Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

November 28, 2019

Regret to Inform...

I am saddened to post this, but my Pigeon friend Fitz has been euthanized.

Whatever happened to him, left him blind in his left eye. A one eyed Pigeon's life would be a struggle and rather short. If not picked off by a predator, it would most likely injure itself as it tried to get around, as well as slowly starve. The latter I know as I watched Fitz miss most of the seeds he was trying to pick from the palm of my hand that day I caught him.

I know Toronto Wildlife did all they could for him. He was in the centre for over 3 weeks. The medications and rest helped the exterior of his eye heal but they could not do anything for the loss of sight. I had high hopes for a recovery but as time passed, I also acknowledged and accepted that might not happen.

I take comfort in knowing he was in a warm, safe place the last few weeks. His belly was full. Lastly, he had apparently made himself a friend with another Pigeon, so his time was not truly awful nor alone.

I will miss him. We had almost 2 years of friendship. He had a lot of Pierre-like traits which had me favour him. He would sit on the clothes line post outside the backdoor and wait for me many mornings. It was comical to see him lean over from this post as he would peer into the kitchen window, looking for me. He would follow me about the backyard like a trusted sidekick. He was a nice bird, he was smart and a survivor.

Fitz knew our house was a good place to get a feed on and fresh water whenever desired. It was a safe place through a good part of the year, minus the winter. His visits in the winter were usually quite short and days apart if the Hawks had been hunting.

Pigeons aren't high on a lot of peoples' lists but slowly my visitors and I are changing the mindsets of some, one by one.

Last night's Whisky Wednesday was to Fitz.

Thanks for your friendship.

November 26, 2019

Cool Coyote Encounter

The other week I went out on a little Owl prowl not too far from home. It turned out to be a bust for any Owl finds or pretty much any other birds. Oh well, it was a nice sunny day which is something I embrace especially at this time of year. I don't care how cold it may be, just give me that glorious sunshine.

Somewhere along my walk, I passed a woman walking her dog. She was quite excited to tell me of a Coyote just up around the bend in a field. Her excitement was very positive. She was thrilled to see it even with walking her small dog. I know I repeated myself there with the bit about her walking her dog because that threw me as it's not normal for me to hear of a dog walker happy to see a Coyote, nor a dog walker keeping their dog on a leash as I encounter far more of the opposite to this in my outings.

I thanked her for the report as I was heading over that way and would keep my eyes open for it.

Sure enough I found the animal quite some ways out in the field. I watched him for a bit and figured that this was probably going to be the best thing I see on my walk.

Man was I ever wrong.

I turn around, going back to the main path and I see a second Coyote, only this one was maybe 20 feet from me. It was just doing it's thing, looking for rodents in the snow and wanted nothing to do with me.

Imagine that! First there was a Coyote out there not wanting to steal a small dog on it's leash. Now another one is in the area and it wants nothing to do with a human in the same vicinity as it. What is it with two myth busting Coyote encounters in mere minutes of each other?

I picked my jaw up out of the snow and then got my camera ready. It was tough to get some photographs of this beautiful animal through the foliage that separated us. I just lightly stepped back and forth, manually focusing where seemed to be decent spots to take pictures and did just that. I see Coyotes here and there while out but never have I been that close to one. I should have just admired the animal through my own eyes and not a lens but I just couldn't help myself. While the photos I got aren't National Geographic worthy, they are the best I have ever taken.

It was an amazing encounter and had me grinning. I've heard so many awful stories from people out there about these animals and how dangerous they can be. Some rather ridiculous stuff too such as Coyotes travel in packs, they use their pups to run out and play with off leash dogs, who then lure the dog to the waiting pack that will tear it to shreds. Coyotes do not hunt like that.

People need to keep their dogs on leash. It stuns me how many people walk around and think the outdoors belongs to them and not the wildlife. I always say "we live in our homes, the outdoors which includes our backyards belongs to the animals."

I'll take the chorus of a couple Coyotes in the middle of the night over loud drunken assholes any time in our neighbourhood.

Toronto Animal Services gives out free seminars across the city throughout the year. There is one coming up on December 3rd at the East York Civic Centre. I promote these seminars to people I know who do not understand these animals and live in constant fear of them. Do these people ever go? Unfortunately no. It's easier to stay home and preach their negativity over social media than go out and perhaps learn something like how to live with wildlife.

Predatory animals like Coyotes play an important role in our ecosystem. They offer some of the best pest protection out there.

People say they love their animals as much or even more than their children yet they will let their cats free roam outside day and night, and let their dogs run off leash. A lot can happen to their pets and not just by Coyotes.

Wild animals are in a constant battle for territory claims. They can see other dogs as a threat to their territories and will defend as such. There's always a reason for an attack. It's not just because. Why is it so difficult for some to understand and take simple steps to prevent this?

I know 98% of the people reading this blog are those who agree with me. I'm hoping this reaches someone in that 2% who might take a moment and rethink things regarding the Coyote.

November 21, 2019

If Only They Could Talk

Last Friday I was in the backyard. I noticed there was blood drops all throughout the snow from one end of the yard to the other. What was up with that? I was filling a couple feeders and set a couple small piles out for the Squirrels. It wasn't long before I noticed whoever was bleeding, was in the yard with me, as I saw fresh pooling at some of the feeding spots.

Okay, so it's one of the Squirrels; but who? My heart sank when I soon figured out it was my little buddy Ripper. You know Ripper, right? He comes to my hand for a big safe feed away from all the others.

I happened to see Ripper at one of the new seed piles and when he left, there was another blood pool. Pool is a good term as the pools were the size of my palm.

My other indicator was Ripper's whole demeanour. Normally he's following me around like a puppy and is quick to get on my arm and run to my hand. He wasn't like this at all. As soon as I neared him, up the tree he went. The last time he was like this was back in the spring when he was half bald and dealing with a common mites issue.

I immediately got my live trap out. He needed some medical attention. I didn't have a lot of time left with my morning and canceled all my other plans before work. He did not return. I had thought about calling in to work to deal with this but I know Ripper doesn't live that close to us. He's also great for disappearing for weeks at a time. I should add that I managed to catch another Squirrel in the trap that morning. When there's 8 or more bombing around, it's tough to catch the one you want. It's also why you should never leave your live traps unattended.

I went to work and would watch out for him on the weekend.

He eventually showed on the weekend. He wasn't bleeding any more. He was very agile and quick, looking at him you wouldn't think there was ever anything wrong with him. He even came to my hand for a couple nibbles of sunflower, just not on my hand. He also took a whole walnut and ran off.

I've not seen him since Sunday now. I do hope he's okay. I can only imagine what happened to him to make him bleed like that. Perhaps it was a superficial wound, like how we can knick ourselves in certain places and bleed like crazy even though it's not a serious cut.

It would be so much easier if they could just tell us what's going on, eh?

In other news, Fitz has been on the road to recovery in the Toronto Wildlife Centre. His eye was opening more and more every day. Last update I got, his left eye almost completely open but it was not responding to light. They were going to do another assessment a week from that, being on November 18th. The hope was that the medication was causing the no reaction, that it was still in the back of his eye, and would clear out over some more time. I am hoping that as well. The cute thing I learned is that Fitz made himself a friend with another Pigeon in care. They were often seen sitting together. I'm glad his stay at TWC has not been a lonely terrifying experience. Let's hope he's still on the right track to healing properly and will be back home soon.

November 4, 2019

Quick Bits #45

Hello! It's been a busy few weeks with this and that so I have some catching up to do.

For starts, I recently went out looking for Eastern Screech Owls over a couple evenings. The weather hasn't been great but tis the season to try. I lucked out in one spot on the 2nd evening and got what I think is a familiar Owl.

A rufous morph Screech Owl in a certain spot.

I say "familiar" because about a year ago I managed to call in a rufous morph Screech Owl in the same location.

Safe bet it is the same bird, eh?

I am disappointed that one of my reliable spots isn't as so any longer. Ever since the Owls' tree was cut down by the city, they have disappeared. There is a ravine lot nearby where I had seen them as well but not since the tree went.

My record for Screeches in one evening is 7. But really, getting 1 Owl instead of none is still pretty good, right?

The trail cam has not been used as much since it's been so rainy. They say it's okay in rain and snow but I'm not ready to test those waters (pun intended). Nothing out of the ordinary has been coming up when in use but here's a couple interesting bits.

A Raccoon made himself rather comfortable in the dog house.

I can see hay sticking out of the entrance some mornings. I can see it flattened inside from someone laying inside it. I'm considering laying some branches across the front to give it a little more privacy but we shall see.

Another interesting bit the cam caught is a third Skunk in the 'hood. I'd like to think this is Topper. She would only be 2 years of age now.

I encountered this Skunk a couple nights, crossing paths with it. It startled me as much I did it. I immediately started saying "Topper. Hi Topper." and while I did not get the reaction like the good ol' days, the Skunk eased up and continued it's digging in the garden with my presence. I can pretend, right? It's not beyond belief.

We have 2 with the big stripes and this "Topper" one. I know for certain that one of the Skunks lives close by and probably spends some days under our raised shed. It randomly and suddenly appears down there, even with first and last light, and on occasion mid-day. Thank goodness we admire these creatures.

After a month of being missing, Ripper has once again appeared. It's like no time has passed and we are best buds. If only he could talk and tell me where he's been. I suspect he's been around but we've just been missing each other. It's always a pleasure to hang with Ripper any morning. The black and white photo suits the gloomy weather we've been having here in southern Ontario.

The daytime Raccoon visits have eased off but I still see 3 to 5 on the cam captures. I will miss the visits with my morning coffee. They are real characters.

Some lecture me on being nice to them or even just tolerating them, letting them come to the backyard. The outdoors belongs to the animals. This is how we feel about the haters to not just the Raccoons but wildlife in general.

Our hand feeding Hairy Woodpecker still comes around. He's not a daily visito by any means but knows to look into the kitchen window when he's here.

We have a new Pigeon visitor who has quickly figured out where the good food is. I commented that he is a tank, because he is a large bird and very heavy compared to the others. Our friend Patty quickly threw the name Sherman out there. Meet Sherman.

He's very comfortable with me. Rarely can I get any sort of selfie with the new Pigeons without them spooking and flying off my hand; they don't like the phone being behind them. Sherman doesn't seem to mind.

And last but not least, after a week away, my pal Fitz came to the backyard on November 3rd. I was in the kitchen when I spotted him fly in. I quickly got my boots on and some food for him. Once Fitz heard the back door opening, he flew to me. I noticed he was having difficulty getting sunflower chips from my hand. He was missing half of them and just pecking at my palm. How odd. It was when I got a good look at his face and not just the right side that I saw something was wrong with his left eye. It was closed.

I felt bad for my friend. Being half blind makes him easy prey and probably vulnerable to other things like being hit by a car or injuring himself in flight. I walked with him in my hand down to the shed. This is about 100 ft away. I open the shed doors. Fitz is still in my hand. I set him on top of the cinder block that weighs down my two seed buckets. Fitz obviously has absolute trust in me to go with all these motions. I think he was very hungry too. He can get an easy meal here with me. I'm not sure what kind of struggle he may have elsewhere. I left him there with a large pile of sunflower chips while I went back to the house to look for a box. I returned many minutes later and he was still pecking away. I let him eat for a few more minutes. I set the box down near my feet. As I put my hand over top of him, looking him in that good eye, I said "sorry Fitz" and quickly grabbed him, putting him in the box. It was only when I grabbed him that he freaked out. He calmed right down again once I put the lid on.

I had made a call to TWC about him and also emailed a photo of his eye condition. They called me back and after a little chat, I was given permission to bring him in.

We are hoping it's nothing more than an infection. Something that medication and a time out will take care of. I should have a better idea of how things are with him in a couple days. He needs to be assessed and go from there. I know if it's not treatable, then Fitz will be euthanized. This will be a better outcome for him than to be outdoors, struggling with the sight loss and eating as well as not getting picked off by a predator or any other dangers. Some of you will agree. I expect some not to. He's more than a Pigeon, he's my friend. He makes me smile and forget about the awful things that happen in the world, even for a few minutes every time he comes to see me. Even if he wasn't one of the special yard critters, he's still a living being and doesn't deserve to suffer. While not all of my family and friends understand these things of me and the animals, most still respect it.

Please wish Fitz the best during this time.

January 2020 will mark 2 years that he has been coming to visit. Let's hope we get to see this anniversary.

Well, that's it for now. Thank you for stopping in.

For laughs, here is Franken-Merry from Halloween. Believe it or not she was purring while wearing this silly little hat. She loves the attention way more than the hat.