Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Well, the time is just about here, to that big day of the year!

It's not about the presents.  It's not about the tree.

It's about time together, with the ones we love... family.

Ours is mostly furry, feathered, slimy or scaly.

But they all touch our hearts daily!

Wishing each and every one of you the best of times.

I am so done with this rhyme!


Merry Christmas from Rob....  and the animals!


December 18, 2015

Welcome to Raptor City

The Hawk activity in our yard has been pretty intense the last week or so. 1 Sharp-shinned, 1 Cooper's and the resident pair of Red-tailed Hawks have been coming in looking to snag a meal from our other visiting birds.

I've not had to top up our bird feeders in 2 weeks now!

The birds do come in, but it's sporadic and very brief. It's made counting for Project Feeder Watch difficult.  I really got to be watching when species come in for these short spells, and try to spot the threat that chases after them. I was happy to spot 7 Northern Cardinals in one tree late Saturday afternoon. I should have got the camera out even if it was quite dark by this time. Oh well, perhaps another day? A couple days prior to our count days I estimate we had about 97 Pigeons come in at once. It was insane! No wonder the Hawks see this backyard as a potential feeding spot.

In that mix of so many Pigeons there were 3 "ginger birds" as I call them, the reddish brown types, which the Sibley guide says are scarce. I guess that's pretty cool if you don't mind these city birds? Seeing them reminded me of my old friend, who is no longer with us, the one I called "Red". You can read about him here if you like.

Red was pretty cool for a Pigeon, even though him and I got off to a wrong start early on.

That 97 count disappeared quite fast thanks to a lurking Cooper's Hawk who I have seen almost daily this week.

I'm seeing a Sharp-shinned Hawk usually first every day, and later on the Cooper's shows up, who drives the smaller Hawk away.

And on occasion the Red-tails pop up. Usually they just fly right in like they own the place, send everything fleeing for their lives and continue onward after whatever they choose. But a couple times I've seen one in a tree down back. Or both were on a neighbour's old television tower before work on Wednesday. I raced to get my camera after spotting them from the window, but the birds were gone by the time I got my shoes on and out the back door.

I shared this shot on my Facebook page and tried to start a little game of "caption this". My pick was this...

"Hi! I know this may sound crazy since we just met... but I really want to eat your Pigeons and Squirrels!"

I love all birds as I have probably mentioned in other blogs, like anyone needs me to tell them that. Gimmie Pigeons, gimmie Peregrines! It don't matter.

Of course I am missing my boy Pierre with the insanity. But he's smart enough to know when to stay away. Our encounters happen maybe one or two times a week and that is it the last few weeks. He comes in for a good feed, a little belly rub and off he goes again.

Here I am with the inability to smile for the camera while Pierre and his lady friend feed from my hand. Why so serious? I hate being on the spot, even when I put myself there, yet I really am happy to see him on this day being December 17, 2015.

Last bits... I've not seen any take downs, or remnants of a kill, but obviously things are happening around here. I always say if this backyard turns into a blood bath, I'd take a break from feeding the birds. The birds prove to me that I am not their only food source, they have other places to feed.

Here is a yard visitor I saw Wednesday night that is probably very happy with the mild temperatures so far this December. A big Virginia Opossum!

We sure are blessed with the nature channel we have in our own backyard!

December 10, 2015

December 10th

So this is a day that stands out for me every year.

For one, it's the birthday of a former long time friend of mine who turned his back on me after nearly 30 years of friendship. A story not for here, and a chapter in my life that is now closed. But the angering and painful memory comes back every year on this day.

In recent years though I notice that December 10th has brought me some great birding moments.

In 2012 I was blessed with the presence of a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

In 2013, I remember this one very well... it was -15c, snow and ice covered, and after nearly an hour and a half out and about looking for Snowy Owls, I had just given up when I spotted this one resting on a fence near where I had parked my truck! It was like "Here I am!" to show up here after my outing, and not be there when I started my walk.

Then in 2014 I chanced upon 5 Long-eared Owls. It was almost 2 years since I last saw this species and almost 4 years since I found this species on my own.

I have no plans to go out this morning before work but I can't deny the temptation is there to go for a walk.

Owls Owls Owls! I love all birds but these guys are special to most of us just because they are gems in the wild, birds most of us do not see. I was hoping Momma Nature would put one in our backyard this morning for me since I swear I heard a Saw-whet out back on Sunday morning. Not so...

Oh well, the day is young, we shall see what comes of it. Stay tuned!