It’s Alive!

Finally my yard is starting to look like a living being!

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It’s just warm enough, but not too warm to start cleaning things up for summer while still ignoring that the interior of my house needs vacuumed. This means that I’ve purchased a million dollars worth of pansies and petunias to satisfy my planting urges.

Must. Hold off. On. Tomatoes.

My feathered visitors also seem to be in the cleaning up mood.

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A little preening and grooming.

Including the robin who I think is the reason the birdbath constantly needs refilled. He also poops in it every other visit. Not cool, dude!

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While the goldfinch couple didn’t stop to bath, they did take some long sips of what was essentially robin flavored water.

“Dear, the water has a certain salty flavor today.”

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Eagle Update: Fuzzy Gray Heads

Last Friday after school, I decided to go check in with the local eagles. As a colleague had suggested, leaf buds were coming out promising to obscure future views to the nest.

When I arrived, one adult was on the nest, one was down the river a few trees. At the right side of the nest I could just see movement. Binoculars confirmed two fuzzy gray heads bopping around waiting for dinner.

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Shortly after I got there, the parent on the tree took off and made huge, graceful swoops over the parking lot and the empty lot across the road, flying out of sight presumably to pick up a to-go order.

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The parking lot dwellers went into a frenzy of battery and lens changes for their massive cameras. This is my version of penis envy:”Did you see the size of the lens on that guy? Rowr!” They were really excited because one of the eagles had unsuccessfully tried to take down a Canada goose earlier in the day within their camera range.

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Fish, it’s what’s for dinner. Mostly I know it was a fish because the giant camera people were getting pictures of the fish’s nose hair (if that was a thing) and squealing about it. I just listened intently and documented what I could with my average sized camera.

Hey, baby, it’s not the size. It’s how you use it. (FYI, perverts, this is a lie.)

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With dinner served, the fuzzy gray heads were back demanding food and attention. I felt like a celebrity seeking paparazzo.

 

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How Cool Was My Day?!

Every time I visit MomBert, I’m jealous of her bird population. Yes, as this blog testifies I have a decent level of avian traffic in my yard. However MomBert has the high traffic patterns and the variety!

She has blue jays! Blue jays are a fairly common bird, but they don’t visit my yard much. I’ll hear them in the neighborhood, and see them across the street, but they rarely stop by.

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She gets lots of titmouses, nuthatches, and woodpeckers who like her wooded back yard border. Again, common birds, but my population seems to be darling chickadees, juncos, sparrows, and finches.

Even her doves seem fancier than mine. Look at the blue eye shadow on this one. It was blending into the rocks so well that it startled me.

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One of her favorite visitors is this towhee who won’t pose because it constantly hops and scratches at everything looking for food.

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So, yea, I was a bit jelly of her birds, her deer herd, and her foxen when I left to go look for sexy salamanders.

But…

I HAVE BALD EAGLES!!

Well, they’re not in my yard where smaller raptors have landed, but they were only a 10 minute drive away.

A week ago, a friend posted her visit to view the eagles. They have created a huge nest at a relatively easy viewing spot on the Scioto River. I was determined to make this part of my weekend activities.

The birds and nest are so big that I easily spotted their silhouettes as I drove by the first time. One turn around later, I was playing Frogger to join other people staring across the river.

I could hear the eagles vocalizing from across the river. These were high pitched chirping cries. For some reason my brain wanted manly, majestic roars. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because they’re so big.DSCF2619a

Conversation with the other birdwatchers revealed that both birds were on the nest because a predator had been in the area. Allegedly there were three eaglets to guard in the nest, and we were all standing in the parking lot of a stranger’s home, a river access point or a small business. No one was sure.

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When it comes to nature, I am always torn between the “be in the moment” dictum and the act of documentation. I’m compelled to document because what I’m seeing is strange, beautiful, unusual, and is usually filling me with a sense of amazement that I get to see and document this thing! I feel like I was in the moment as I happily watched eagles through my lens. Part of being compelled to document, is being compelled to share because I want other people to understand how cool and interesting the natural world can be. I don’t know if the world would be a little nicer if we were all just a smidgen more in-tune with the plants and animals around us. Dirty hippie rant over.

While I watched, one of the birds left the nest and took a soaring path down the river to land in another big tree. “He just had to get out of the house for a minute, “said the guy standing beside me. I walked back to my car smiling, excited to closely exam my photos, and urge my friends to visit the spot. For once this week, it felt like real spring with the sun shining as I drove towards home, and a bald eagle circled above me on his way back to the nest.

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Updated: I went back the next day. The little lady was home alone, and nestled in. After a while she stood and BOOM! in swooped Big Daddy! He had an unidentified something clutched in his talons. I might have been screaming, “It’s Daddy!” Oh, issues. He dropped off his delivery and then removed himself to another tree.

I did some more screaming when I found out that I actually got this photo.

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Mother Nature, Why?

IMG_5247Mother Nature, why?

Snow, flash floods, tornadoes, snow

It’s been a long week.

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Seriously, we woke Monday to an inch of heavy, wet snow. It was really pretty. All the tree branches were perfectly outlined. However it felt a bit like April Fool‘s a day late.

By Tuesday afternoon, there were flood watches, thunderstorms and tornado warnings. I was trapped in the dentist’s chair while lights flickered and thunder boomed. The week proceeded in a wet way with high winds and temperatures fluctuating from the 20′ to the 60’s and back again. Sometime Friday night to Saturday morning, the snow arrived again.

My sinuses gave up at some point Tuesday night and achieved maximum snot production Friday morning. Spring in Ohio!

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Bird Hot Tub?

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With snow coverage and cold winds, the yard has been hoppin’. The feeders are full. I added some nyjer for the finches. I will regret this when I’m pulling thistles in the spring, but right now they are one of my most frequent customers. I also re-stocked all the suet cakes and made a questionable batch of my own which immediately attracted a flock of starlings. Oh, well, they’re hungry too even if they don’t have any manners.

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This cardinal knows what up and has been stopping by more than usual with his lady friend. I’m hoping to catch them in the new “hot tub.” Romantic. 😉

It feels counter intuitive to dunk yourself in water when the wind chill is in the negatives, but the birds seems to be in to it. The new heated birdbath is just deep enough to encourage bathing and is certainly helpful in keeping them hydrated. I saw one of the squirrels taking a sip this morning as the water was sending up steam clouds.

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#ColdAF