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30 July 2017

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Jill

Great story! Oh the strange attachments we form and the even stranger responses those attachments sometimes provoke.

Bandolero

Colonel

Yesterday I had an intruder in my paradise here, too.

I was laying on the couch in my living room, looking a bit in the internet. It was quite hot, and so I had one wing of the door to the balcony open. And then the intruder came, flying stright through the door, directly into my living room and then taking a sharp right turn crashing into the closed window there. I had never experienced something like this and looked up. And there it was: a hooded crow, sitting on the table under the window it had just crashed into, seemingly as befuddled as I was and looking into my eyes.

I said to it: oh, no, there is the door. The crow took off, but it panicked and flew directly into the next closed window. So I stood up and wide opened the second wing of the door to the balcony and placed myself under the window where it had first crashed into and said: you're likely a nice bird, but please leave. There is the door. And now the crow understood: the frightened bird took off and flew through my living room to the door. It sat there relieved on the floor for a minute or so, and looked to me, before it jumped onto the balustrade and flew to the other side of the street.

The apartment is top floor and the balcony is on the corner, so crows are common guests there on the balustrade. Crows are funny birds, and watching them often reminds me to sitcoms in TV, but I have still no idea what was on the mind of the crow as it flew into my living room. It looks to me like this crow was so self confident that it had just forgotten that it's a good idea to think about how to get of a place before intruding it.

elaine

Interesting info on red tail hawks: The female is larger, they're a monogamous bird
but don't usually live in the same tree with their mate.

Hummingbirds are my favorite. This year I've only seen four, each site-ing felt
like a blessing. Those little guys go into a very deep sleep @ night I imagine
their dreams are spectacular.

Philippe T.

I wish this red tailed hawk could come to Brussels to get rid of all the European starlings and finish their nuisances....

turcopolier

Philippe T.

I don't know how the damned things got across the ocean but they are a great nuisance. pl

Nancy K

Hummingbirds love red salvia, I plant them in front of our sunroom window so I can watch them feeding.

Nancy K

While living in CA, our 17 year old dachshund died. The next day a dove flew into our house, this had never happened before, it flew to our dog's dish took a piece of dry food and flew back out the patio door. It stayed around for several days making it's mournful sound and then was gone. We had not noticed doves around before this.

Oilman2

My place is quite different. We are fighting hog invasion daily. We have feeders out dropping corn, and part of the weekly routine is to make a dawn pass with the rifle down by the feeder.

Last week we killed a sow that was easily 250 pounds. I hooked her and drug the carcass to our 'boneyard'. a glade within the woods at the base of a hill. This is SOP for us, and the animals know this too. The sound of the 4-wheeler in early morning, in that glade, has become like a feeding bell.

Normal customers are crows first and fast, fighting over the eyes and softer stuff. Then the buzzards rip it open and the feast is on for 12-36 hours. Yesterday everything changed.

I pulled the hook out of the hog shank, and tossed the chain back into the 4-wheeler. I drove off under the oaks to see who was going to hit the buffet first.

A bald eagle literally slammed into the carcass, in a nearly vertical descent. The creature looked at me with that sidelong bird glance, and then removed a dead eye. It tossed it back and down into its gullet. It fed alone, all other birds staying far away.

I watched for a few minutes, then started the 4-wheeler. That elicited quite a screech from the eagle! I drove away, and when I took my grandson out an hour or so later, the usual customers were at the buffet - buzzards, squawking crows and the local coyote was even there, lurking in the shadows of the underbrush.

I hadn't seen a baldy up close here in pineywoods Texas in some time - was quite a sight seeing that big white head and large wingspan.

John Minnerath

The European starling was purposefully introduced to North America in 1890–1891 by the American Acclimatization Society

We can thank them for these invasive pests.

turcopolier

oilman2

I am surprised that there is not a market for the wild hog meat. pl

NancyK

Col. Lang, your description of your garden sounds just heavenly,except of course for the poor dove. Thank you so much for sharing it.
My husband and I belonged to a group that monitored Blue Bird nests. One morning we were checking the nest and where the day before we had observed 4 lovely little birds with feathers almost ready to leave the nest we now saw a large, fat black snake curled up contentedly in the nest with no birds. We were shocked, but when we relayed what had happened to our 8 year old grandson, he responded, but that is nature papa Simon.

Degringolade

Oilman:

Give a shout next time you do your pest control.

I'll have that thing dressed out and in the smoker faster than you can say "Jack Be Nimble".

dsrcwt

Apparently, a crazed Shakespeare lover released 60 starlings in NYC in 1890, because he wanted all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare's plays to live in NYC.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Schieffelin

Oilman2

pl -

There is a market, but it is also a royal pain to trap them, get them into a trailer and drag them 60 miles to a processing center. I tried letting hog hunters trap them - the result was a lot of grass ripped up, gate damage and then erosion from rains on my newly-bared hillsides.

We reverted to simple expediency - a round or two and feeding the local wildlife is a lot cheaper than all the hubbub of trying to use the meat. And they are like mice - everywhere, and a terrible pest. They caused me to have to grade acres of pasture from their rooting, they make my creek dangerous for grandkids and many other issues. It hasn't become hatred just yet, but at times it gets my blood boiling. But a nice ice-cold toddy seems to calm me down...LOL

ked

By sheer coincidence last Thursday as I wandered around my office parking lot (advising my SO on estate management matters... her old-school upper mid-west progressive/socialist dad made it to 102, her younger mom made it 7 months further), I came upon a sizable Cooper's Hawk perched on a picnic table... just gazing over the adjacent field. Given trucks parked nearby I was able to sneak in to 10' & get a nice photo just as it turned to look towards me (I'll fwd it to you if you like).

I knew I was caught, so I very slowly moved closer. It didn't flinch, but finally, at about 5', without a sound it alighted, rising to a tree branch about 10' away & 20' up. I was taken by the deliberate efficiency of its motion, the slow pace of its flapping, the exact trajectory to a very nearby point I could not reach. I guess that's where the word "unruffled" comes from. I marvel at the power-to-weight ratio of such powerful birds.

We are fortunate in the deep south to see so many species of birds of prey hard at work, seemingly independent of man's activity (well, the protected ones anyway). In my own backyard (lotsa big trees & close to small hills) I can tell when such a bird is nearby. It gets very quiet as chipmunks, squirrels & other birds disappear.

Jack

Sir

Thank you for this very nice post. Glad to read you are relaxed and enjoying your garden.

I have become much more observant of animal life since I moved to our ranch a few years ago. My property is on the migratory path which affords an opportunity to witness them in great numbers by the marsh particularly in spring.

After losing several chickens to hawks and eagles I've had to build a mesh cover around their coop. A variety of geese, egrets, herons, hawks, eagles, woodpeckers, owls, Jays and warblers are frequent visitors.

My grandkids who have been here for the summer are having a grand old time outdoors and trapped a red fox last week. They spent couple hours observing it before releasing it.

turcopolier

ked

"I'll fwd it to you if you like" Please do. pl

jld

Oh! I see... nice regulations you have, you should be thankful to the gubmint to care so much about people's health.
(I predict someday there will be a "rule" for with which hand to hold your dick when you pee, and not only in the US, the European Commission may beat you at that)

Philippe T.

dsrcwt,
I was trying to make some joke about the bureaucrats of Brussels and their political nuisances, but I failed miserably.... Anyway, thanks for the information.
PhT
PS : Colonel, Mother Nature can use bizarre ways to spread nuisances : for example, the death of all plane trees in southern France during the last 20 years, due to the ammunition boxes of US Army unloaded on Marseille harbor in 1944-45.. (no joke intended). RY,
PhT
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/27/french-axe-thousands-plane-trees

Oilman2

You can have the wild ones. They are what they eat, and it is mostly roots and grubs. The meat tastes muddy and musty unless they are on the teat or just off of it. We eat the piglets and very young ones.

The older ones you need to put on a diet of grain and feed for a month or so to grow the wild out of the meat. The really big ones - they just don't taste as good as those fed grain or table scrap. If times were tougher, I would eat them. But not quite there yet...

Oilman2

Texas isn't quite like the rest of the USA. We have had state hog eradication programs going for years now. As for peoples health, the nearest other people to me on my farm are 1/2 km away. If we bury the carcass, the other hogs dig it up and eat it. With the buzzards, the carcass is mostly eaten in 24 hours. In 48 hours, only bones remain, and they are drug away by the coyotes. Maybe the skull or the spine are left as bones - the rest is eaten.

Government unlikely to get involved, as then they would be required to make the same arrangements for dead deer and dead dogs on the highways. The money expense would be staggering here in the US.

What? No right-hand-rule in the EU? Here in America we MUST hold our man-parts with the right hand only. If your right hand is injured or damaged, we are supposed to ask a friend to use their right hand. Using the left hand is a minimum of 60 days in jail. We are very far ahead of the EU in civilized laws. /sarc

ISL

Thanks for the image.

I sure learned a lot from my border collie about life over the course of his life. Native Americans considered animals and their spirits teachers - it makes me glad that people are seriously exploring to learn about non-human intelligence.

Jack

My youngest son hunts wild boars at our ranch. He dresses it, smokes the belly and makes sausage. Very tasty IMO!

JerseyJeffersonian

TTG et al,

One of my favorite sections from Walt Whitman's poem,

    Song of Myself
is the one in which he regards animals:


I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,
I stand and look at them long and long.
They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
So they show their relations to me and I accept them,
They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession.
I wonder where they get those tokens,
Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them?
Myself moving forward then and now and forever,
Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,
Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,
Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers,
Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms.
A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,
Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,
Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,
Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving.
His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,
His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.
I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.


Sometimes predator, sometimes prey. It's all part of the Great Going Forward.

optimax

jld

The regulation will state men must squat. Urinals will be considered a symbol of white male oppression.

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