Sunday, January 30, 2011

Down the Path

As noted on my other blog I am on travel in the coming weeks, restoring my mind, soul,  and hopefully my body a little, providing I do not eat too much spicy jerk chicken washed down with too much rum!  This photo was taken in Japan many, many years ago and photo-shopped for this post, and unfortunately, I will not be going there.  I have hired two young boys to keep the bird feeders full while I am gone so be nice to them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dancing Grape

I rarely play this game but happened to have the perfect fit for Carmi's curve meme.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why the Caged Bird Pecks.

Once again my life was called upon for a rescue, partially my fault.  I stood up walking to the kitchen to heat some soup for lunch and heard a gentle thud outside against the window over the deck.  My stomach dropped as I had heard this familiar sound once or twice before during the years I have now lived here.  I looked out and down to the deck floor.  This lovely female downy woodpecker in the video above had hit our dining room window full force and then fell to the deck tucked beneath the railing at the edge.  She was there for about half a minute unmoving with her head bent awkwardly away from her body and down.  When I bent to gently pick her up, she revived suddenly and flew quickly away.  But she flew only a few yards and collapsed on the grass one story below, and then lay sprawled there with wings askew.  My heart was in my throat as I scanned the trees for hawks and as hubby ran down the steps.  He lifted her gently into his hands and brought her back up to the deck and we looked at her closely.  There was no blood and her wings did not appear to be broken and she was able to hold up her head.  Her eyes were half-closed and her beak was open as if panting either in shock or fear.  I brought her to the outside water dish and dropped some water down her beak from my fingers to see if I could revive her a little.  She gulped at the water and stuck out a little red tongue but made no effort to fly again.  

Growing more concerned as she did not resist being held, we put her in the bamboo cage that had been so perfect for use with the frozen and desperate waxwing we saved last year.  She refused to leave my husband's hand as he rested it on the cage floor with his arm barely fitting in the tiny door, and she sat there dozing off and on for about ten minutes in his palm.  Hubby wanted lunch and so we were going to attempt a transfer to my hand.  As we did that she awakened with a start and flew to the opposite side of the cage looking out at the sky and pecking at the bamboo bars.  I took this video quickly as she had miraculously come back to life.  We took the cage outside.  We had to catch her inside the cage to release her and she was a little resistant, but once she was placed on the deck table she looked around for a second or two and then flew high into the far oak trees across the ravine.  We both audibly sighed and smiled.

We immediately ( well after 30 minutes) left to drive up to the nearby landscape place to purchase a half dozen decals for my windows.

Later that afternoon and after the decals were in place, she was back at the suet feeder!  She appeared in very good health.  Her mate also visits the feeder, each day so we hope they will have a nice family this summer.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who, Who Are You?

This hawk, which I could not identify, was sitting at the edge of the backyard only 30 feet from the bird feeders.  We saw him upon our return to the house a few weekends ago.  He sat there with the snow falling on his shoulders looking out over the river, his back to the wind.  He must have heard our return to the house because he started to turn his head as I took this quick grainy photo from the window.  There were many birds eating calmly at the feeders to his left, so I am guessing this must not be a bird hawk of some kind.  He was pretty big.  I have seen the Cooper's hawk in the area and the birds totally disappear when he arrives.  He sat there for at least five minutes.  Any guesses?

P.S.  Cornell says this looks like a juvenile Red-Tailed hawk.  I did not ask them to ID as I am sure they get tons of photos...but since I am participating in the feeder count, they actually asked for the photo.   Good to know.

The photos above are part of  a "drive-by shooting" of what I think is a red-shouldered hawk.  As I was on my way to run errands, I saw him at the edge of the highway and I stopped suddenly and pulled the car over to catch this fellow (cropped and grainy) in his majestic glory in the trees above me.  He tolerated me for longer than I deserved as I had disturbed his hunt.  I have seen him in this same location several times this winter, so this roadside must be rich in varmints.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Red House Finch

All of these red house finch photos were shot through a they have that soft blurry inaccurate crispness going for them.  It was often too cold for me to go outside and wait for a good shot and I am getting less adventuresome on windy cold days.  The above was taken after our first winter snowfall this year.

This fellow above hid under the table waiting patiently for a Cooper's Hawk to leave the back yard which it eventually did.

And in most bird species the male is the pretty one.  So, here is the soft gray of the female finch at the feeder dish.  My goal is to get some good purple finch photos, but have not been as successful with that as we have only one pair visiting the feeder.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Duplex For Rent

Nestled in a quiet country setting with a spectacular water view, this duplex has just come on the market!  It won't last long with all its perfect features.  It has a warm southern exposure in the winter and gentle breezes in the summer from the river side.  It is only minutes from the bay and is tucked away in some of the most beautiful old forest growth in the area.  Nice neighbors throughout the area.  No long commutes to almost any area.  Available for rent or rent to own on a monthly, biannual or annual basis.  Land owner is most amenable to any arrangement.  Free food and water always available.  No credit check or income verification required.  Perfect for raising a family.  Terms include immediate occupancy.  Call Tabor from any tree if interested.  Small owls will be given first options.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


 Sometimes they share so nicely...
and sometimes they don't!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Poem in Double Vision

Looks like this is going to be a another bird post.  With the cold winter I hang around the bird feeder mostly these days.

Among the Sioux Native American nation the blue jay symbolizes double vision or clarity of vision.  It has something to do with the blue of the sky and the juxtaposition of the blue of the jay.  This photo of the tail shows how stunning  those blues can be.  You will hear a blue jay from quite a distance, although, since it mimics many calls including the hawk, you may not know that a blue jay is watching you.  All of my birds leave the feeders pretty rapidly when these jays show up including our red-bellied woodpecker.  They are bullies when food resources are low.  These birds look slim to me and not greedy eaters.

 This must be some confab regarding shopping for gifts as this was taken at the bird bath before the holidays.

All photos reduced in pixel size due to blogger limitations, of course.

I just love this dude's eyebrows.  He has that Gabby Hays, Wilfred Brimley, Sam Elliott thing going for him.  If I spoke jay like some of the Sioux, I am sure he could tell me many cool stories around the feeding dish.

Sunday, January 09, 2011


I reduced the pixel size on these and they are not as fun as they are in the original size, but I was so excited to see three of these flickers visit the bird bath in December. They are timid and usually remain in the woods.  As you can see the sky was snowing and it was COLD which is evident from their puffy chests. Their coloring reminds me of a gentlemen in silk pajamas with a nice black velvet ascot and some kind of red velvet sleeping cap...something from the era of Charles Dickens.  Under their wings like a silk lining of a smoking jacket is a striking golden yellow color that only appears when they fly.  They are large big as the biggest woodpeckers and that intimidating bill keeps the smaller birds away.

Be sure to click on the last photo for a closer look!  There is a tropical fish in the Pacific that is colored  in a similar manner with a belt and polka-dot bottom half like these birds. It is a cardinal fish.  When I lived in the South Pacific I always called them my pajama fish and I cannot think of this bird without thinking of the fish and the fish without the bird...odd person that I am.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Persistent Little Pest

At the start of this post, and hoping not to offend animal lovers everywhere, I want to write that I consider squirrels forest rats with bushy tails.  I do not like their 'soft brown eyes' and their 'perky' little ears, but instead, see them as persistent, annoying, greedy, self-indulgent hair balls that most closely resemble those opportunists that live in dirty city alleys.  They are home wreakers and smart enough to open garbage bins.  (I guess I have made myself clear.)  I actually keep one of those large squirt gun blasters on my drain board just to shoot this flying, leaping bedlam that tries to crawl through the wire protecting the hanging feeder, tries to remove the lid that is secured to the other hanging feeder and persistently tries to come up on the back deck and eat out of the Special Bird Dish I have set up for taking pictures of birds.  (If they are drinking out of the bird bath, which happens ever so rarely, I leave them alone.)  They have plenty to eat that falls to the ground and our acorn fall this year was phenomenal.  That is why I enjoyed with a chuckle watching these acrobatics the other day.

"Doesn't look that far away...wish this branch was stronger!  I know I do not need to lose weight!"

"Ooooo, I can smell those sunflower seeds.  Just a little closer...hang on."

"Ah Ha!  Success!  Now just need to get to those seeds."


Monday, January 03, 2011

Canada's Sweet Sparrow

Cornell says the white-throated sparrow's song is "Oh sweet Canada."   Their playground is mostly in Canada, but we do get them here much of the winter.  Their dramatic coloring makes them stand out among the brown sparrows of the continent.  This one has his full adult uniform on display.  Gotta love that yellow eye shadow!

The continual burning and logging of our forests insures habitat for these little singers.  According to the Smithsonian "Although white-throated sparrows are indeed common, they should by no means be considered ordinary. These sparrows exhibit a characteristic that is rare in birds, they show genetically-based plumage polymorphism. In other words, these sparrows come in two different color forms, or morphs."  

I actually counted about 15 of these beauties on the ground beneath this feeder, but never got a decent photo as they never sit still.  My new challenge is getting some better photos of this common bird.  Of course, in my yard, NO bird is common.

Below is a photo right after our second big snow the day after Christmas where he is quite fluffy!