Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

July 28, 2022

Listen to Your Brain

Last week I went for a walk after cleaning out some nearby nest boxes.  My ears quickly tuned into the screeching sounds of a red-tailed hawk.  As I listened and followed, I could tell there was more than just one.  I recognized the cries of a couple juveniles and two adults.  Oh sweet!

I found the birds in and around a school sports field.  A bird on the roof, one on a hydro post, one on a goal post (all 3 were juveniles) and I soon was able to spot both parents hiding in the woods just off to the west.  Their calls were distinct of adult red-tails or what some believe to be vultures and eagles in old television shows and movies.  Maybe they still use the call of the red-tail in current films?  I'm not sure.

The young birds gave me great views and photo opportunities.  Unfortunately I only had my macro lens on which isn't very good for taking pictures of anything at a distance.  I tried to take some of one but was convinced none of the photos would turn out with this lens.  Actually, looking at this photograph, it really isn't too bad for a freehand shot using a macro lens.  What do you think?

I texted Angie about the cool discovery and told her that I would return the next morning with my big lens.  I watched the hawks a little longer and then headed for home.  As I got to the house, my brain started drilling into my head to grab the 500 mm lens and go back.  Why wait until tomorrow  They are there now, so close to home.

I listened to my brain and am so glad that I did.  I had an amazing encounter watching them for another half hour or so.  Plus, it turned out that I got busy the next morning and couldn't get over to see them.  I did return the day after and while I saw them all again, none were showing well or sitting low like that first day.  You will see what I saw in the photos below.

One hanging out on the goal post in the sports field.

He had a good preening session after the light showers through the morning.

He tolerated my presence, though I wasn't close, having my 500 mm lens.  I'd say it was because he is young and curious; and not okay with humans.

Another was up on this hydro post near the school, just screaming away.

I could hear both adults calling back from the woods to the south and west of here but neither could be seen due to the full trees.  I imagine they were warning calls to me wandering around but who knows for sure, it's not like I could climb this pole and get their kid (but they don't know that).

The young birds did fly to various spots while I was there.  They flew well.  They landed well on these "perches" but coming to ground was a different story...  they landed like Woodstock from the Peanuts as it was more of a crash landing and a tumble; I see the young peregrines do the same thing early on.

This one came to ground and put on a lovely "show" for me, which was like the grand finale, because after this encounter, I left the scene.

What a beauty!  It's hard to believe that this is a young hawk and is still very dependent on his mom and dad for care.

He walked around this area, finding pieces of squirrel to feed upon.  I also saw some rabbit parts too!

As his parents and siblings screeched and screamed, he called back.

I took a couple short videos of the birds, letting you tune into what I heard as well as saw.

Here is the one on the post.

The one on the ground.  

My cats aren't fond of these hawk calls.

I've been by the area a couple times since and have seen and heard the birds.  They are flying high and staying off the ground now.  It was like a brief fledge watch for me, only with hawks this time.

It was a reminder to me that we should embrace the moments in front of us, especially with nature, because they will not be repeated.  Listen to your brain is the only title that I could come up with.

June 27, 2022

This Opossum

Late in 2021 a tail-less Virginia opossum was appearing on my trail camera.  It was sometime in October that I first noticed her.

Any time after that first cam capture, I was happy to see her again.  Even with run ins with massive raccoons, she kept visiting.

Even as the temperature dropped and the snow was staying on the ground in late December, she was still coming around.  I had set up a small shelter down back that she sometimes used, or it was used by another like in the shot below (that's her in the forefront).  She disappeared after this night.  I kept looking out for her but she wasn't coming around.  I never forgot about her but the hope to see her again faded as we moved through the winter months.  As you may know, opossums are wanderers and I assumed she did just that, wandered off despite having food and shelter here

Then surprisingly she returned about 5 months later.  I wondered where she had gone for all those months but was very happy to see her back.  While we never named this opossum, she became one of the stand out individuals of the backyard.

Funny thing as time passed, the captures of her on the camera showed her belly getting bigger and actually dragging along the ground.

Here she is with another not that you really need a comparison.

Seeing this "development", I knew she was either pregnant or carrying young in her pouch.  I spent more time watching out for her, both with time spent out back after work, and as well as keeping the camera set up near the gate to our backyard.  I was fortunate enough to see her with my own eyes one night and I took a very short video.  Please give this a view, it's only 6 seconds.  Look at that waddle!

I threw her part of an apple, to which she took, and then I went into the house.  As much as I loved seeing her, I am confident the feeling wasn't mutual.  The trail camera was set up for the night.  Look at what the cam caught 90 minutes after I saw her.

Holy shit!  That's a baby opossum on her back!  Here is the image cropped.

This is something that I have always wanted to see with my own eyes, a mother opossum carrying a baby (or babies) on her back.  I borrowed this image from a quick Google search, helping some of you understand why I would really like to see this...

Seeing this on the cam, and so soon after I saw her for myself, drove me nuts (in a good way).  Believe me that the next week, I was spending a lot more time sitting outside after dark, quietly, waiting.  I never got lucky to see her for myself.  A couple nights there was teasing captures as she came in for a drink but then would turn around and leave back up the walkway, and I wouldn't see much of her from the shots.

Of course another opossum was coming around more now, and I even saw him for myself too.  Don't it figure?!?!

What was he seemingly snarling at through the gate?

Another short video you can see if you are on Facebook, I made the link public.  This happened one night as I sat on the deck steps waiting.  I was initially excited to see this opossum, but not as much once I realized it wasn't her; then I just got back into the moment and see him nonetheless.  Opossums are awesome!  Link here.

This past Saturday I set the camera up in another spot, right along the path between our house and next door's.  Look who finally showed up again.  Mom-op!

I think she looks thinner.  What do you think?

I'll be keeping watch, but that's what I do 365 days out of the year anyway.  This was probably it for 2022 (I cannot believe July is just days away).  Knowing we had one out there is almost as cool as seeing it.

We do all we can to make our property more inviting to the wild ones.  2022 was our best winter for having a screech owl here, a raccoon had her babies in our dog house this past spring and now this opossum.  Not that I am giving up on this opossum wish, but I do wonder what may be next?

June 21, 2022

I'm Tired - Part Two

Here we go with the next installment of why I am so tired...

Last Monday (June 13th) I saw a post on a pigeon page I am on where someone reported seeing a dozen or so fancy pigeons in a parking lot less than 10 minutes from our home.  It is believed that they were just dumped there and the birds have stayed, all together, as they have no where else to go and no idea what to do (since they were captive raised and been given food and water their whole lives).  I saw something like this years ago out at the Scarborough Bluffs and over the next couple weeks the birds were being picked off by the local hawks.

Since this was so close to home, I had to see this with my own eyes.  I went fairly early one morning and was shocked to see 11 beautiful birds hanging out in this small parking lot.

Oh, look at them, especially that one in the forefront.  Those feathery legs!

Who could have done something like this?

There was a lot of talk on the pigeon page about what to do.  Everyone agreed that they should not be left out on the street.  People were already starting to bring the birds food and bowls of water.  Someone brought a large cage to try and bait them into.  A large animal carrier was also brought to the site.  We had a few really humid days last week so people really dedicated themselves to making sure that they had fresh water sources.  A lot of "arm chair critics" gave their 2 cents on what to do with the birds, how to catch them but none of these people ever physically came out.  I know some couldn't because of how far away they lived but some others, well, they probably could have made a trip if they really wanted to do something.

My first visit to the site had me step out of the car and watch the birds, take some photos and then feel them out.  I walked indirectly towards them, seeing how they would react.  You know, not straight at them, but more like on an angle and trying to pass them, see if they flush or not.  I lightly threw handfuls of seed on the ground every few steps; hoping the birds would pick up on this and not see me as a threat.  They did not feed nor did they flush and just watched me with some curiosity.  I left the site and carried on with my day, you know that work thing.

I returned that evening, arriving around 10:30 PM.  I saw a few birds up on the roof and found one sleeping on the ground in the parking lot.  I parked my car in the first spot, grabbed my rescue towel, made sure my carrier was ready if I needed it, and then started to sneak up on this sleepy bird.  I was rocking my whole "act like a ninja" imitation as I quietly approached.  I was no less than 3 feet from him when he suddenly opened his eyes, looked up at me and I thought "OH SHIT!" and quickly threw my towel over him.  Unfortunately the pigeon got out from under and started running.  These fancy birds aren't like the feral birds that I am used to seeing (common city birds).  These fancies fly differently because of their unique feathering, plus when they fly it is really noisy too.  The bird couldn't get height and I managed to get my towel over him two more times but he escaped both times before I could grab him.

The bird upped his game and ran under my car.  It was there that he finally stopped.  If he was at the front of the car and I bent down to look at him from the same end, he would turn around and head towards the back.  Then do the same when I went to the back end to look at him.  After a few minutes I had an idea where I took out just about everything from the Mazda, stuff like my lunch bag, a grocery bin, a cooler, some towels, two hoodies, a rain coat.  I placed these things at various spots just under the car so it limited the pigeon's escape routes.  I then knelt down and tried to flush him out with my towel.  The bird made a break for it, running out towards the building and trying to fly away.  He got air but couldn't get the height so he tried to land on some of the window framing at the main entrance just below the roof.  He couldn't get hold of it and came tumbling down almost at my feet where I finally grabbed him.  He came home with me, spending the night in the car, and early the next morning I brought him inside and put him in our spare bird cage.  I gave him a dish of water and spread some seed on the bottom.  Then I left him be for a while to get his bearings.

I had already named him Mr. Feather Legs.  I had no idea if the bird was a male or not, but whatever... although I have met some people who really seem to have an issue if you don't properly sex a wild animal.  Yes, I am serious.

Look at Mr. Feather Legs.  Isn't he pretty?

In the meantime, I was communicating with people about where to place him.  As much as I wanted to keep him here, we aren't ready to have such a bird in the house.  Merry and Molly wouldn't be able to contain their curiosity about such a creature here.  They were a handful with our last budgie Moonie, having to lock them up in the bedroom every afternoon so Moonie got some time on the table at the window.  A bigger bird would really drive them bonkers.  That would be stress on us and more importantly stress on the bird.  I don't have an outside coop.  I don't know if this breed can withstand the elements, both the humidity in the summer and the extreme cold in the winter.

A home was found rather quickly for Mr. Feather Legs and the gentleman lives 5 minutes from my work.  I took that as a sign that was where he should go.  I drove him out there that day and got to see this man's little flock.  He also gave "my" bird a look over and showed me how caked his toes were in hard feces.  It's obvious his previous owner did not take very good care of him.  He was also missing a few tail feathers which is indication that something tried to catch him, maybe a cat or ???

Mr. Feather Legs looked rather content surrounded by these other birds.  He stood straight and proud, like "look at me!" and he's doing well almost a week later.  He's eating, drinking and making his way around the coop, either in the sheltered area or out to the aviary section.

I've been back to the site many times since then, both earlier in the morning and later in the evening.  The birds are quite skittish towards people so catching them isn't going to be an easy thing.  Through all my visits since, I haven't pursued them.  I had one opportunity another night where I was driving into the parking lot and noticed one of the birds standing on the sidewalk along the main road.  What the heck?  It's 10:30 PM and here he is, wide awake, on the ground.  Unfortunately before I could even try to grab him, he flushed due to a dog walker.

A few other people have been monitoring the birds but they too realize that rescuing any of them is not going to be easy.  Initially we all were very concerned about them but now we've accepted that we can't help them if they don't want the help.  It's unfortunate that they weren't hand raised and more accepting to humans.  It's now turned into just visiting them when one's heart desires, see how they are doing, if any look ill or are grounded, and enjoy them.  They really are beautiful birds.  I don't know any of the breeds though.  A few of us are keeping a thread going on the pigeon page about the site, reporting what we see.  Pigeon lovers unite!

Other than on that page, where the site address was posted, I haven't released the location anywhere publicly.  That's just me and my paranoia about someone coming over and fucking around with the birds, chasing them, trying to catch them or maybe get pretty photos and not keeping their distance.  The birds have enough food/water givers right now.

So ya, I'm tired from the stress I put on myself about these birds that first week.  7:30 AM visits and then back at 10:30 PM daily.

How about I show you some more of the flock.  If you know any of the breeds, please add a comment at the end of the blog.  I would really appreciate it.

I call this bird Prince Pretty, a nick name for a wrestler named Tyler Breeze.  He wore a lot of feathery boots when coming into the ring.  I wonder what he would think about a pigeon being named after him?  Hopefully not wanting to come to my house and suplex me.  Hahahaha!

Meet Braveheart.  One of the others who has been concerned over these birds gave him the name.  The first day she met him, he was the shyest of the birds she saw, keeping his distance and not even looking at her or anyone else.  Then, the next day she saw him, he was the only one to come down for food, being the brave one.  Hey, you gotta make up your own fun in this life and our adventure here.  Besides naming some of these birds makes it easier for us with future reports about how they are doing.  So, here he is.  If it weren't for those legs, you'd think he was just some feral pigeon as his body looks like some of the common city birds we see.

Next up is Ace.  I just named him that.  I was going to go with Bowie because of his glam look but the whole black and white colouring drew me to a KISS member name.  When I was watching him fly around last night, I watched him almost hit the window as he was going for the roof top.  As I already mentioned, some of these fancy birds aren't the best fliers.  I don't know if it is due to their feathering or ???  I'm just starting to understand how some of these birds "work", tumblers, high flying roller pigeons, etc.  

I don't have a name for this bird yet but I am very smitten with him.  I love his appearance as a whole.  The colour pattern, that crown thing on his head.  I look out for him every time I go to see them.  Such a clean bird too compared to some of the others, nice red feet that aren't covered in crap.

While I have my couple favourites, to be honest, it's hard to pick out who to look at and ooooooooo and awwwwww over.  They're all so pretty and unique.  I don't understand how someone could have these birds and then just turn them loose.  Another rumour floating around is that they all were released for some kind of ceremony.  Initially we thought there was maybe a dozen but last night's visit had me count 20 fancy pigeons.  What the hell?!?!  Have more been added or did I just miss them the first time out?

But wait, there's more...

I guess if no more of these birds get "rescued" and they start mingling with the local feral birds, we may end up with a lot of very unique pigeons in the coming months.

I know I put this fatigue all on myself but I cannot help it.  That's me.  I care.  Most know to never say to me "it's just a pigeon".  Angie has kinda laughed at this whole thing, stating that there's never a dull moment with me.  I had left her a big hand written note about Mr. Feather Legs when I brought him home that night.  I didn't want her to find out on social media.  She felt bad for him as well as all the others.  It's lead us to have some conversation about having a pigeon coop out back, be it for me to have a pair of birds, or as a place to temporarily keep ones that need help.  Let's see if that comes to light one of these days.

I will continue to check in on these birds over the next while, not daily, but at least a couple times a week.  The parking lot they hang out in gets pretty busy during weekdays.  Contractors have started redoing the roof but this hasn't scared the birds away so far.

Perhaps another update in due time.  Please wish them the best with this new found freedom they have.

June 18, 2022

I'm Tired - Part One

It's been a busy couple weeks although anyone reading this might think it has been a busy couple months since I have not blogged since April.  Eventually I will backtrack and get to some older bits but let's get right into this one now...

I'm tired.  Aren't we all?  They say if you're an adult and you aren't tired, you're not doing it right.  There is some truth to that I think.  My fatique right now is a good one I suppose.  It started off a couple weeks ago with the yearly peregrine falcon fledge watch at our local site in Etobicoke.  I found myself waking up at 5:30 AM for a few weekday mornings, being at the watch by 6 AM, and spending on average 3 to 3.5 hrs monitoring.  I was basically relieved by fellow watcher Bruce who certainly is a blessing to the birds with his devotion to them.  It was nice seeing Bruce through the watch as it had been a couple years now since we last hung out.  Covid is part to blame, needed at other falcon nest sites is another.  My good friend Lucie who lives down the street from us also joined at the site from mid-day through the end.  We had a few visits throughout as well.  It's nice to have a few dedicated people that I can call friends, and our friendships developed a lot because of the falcons.

Anyway, one morning I was diverted from our nest site to assist at another one not too far from us up in Rexdale at William Osler hospital.  It was reported that a bird had been sitting on a low fence near the old emergency entrance.  Of course by the time I arrive the bird had gone elsewhere.  Ain't that the way?  A maintenance worker who had called in the bird met up with me and we searched the grounds.  We managed to locate a couple other birds but had no idea if either was the bird we were looking for.  The birds are banded, they have temporary tape colours on their legs but this man unfortunately did not see the tape as the bird was sitting and covering it's legs.  One of the birds was high up, so probably not the one we were looking for.  Another was on an upper walkway not nearly as high up, but still at least 25 to 30 ft above ground.  Was this the bird?  I called Marion at CPF to discuss this bird and where it was.  I thought it was in an okay spot but was looking for some reassurance.  After sending a couple photos and a short video to Marion, she felt we need not worry about this bird.  I told her I would do a couple walks around the building and hopefully get all 4 kids before I had to leave (note, it was Angie's birthday).

A walk around the most southern part of the hospital had me definitely find the bird we were looking for.  He was on a low ledge about 6 ft above my head.  A great view but out of my reach.  As I looked at this bird and tried to figure out what I was going to do, an audience was gathering behind me.  A lot of admirers, to the bird of course, and a lot of chit chat and questions.  I have said it more than a few times that I need Angie with me at these watches just for public relations.  She can answer the questions and I can try to do the rescue.  It was nice to see all these people who were aware of the birds and had care and concern for them.  One thing they really need though is an education on fledge watches and all that goes with it, from the young getting into trouble to the rescues we sometimes have to do, oh and when we just need to monitor and assess a situation and not necessarily have to grab the bird.

Here is the juvenile peregrine falcon that I found.  What a beautiful bird!

I had someone offer to help.  I still hadn't a real plan in mind on how to grab this bird.  She went inside to get a large towel and thankfully the crowd dispersed as these people were about to start their shift.  Now it was just me and the bird.  We're looking at each other.  I tried to throw my towel up at it and hope that it would lose balance and come down to my feet.  The bird quickly backed up and the towel came back down to me.  Before I had another shot it left the ledge, flew right over my head and did a long flight southeast across the parking lots and then landed on someone's house quite some distance away.  So no rescuing this bird but seeing it fly like this told me that it didn't need rescuing.  The girl returned with the towel, I explained what had just happened and told her it should be fine and find it's way back here later in the day.  Then I got in my car, paid for my parking (hospital parking isn't cheap!) and was heading out.  Suddenly there was the same girl flagging me down.  I stopped, rolled down my window and she says "remember how you told me to look for coloured tape on the birds' legs?  Well I just found a falcon leg."  I said "What do you mean a leg?"  She's like "Come, I will show you, there's a leg on the walkway with green tape".  I park the car again and follow her to the leg.  It turned out to be a pigeon leg that had a green band on it.  PHEW!  Well, shitty for the pigeon but falcons have to eat too.  She was relieved to learn what this was as well.  As I was saying goodbye, she mentioned to me that the falcon we were after was in the same spot a day earlier.  I said "interesting" and left it at that other than telling her it flies well so to just keep an eye on it.

Here's a pigeon with a leg band so you get the idea.

This turned out to be an exhausting morning as I didn't expect to be up at Osler today, especially when I was already down at our Islington and Bloor site by 6 AM.  I decided to take the day off from work and spend the afternoon and evening with Ang.

The next morning I am up early once again, and had it in my head to go up to the hospital for a quick head check of the birds before going to our site.  What the woman said to me about this one being in the same spot for a couple days now had my overthinking brain tell me that maybe it's not strong enough to get back up to the roof tops with its family.

As I left the house and started driving, my brain said "go to Issy and Bloor first".  I don't have arguments with myself so I just went with my inner voice and rerouted down to our site first.

After scanning the roof tops and looking for our falcons (only spotting one), I did a walk around the buildings, checking every nook that I know of where they could be if they came down.  I used all the reflective glass to my advantage, scoping the upper mezzanine level that I cannot access without permission.  Everything looked clear.  I had circled my way around all the towers and was content that nobody was on the ground when suddenly I heard angry robins just up the road at the condos adjacent to the nest.  I followed the sounds and it was there that I found this bird.

A juvenile peregrine falcon sitting on a ledge just over the entrance to an underground parking garage.  Hoo boy!  The bird watched me as I watched it.  I snapped a couple photos with my mobile device as I assessed the situation.  I carry my camera way less during fledge watches these days.  It's too heavy and restricting, plus I just don't take as many pictures these days.  Funny I say that and here is another picture of the bird.  HA!

I think I will do a cheat here and just copy my post about the moment that I put on social media later that day.  Sorry to anyone who read that post.

Here we goooooooo! First falcon rescue of the year at our Islington and Bloor nest site.
I found the bird around 6 AM this morning sitting near a ramp to an underground parking area just east of the nest tower. He was eye level with me from the sidewalk but shrubs and a metal railing separated us.
I walked around to the ramp and from here he was above my head. Great! I should mention that I hadn't had a coffee yet.
I figure this is my best spot to try and catch the bird. Fight or flight. Let's see where this goes.
I try to jump up and get my towel over him. First shot was a fail. Now the bird is totally pissed at me. Wings flaring out, hissing and spitting at me. I try the towel again. I get it over him this time but he quickly gets out before I can climb up and grab him.
There was a pause. We're making eye contact. I swear he gave me a big "F you man!" and then flew over my head, gliding down the ramp and into the underground as the door was open. Wonderful! What fresh hell are we going into down there?
Bird is quickly inside the underground, disappeared around the corner and I'm in hot pursuit. Good thing the ceilings are really low down there and he went straight to a dead end.
We had our flight moment. Now it was time to fight. This wasn't my first falcon rescue so his intimidating tactics didn't scare me off. In seconds I had him in my arms.
It was a long walk back to my car where I had the carrier. Why are they never down near where I park? 😄
He's having a time out and will be released a little later today.
Let's hope we never meet again Iike this, eh little one.

So far, so good with this bird not needing another rescue.  Her name is BIP.  Now you may be wondering what the heck is a BIP.  I sure was when I was told that was her name.  BIP stands for Bloor Islington Place.  Ahhhhhhhhhh, I get it now.  Okay, the name isn't as dumb as I thought.

I look forward to the falcon fledge watches every spring but they are exhausting, especially when you still have to work 40 hours.

Oh, I almost forgot, I went back up to Osler after rescuing BIP and I found all 4 young high up on the hospital roof and the building just over from it.  Those birds are all doing very well.

If you're in the mood for another read about the falcons, Bruce reminded me of this blog I did years ago when I was at a watch at William Osler all by myself, and a first for me to be with 4 young falcons all taking their first flights that morning.  Link here.  Funny how it is the red taped birds there that I have the most interaction with.  The first photo of this blog is RED from Osler years ago and the one I went up to find turned out to be RED as well.  We usually call the birds by colour during the watch instead of saying "BIP" and not always sure what colour tape that named bird has on.

I will be back very soon with I'm Tired - Part Two.


April 19, 2022

Parking Lot Pigeons

The other week I went for a nature walk.  The woods I explored were eerily dead.  No birds, not even a raccoon sleeping in a tree or cavity anywhere (I'm pretty good at finding raccoons for some reason).  After an hour out, I chalked the walk up to just that...  a nice walk.  I had an errand to run, picking up something from a friends' place on the border of Mississauga.  I happened to pass a small shopping mall and noticed the hundred plus pigeons in the parking lot.  Ya so, what about pigeons in a parking lot?  Well there was some real stand out birds in this flock.  People say pigeons are boring birds because there can be so many around and as some say "they all look the same", but that isn't really so.  Check out these guys I saw...

Red pigeons aren't very common to see so when I do spot one, I always take a longer look.  There was one in this flock and I watched him for a while.  Visually stunning I must say.  I love that fine line around his face, going from grey to that iridescent of reddish/purple.  Wow!

His friend is quite unique looking too...

Then there was this one relaxing near the curb.  He could be Gulliver's cousin.

Here is Gulliver.  Do you agree?

There was quite a few whitish birds in this flock.  Similar looking from afar but not so as you got closer.

I often hear from people who spot the white ones, thinking that they are people's escaped pets.  I don't believe that is so.  Maybe somewhere in the lineage some fancy bird's genes got in the mix; but really, as I learn more about these birds, they all have genes crossed from fancy breeds over generations.  It's a bit much to explain but if you want to learn more, I highly recommend this book, A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching, as it is a fun yet very educational read.  You can order a copy for yourself right here.

This fellow really stood out from the flock.  Almost all white.  It's like when people see snowy owls, the all white adult males send most into an excited tizzy.  Mind you, with pigeons, an all white bird doesn't necessarily mean an adult male.

I think I found his twin a couple hundred feet away.  He was roaming the ice mound in the corner of the lot.  Maybe finding salt bits in the ice?  The early days of spring can be so gross as snow mounds melt and all the debris that got plowed with the snow begins to show.  It's sad that masks are the new cigarette butt across the landscape; and both are in this photo.

Please note that is not poop on his chest, but it's the slight bit of colouring this bird has in it's feathers.

I joked to someone that these were rare Arctic pigeons.  They took me a little too seriously so I had to spoil the joke and admit that they were just common pigeons, although more uniquely coloured than the typical blues and greys most see.

The beauty of nature is all around us.  It really is there if you allow yourself to see it, even in a mall parking lot.  

I will revisit this flock another day for another look and perhaps take some pictures of the others (I thought I took more photos than what I have here in the folder).