Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pale Male's Face, Quicksilver Takes a Bath, and a Walk in the Woods Goes Dark...and Paranoid.

Photo courtesy of

Pale Male's face is not only utterly charming and beautiful, it is also very expressive.

So no first observed copulation yet? I've suspected, as all the nests have their own similar timetable from year to year, that the first copulation depends on the formel's clock. But also we have to keep in mind this is the first
observed copulation so some years there may be more observant eyes than others looking so that affects the statistics as well.

Pale Male and Lola for most years of their bond were observed copulating on Valentine's Day or before.

Well as we wait for Pale Male and Pearl/Pale Beauty to get on with it take a look at Silver's bath of today. Hilariously the minute he starts this Pyewackit heads for the basement. Don't worry, it's a nice basement. She has a lot of soft options for napping.

I came into the kitchen and Quicksilver was attempting to take a bath in his water bowl, which is far too small for the purpose. I grabbed the first available receptacle that he might find acceptable, and filled it with warm water. I set it on the table and he leapt from his perch into the middle of it.

He has a biological switch someplace that clicks and tells him he must have a bath. Nothing is allowed to stand in his way and just about any liquid will do...soup...milk. Obviously we try to avoid these.

Is that a rose or a frilly loaf of special bread? Actually it's a great view of Silver's nether region which isn't often exposed. Look at the base of his tail. You can see some small white/grey feathers, we'll get a better view of those later. But look above the white feathers up into the smaller sized darker grey row and you'll see at least one red tinged grey feather. John Blakeman theorizes that in Red-tails with the leucostistic gene, that the older they are the whiter they become. I've often wondered if this tendency toward red in some feathers will increase with age.

Great view of the pale pink feather center. He does his Dracula move though not nearly as good a Dracula as Transformer Owl.

He leaps out. Now the songbirds in the birdbath don't do any of this leaping out onto the edge business. They get in, bathe, and get out. Is this leaping out habit a form of play, something parrots just do, or is it just Silver?

He isn't wallowing. He's doing an alligator imitation.

Then he leaps out at me.

I wonder what that expression means.

His eyes are flashing. The pupil is rapidly expanding and contracting. Ordinarily that means he's very interested in something he's looking at. Perhaps it also occurs periodically in the trance of bathing frenzy. This is the first time I've noticed it so he doesn't do it all the time.

Now he's walking round the bowl, stiff legged.

Back into the contraction or loaf of bread position.

He wallows.

Wallows rising.

Up, up, up...


Good thing parrots don't have saliva as we might be tempted to think he was drooling prodigiously, particularly with that look in his eye. I don't think his brain is really engaged in focusing on what he is seeing with his eyes. I think he's possibly seeing things in his head. Or totally absorbed in how the bath feels.

I feel a wallow frenzy coming on.

Get the wings out of the way.

Dunk the head.

Hop out. Stare.

Back in the crouch.

Get the wings saturated.


Then twist everything. Water spews everywhere.

He comes to himself.

Hi! It's me and I'm COLD.

Poor guy, lost his mind there for awhile and now he's shivering. Off we go to the bathroom, I pull out the hair dryer, and give him a blow dry. It's interesting because he does the same thing to the air of the hair dryer if blown directly on his face, as he does to freshly cooked oatmeal. He opens his beak and works his neck forward and backward, reverting to the motion baby parrots make when they are being fed.

One of the oldest American Eagles killed by power lines--

Hi, Donegal, You might be interested in this news item: Best wishes, Jackie Dover

Term of venery for the day- A group of gerbils is called a horde.

Other news not gotten to yet:
We had an appearance of one of the opossums this evening. I also went looking for possible owl cavities at Storr's Lake Wildlife Area by myself a little too close to dark and almost got myself benighted out there.

While off the path following a snow trail that a single person had previously broken in two to three feet of snow, depending, which suddenly veered in the wrong direction-- I had to backtrack with great vigor, speed, and difficulty. I was reminded of a factoid I'd forgotten. Putting one's feet into previous tracks going the same direction is comparative cake to trying to use them going the other direction. I did get to the main path which really isn't all that
main in this particular area by the end of civil twilight. Then I heard something that sounded like it was going along in the woods parallel to me as I walked down the path. Maybe a disturbed deer, or a raccoon or opossum that wanted the little bag of open Fritos in my parka pocket but what if it wasn't ? Okay the second two might want the Fritos but somehow I can't see a deer going for them.

I had my phone with me, but it came to mind that if there was another cougar around here as there was last year, I might not be able to
use my phone. I decided I'd just have to take Mr. Cougar's picture with my camera and if he got too friendly, I'd just have to thump him in the head with it. (This is what you get for taking a Cougar Workshop.) Besides I wouldn't have heard him if he were a cougar. And yes it would be a "he", as males roam further and so far there is no breeding population in Wisconsin. Suffice it to say, after thinking cougars for the last half mile, by the time I got to the car I had had quite enough aerobic exercise and was puffing like a locomotive.

Golly, I seldom worry about cougars or getting benighted in snow in Central Park. Possibly because most of the paths are surfaced with something, cleared of snow often, and there are, you guessed it, street lamps that light said paths for the most part. And we don't even have deer or coyotes in CP nor rabbits either come to think of it, or even chipmunks..ah the dreaded Chipmunk! Let alone bears and cougars. Of course the bears are sleeping currently, though--- we did have a thaw earlier today....

Donegal Browne