All In A Flash

To feed or not to feed? That is not the question for I know I will continue to put out bird seed from now til April or May since it provides them with a constant food source and me with a constant entertainment source.

But still, things happen, like Gray Squirrels figure out how to access the squirrel-proof feeders.

And when I least expect it, everyone makes a mad dash because a bird of prey suddenly rockets in with talons extended.

I’d only placed the feeders in the yard a few days ago, but today this Cooper’s Hawk explained why I keep discovering feathers on the grass. Do you see the gray feathers by its talons? Tufted Titmouse? That makes me sad, but . . . raptors need to eat too.

Meanwhile, a female Northern Cardinal who had been feeding on the seed I spread on the ground tried to take cover in the grass. Notice how her crest is raised? I suspect it stood tall indicating her worry.

Even after the hawk flew off, she remained in the same spot. But, do you see the difference? The crest began to drop, perhaps because she began to relax.

I could almost hear her say, “If I don’t move, he won’t see me.”

About 15 minutes and lots of raindrops later, she finally perused the yard.

And let a few more raindrops gather on her feathers before flying off. I was grateful to see her fly, because for a while I worried that she had been injured in the fracas. My other thought was that she might be in shock. But, I think for now, until I learn more about bird behavior, I’ll stick with thinking she was playing it smart and waiting for danger to pass.

Two hours later, I spotted the hawk on our stonewall and later went out to search for feeding evidence as chipmunks and other small mammals are also part of their diet. I found only a couple of downy feathers where the bird had stood in the yard and nothing by the stonewall, but I suspect there may be something to notice in the future.

Today’s drama all happened in a flash and as odd as it may seem, I was grateful to be a witness.

Living by Faith and other Fun Finds

For a few minutes, I stand still and watch a chipmunk leave the safety of his hole and race under our kayaks before entering the refuge of bushes beyond. Out of sight, I still have a general idea of his whereabouts as I hear leaves crackle with his movements. Moments later, he scampers to the top of a kayak, pieces of a dried leaf dangling from his stuffed cheeks and mouth.

chip

He’s a brave soul as the main entrance to his underground mansion is in the open, within easy sight of predators–especially birds of prey.

chip 3

Do you see the hole in the ground? His mansion consists of a network of chambers–for sleeping, feeding and birthing. Though chipmunks are not true hibernators, they do enter a state of torpor and sleep for days or weeks on end during the winter, waking occasionally for a snack.

chip 5

So . . . in August, this small critter busily readies his home in preparation for what he believes is to come. He uses the shredded leaves to build a nest. And he stores a cache of nuts and seeds.

It seems to me that this little guy (I assume he’s a male since his name is Chip) thrives because of his faith–though he probably doesn’t call it that. He has faith that he’ll survive the mad dash from his tunnel to the huckleberry bushes and ferns beside the lake. And he has faith that he’ll get all of his housekeeping chores squared away before the snow flies.

Faith–it’s easy enough to have when everything is fine–when the sky is blue and the nuts are plentiful and we are safe; when we have enough of everything we need and no reason to expect that to change.

But . . . when the storm clouds gather and the torrential rain floods our nest or a hawk approaches with its claws extended and our world turns upside down–then we have to practice trust. Right now. Right here. Easier said than done.

I don’t know what the future holds for my little friend, Chip, but I’m sure things don’t always go as planned and yet he continues to work hard every day. I should take a lesson from him.

And now for some other cool shots I took today.

bald eagle 1

I made my own mad dash this morning to get this photo. I heard their high-pitched whistle before I saw them. Two bald eagles soared high on the thermals so I grabbed my camera, only to discover as I aimed that the battery was dead. Back inside for a quick change and by the time I returned I saw only one.

dragonfly

And on the dock–I think it’s a green marsh hawk dragonfly.

dew drops and scat

Just when you thought I wouldn’t show any scat photos till winter–gotcha! Interesting juxtaposition of raccoon scat beside wintergreen and dainty dewdrops. Word of warning: don’t get too close to raccoon scat. Well, you probably shouldn’t get too close to any scat, but particularly this species, which contains Baylisascaris procyonis or raccoon roundworm

smiley face

I’ll end with a smiley face provided courtesy of a maple-leaf viburnum.

I never know what I’ll find as I wander but I love the lessons and moments of wonder discovered along the way.

Thanks for stopping by.