Category Archives: Birds

Chief Timothy’s pelicans

Today’s weather was brisk, but far more pleasant than the last few days of thunder, lightning, and rain. My husband and I celebrated with a Snake River fishing cruise in our bonny boat Pisca-Dory, and decided to visit Chief Timothy State Park.

The park has a boat ramp and there was no wait, and in fact, no one else there. There’s a $5 parking fee, and it was worth every cent for the peace and quiet and absence of anyone else on the entire portion of the river. A gaggle of pelicans was a very special sight. I think of all birds, pelicans are the most beautiful in flight.

We were out for crappie and bass, but also to enjoy being out on our boat on a pleasant day. My husband caught an 11″ Smallmouth bass who fought a good fight before he was brought on board. We both had two bites from fighters who bolted before we could land them in the boat.

Fishing has a lot of variables, and the fisherman doesn’t always win, but a fisherman loves fishing whether or not he secures a catch.

You bet I shoot pelicans! At a
shutter speed of 1/2000!

The Chief Timothy Pelican Council

(Vic’s and my photos; Vic’s video)

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Effie explores Franck’s Trois Chorals…and a Dove Believed Dead

My husband was playing César Franck’s Trois Chorals pour Grand Orgue last evening, as Effie listened attentively. Her movements engaged strikingly with the peaceable profundity of the music. She seems truly to enjoy classical music, and we are happy she is able to enjoy it with us in silent absorption.

My Dad has such clever fingers, but only ten. I have 16 clever toes. . . I bet I could do that!

I know I can figure this out. . .

Ooooh! This music makes butterflies fly in my heart!

Let’s do this all the time, okay?

I just need those things his fingers are on to be a little higher.

I heard a “Thunk!” against the house this afternoon, and raced to the window overlooking Effieland to check on Effie. She was fine, looking neutrally at a mourning dove on its back. The pitiable bird, as many of its peers have done on every side of the house, had crashed into the side of the house next to Effieland, and hit the ground, landing on its back.

I was sure the dove was dead, and I was pleased Effie was not shredding and/or consuming the poor thing. . I did not want her to eat any bird, alive or dead, and become a bird killer. Initially she left this one alone.

I checked again several minutes later, and Effie was sniffing the bird. I went out and brought her into the house.

As I was wrapping up my task of vacuuming, I checked on the bird again through the window. It was still on its back, but now it was also raising and lowering its feet. I reckoned it was in death throes. I went out with a plastic bag to remove the dead bird and dispose of it so Effie would not attempt to eat it. Bad bird-killer habits come from eating birds dead or alive. But Effie had ignored a sparrow that crashed and died in Effieland not long ago.

I lifted the dove with my Nitrile-gloved hand to put its body in the bag. The dove immediately righted itself and hobbled, then walked; then it flapped and finally flew to the fence, landed on the ground, and walked through a normal wire fence hole.

I was elated; and I was more stunned than the dove had been, just moments earlier.  Effie was wide-eyed, but she did not chase the dove. I love my cat for that.

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Effie, sunbeams, and a Downy woodpecker

I was happy to see a couple of Downy woodpeckers return to our Spirea garland tree this week, as winter continued to negotiate whether to settle in or depart. I tend to believe the migratory birds know better than the Weather Service; after all, the birds have more at stake.

Snow remains on the ground, but less of it. The lovely crystalline stuff gradually melts into the soil to awaken bulbs, grasses, and ubiquitous weeds.

Effie has less at stake than either birds or weather predictors. After frolicking in her sunny 40° Effieland, she comes inside for a ready-to-eat lunch, jumps into her hammock to give herself a thorough scrub-down, and then, unlike Hamlet, who could only feign an antic disposition, she undertakes a true antic routine.

p1020546The Downy woodpecker (follow the red forehead patch)

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Our herd and a bird

P1010835Eight deer showed up this morning to graze on the high grass and leaves on the trees.

P1010781Papa quail on vigil

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Variations on a dirt bath

Effie’s garden outings almost always include a dirt bath. I’m not sure why, but it’s likely a way of scratching her back effectively–and of ensuring that she’ll receive a comb-out when we go back indoors.

Today, while Effie lolled back in the wonderful dirt and grass, a very large raven flew overhead. He seemed to dip a bit directly over us, and Effie, missing nothing, dove under the step ladder next to my chair. I was in Europa mode per Arthur C. Clarke: “Attempt no landings here!” I was wishing we kept a three-foot-long two-by-four in the yard, for those just-in-case moments. But the raven cruised on, thoroughly unmissed.

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It was a guy talk thing I didn’t understand

P1010502I was looking out my kitchen window and rinsing breakfast dishes when the pheasant cocks arrived. First, they jumped up and down and flapped their wings. Then there was a chat of several minutes’ duration. It seemed almost to be a parody of Middle Eastern negotiations.

 

P1010503Then they took it on the road.

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