Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

March 13, 2019

Wild Drive Home

A short blog about my drive home last night...

The ramp to the 401 east happened to be closed when I got off work. Normally I either go up the road a bit, do a u-turn and catch it on the south bound side, or make my way over to the 410 and get on the highway there. Last night I decided to take the long way home, driving the back roads for something different.

I know some roads to drive where I could possibly run into an Owl (Snowy). It's been quiet this winter for them overall but I still very randomly pass the occasional one.

So I am driving down one of the dark roads. One eye on the road. One eye looking for white blobs on top of lamp posts, fences, etc. Suddenly a dark shadow flies right in front of the car. I hit the brakes and narrowly missed something. Now what would be flying around at 10:30 at night? An Owl, right? Only this was smaller than a Snowy and it was not white. Hmmmm.

I pull the car over and scan the area. The Owl appears on a lamp post near me. Holy s**t, it's a Long-eared Owl! The Owl leaves that post and once again flies across the road, diving into the field. It comes back up and lands on some sort of metal piping system sticking out of the ground. I drive the car to a better spot for parking, which happens to be about 20 ft from where the Owl was. The bird did not flush. I sit for a minute, just watching it. Then I step out of the car for a better view with my own eyes, and not through a dirty windshield. NOTE: I remained on the pavement. The Owl observed me momentarily and then went back to scanning the field. I watched it fly out and dive down three more times. I was in awe. I wished I had my camera with me. This was epic!

I got back into the car after trying to get a capture with my cell phone. This here is the best I could get.

As I continued home, I did pass a Snowy Owl. A big beautiful near all white specimen who also took flight into the nearby field. Traffic was busy in this stretch so I didn't pull over for another craptastic capture.

Being involved with wildlife rescue centres and transporting animals, I hear stories of Owls that clip cars when hunting road side. I could never imagine experiencing that. The heartbreak in the moment. I had my own close call here and with a much better ending. I did wish that Owl to be safe and stay away from the road as I drove away.

March 6, 2019

Happy (belated) Anniversary Charlie!

On February 27, 2018 I met this thin Pigeon. She (assuming it's a female but I honestly do not know) came to me at a good time, much like Fitz, showing up not too long after my old flock flew away for the very last time. I was missing my friends and happy to make some new ones.

I suppose it was a good time for her to come in and find me too. She was very thin. I could feel her bones through her feathers as she sat on my finger tips. No weight to this bird unlike Fitz, or my old boy Pierre. What I also noticed is how easily she got knocked around by the other birds in her flock. Survival of the fittest, right?

I named her Charlie, as in Charlie Brown, only because of the song and not the actual character. That one line stood out. "Why is everybody always picking on me?"

Over time Charlie grew. She's still a light weight compared to some of the others but not a thin bird on the verge of starvation like it seems when I meet some of these new skinny birds. What has also changed with her is her attitude. She stands her ground now. She pushes her way around the flock. She has also has that one edge over most of them; she knows she can come to me and get a good uninterrupted feed.

Acknowledging her day is delayed not because of me. I had last seen her on February 16. The 27th came and went without a visit from Charlie. There was no point in celebrating her one year coming around here if she did not come back.

Finally she did on March 6th. A small flock of birds came in and I could pick her out from them. Charlie is your standard blue gray Pigeon with a couple dark wing bars. What makes her stand out is the appearance that she is dirty about the shoulders. There's some discoloring to those feathers as you can see here.

I quickly grabbed my jacket, boots and some seed, then dashed out to see her. She was flying towards me as soon as she saw me. A feed for her. A couple photos for me.

"Nice to see you again little one!" and "Happy (belated) anniversary!"

March 2, 2019

Rob and Claire's Adventure

As some of you are aware, I've made friends with a new Pigeon. Angie named her "Claire" and you can read her introduction here. She's a funny one, still coming around most days near 1 pm. Friday March 1st was no exception.

Claire had flown in with some others. She came right to me and the other two scrounged around my feet. They were here for about 5 minutes when in rocketed a Cooper's Hawk. The Hawk landed down back, well away from us. Claire's two friends raced off in the blink of an eye. Claire meanwhile just froze up in the palm of my hand. She stretched her neck out, looking around, eyes bulging, but she had no intentions of leaving me. Was she that afraid to move? Or did she know she was safe with me? The Hawk never gave chase to her friends as I am sure it knew they got a good head start.

It's too bad because we were having a lovely visit. A beautiful sunny first day of March; we weren't bothered by the below normal temperatures.

So I am standing in the yard with a Pigeon on my hand and a Cooper's Hawk in the tree about 40 ft away. Normally I don't interfere with the Hawks being here but in a time like this, that's the exception. I want to spook the Hawk away yet not frighten Claire. The last thing I want is for her to leave my hand and the Hawk goes after her.

I turn sideways which basically makes me a wall between the two birds. I make some hissy kind of noises towards the Hawk and I am waving my free hand at it. 95% of the time this species of Hawk is intolerant to my presence. First sight of me outside and they fly off. Of course this one is part of the 5%. He's looking at me and I swear I could see it in his eyes, he's like "what?" I even took some steps closer towards the Hawk, pulling Claire closer to my body. She stayed still. Now being approximately 30 ft from the Hawk, it still wasn't flying off. Seriously?

Okay, plan B. Time to move Claire out of the hunting ground. I take her out to the front. To do this, we have to go up between the houses. Our home is in a very old part of Toronto. The houses are close together. The walkway is maybe 4 ft wide and that's being generous. I still have Claire close to my body and away we go.

First challenge is walking across this icy area, which I had cleared up earlier in the week, and then we got another good blast of winter. Oh, plus getting over or under the extension cord to the heated bird bath without falling down. After the fact, I realize I could have just unplugged it. Derp!

I wondered if this long narrow walk between the houses would freak her out. Even with the neighbour's furnace vent pipes blowing steam out. She stayed with me.

Now we are out front. Will she fly away now? Nope.

I'm talking to her. I tell her it's okay to go. She wants no part of that idea. I tell her it's almost time for me to go to work and I've still not had my lunch. I know she doesn't understand. I'm betting some of you probably would have said similar things.

I decide to set her on one of the pillars at the corner of our porch. Up she goes and there she sits.

I now return to the backyard and no apologies as I flushed that Hawk outta here. I'm not losing a friend today. I'm confident the Hawk will not fly in my direction, being towards the house. If it did, and Claire has stayed put, she's out of sight.

I go back to the front and check to check on her. Yes she's still there. I grab my camera from inside the front door, and snap a few photos of her since I felt this definitely was blog worthy.

I do wonder what she's thinking.

I go back inside. I've quickly heated up my lunch and I am going back and forth from the kitchen to the front window with my plate, checking on her every few minutes.

I finish getting myself ready. I am almost running late. I am willing to accept that my coffee fix may not happen once again because of her.

I bring my jug of sunflower out, pouring some into my hand. I hold my palm to her chest. She eats. I give her a second helping as I mutter under my breath what a fool I am. She gobbles that up.

Ever since losing Dorothy, I stay with my buds until they leave the property. She doesn't seem ready. I figure I might as well scoop her up in the palm of my hand and coerce her to fly with a little lift. Finally she does, but only a few feet over to the neighbours roof over his porch. UGH!

I silently wished her to fly away. I cannot protect her all day. Seconds later, she's gone.

I tell ya, this has never happened with any of my other Pigeon pals. Sure I had some protecting moments with Pierre and the Jerseys but nothing remotely like this. I wonder if she realizes how much care I have for her?

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