Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

August 31, 2010

An Un-Healthy Jigger Returns...

So, literally minutes after I posted my blog below... I step outside with Meadow to give her that afternoon walkabout of the yard; when who do I see way at the back? Jigger! This was totally unexpected but such a great surprise. I called for him, and while I don't think he really knows his name, he does know my (and Angie's) voices. He looked up and began to come towards me but I could tell something was not right with him. It seems one of his hind legs is injured, but to what degree I don't know. I handed him a peanut and he devoured it quick. He had trouble staying up on his back leg while he ate. One Pigeon sensing his weakness was waiting for a chance to knock the shelled peanuts from his clutches... of course that wasn't going to happen with us around. Another 7 roasted peanuts later and he was on his way. His walk away was difficult too and every 4 or 5 feet found him stretching out in the grass for a moment of rest.

Angie was with us. We had discussed catching him and taking him to the Toronto Wildlife Centre but it was close to 5pm at this point. The Wildlife Centre closes at 6pm which probably was ample travel time; but they ask that you speak with someone live first at the centre, so they know you are coming. The few times I have called, the machine picks up, I leave a message and within 30 minutes someone calls me back. I should mention, that by this time though, Jigger had climbed way up a tall tree to safety. He disappeared up in the leaves.

So, tomorrow is the mission to find Jigger again (hoping he's down at the back), catching him and taking him to the centre. If they can fix him up, he could come back home in due time. If there is that chance he is not able to be brought back to health, I understand he will be kindly put down. It would be a better death than at the claws of a certain feline in the area or some predator. I will post updates as they occur.

I will write about the Toronto Wildlife Centre one day soon. They took Bob the Pigeon in and promised to do the best they could for him. I never learned of his outcome. We did get a tour of the facility and learned quite a few things in our short visit. We left a small donation after taking Bob in. The Centre works via volunteers and donations.

So, if you have not read about Jigger and his disappearance, please go on to the next blog below and send him your best wishes on his return to good health soon.

Here's another nice pic of him with Angie...

August 30, 2010

Have You Seen This Squirrel?

Have you seen this Squirrel?

Many of you through my blog here, or via Facebook, and the few lucky ones to have met him in person know him as Jigger. He is one of the most personable Squirrels to visit my backyard. Why is he named Jigger? He did a little dance as he approached to take a peanut from our fingers back in his early days. No, not a cha-cha-cha or tango but this side to side shift as he moved cautiously towards the peanut in hand. Mind you, after a couple years of being with us, the dance disappeared and it was not uncommon for Jigger to jump into the lap of someone waving a peanut for him. I'd be digging in the garden and often Jigger would be climbing my cargo pants, trying to get into the pockets where I held the tasty treats for him. I never felt alone out back with Jigger around. Sure, there's always action with birds and Squirrels about, but Jigger sure added some excitement/entertainment.

I'd say it's been 2 weeks now since I've last seen him. This was his fourth year with us. How long do Squirrels live? Who really knows? Especially in the city. There are so many dangers for a Squirrel here.

He seemed in good bouncy health when we last met. It was raining heavily and I remember opening the backdoor to see him sitting there soaking wet. He stepped inside onto the mat, shook off the rain, took a couple peanuts from hand and off he went.

As the days passed, of course I began to wonder. A few incidents of late have left me wondering even more. One being that I have seen a Fox casually walking the sidewalk here at 11:30am last Sunday. I always thought Fox were more of a nocturnal creature and not keen on being around people. So to see one on this street is a first for me. I have seen them less than a kilometer from here, in the woods; but not here, around the homes and people. Squirrels can be a meal source for a Fox.

Another incident that I hate discussing is that a neighbour 3 houses over has this beast of a cat that runs free among the backyards and instinct gets the best of her often... we had a young Squirrel fall victim to this cat a couple weeks ago under the birdbath. Many times I have caught this cat hunting through the backyards and my super soaker comes in quite handy... but she still returns.

And lastly, a friend across the street recently informed me that some people over on her side have been poisoning the Squirrels. These people apparently work in this small factory behind the houses across the road. How true this is, I don't know. She was warned since she has a few cats of her own that she lets out. I don't agree with this. I don't understand this. Seriously! Some have talked about a decline in the Squirrels about the neighbourhood. I personally don't see this over on my side other than Jigger right now. It would be such an unfair end to his life. I think I should investigate this and blow the whistle on the individuals if it is true... it's cruel and it's against the law! This would have a large impact on the wildlife of the area! Not only does it harm the Squirrels but anything that happens to feed upon them... like the above mentioned Fox, Crows (since they can be carrion eaters), and Hawks who may choose to catch a slow moving (poisoned) Squirrel.

So, that's the one thing about befriending the wildlife around the 'hood. We get attached to them, they get names, they become our furry friends but in the end they still are wildlife and often we don't know what happens to them when they just don't come around anymore.

I've worried in the past about Jigger's comfortable habits with us and if he ever would be like that with other people in other backyards around here? An unsuspecting person would probably have some kind of freak. But, I'd like to think that he surely must recognize us and the offering of a peanut.

Unlike a human friend with an address and most times a telephone where we could call in to; this is not the case with a furry creature who bounces into the yard through the side gate and disappears to wherever via that same route.

I still hold out hope that perhaps I've just been missing him these days. Maybe he will return one day? Or I will eventually accept that he is truly gone.

A connection with any animal is an amazing thing and to bond with the wild ones is life changing with long lasting memories.

The newbies around lately are keeping me pretty busy. There's Scar, Charlie (who turns out to be Charlene), Nosey, Teddy, Starvin' Marvin and the return of Mr. Half-Tail who now has a full tail once again but his personality sure hasn't changed.

Here is Nosey...

One of the un-named young'uns checking out Meadow...

Another baby, and this photo makes me laugh every time... it's a little boy and I am wondering if he is curious about something down there (if you know what I mean)?

All I can say to finish this blog is that if Jigger is out there, I hope he's okay and comes home soon... we miss him.

August 2, 2010

Bob the Broken Winged Pigeon

Last Sunday I noticed a Pigeon, errrrr, I mean "Rock Dove", in the backyard with a broken wing. It's wing just hangs a little to the one side and has made him unable to fly. I have wondered how he got here, how his wing got broken? Along with those thoughts I have wondered what to do with him? I mean, he's a Pigeon. Pigeons aren't high on any rescue list as they are thought of as pests and vermin in the city. I honestly don't care for them myself. They have terrible backyard etiquette especially when I am working on ways to keep them from getting at the bird feeders. Any bird who is still able to feed gets a flying ambush from one of these unhappy Pigeons. They will also cling onto the side of the feeders and swing them about, trying to spill the seed to the ground for the rest of the flock below. But, nonetheless, it is an injured creature that has somehow found it's way here... or may have gotten injured here. So I will do what I can for him; which is try to feed HIM and offer a water source.

I've named him "Bob" because he does just that... bobs along throughout the backyard, back and forth. I've picked him up when he's gotten himself stuck somewhere and that is an experience. A creature that most often care not to be held, and the feeling is quite mutual, is just sitting in my arms. He's not such an ugly bird at this moment nor dirty and mite covered. He's clean quiet and seems a lot smaller in my hands. Bob just sits there, puts up no fight, and I gently pat his head.

Bob and I... ignore my bad hair on a humid day or the "Leatherface" t-shirt I have on with him swinging that chainsaw right at Bob.

When I put him down he runs to the compost maker and hides behind it. It's not the best hiding spot and he can actually corner himself in there. I do know he's got quite the hiding spot somewhere in the yard for the night hours as I have looked for him with no luck on finding him. Unfortunately last night (August 1st) a neighbourhood cat found that hiding spot. Angie and I were sitting on the deck about 8:30pm when we saw Bob running as fast as he could across the lawn with this cat on his tail. Angie was up in a split second and rescued Bob from what could have been certain death.

Bob behind the compost maker...

I made Bob a bed in the shed with a Xerox box and some old t-shirts and there he stayed until I took him out this morning. I don't think this can be a nightly ritual for us since I don't know where his hiding spot is exactly. It was luck for him last night that we were still outside. On a work night, we are preparing for bed by this time.

So, what will become of Bob? I guess I will let him try to live out his days here but he faces much danger with the inability to fly. Perhaps I might find someplace soon that would want to care for him and repair that wing of his?

I watch Bob and I wonder if Pigeons think and feel about things besides food and survival. Like, as the evening comes, Bob's friends all disappear, flying off to wherever it is they sleep. Bob sits and can do nothing but watch them go. Bob then goes off to wherever he has made himself a sleeping spot on the ground, being quite vulnerable to whatever comes lurking around. He spends his night here and waits for the morning sun when his friends return and they feed, drink, bathe and nap throughout the day. It makes me kinda sad and also realize once again that us humans aren't the only ones on this Earth with stories to be told.