Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bluebird watch/Attack crow

Bluebird watch
The female bluebird is now spending most of her time in the birdhouse, with the male standing guard nearby. He frequently brings her bits of food and sometimes goes inside the box to sit with her for a few minutes. It's getting down to the wire; if all goes well, there'll be little bluebirds soon. Keep your fingers crossed!

Attack crow

As I stood at the front door watching the bluebirds, a huge, glossy black crow swooped down and landed in the yard. It strutted around, poking in the grass from time to time as it leisurely circled the garden. It wandered down alongside the driveway, still searching the grass when suddenly, it hopped straight up into the air. I wondered if it had been startled by an insect. The crow then began stabbing at something on the ground. But the something wasn't an insect--it was a mouse!

Grabbing the binoculars, I stared with a mixture of horror and fascination as the crow continued to attack the mouse. By now, the mouse was on its back, kicking its legs helplessly in the air. After a few seconds of this, the crow grabbed up the mouse in its beak and flew away into the pine thicket where it would, thankfully, devour its dinner out of my sight.

I know this is all part of the circle of life and that Nature isn't always kind. But I also know that sometimes my heart is too tender and my stomach too weak for this!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Remembering Virginia Tech

My heart aches for the families and friends of those killed or wounded during yesterday's horrendous attacks at Virginia Tech, and most especially, for the victims. I can't understand what drives one to do such a thing and I never will. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved.

Friday, April 13, 2007

A Few Words About the Pet Food Recall

By now everyone is (or should be) aware of the recent pet food recalls. First thought to affect only canned or moist diets, now some dry foods are being recalled--even some specialty diets available only through veterinarians! And, sadly, the list continues to grow.

What to look for

Are you worried that some of the pet food on your shelf is contaminated? Here's what to do: Check the brand name of the food, along with the lot number and UPC code. You'll find the numbers and codes stamped on the can lids of wet foods, and on the bag or pouch of moist diets. Compare the information with the FDA's list of recalled foods. If you have any of the foods listed, either return them to the point of purchase for a refund, or follow directions listed on the company websites.

Think your pet may have consumed some of the contaminated foods? Look for symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or any other unusual behavior not previously seen. Don't wait; if you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Helpful Websites
Here are a few resources for information. Check them often to stay on top of any updates.

Menu Foods, Inc.

Nestle Purina PetCare Company

Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc.

Del Monte Pet Products

Feathery Things
One of the coolest things I've seen is an entire flock of goldfinches zeroing in on the front yard feeder. All that bright yellow and bold black is a feast for the eyes!

The mother bluebird is sitting tight on those eggs. We'll know before too long if the cold snap hurt them.

Gotta fly
The parrots are clamoring for their breakfast and it's time to refill the wild bird feeders. 'Til next time, be well, be safe, and be happy!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cold snap :(

We had a cold front move in late last week and it took a terrible toll on our gardens. The Japanese magnolia, crape myrtle, fig tree, butterfly bush, elephant ears and assorted flowers like the cannas, all froze! The once beautiful, lush green leaves and shoots are now destroyed, black, sick-looking waste. My heart hurts. But all is not lost: I'd brought the hanging baskets and potted plants in from the porch, so they're all safe.

Chilled eggs?
My biggest fear is that the bluebird eggs may have gotten chilled. The female is still staying inside the box much of the time, but she also flies out whenever something startles her. I hope she didn't leave the nest long enough for the eggs to get too cool.

The little hummingbirds are just active as they were when the temps were high! Night before last, our temperatures dropped into the twenties, but the hummingbird food didn't freeze. I'm guessing that might be because the feeder is hanging in a protected place on the porch (?). At any rate, the hummingbirds buzzed the feeder all day and are out again early this morning. They must be a lot tougher than they look!

Blogger's Choice Award!
My lovely friend Dawno nominated this blog for a Blogger's Choice award--Best Animal Blog! Thank you, Dawno. I'm speechless, and that rarely happens. Be sure to drop by her blog. You'll be glad you did!

Happy Easter!
I hope you all had a wonderful, blessed Easter!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Brown-headed Cowbirds

They're here....
I've recently seen a male and several female Brown-headed Cowbirds on the feeder. The male is really pretty; he has a chocolate-brown head and neck, and a glossy black body. The females, bless their hearts, are a nondescript brownish color and resemble large dark sparrows. There are a lot of cowbirds around here, but this is the first time I've seen so many at the feeder.

Cowbirds are interesting critters. They're parasitic brooders, which means that they don't build their own nests, but lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. Then they blithely fly away, leaving their egg and subsequent baby for another bird to care for. That's just not nice.

Bathing Beauties
I noticed Darby (the beagle) perched on the back of the couch this morning, staring out the window. I went to see what was so fascinating and spotted two Mourning Doves splashing around in the bird bath. They looked so funny with their feathers sticking out every which way and water dripping everywhere. I didn't realize until last year what enthusiastic bathers they are. They used the bird bath more than anybody else.

They do a good job cleaning up around the feeder post, too, picking up all the dropped seeds and corn. I love to listen to them coo to each other. Their voices are very soothing.

Parrot News
My daughter entered pictures of the parrots in an online photo contest and Pancho won! Well, actually my granddaughter won--she got some free entries in another contest because Pancho was technically her entry. Or something. I don't understand these things. But I do know that Pancho's cute little face got lots of votes.

Until next time, take care, y'all!

Sunday, April 01, 2007


The bluebird couple is on eggs. Yay!
We checked the box yesterday and saw two eggs cozily snuggled together inside the nest. And what a nest it is--the female carried in enough materials to build a nest the size of a baseball glove. She's spending a lot of time in the birdhouse now and the male frequently brings her juicy worms and other delicacies. This is so cool.

Hummingbirds are here!
Our first hummingbird arrived March 27, just in time for my birthday last Thursday! That was mightly thoughtful. As I sat typing this, one buzzed the feeder and guzzled a bit of sugar water, but it sped away before I could see whether it was a male or female.

I hope all the hummers are staying warm. We've had a cold snap and the temps dropped quite a bit. But at least the little birds won't go hungry. All the flowering shrubs and fruit trees are in bloom, as well as many flowers.

Gold and black
The male American goldfinches are shedding their drab winter feathers and replacing them with the sunny yellow that is so gorgeous. Right now, the little guys look rather shabby. There are bright yellow patches all over their bodies and black spots where their black caps are coming in; they look sort of like bag-birds. But soon enough, they'll be dressed in their stunning summer outfits of brilliant yellow and shiny black, and will be pigging out at the feeder and on the grasses in the field. I love these birds!

Parrot news
Both parrots are doing great. Rio turns 21 this year! He's in wonderful condition, healthy and happy. And Pancho has been busily learning new sounds. We got a beagle puppy back in October and Pancho picked up some of his vocalizations. *sigh* Actually, I don't mind. I'm always thrilled when one of them displays a new trick.

'Til next time, be well and keep an eye out for the feathered creatures in your area. They put on some of the best shows on Earth!