Tux

This is another little feline visitor we’ve been having to our back yard bird feeders from. There is a house outside of our subdivision that feeds and looks after what must be 10+ outdoor cats. Several have visited our home before but they cause no problems and just tend to sit at the wood line to watch the birds eat and chatter at them.

I have named this one “Tux” for the tuxedo-like coat he or she has. Nearly every morning when I come downstairs and open the curtains and blinds, there is Tux. And in the evening when my husband comes home and I’m starting dinner, there is Tux. Starting to get used to the little guy or gal being around.

2013-06-30 Tux

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Scarlet Tanager

I saw this bird just once last year after we moved in. And I have not seen it since, until now. Just recently I caught the telltale red color and was excited to see this bird back again.

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As seems to be the case with many other birds, a cowbird must have deposited an egg in this bird’s nest as I saw it feeding a baby cowbird in the yard for a few hours. For the life of me I couldn’t focus precisely on the bird itself so the picture isn’t the clearest when increased in size.

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So now that I’ve seen a scarlet tanager twice now, I hope it will come around more often. Very striking and beautiful bird that is such a treat to get to see.

Birdhouse Update

Gloom Warning: It’s not a positive update.

I was thrilled when just days after purchasing and installing a new bird house, a family of bluebirds moved in and built a nest. Soon I was enjoying the sweet music of baby birds singing their little hearts out when the parents would arrive with food. I was looking forward to posting pictures in the coming weeks of fledglings and their attempts at learning to fly.

However about two weeks ago, I noticed the box had gone quiet. There was no singing and I hadn’t seen the parents in several hours. Curious, I stepped up to the box outside and peered with one eye up into the hole. I quickly stepped back when I realized that no longer were the little baby birds but a coiled snake. Not knowing exactly what kind of snake it was, I left well enough alone.

I was pretty sure that it was completely harmless as there aren’t that many venomous snakes around here, so I was willing to pin it to the ground and catch it. However, my neighbor wisely warned me that even though it was harmless, I had no idea what germ-ridden meals the snake had recently devoured that might be transferred to me if it lashed out.

After a long wait, it emerged.

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The snake wasn’t terribly large. I watched it slither out and down the pole the house was mounted on. In checking online herpetology sites, I’m guessing it’s a rat snake.

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I was shooting with a long lens that didn’t allow me to capture the entire snake in one shot. It was at this moment that I wanted to catch it by the head and take it out for its (in my opinion) transgressions against my bird family. The sweet bluebird parents had worked so hard building the nest twig by twig and it broke my heart to see the mother bird constantly flit back and forth to the opening in the house knowing something was terribly wrong but not being any match for the intruder inside.

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When you love all the cute and cuddly animals like I do, it’s hard to accept nature in its rawest. But you can’t truly respect nature if you can’t accept the entire circle of it. It still saddens me to see the empty box by my office window, but I can’t fault the snake. It would have done the same thing no matter where the nest had been located, most likely. This same snake will probably now keep our crawl space free of otherwise troublesome rodents (as that’s where it headed to when it left).

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My hope is that after I install a cone baffle under the bird house, a new family may find it and take up residence.

While You Were Busy

Funny how things creep up on you when you are busy. The other week I glanced out the window and wondered – what is that?!?

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Why, this would be the results of tossing the remainder of our small decorative gourds into a compost pile under the porch this winter after I used them around the house for the fall. Not thinking they would actually take seed and root – boom – we have gourds. I will be very curious to see what actually comes of this wonder and likely will need to figure out what to do with them. Hey, I was wanting a summer garden. Well, now I’m off to a very good start! Is a shame all vegetables don’t grow this easily!