Saturday, April 25, 2015

Phoebe Song

Eastern Phoebe singing in dogwood tree

From a branch in the old dogwood tree at the edge of the yard, 
we can hear the Phoebe singing her unique song, calling out her name again and again, 
"Phoebe, Phoebe, Phoebe". 

She has a good reason to sing.  
The construction is completed on her new nest, 
located on a ledge at the top of a pillar under the roof of the front porch.
She keeps one eye on it from the dogwood tree.

Eastern Phoebe on a ledge

Several generations of Phoebes have grown up on our front porch, 
right where we could watch them from the kitchen window. 
They make an awful mess, but a little cleanup seems a reasonable price for front row tickets.

Several years ago, when we had a mason wrap our wooden pillars with cultured stone, 
we asked him to build special shelves at the tops with the Phoebes in mind.
He humored us, and the Phoebes made their preference known by moving away.
For years, we only heard their song from a distance.  

They are finally back, but they ignored our special addition for them,
 and built their nest on the other side of the pillar, away from the kitchen. 
It's made of grass and hair, and covered with bright green moss.

Eastern Phoebe annimation

Outside, the Phoebe flies to the supplejack above the birdbath, 
which she has commandeered as her command post, pausing and wagging her tail, 
and then to the top of a tall oak, where her song continues.

And we wait, trying not to count our Phoebes before they are laid.

Linking with Saturday's Critters

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ten Reasons to Love the Ozarks in the Early Spring

Ozark Wildflowers_Harbinger of Spring

1. Harbinger of Spring

Ozark Wildflowers_Toothwort

2. Toothwort

Ozark blossoms_Redbud

3. Redbud

Ozark Wildflowers_Rue Anemone

4. Rue Anemone

Ozark Wildflowers_Henbit

5. Henbit

Ozark Wildflowers_Johnny-Jump-Up

6.  Johnny-Jump-Up

Ozark Wildflowers_Violet Wood Sorrel

7. Violet Wood Sorrel

Hickory New Leaves and Tassels

8. Hickory

Dogwood Bracts

9. Dogwood

Ozark wildflowers_bird's foot violet

10. Bird's foot violet

Linking with: 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Eating Crow

The commotion outside started when I was on the phone. 
I had the impression of turkeys sounding off and a cacophony of crows. 
When my conversation ended, I looked out the windows to determine the cause of the ruckus. 

It wasn't hard to find. 
The turkeys had fled, and not far off, a hawk was on the ground with a crow pinned under him. 
A murder of crows perched in the trees overhead 
and swooped down toward the hawk and their downed brother, 
trying to distract the aggressor from his victim. 
It looked bad for the crow.

At first I saw no signs of life from the form on the bottom of the heap, 
but then, suddenly, a struggle ensued. 
There was  a jumble of flapping wings and feathers with the hawk all the while on top. 
From the sound of it, they had been at this for a while. 
I know hawks are beautiful, and crows are, well, crows, but in the middle of the fight, 
strangely, I found myself rooting for the crow. 
There's something about the underdog.

As I watched, caught up in the natural drama in front of me, there was a lull in their exertion, 
both of them laying still, like a short stack of pancakes at Cookies' Restaurant. 
And then, amazingly, the crow struggled free and flew away.

It may have been my imagination, but I thought the hawk looked a bit chagrinned, 
glancing around to see if anyone had noticed. 
Then he shook himself, raised his wings, and sailed off over the trees.

It's quite possible, I suppose, that this fight was not about a meal at all, but just a brawl, 
the hawk teaching the crow a lesson. 
After all, nobody really wants to eat crow.