Overcoming Bloglessness


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Bird Stuff

Daily Prompt: Now You See Me

You have a secret superpower: the ability to appear and disappear at will. When and where will you use this new superpower? Tell us a story.

I’ve have been using my superpower. Haven’t you noticed? I’ve been disappeared most of the winter. I just kind of got unbloggy; distracted by holidays, Scrabble, TV, jigsaw puzzles, naps, baking, sewing and bird stuff. My brain is full of bird stuff.

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1000 pieces = 2 days to completion.

Fowl Fashion Update

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Betty, Fanny and Penny

The hens would rather not touch snow, but when the sun comes out, who can resist a little walkabout?   Their coop is warmed by heat lamp, since  Betty was molting when the artic air arrived and Fanny has had foliage issues since I got her last summer.

Here she is in July, dehydrated and underweight with no pants and a big scab from being pecked on in an overcrowded henyard.

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Ta-da!  Here’s Fanny now in her new finery.  She still has a small bald patch in the wayback, but that will fill in too.  By summer, she’ll be fully feathered.

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These hens are good layers.  The heat lamp helps with winter production.  I’m getting three eggs most days.   Some eggs go right back to the hens or the crow, scrambled or hard-boiled.

Raven gets raw eggs.  I bet he’d like ’em scrambled too.

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Full moon over Taj Ma-henhouse.

Suki

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Taking a snowbath.

The name Suki didn’t really stick.  My husband consistently calls her “Crowbar”.  I allow that because it’s better than what he was calling her, which was “FUBAR”.   (F@#*^d Up Beyond All Reason)   Don’t call her that!
After reading about a crow named Chicken (CORVUS, by Esther Woolfson)  I started calling her Chicken. Or Crow.  “Suki” has become her formal name; the one she would use on important legal documents.

Crow stays busy all day, bathing in  snow, climbing her tree, caching and uncaching food and watching flighted birds soar by.   At night I bring her inside, to her crate.  One recent evening she stepped off her tree onto my hand and rode all the way inside!  That had never happened before and  I was plum tickled.  She’s done it a few times now, but she won’t do it every time.

In the morning, after scrambled eggs, I open the patio door and let her walk out on her own.  Here’s her route.

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Owls

I’ve learned to keep my hood on when cleaning or feeding the owls at bird rehab.  A great grey owl deliberately befouled my hair!  And a barred owl smacked me upside the head as I exited his chamber.  He didn’t hurt me; his talons were not in kill position.  He just flew into the back of my head for reasons untold.  Maybe just for kicks or maybe he didn’t like my outfit.  I promise not wear that orange camo hoodie again.  It really is hideous.

Great grey owl

Great grey owl


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Still Life Without Theresa

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My friend has gone home. We had such a fun week together.  She brought coloring books and wine.

She brought beer and coffee and bread, peanut butter and jelly, pastry, crackers, chips, fruit and water and a candle.  She brought her husband and they brought their own towels.

I took them to Wild Wings, where we were treated to an excellent tour of the bird re-hab.  The ornithologist offered to bring out any bird we asked for.  That’s one of the perks of volunteering there.

Great grey owl

Great grey owl

Northern Pygmy Owl

Northern Pygmy Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

We had huckleberry Margaritas at McDonald lake lodge.

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On the way home we saw this ominous billowing plume from a new forest fire in Glacier Park, the Thompson fire; currently 100% uncontained.

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We visited the Whiskey Barn.   Theresa’s husband bought some.  I’m not a big fan.  Of whiskey, I mean.  Her husband is cool.

This is not her husband; just some guy at the trading post.

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We four took a sunset boat ride ride on Flathead Lake.

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Wildlife advocate, Jungle Jack Hanna lives here.

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We saw an osprey.

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We stood in line to get on the list to see a sold-out play (The Adams Family) but were only offered seats on the steps. Nobody wanted to sit on the steps. We’re much too dignified. Oops! I mean, decrepit.

We ate lunches out and shopped at thrift stores and book stores and stores where we couldn’t afford a pair of socks. She can out-shop me any day. Must be the Zumba.

We colored in our coloring books and went for a walk every evening.

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After Theresa left I took a nap for three hours.  It’s so quiet here.

I’ll miss that BFF.


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Bird Woman

I’m a bird woman now.

I’ve finally gotten my foot in the door as a volunteer at a wild bird rehab facility.   I’ve been going in on Saturday mornings, learning  how to clean the mews (stable like enclosures) and feed and care for the various raptors that, due to injury, can’t be released back into the wild.

Ferruginous hawk

Ferruginous hawk

There are eagles, hawks, falcons, osprey, kestrels and owls, owls, owls!  The owls are my favorites, with their big eyes and unique voices.  There are currently great grey and great horned owls, barn and barred owls, screech and long-eared a pygmy and a snowy owl in residence.

Great gray owl

Great gray owl

Other birds come and go too: songbirds, corvids, hummingbirds, any bird that needs help plus some that don’t.   A Fish and Game officer brought in a fledgling osprey that somebody “saved” when it should’ve been left where they found it, on the ground near the nest.  It’ll be cared for and returned to that same spot, when it’s deemed ready.

Osprey

Osprey

It’s hard labor and not a job for the squeamish or timid. There’s lots of stooping and bending, picking up poo and pellets, feathers, headless mice and leftover guts, plus hauling buckets of water.  It’s a good Saturday morning work-out and worth the backache to be so near these fascinating birds and learn more about them.  I’m learning their names and voices and habits and how to record what they eat and how much they leave behind.   I learn something every time I go.  I haven’t touched a bird, but I was told, if I’m still there in the spring, I may be shown how to handle a bird. There’s a carrot on a stick. That would be so freakin’ exciting!

Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon

My friend T said, “That’s perfect for you!”  She’s right.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.  I feel privileged to have the opportunity to serve the birds.

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Daily Prompt via You’re a Winner!. You’ve just won $1 billion dollars in the local lottery.  How will you spend the money?

Is that enough to buy an election?  I doubt it.

A million or two should be plenty for me.  I’ll give the rest to various organizations and people and animals and birds.


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Houseguest #1

Daily Prompt Honorific
If you could pick one person to be commemorated on a day dedicated to him/her alone, who would you choose?
via Honorific.

We dedicated a week to Mother Raven who visits every summer.

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We took her fishing one day. I caught two fish, right away and my husband caught nothing. We didn’t stay very long; it was hot and Mother can’t take much sun.

We were just about to leave when deer appeared.

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I thought they’d stop and drink, but they swam across the river!

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Mom was glad she got to see that. So was I.

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We took her by the forest fire on the way home.

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She and I delivered the fresh fish to the wild bird rehab (where I am now a volunteer!).  She got to see owls and eagles and hawks and falcons.

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She got to see bluebirds and twin fawns, and a double lucky bat.  She got to hear a Native American flute solo. We ate out a lot and played cards.

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Mom wanted to see Ed’s interesting well-house again, so we dropped by for a visit.

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Now she’s gone home where she lives alone.  Her sons and neighbors look after her. I didn’t cry at the airport this time.   I didn’t cry at the flute solo either.  Must be the meds.

I miss her company; she’s a dear lady. But at the same time, I’m glad to have alone time again and relieved that the television doesn’t have to be turned up to 100.


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Baby Blues

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How can I get anything done will all these babies in the yard? This morning I took 130 shots of them before I’d put my glasses on.

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They’re western bluebirds.  They’ll have a red breast.

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I couldn’t get a shot of the babies being fed;  it happened so fast.  I was shooting by ear; staying focused on the babies, but listening for increased chirpage, which indicates Momma is nearby.

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They nested in our birdhouses this year.  Maybe that’s why we’re seeing them earlier than usual.  Or maybe it’s the warmer, drier than usual weather.

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I’ll have my coffee with the baby blues again tomorrow morning.  I’ll wear my glasses.  I want that shot of a baby being fed.

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I’m glad they feel at home in my yard.  I quite enjoy their company.

 

I ignored the Daily Prompt via Festivus for the Rest of Us.


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A Little Sparrow

I held a little sparrow. I thought he was a goner, but he fluttered, just a little when I lifted him from the deck.

“Don’t pick it up!,”  yelled Mr. Raven through the window.  Of course I’m going to pick it up!  He knows me better than that.

It was a savannah sparrow, I think.  He’d hit the window hard.  I cupped my hands around him, hoping warmth and love would heal him.  When I opened my hands the little bird stood, but his head was askew and he was bleeding from the beak, opening and closing his birdmouth.

He won’t make it, I thought as I set him on the lawn.   Would bird rehab take him?  They deal with birds of prey, mostly.  Would they help a little sparrow?   If he dies they might feed him to an owl.

Should I end his suffering?  No, I couldn’t.

Let nature take its course.   I left Bird in the grass and went back inside.  Nature took its course and one minute later I was checking on the bird who was still standing, still stunned.  He didn’t try to get away when I picked him up again.

It’s a gift, to hold a sparrow. I like the fragile, weightless feel of little bird feet on my hand.    I hoped he wouldn’t die.

It was dusk.  Hawk was sitting on the usual pole.  I couldn’t leave a helpless sparrow in the grass to be eaten.   I fetched a shoebox to keep him safe for the night.

“You’re gonna get bird flu!,”  Mr. Raven said as I passed by. He always goes worst case scenario.

I took the bird box to the back yard birdbath and dipped  wee drops of water on  his beak to wash off the blood.   A little water got in his nose holes and he shook it off.  That seemed to revive him.  He stood taller in my hand, holding his little head upright again.   Then, all of a flutter, he lifted off!   Up, above the house he flew, looking strong!  He did a few loops, to orient himself and then he was gone.

I wished he would stay.  I wanted to hold him a little longer.

Maybe that’s him outside my window now, happily trilling his evening song. I hope so.

Daily Prompt Describe the last time you were moved to tears by something beautiful.
via Moved to Tears.

My High Noon

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Daily PromptAt noon today, take a pause in what you’re doing or thinking about. Make a note of it, and write a post about it later.
via High Noon.

We drove out to the river this morning while the church goers were still in the pews.

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Flathead River

The green water of the Middle Fork and brown water from the North Fork merge here.

It looks like a clan of beavers merge here too.  There was an amazing amount of evidence everywhere, but we couldn’t find their damn dam. My husband figures this tree must’ve been chewed on above when the snow was deep and the lower part was carved after snowmelt. Or else there was one really tall beaver.

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I collected some long sticks.  The girls like to use them for torches, when we have a campfire.  I was running low on torches.
I only brought home one rock; a large, pale, purplish-pink boulder.   I can always use another rock in the garden or around the henyard.

We visited this guy.

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This is his mate. I suspect they have eggs in the nest by now.

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By the way, the ravens at Wellesley college are nesting in front of the ravencam again. I’ve not yet heard how many eggs are in the nest. You can watch them at
http://www.wellesley.edu/ravencam

By noon, we were hungry and on our way home. PB and J.

Now it’s after three, and I do believe it’s wine time.

Maybe I’ll take the hens for a walk. They follow me like puppies. Such good girls.