Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Mourning Dove Fledglings

The second Mourning Dove chick has fledged.

This fledgling still has some chick fluff feathers on the top of her head, mixed with the adult feathers.

Two is a full nest for Mourning Doves.

More juvenile fledglings of different species on the way.

Donegal Browne

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The First Sets of Fledglings Are Off the Nest! Plus the Kitten in the Storm Drain.

A fledgling Mourning Dove waits on the fence while Mom eats in the feeding area.  Why? Because when Mom eats she then regurgitates the food to feed Junior.  Plus Junior learns the ropes in the meantime about how to feed himself for the day when Mom and Dad go back to the nest for the second brood of the season.
Heads up!  There goes Mom.  Or is it Dad?

The Robin fledglings have begun to come off the nest so Dad is having a busy time feeding them.
And I have been having a busy and frustrating couple of days attempting to get a picture of the Robin fledgling in the staging area.  See Junior down center?  Around here, he and his brethren spend the first few days off the nest standing on the compost pile in the clear chirping for dinner in clear view so Dad won't miss them.  It is sort of a "Here I Am" runway.  When I show up to take their photograph they high tail it back into the foliage for the safety of invisibility.  It has taken me literally days to get the drop on a fledgling in the clear to take a photograph.  Finally... got 'em!

When I turn after finally getiing a fledgling Robin picture...  and it is "a" picture, no reshoots possible with these guys.

A bit later when I go out to pick this years  particularly abundant strawberry crop, I note that the neighbors are all looking down the storm drain on the other side of the street.

Quite odd.  Not at all usual as you might suspect. A fascinating storm drain?

The kids start calling to me...Donna, DONNA!  There's a kitten down the drain.  Oh boy, this doesn't sound good at all.

I go over.  

We all stare at the extremely heavy butch drain cover.  It seems the kitten has disappeared into  a hole in the concrete above the big pipe that drains the rain during gully washers.  Beneath the the big pipe is several feet of water.  How did kitten manage to get into the little cave above without drowning in the first place?

It is decided that the big extremely heavy steel drain cover must be removed in order to do anything for kitten.  Is it removable?  Is it locked into place somehow?  Can it be removed without special equipment?  Kitten meows pitifully from inside her little cave overlooking the several feet of water.

Two of the men who have gravitated to our 
little-tragedy-waiting-to-happen grab hold of the extremely heavy drain cover and scoot it off the concrete hole in the gutter onto the road.   Ooooboy not a good place for a kitten AT  ALL.

The men discuss just how long kitten's cave or tunnel, depending, might be?  The women discuss how to get kitten out of the tunnel.  We decide food is the obvious lure.  I head back across the street for cat food.  While thinking on that, it occurs to me that I have a live trap which we could put in the hole with cat food in it, jerry rig some way for the entrance of the trap to be abutted to the kitty tunnel kitten is hiding in some how and hope kitten is hungry enough to come out of her tunnel to eat and be safely trapped.

Sounds a little pipe dreamy doesn't it? What can I say? It was the best we could do in the moment.

In the meantime....

I think this is how it happened as remember, I am across the street getting supplies... a guy who maybe works for the township sees all these people staring into an open drain hole where a big heavy grate is supposed to be.

He stops his car and gets out.

The group explains the emergency. I understand that he did not seem particularly impressed.  He may have been more interested in the fact we were taking apart city property...

Eventually, he has enough of the whole thing, stretches down, squinshes around, sticks his arm into the kitten tunnel and pulls kitten out.


I appear at this point, and there in the neighbor woman's hand is a tiny kitten, too young to even eat solid food.  But a very brave, very dirty beautiful kitten with longish peachy fur and big blue kitten eyes.  

Donegal Browne.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

How Can You Tell It Is Spring? Quicksilver the African Grey Parrotb Reminds You...That's How!

Many of you know Quicksilver the African Grey Parrot who lives with me.  In case I don't notice that Spring is here, Silver reminds me.  How?

He does this to the toilet paper in the downstairs bathroom.  Off screen and below is a mountain of teeny bits of toilet paper that may be used as a display of his nesting abilities.  He also walks into the kitchen when I am not looking, no flying. I'd hear him go, and then opens all the cupboard doors.  Why?  Because he is showing off all the possible nesting cavities he has to offer.  Well except one cupboard.  That cupboard door is always closed.  If I walk in, he opens it from the inside  and Ta Da!  He is perched on a large mixing bowl.  Ready for action.

He often says,  Good Boy!, at this point, just in case I might be thinking otherwise.

Donegal Browne

Monday, May 07, 2018

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak Boys

These two Rose-breasted males, arrived this morning and spent the day in the arbor periodically snacking at the sunflower seed feeder and napping.


Monday, April 23, 2018

The Wiley Brown Thrasher Pays a Visit

I looked out the window and OH MY GOSH, it's a Brown Thrasher.  I haven't seen one in literally years.  But there he was, right there in the winter feeding area, big as life, helping himself.
He is poking around in the snow and the dirt below with his rather long somewhat downwardly curving beak.
His head goes back up and he peers into the hole in the snow he has just made.
The long beak goes back in and I surmise he is eating something.
He checks out his excavation yet again.
A monocular look in the excavated area.
Probing and eating a likely tidbit.
A monocular look to the side and into the hole.
Robin who has been being quite territorial about the area when it comes to larger birds gets the pointed look of doom.  Robin retreats.
Thrasher nabs a tidbit and eats it.
More peering at the excavation.

Oops.  He notices me and I get "the look".  I expect a possible retreat on his part.  
Either he's savvy to windows as a barrier or decides he can "take me", either way he goes back to the business at hand.
Another bite of something.
More scrutinizing.  In the meantime, Squirrel the cat has appeared and is "helping" me look out the window.
Thrasher fixes on something stage right out of our view.  Squirrel the cat now has his paws on the window sill making those "interesting" noises cats make while watching birds.
Thasher and a male House Sparrow begin a walking retreat to Stage Left and there appears to be something Stage Right that has them retreating on foot so not terribly bu worth the walking effort.  I grab Squirrel the Cat and we retreat towards another room and a possibly more expansive view as to what might be causing the feeding birds retreat.

By the time we reach that other window everyone is gone.  

Happy Birding!
Donegal Browne

P.S.  To hear the song of Brown Thrashers, which is really quite wonderful.  Click the link below.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Perfect Eagle's Nest!

Here is a perfect example of a Bald Eagle's nest...cup shaped with a flat top with Mom keeping the proverbial eagle's eye on her surroundings....just in case.

Interesting, though bowl shaped, the Bald Eagle's nest doesn't have a concave shape on the inside, but rather the top is quite flat compared to many other species.  This must have some evolutionarial advantage though I can't currently think of what it might be.

Donegal Browne

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Robin, the Orange, and the Other Robin....the Teaser

This is the Robin in  the snow, protecting his fruit.  Then yet another Robin appears in the snow....

(Having a photo program problem!  It should be rectified by tomorrow...)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Peaceable Kingdom

Quicksilver the parrot and Squirrel the cat watch birds together.

Much more to come....currently having a blizzard and a very early Robin shows off his savvy in scavaging food when no worms are available.

Donegal Browne

Monday, April 09, 2018

The Race and the Bald Eagles Nest

The first salwart male Robin arrived a few weeks ago even though the temperature the other night was only 10F and we've had snow besides.  They come early to secure the best nest sites and so far I've never seen them succumb to the weather.  No worms yet as the ground is too hard but they dig around in the ground debris and find something and don't appear to be the worse for wear.

Today I'm down by the Race just outside of Brodhead looking to see if the Bald Eagles or Red-tails are hunting in a conservation area that at times is almost a marsh.
No raptors.  I head for higher ground.
This is the Race and believe it or not this is man made.  Back in the 1850's the town of Brodhead which previously had been a very small town with a general store, and whatever amenities it took to service a few townies and the surrounding farm folk found it was in the running for a train station.  Wowee!

Well if they were going to get that train they'd better have something more going for them.  They decided they needed a mill.  And a mill could be run by water.  But not the well water they had been using.  Rather they needed running water to turn a water wheel for power.  They decided to dig a race  from the Sugar River which was miles and miles away.

Okay, yes there were steam powered shovels back then but as it turned out, numerous portions of the race had to be dug by hand.  Yup, actual guys with hand shovels, dug parts of the Race.  The mind reels.

At this point I am attacked by a Blue Jay who is positive I should go home.

Sorry no pix.  It's very hard to get a decent picture of something that is hell bent on pecking your head.

Though the Mourning Dove did stay around as a spectator.
Wait!  Big wings!  No not an Eagle or a Red-tail but rather a Turkey Vulture.  Suddenly I hear the clomp of horse hooves.  WHAT?

Just one of the Amish folk who live on a farm not far from town, likely coming back from the Piggley Wiggley with something they discovered they lacked for making dinner.  It isn't as if one can grow nutmeg or alspice yourself around here. 

I walk further.

Though the reflection is very nice, nothing in  the way of raptors here either.  Time to head out to the eagles nest to see if they're around.

Turkey Vulture appears again.  You can't see his head as he has his head turned down looking at me.  I'm going.  I'm going.
I get in the car and drive.  On the way,
... a pair of  Mallards in a retention pond.  
The Eagle's nest.  No action I can see so far.  Let's try some computer magnification.

Look over the top of the nest on the left.  There appears to be a slightly whiter bit on the left of the bowl as well as on the right of the bowl of the nest.  Hmmm.  A head and a tail?  Two heads?  Or just the sky beyond with the contrast of the nest making those bits of sky seem whiter?  Let's look at the next shot.
The full shot.
Mutiple light spots above the next.  I'm thnking probably not.

Tomorrow is another day, and I'm thinking it should be used for another trip to the Eagle's Nest.

Donegal Browne

Saturday, April 07, 2018

A Tale of Three Crows!

While putting gas in my car I noticed three crows (often the number of a crow raiding party) on top of the Train Station Museum across the street.

Crow One, far left, appears to be eating something just over  the roof ridge.

Crow Two, in the middle, has an eye on the far right Crow Three, who has just flown in and is eating something as well. 

A digression... Crows, as some of you may remember from the blogs when Tristan and Isolde and their nest were attacked by crows, often work in threes.

One crow each to occupy each adult hawk while the third would attempt to raid the nest itself, for eggs or small eyasses.  They were never successful.

In this case it appears that two crows have gone off individually and found goodies certainly not nest robbing at this time of year, but they don't appear to be sharing whatever it is.

Perhaps in this dynamic they go off individually to find food and then come back to base camp?

Two says something and looks down. Three stands up and stands with eye, no doubt, on Two.
Hmmm. One (left) keeps eating. Two (middle) takes a couple steps forward, may have vocalized and then looks down in front of himself. Three looks up.  Pause.
They hold for another minute or so.

Three goes back to eating.  Oh my.  Two's head comes up.
Three doesn't appear to be going to share as he goes back to eating. 

One keeps eating.  Two's right foot comes forward and Three just keeps eating.  

One's head comes up.  Two looks at both One and Three, while taking a few steps toward Three who is eating faster, and then stops.
Two's right foot rises.  Three and One continue what they are doing.
One goes back to eating.  Two heads out at a rapid pace towards Three and Three's head comes up.
Two keeps coming.  Three keeps watching with a bit of food debris on his beak.
Closer!  Two's wings come up.  Balance or pre-flight? Three waits....

(By the way, one is still on the other end of the roof eating though the amount of tail visible is miniscule.)
BAM!  It happened so fast I can't tell you which is which but due to position on the roof I suspect that Three is on top of Two but that is just a guess.
Note on the left is just the tip of One's tail and on the right is ?.  Sorry I don't know them well enough and Crows really do look quite a bit alike at first.  For the rest of the foray, One stays left where she is, with slight adjustments of her tail.  I suspect she is eating but keeping an eye on the other two as well.  And one of the of the other two appears above the roof...and dives down again.

Then the two having fisticuffs disappear and as I'm still at the gas pump without having gone inside to  pay as yet I can't exactly race across the street.

Therefore I run in to pay for my gas and when I do get across the street there isn't a crow to be seen anywhere.

Sigh.  It is always something.

I'll check the roof of the Train Museum tomorrow and see if anyone is home...those smart shifty crows. 

Donegal Browne