This past weekend Pierre celebrated another milestone with us... 30 months of coming to visit. Two and a half years! Why do I mark these things? I think it's pretty cool to know how long some of our unique backyard buds have been with us.
But the day before his special day, he came pretty close to not seeing the next.
Friday I was out back before work. A cold January day, the birds were hungry and coming in like crazy for some grub. The hand feeders were all squabbling to get at me for some finer dining including shelled peanut bits and sunflower chips instead of the cracked corn on the old bench. Lately the Pigeons have been stealth like due to the Hawk visitors. But without a sighting in a few weeks, I guess everyone has relaxed. Lots of commotion for many minutes when suddenly a Blue Jay let out an alarm call, and all the birds jetted off in various directions. Smaller birds took cover in the conifers and discarded Christmas trees, the Pigeons separated into smaller groups going in various directions. My focus was on Pierre since he just left my hand. He and 7 or 8 others went straight out through the back, making a turn north/west before doing a circle and heading south/east to their suspected roost. But as they went down to the back of the yard, a Cooper's Hawk was rocketing in, coming from the east, which put them all in his sights. The whole ordeal took mere seconds but felt a lot longer as I stood and watched, unable to do anything.
It was something to witness as the Hawk was almost on my Pigeon buds, close enough that the talons were out and about to grab one of them. At this point I could not tell who was in tow with the bunch but the last Pigeon narrowly escaped being lunch for this accipiter.
And honestly, I don't know what I would have done if the Hawk brought one down right there in front of me. I may have acted out in upset fearing it was Pierre. Normally I wouldn't, the Hawk worked for his meal, the other creature is dead or better off at this point, and I let nature take it's course. Let's leave it up to wonder and mystery, and hope it doesn't happen.
I had to leave for work and knew that would be it for the day with my buds coming in.
Saturday comes, it's Pierre's special day and I really did not expect to see him after that near miss. But early afternoon there he was with his flock.
Pierre always stands out.
They all got a good feed from Angie and I. She even had some one on one with Pierre; not surprising but with her work hours, she doesn't see Pierre nearly as often as I do. I'm only seeing him 2 or 3 times a week this winter which I figure is due to the Hawks.
By March the Hawk visits fade out for the most part, Cooper's and Sharp-shins go nesting wherever (not around here it seems). The Red-tails still remain along the rail line which Pierre and the gang must cross to get to us. But I expect more frequency with his visits again.
I'm already looking ahead to the 3 year anniversary in July.
This year I am even marking the visits from Pierre on the calendar. He's older now. I can see it. He may be wiser and physically larger than many of the others but his spunk isn't there like it once was. He takes some good shit kickings from the younger birds. I always look out for him though. Whenever he comes to visit, he gets special treatment. I ensure he has a good peaceful meal, hand feeding him and keeping him close to my body... the others won't dare try and knock him off from this position. None of them have that level of comfort with me like he does.
I'm not all doom and gloom about this with tracking his visits. It's a reality that one day he won't be here with us. A few times I really thought he was gone with his lengthy absences, sometimes gone for more days than ever before. So I embrace our visits. I have no idea how old he is. 30 months plus ???
Some of you may enjoy this blog while others may roll their eyes. He's got as many fans as he does who don't care for him and his kind. Funny how at times it's just so out of the blue for someone to come and ask about him, people I don't expect this from, co-workers or acquaintances, heck even a stranger one day at the nearby Tim Horton's who recognized me from that Global News piece last winter all asking how he is, if he's still coming around. Then the haters chime in at other times constantly warning me about Pigeons carrying many diseases, jokes about bird flu, I am probably hated by neighbours and these birds aren't nothing more than pests and better off in the clutches of a bird of prey. It's the same old crap and I just ignore them now because obviously their attitudes will never change. I just joke that they are jealous that they can't make friends with animals.
Well a bunch of them just flew in. I think it's time to end this blog.
Here's a few fun phone photos from the last while...
Meadow likes Pierre when he's not on me, taking my attention.
We sure have our moments. And through that window in the back, the lady next door is highly entertained. She thinks Pierre is a real character and even took him for a walk about her property one morning.
Pierre embraces our encounters as well.