Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

April 26, 2017

The Jerseys of Late

Good day,

Just stopping in to talk about the Jersey Pigeons that so many have taken a fondness to.

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of good to tell you at the moment.

For starts, Jersey One, has been MIA for about 2 weeks now.

I'm hoping he's just off with another part of the folk somewhere in the area.  I can't say Jersey One is my favorite of the pair but he is the kinder one, spending more time with me during visits, hanging out on my hand.

As for Jersey Two, well, he's at Toronto Wildlife.  He's been there since April 21st.

About a month ago I was feeding them and I noticed that wet look about him.  He smelled pretty bad too.  I couldn't quite nail it but it's something like old vegetable oil.  I can only wonder what he got himself into.

I made contact with TWC regarding him.  It was advised that if I could catch him, to bring him in (with advance notice of course) and they would most likely be able to clean him up.  It took a while to do this because either his timing was off, not arriving until too close to work time, or he got away from one of my few failed attempts; and with Angie's broken foot troubles we had been to a number of doctor appointments through the weeks and I've not been around or too consumed with my own life.

The fact he was still able to fly well and in every other way was a perfectly healthy Pigeon, I wasn't overly concerned.  I knew in time I would be able to get him.

Actually, the story of my grabbing him is kind of funny.  Believe it or not I had the assistance of Pierre.  That Friday morning Pierre is waiting outside the back door.  In comes Jersey Two.  The day before we had a really cool rainy day and I knew my bird pals were quite hungry.  Jersey had no patience on waiting for Pierre (King Bird) to finish up and he flew to my left forearm...  Pierre is feeding from my left hand.  The birds got into quite the coo coo cooing argument right there and next thing I know they are getting aggressive with each other.  They are biting at each other and wings are flapping, whacking each other.  I knew with his distraction to the fray, that this was my chance.  A quick grab with my right hand and I had him in that bander's grip I mentioned in my Pierre and TWC blog a couple months ago.  Jersey Two quickly submitted, probably very confused to what was going on, why his human friend was doing this to him.

It was a bit of a wait before we hit the road to the centre.  I wanted to wait for morning rush hour to die off.  I figured no sense in us sitting in traffic, crawling the roads; better off to keep him in a dark quiet spot at home until it was time to leave and have half the drive time.

He was a little restless during the drive.  I spoke softly to him.  I don't think it had the same effect with him as it did with Pierre.  This bird has only befriended me in the last 7 months; it's going on 5 years with Pierre.  But overall he was pretty good about the confined road trip.

I dropped him off and now it's a matter of waiting, hoping he comes home sooner than later.

And I've got just as much hope that his side kick comes back too...  sooner than later.

They've been such a joy to have around as you can see.

That's the thing with wildlife, we don't always know what happens to them.  I know someone else out there is befriending them, probably getting the ball rolling on these birds having trust in people.  It's funny when new birds fly in and jump right on me, being like "what up dude?"  I love them all but no way they can sense it just like that now.

Please wish the best for both of them.

April 21, 2017

Please Check This Out...

Hello!  How's it going?  Is anyone out there?

I've shared the news on social media but this is for anyone who may somehow follow me, finding out about my blogs through other means...

I've started a sub-blog called Toronto Nest Blog and you can view it here.

Why would I do something like that?  Well, more for me than anything else, keeping such data and adventures separate from my regular blog.  It's only seasonal, running from April until July, when I am helping monitor nest boxes in our area, mostly being Tree Swallows.

I may touch upon the latest with our Peregrine Falcon fledge watches or any other nests of interest I may chance upon.

Of course if anything else happens throughout this time, I will be right back here keying about it.

Life is getting back to normal around here as my wife's broken foot heals.  We may not be running after the Warblers as hard this year but we will still be out there.

As I key this, I am listening to the morning sounds of the first White-throated Sparrow in our backyard for the season.  They don't stick around us for more than a week or two so this is nice.

Anyway, I hope to see some of you over there.  I've done 2 entries this week to get it going.


April 12, 2017


Hellooooooooo! Welcome back. Sorry for my absence. Life got pretty crazy ever since my wife Angie broke her foot on the first day of Spring. All the more reason I share this blog now, since it was her last outing with me (for a while anyway) on the last day of winter.

March 19th Angie and I had an encounter with 2, but quite possibly 3 Coyotes. We had decided to go for a walk at dusk, the "golden hour" as some call it. It was a pleasant evening, the very last official day of winter. It had been sunny much of the day and +5 Celsius. Although I'd been unwell all weekend, the thought of fresh air and possibly some wildlife sightings enticed me. For Angie, it was getting a good walk in, getting her steps, and perhaps seeing a few birds and whatever wildlife presented itself to us.

First sight as we started our walk.

The animals stayed atop the hill. One kept an eye on us even though we were quite a distance away.

While the other looked on elsewhere.

This is their first light, as brief as it will be. They probably took in the last warm rays of the sun before the cold night set in.

All I can say is that it was an amazing sight to see these creatures. Of course the camera side of me wished for something much closer, getting some kick ass photos, but the nature side of me embraced this because it's not very often that I see Coyotes, especially more than 1. Most Coyote encounters of mine have been accidental. Quick views, I don't have the camera ready, and before I know it the animal has disappeared. So seeing these two taking in their morning atop this hill was very peaceful and I was quite grateful to witness it.

We continued our walk that had barely begun, heading away from the animals.

Then, X amount of time later, heading back, we saw a possible third elsewhere.

Another crop job just like some of the previous shots. There was actually a fence between us as well which added to the challenge of getting a photo. This could have been an amazing photo without the fence, without the distance, but I'm good with that because it was an amazing encounter.

When I share Coyote sightings on social media, most people are just happy about my encounter. Some do ask for locations to hopefully experience this as well and some want to know just to avoid the area because they are fearful of these creatures especially when walking their dogs or taking their kids out. It's the fear bit that I'd like to touch upon.

Why be afraid?

Sure a Coyote is a wild animal. It is a predator, and a smart one at that (never mind those Road Runner cartoons).

You live in your home. The outdoors, that is theirs.

It is my belief that respect must be given to all wildlife and their home(s). Coyotes won't come out and attack a human, adult or child. Like most wild animals, it would rather take the high road and keep clear of us. Leave the animals be, don't chase them because you will never catch up to them. Don't mess with their "children". A human would totally lash out and probably get quite aggressive with another who messed with their kids. Why think it's wrong for a parent animal to do the same?

Really it's just common sense. It's mind blowing how some lack this even in the slightest.

Reports of Coyotes biting humans involved scenarios where people habituated the animals, feeding them from their back doors basically and then taking that one step too close, trying to hand feed the animals. Whether the bite was intentional or not, in the end, it's that animal who loses. A reported Coyote bite lands the animal becoming a specific target, being shot and tested for rabies. The person may get a scolding for interacting with these animals as they did, and probably a round of rabies vaccinations. Some would learn from the experience while others unfortunately would gain a hatred for the animals.

Unintentional bites can happen when hand feeding any animals. I've been nipped by a few overly excited Squirrels in my day. It hurt like hell but it was me, putting my fingers holding the food towards the mouth of the animal. Sure I might call them "a little bastard" in the moment but I know it was my fault.

Another scenario is a person trying to save their pet from the clutches of a Coyote. This is why I am a firm believer in not letting cats roam freely outdoors and keeping your dogs on leash when out in the wild. The smaller the dog, the greater the risk. Keep the leash short. Or better yet, avoid areas where Coyotes are known to be seen. Usually there are signs posted either by the city or even handmade ones from locals which I have seen near our home. Some are almost laughable but the point is made. I am almost tempted to stop this blog momentarily and go to where I have seen one of these handmade signs posted and take a photo of it. NOTE: I started this blog days ago. Last night I went to where one of the signs had been on a post in a nearby neighbourhood for months. That sign is gone. In it's place is a sign of a missing cat now. True story! I will leave it at that.

It's not just Coyotes you have to worry about taking your pets. We heard one horrific tale of a Great Horned Owl taking a person's small dog when it was off leash out in the wild north of us. I've heard and even know someone who had their pet rabbit attacked by a Red-tailed Hawk. My friend's rabbit survived but with a vet bill attached, others not so lucky.

Don't take it personally, to the animals, these are just food sources and nothing else.

Cornering a Coyote, much like any wild animal, can be a cause for you to get bit. Why a person would want to do this, or how they could, is unimaginable to me.

Honestly, animals are very much like people. Put yourself in any situation instead of the animal; what would you do? I use this same analogy when it comes to photographing wildlife, especially sensitive species or situations like nesting birds.

I've found the only two recorded cases where Coyotes have actually killed a human in North America. Click on the links to get the full stories.

First was a 3 year old in Southern California back in 1981.

Second was a 19 year old Canadian country folk singer from Toronto, killed in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

The second incident hits closer to home, not because she was a Canadian and born in the same city as me; but because she loved nature and was on a nature walk. They list some possible reasons as to why this happened but in the end it remains a mystery.

As terrifying as both these attacks were, they are the ONLY two known cases where this species of animal has killed a human being. Now, for random attacks that ended in cuts, gashes, stitches, rabies shots, etc is considerably longer if you check this Wikipedia link. This is just information. This is NOT to spread fear. The list of incidents don't give too much info overall, I am sure there was much more to each individual story.

My actual Coyote encounters overall, I can probably count on two hands. If there was a total of 10, 8 were from respectable distances because I can think of only 2 really close encounters. One time a Coyote cut across a path right in front of me and never stopped even for a moment. The other time, similar scenario, I'm walking a path, a Coyote cut onto the path right in front of me, it was walking the same direction as me and continued on ahead, taking very little notice to me. Of course I'm like "damn, I want a photo of his face" but what can I do? Just enjoy the moment, consider myself lucky to see such an animal in my day time walk and be happy with it.

Here is a rare "face to face" moment with one recently. Intimidating stance and glare but there was easily 100 ft between us and the animal. Then in the blink of an eye, quickly disappeared into the field, not to be seen again.

The last few Springs I've heard Coyotes yelping in the hydro field near our home. I've been in the backyard after dark when the calling has started. It was exciting to hear. Early on in this past winter, I was out looking for Screech Owls after dark, and got to hear some Coyotes really belting it out in a golf course across the Humber River from me. It was very loud. It was a tad spooky since I was in the dark other than my head lamp. I knew they were across the river which ended any uneasy feeling I may have had. It would be my lack of experience and understanding of these animals that would set in the uneasy feelings.

Here is a great YouTube link to some Coyote yelping after dark. As they state in the video, please take notice to the reactions of your pets. I played this rather low, one of our cats ignored it completely, while the other's ears went flat and soon ran out of the room.

I'm just a guy who loves nature. I'm not a scientist. I'm not a behavioral analyst. Some people say I am a bit of a whisperer but I call it some good fortune with wonderful encounters of all kinds of wildlife. I've always been respectful. I'm in their house and I don't forget that. I hope people act in similar fashion. If you are fearful of these animals, then just don't tread where they may be.