Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

September 13, 2021

New Friend, New Yard Bird and...

Hello everyone.  I'm well on the mend (I think) and thank you to those who have reached out to me since my last blog where I touched upon my health issues.  We shall see come Wednesday with my next doctor appointment on where I am at with getting back to work, and a more normal life.  What a fun morning that will be since it will be my birthday too.  Let's hope for really good news and continued progress, moving forward with my recovery.  Besides getting back to a regular routine, having a steady pay cheque will be nice as it will be time to start feeding the birds more so as the weather cools.  I'm sure no one here wants to see a blog from me asking for peanut and seed donations (if I am still off in another month).

It's been a long, frustrating, somewhat boring 7 weeks.  I will take feeling good, if not great, and going to work over this being home, dizzy and nauseous a good chunk of the day, every day.

As always, I'm very thankful for the creatures around us.

I made a new pigeon friend the last few weeks.  He's a scrawny young bird who obviously has been taking some mental notes about how Charlie, Slate and Gandalf come to my hands and get a good feed away from the majority of other birds.  I could see him watching the birds and I.  Then one day, as I knelt down towards him, up he came to my palm.  The following day he did it again.  Then there was a lull for a couple days with some hesitancy, he'd think about it, take a fly to me but quickly back off.  He got over those fears and is now a near daily visitor.  He's even getting bolder, trying to hold his own against the bigger older birds.  Good for him!  He and Angie had a moment 2 weekends ago and she's now named him Lefty.  Why Lefty?  Because he flew to her left hand while she sat outside, and then he sat on her left knee.  Works for me.

Lefty has some really unique colouring on his wing feathers.

Let's hope he's around for a long time to come.

We had our 81st yard bird species come to us over this past weekend.  A scarlet tanager!  It was a female who made a short appearance at one of our bird baths, having a little splash.  We don't see many of this species in our travels, maybe one per migration season, and in the spring it is usually a breeding male who looks very different than this little lady.

What could have made for a funny bird story is if I went with what my SEEK app said the bird was, a painted bunting (rare for our area but not impossible).  This could have caused a frenzy, and a lot of debate, in the birding world if I reported it as such.

It's exciting to keep a yard list of the birds, especially during migration.  We're always looking, wondering what may be next to stop in here, hoping for another new species.  Birds are on the move through our area and here's a few other sightings from the last week around our home.

Blue grey gnatcatcher, sometimes we call 'em "mini-mockingbirds".

Black-throated green warbler (one of my favourites).

Blackburnian warbler.  I've seen more around our house and neighbourhood the last 2 weeks than anywhere, ever.  Certainly not as flashy as a male in breeding plumage but still nice to see.

Red-eyed vireo.  One showed up in our backyard not long after the tanager.

We've got a few weeks left with fall migration, so let's see if we get any other visitors.

The only other excitement around here is seeing this fox near our home one morning.  The fox is like my nemesis mammal, or seemingly has been over the years.  I miss spotting them in a few places where others see them.  This guy is very local to us and as well, a number of times this year, I have missed seeing him by mere minutes when I have gone for a walk.  I lucked out recently although the sighting was very brief.  We just happened to be crossing paths from some distance.  I only wish he stopped and sat for a moment, and a prettier photo came out of it.  Oh well, I am still happy I saw him.

Thanks for stopping in.  Enjoy the fall season and I will be back with more soon.

Cheers!

August 23, 2021

Thankful

I've been home, on sick leave from work, since July 29th.  I won't get into the personal details but I am improving and believe it or not hope to be back to work sooner than later.  I miss the routine, maybe a few coworkers and of course the weekly pay cheque.

I've been home the whole time because I really can't nor do I want to do anything.  Just like through this whole damn pandemic, and now with my sick leave, I am truly thankful for our backyard and the creatures we share it with.

Ripper doesn't come around so much the last while but he was here in the first days after I went off sick.

My pigeon pals are here most days.  

Charlie.


Gandalf the Grey.


Slate.

Churchill has been missing for a few months now.  Hopefully he's okay but I never know with most of these wild friends of mine.

We've got a cooper's hawk coming in randomly.  I've found a pile of pigeon feathers.  I saw it here with a house sparrow in it's talons.  A hawk has to eat too.

The hummingbird visits are almost daily as far as we can tell, and there's a few visiting.  Who doesn't love hummingbirds?

We have a backyard chipmunk again which is a lovely distraction from everything else when he comes around.  Look at those cheeks!

Then there's that young skunk or as I call 'em "fart kitten".  

And our raccoon neighbours who sometimes come out a little earlier than dark.

A giant swallowtail has been flying through the yard every few days.  Is it the same one or ???  I haven't been able to get a picture of it so here is one I saw another time, elsewhere.

We've found numerous cicadas in the yard the last few weeks.  They call loudly, all day, every day.

Toads have been calling all night for a couple weeks now.  I would love to find one out there in the garden but I am not looking too hard.  Here's a YouTube link to what we are hearing.

Of course Merry and Molly are pretty happy having their daddy home even though mommy works from home much of the week.  Kitty snuggles and purrs are great for the soul.

Oh Merry.

Oh Molly.

I'm thankful for all these creatures and their love or just a momentary distraction by coming to visit.

I'm looking forward to getting back to normal, even a masked pandemic normal like the last 18 months, give or take.  Wish me luck!

August 17, 2021

Night Visits

I thought that I would share some of the night visitors of late.  You pretty much know what to expect here but it still might be fun to see them anyway.

Hot and humid it is here in Toronto once again.  The critters sure are enjoying the bath basins.  Too bad that I cannot keep them fresh all night long though.

Skunk.

Two skunks!


This one looks like a mother skunk.


I'd say he is new.  He seems small with extra thick, bright stripes.


Our resident raccoon family.

We are very happy to have an opossum hanging around once again.  He's been showing up randomly for a number of weeks now.


Nine days before.

This one here looks different but I can't say for sure that we have two.  He seems darker but it could just be the lighting.

I had the pleasure of seeing him with my own eyes one night while sitting outside.

One of the raccoon kids comes out earlier than the others so I have had some time to watch him too.

Mom and the kids early one evening.  Might as well share a couple better photos of the critters that I have gotten, eh?

A young skunk has shown up just before dark too the last week.  We aren't spoiled with day time visits from one or more like we have been in the last few Augusts but that's okay; it made seeing this one all the more exciting.


At least he is getting very fresh water when he comes early.

And of course there's the cats, both ferals and some neighbour's cats that they don't keep indoors.


There's a third cat we see, a muscular tom cat.  I feel bad for this guy.  I can't find the trail cam shots of him so here's one of the rare moments I have seen him face to face.  He normally stays away from us.

And lastly, we have at least two downy woodpeckers roosting in our nest boxes out back the last few weeks.  There's three nest boxes and all have had woodpeckers in them at some point but I was able to say with total confidence that there are two using them nightly; spotting both going into different boxes on the same nights, about 10 minutes apart.  It's funny how the woodpeckers are quite vocal upon entry inside.

This box is closest to the house and about eye level.  A female uses it.

This house is way down back, behind our shed, and much higher up.  A male uses it.

This is the middle house, sheltered by our lilacs.  We've watched a female use this house some nights as well.  Perhaps the same one using the first box?

We're happy to be landlords to downy woodpeckers again as has been the case the last few Augusts and beyond, well into the fall, sometimes even into the winter.

Do you monitor your backyard after dark (if you have a yard)?  If not, I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of our visitors.



July 28, 2021

Moonie Passed

It pains me to blog about this but our little blue budgie Moonie passed away rather suddenly early Monday morning.  

He was just a couple weeks away from his 10th anniversary of being in the house with us.  For those of you who may not remember (or know), I caught Moonie in our garden one afternoon just before I was going to work.  Angie happened to be home that day, and she looked out the kitchen window, commenting about a blue bird in the garden.  I stepped out back for a closer look and there was this very young budgie on the ground looking up at me.  He had baby down feathers on his face.  I quickly took my shirt off, dropped it right on him, scooped him up and brought him in.  And this is where he has been ever since.

Moonie in the first days after coming to live with us.

It was late Saturday afternoon when Moonie's behaviour was noticeably different.  He looked very tired.  He was quiet.  He sat on different perches than where he normally likes to sit.  Occasionally there was still a chirp, a pick at the seeds, a sip of water, and even a head dunk in his bath.  This continued on through Sunday as well.  We monitored him.  We talked about getting him to an avian vet if there was no improvement come Monday.

Angie was up shortly after 4 AM on Monday, this is normal for her during the work week.  Sadly she heard a noise come from his bedroom about 4:15.  Moonie had passed then, falling from his perch.  It took a lot for Angie to not wake me at that time but she knows there`s nothing to do at this point, plus I work well into the evening, so to let me sleep until I got up around my usual time of 7:30 was best.

We have no idea what happened to him.  It`s shocking how quickly he turned ill and passed away.  Right up until those last hours, he was his happy squawking basketball playing self.  

I am more saddened in the days after his death, I guess it is because the shock of it has worn off.  It was too quick, and we weren't even given the chance to try and help him.  Now it is time to grieve.  The house is so quiet without him.  Our routines have changed.  We will certainly miss this bird.

I know a lot of people don't think much about budgies because they can be loud screeching birds but they are so full of personality, and if you take the time, you will grow to love them and admire their quirks.

We are not into the idea of buying birds.  Both Moonie and Misfit were backyard rescues.  Both caught in the warmer weather.  Their lives would have been cut very short if not brought inside before the cold weather set in.

If there was one pet who really had the best last year and a bit of his life, it was Moonie, thanks to this pandemic.  Having Angie working from home as much as she was, Moonie was seldom alone, and he got spoiled with hours of table time every afternoon while the cats slept in our bedroom with the door shut.  Moonie LOVED his table time.  We would open the window a crack so he could chatter with the birds outside.  He loved the view and probably the sun.  His excitement to be on the table was certainly noticeable.  He played so much when here.  He loved his basketball toy and I can't begin to count how many he has broken over the years just from his rough play.  We always had one or two in stock in the pet tote for when he broke the clasp on the ball that attached to the chain.  Oh Moonie!

I've recently been looking at my blogs from 2011 when he first came into our home.  It's brought up a lot of memories.  I used to get his wings clipped early on, hoping to have him adjust to being with us, becoming more tame than Misfit.  


Moonie traveled about the house for silly photo opportunities.  

He traveled with me in the truck when we went for a wing clipping and I would run a few errands.  People did double takes at stop lights seeing a budgie looking at them from the passenger seat.  

He even spent an hour at Wild Birds Unlimited one day when I visited our friends Jim and Lynda while I picked up seed.  As he got older, these adventures stopped.  He did travel to my parents' home on occasion when Angie and I went away for a night or two.  He loved the visits to his grandparents because he got lots of attention, especially from my dad.  He sat in their dining room window all day, not having to worry about a cat trying to get him.

He loved his time out on the back deck with us.  Even a visit from a big pigeon didn't bother him.  This wasn't a regular thing by any means but I guess with so many other birds around us, Moonie knew Slate here was no threat.

As far as budgies go, Moonie was a very easy going bird without much care in the world.  I love this sleepy photo of him from last summer.

Moonie got his 5 minutes of fame in the Toronto Star a number of years ago for the Great Backyard Bird Count.  I remember the photographer coming here to shoot some birds in our backyard for the story but oddly enough there were none.  A Cooper's hawk sat in a tree a few yards over which ruined the photo opportunity.  The guy and I hung out in the kitchen for a bit, waiting it out.  He got the idea to take pics of one of our budgies, just for fun, and maybe do something with it.  I had no idea what but I suggested Moonie as he was the much easier going of the two.  It was a fun day when the paper came out and there was Moonie in the article.  I don't think everyone liked this because what's a budgie got to do with the Great Backyard Bird Count; but they made it work with short timeline they had.  I remember even suggesting to the guy that I would take him to Lambton Woods and show him some birds but he said "no".  I'm glad that was his answer.  I think Angie's reaction was the best because she was on public transit going to work and saw Moonie in the paper, looking over the passenger's shoulder next to her.  She got pretty giddy and excited, stating "that's my budgie!"  I wish there was a video of that.  I wonder what the other person's reaction to Angie's burst of excitement was?  A great forever memory and I have a few copies, one of which I got "placked" to a board.

Moonie now rests with Misfit, buried just above her.  They are together again.  Moonie and Misfit were not cage mates but they were bird buds and he would visit her almost daily.  After an hour or two, Misfit would grow tired of his company and lightly lash out at him.  All I had to do was bring Moonie's cage to the door of Misfit's and he would go back home.

I am sad.  Angie is sad.  But we are also thankful that we had him in our home for a decade.

Rest in peace Moonie.  You are loved.  You will never be forgotten.