatched, and their effectiveness is also undoubted. So it would be highly beneficial for someone who does not want to use free weights but wants a good workout for their back, to get one.

Ways to Do a Barbell Row

download-7Most of us suffer from weak backs due to various reasons. The most common of the reasons is bad posture. For a strong back and to build strength both in the upper as well as the lower back, the best exercise is the barbell row. It not only helps in building strength, but it also helps the body to stabilize. We will see the importance of doing the barbell row exercise before we focus our attention on technique to do a barbell row.

Importance of Barbell Row Exercise

How often has it happened that your barbell exercise routine consists of different bench press variations? These exercises are horizontal pressing exercises, but there are hardly any exercises for horizontal pulling motions. This is one of the primary reason that the barbell row exercise has to be included in your exercise routine. Doing the barbell row proves to be of great help in playing combat sports, due to the pulling motion involved in the exercise. The look of the back muscles also changes, as the barbell rows help in adding muscle to the upper back. Doing barbell row exercises helps in working the latissismus dorsi, trapezius, upper arm and also the posterior deltoid muscles. In other words, it is a great exercise for mass building.

How to Do Barbell Rows Correctly

Stand with shoulder width distance between your feet. Place the bar in front of you on the floor. Bend down at a 45 degree angle from your waist, with your knees bent slightly. Hold the barbell with your palms facing down. Grip the bar such that your hands are a little more than shoulder width wide. Now slowly lift the barbell in front of your knees. As you try to lift the barbell closer to your bellybutton, bend your elbows. Lift the barbell till it comes closer to your chest as you squeeze the back muscles. Lower the barbell slowly and place the barbell on the floor and repeat the exercise again.

Some Tips on Doing the Barbell Rows

Along with how to do a bent over barbell row, there are a few tips you will want to follow when you are doing the barbell row. It is recommended that you place the barbell on the floor after every repetition. Never hold the barbell with an underhand grip when you do barbell rows. When you are doing the exercise, make sure you use the upper back muscles to do the exercise. Never use the lower back muscles to do this exercise, as you will not only ‘NOT’ work the upper back muscles, for which the exercise is aimed at, but there are chances that the exercise will cause injuries to the lower back muscles as well.

When your elbows are bent, they should point to the ceiling and not behind you. During each of the repetition, you will have to ensure that your upper back is parallel to the ceiling. Your back should not be slanting or your arms should not be hanging with dead weight. When you are doing this exercise, make sure you are looking at the floor and not at the mirror in front of you, lest it causes neck pain. When you are doing an upright barbell row, make sure your abs are engaged. The barbell should be lifted using muscle power only. If you try to yank up the weights, there are chances that you will end up hurting yourself.

One can also do reverse grip barbell rows, however, it is best to practice the exercise with a trainer. I hope with this write up, you now know how to do a barbell row. When you are new to the exercise, it is best to have a spotter around when you do the exercise, so that you do not make any mistake while doing the exercise and hurt yourself.

Ways to Use Water Exercises for Back Pain

Water exercises have become very popular in the last few years. There are a number of reasons for the same. One of the most prominent reasons for these exercises to have become popular is that they cause almost no impact on the joints, where most of the injuries are located and in turn help in the healing process. Doing the water exercises for back pain, not only help in getting rid of back pain, but also strengthen the muscles in the back, hip and core, all of which have an important role to play in strong spine. If you have to closely observe the back exercises, one will see that movements are resisted by the water flow, which causes the muscles to strengthen.

Tips on How to Do Aqua Exercises to Treat Back Pain

When one exercises in water, the weight of the body is supported by the water, which in turn brings relief from a stiff and painful back. Also since the weight is taken care of, a wide range of motion can be performed with ease. Like is the case with all forms of exercise, warming up is a ‘must’ while exercising in water as well. The warm up session should be at least of 5 minutes in duration and it should be done before entering water. It will prove beneficial on three accounts, namely breathing pattern, body temperature and heart rate. Although one exercises in the water, staying hydrated is necessary while doing the water exercise. To deal with back injuries, it is advisable to exercise in warm water, so that the back is comfortable. It will help in relaxing the muscles, better blood circulation and also loosen the tightened muscles of the back. All of which will contribute to faster healing process.

Aquatic Exercises for Back Pain

Water Squat
One of the water exercises for lower back pain are the water squats. These are similar to the squats performed on land. Stand at about one foot distance from the wall of the pool with shoulder width distance between both your feet. Activate your core and the abdominal muscles and slowly lower yourself as you slide down to come into a squatting position with your thighs parallel to the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds and slowly come back to the starting position.

Standing Leg Raises in Water
Stand in about chest deep water, but closer to some kind of support. Lift the leg up that is not closer to the wall in water and hold for about 5 to 10 seconds. Slowly lower the leg, but place the foot on the opposite foot and repeat the exercise 10 to 12 times, before you turn and repeat the exercise with the opposite leg.

Knee to Chest in Water
This exercise should be done by standing closer to the side of the pool. Balance all the weight on the left leg, which should be bent a little in the knee. Now slowly extend the right leg in front of you, as you use the side of the pool for support. Gradually bring the right knee closer to the chest and then extend it out straight again, but do not lower it. Repeat the exercise 8 to 10 times before you switch sides.

Pull Ups in Water
This is one of the water exercises for upper back pain. Many people find it difficult to perform this exercise on land, however, the buoyancy of water will make the exercise easy to be performed. Place your hands about shoulder width apart from one another on the edge of the pool. Now gradually bend your knees and lift your legs off the floor as you slowly try to straighten your arms out. Then gently pull the shoulders behind and bend the arms in the process to pull oneself up. Try to lift yourself, till your chin is above the edge of the pool. Slowly release and repeat the exercise.

These were some of the aqua exercises for back pain. If you suffer from acute back pain, then it is advisable to consult your physiotherapist before you do these exercises. Taking your pain into consideration, he will be able to recommend the right exercises for you.