you can’t discuss bees without talking birds
Yesterday I told you about the bees. Today I’d like to remediate and
cover the birds. We have lots of them here, all around the calendar.
But I’m hard-pressed to find many photos. Here’s one of a peahen.
She and several peacocks were dumped along our road. They
weren’t around for long. I’m guessing that a screeching bird
with a huge rainbow tail is like McDonald’s drive-through
for wolves, especially if you consider the wind drag on the
tail. I can envision the “eyes” at the top of the peacock’s
train feathers bulging out as the cock-in-charge whispered
to the others, “just keep strutting and don’t look directly
Had we spotted any iridescent wolf scat shortly after the
birds disappeared, I would have had lots of shots for you.
This is the fourth year on the ponds for them. The first year it was just
Biff (mostly white, back to camera) and Muffy (far right). The next year
they came back, bringing the mysterious Yolanda (closest to Biff). As
the photo indicates, Yolanda came between Biff and Muffy. They drifted
apart for the season. When they returned last year the three of them
seemed to have it worked out. We haven’t named the new one. She’s
These trumpeter swans dropped in for an hour or so about two years
ago. I think they were late for a Christmas song.
The first spring we were here, Slinkee kept showing up with dead birds.
We were skeptical that she was that good a hunter, but gave her the
benefit of the doubt until we heard a TV-Batman-sized “BAP!” in the
family room one day. This red-breasted sapsucker was sitting on the
outside ledge of the picture window, stunned and shaking his head.
This window and the large window in the kitchen are in the birds’
flight paths. We immediately put up netting to end the carnage.
The sapsucker apparently survived. It was still on the ledge when
we went to bed, gone in the morning. There was no corpse on the
ground and Slinkee didn’t have bird on her breath. It left us a
reminder for due diligence, a feather from its forehead.
Our ponds attract a lot of other ducks besides the buffles.
We get blue-winged teals, common golden-eyed, lesser
scaups, ring-necked and Northern shovelers. We have
spotted three types of merganzers: common, hooded and
red-breasted. The hooded females are the avian version
of the Bride of Frankenstein.
Last autumn we briefly hosted several small flocks of
brant and Canada geese. One of the brant flocks had a
Canada goose leader. They grazed in the back yard and
around the garden and campground in the front. They
did a commendable job of spacing out their scat, which
looks like greenish-grey Cheetos.
For the first two summers we lived here, a raven couple
would visit our rainbow-kissed apple tree every day at
4 pm. You could set your watch by it. Then one of them
must have died. The other is still around, getting ever
nearer. Sometimes it flies so close to us that we can
hear its wings — a creaking, whooshing sound. The last
few days it’s been perching low in our biggest maple
tree, driving Slinkee even nuttier with a clucking
Besides the standard issue robins, sparrows and seagulls,
we have cedar waxwings, wild pigeons and grouse. Slinkee
bagged two grouse in the blueberry patch once. They got
stuck in the netting we keep over it so the pigeons can’t
get in. I took one of them from her. She glared at me and
ran off with the other one.
We also see the occasional bald eagle, harrassing the ducks.
They usually stay by the ocean shores. I never saw a bald
eagle when I lived in the states. I like to think that they
fled the Bush administration as we did.
The funniest looking birds we have around here are the
belted kingfisher and the Steller’s jay. The kingfisher is
nature’s punk rocker, the jay is strictly goth.
And the most magnificent bird we see is the great blue
heron. Elegant in a pterodactyl sort of way. I’m certain
that humans modeled aerial bombardment after this
bad boy. One left a six-foot splatter pattern of scat on
the front of our house once. Another almost took out
my stepson Nathan and me. And just look at what
another one did to our solar panels.
Thank you, Richard of thesacredpath, for telling me how
to answer comments correctly.