Here we are at the end of January. While the backyard mammal life has given us a slight tease the last couple weeks with the little thaw, or as they are calling it "wintermission", the bird activity suffers.
For one, we can blame a skulking Cooper's Hawk. In she comes and away go the birds.
As well as a few appearances by a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
My Pigeon pals flew away on the morning of December 6th. I watched them flee after a warning call from the Blue Jays and they've not been back since. I miss them.
The Jerseys have really been a blessing especially after Pierre's disappearance. Where did they go?
Mrs. Pierre popped in once late in December for a very brief feeding. Another alarm call went out and she rocketed off. She's yet to return. This is her from last Summer. Such a pretty girl.
A few new Pigeons started coming in. One of which was not very well. It had a bad left leg and kept it up tight to it's body. A tough thing to watch. I had made some calls regarding the bird's state. Pretty much if I brought it in, it would be euthanized. So for the time being, while it was still getting around alright, feeding well, flying, etc. I would leave it be.
Less than a week from when I first noticed it, I happened to be looking out the back window and saw it fly off with it's friends, only not as quick as the others, and seconds later there was the Cooper's Hawk on top of it and driving it into the ground next door. Any suffering for this Pigeon was over. The Hawk's hunger satisfied for another day. Witnessing a take down is fascinating, shocking, and sad. Once the catch is dead, it's still sad but easier to stomach because you know there is no more pain, terror, suffering, whatever. I don't enjoy watching the Hawks eat like I used to, be it a Pigeon, Woodpecker, House Sparrow or anything else. I used to want to try for the meaty rip 'n tear photos; now, not so much. I'm sure the Hawks appreciate me letting them eat in peace as well.
We have another new Pigeon making random visits and he's quickly taken to hand feeding. Our friend Steve who named Pierre suggested the name Fitz. It took a bit but has stuck with me. Angie prefers to call him Handsome Pete.
He's a big boy and has a lot of weight to him. He's quite a character too.
Like I mentioned, his visits are quite random. I guess he's well aware of the dangers that lurk out back.
Have you noticed the change in the landscape with these photos? Snow. No snow. As I key this we are getting more snow.
The resident Red-tails have made a number of drop ins. Here they are on their nest tower which we can see from our front door. You can see the remnants of last year's nest on the left side of the platform.
I've not seen any take downs from them in a while. unlike the Spring last year when I'd see one fly in and pick Squirrels right out of the tree tops on numerous occasions. But they are here, sometimes one flying in with the other coming in right behind.
Our over wintering Mockingbird has also disappeared. Hopefully well and feeding elsewhere.
We had 8 Northern Cardinals visiting, now we may see one pair. We had 6 Downy Woodpeckers, also now we may get one pair. 4 Black-capped Chickadees down to 2. 5 Blue Jays down to 2. Junco numbers vary. No shortage of House Sparrows though. Lots of European Starlings and I've had to put a cage around our shelled peanut feeder to keep them away and allow the pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches to feed on the one thing they love in our yard.
I know I'm being over dramatic. I blame one part on the Hawk. Another on my winter blues which I can get in short spells. I love all seasons and what they have to offer but some days I'm just sick of the cold and snow even though it's not been that bad overall. Did I mention I miss my Pigeons? *wink* I hope they are happy wherever they went. Honestly I would rather them not be here while threats lurk about. I can't imagine opening the shutters in the kitchen and looking out back to the Cooper's on one of my pals. I don't know what I would do.
That's the one thing about living with and loving our wildlife friends. They do what they want, when they want, go where they want and most cases we don't know anything about their lives away from here. Plus the fact they don't live nearly as long as us. I'm grateful for all the "friends" I have made out back but can't help but miss them when they disappear. It's always a thrill when they do return. Pierre was famous for winter absences the last few years. I always counted the days. 53 was his longest MIA spell. Some of you who read my blogs and are my Facebook friends have rejoiced with his returns just like this photo here when he came back some weeks after the ice storm in 2014 if memory serves me correct on the year.
Fallen Kingdom is overkill for a blog title but that's how it feels right now.