Tuesday, August 14, 2018


cardinal feeds its fledgling

A thin, high pitched, incessant cheeping drew my attention to the fledgling cardinal. It flew down from a tree above the feeder, landing on the deck rail near where its dad was gathering sunflower seeds, and waited expectantly, if not patiently. 

Fledgling cardinal feeding

It paid off. The young ones have been running their parents ragged lately with their voracious appetites and pleading cries.

Carolina wren in grass

Carolina wrens were busy, too, searching high...

Carolina wren

and low...

Carolina wren feeding

...for food for the nestlings in the basket.

Carolina wren's first day out

They fledged this evening, just before dusk. One of them was perched on the woodpile as we walked by, and when we went inside, 3 others popped into view. They took short practice flights around the porch, cheered on by their watching parents.

Carolina wren fledgling

Tomorrow they'll be off in the wild blue, but we hope they remember home and come around to visit. We'll leave the light on.

Linking with Wild Bird Wednesday

Friday, July 20, 2018

Wrens and Raspberries

carolina wren singing in basket

This morning, fog obscures the lake and emboldens bucks to venture near the house. When they retreat into the woods, I step outside. In the garden, there's the daily Japanese Beetle battle. They are eating lacy holes in the raspberry leaves, and I dunk 23 of them, still groggy, in alcohol. It's not a job I relish, but I love raspberries. Under the nearby trees is a fallen branch, and I head over to pick it up, dodging dew-laden spider webs like laser beams in Mission Impossible. In the distance, a Carolina Wren sings his aria, and I anticipate the coming days.

carolina wren building nest in basket

For 3 days last week, a pair of wrens were busy constructing a nest in the old fish basket outside our kitchen window. The creole has been home to these birds in the past, in fact, it was originally hung on the front porch pillar in hopes of attracting them, but the last time they nested there was 5 years ago. It's good to have them back.

carolina wrens building nest in basket

For hours, they met each other every few minutes coming and going with twigs and leaves. They would duck into the basket, forming the nest out of sight, and then fly away to gather more nesting materials.

Years ago, I was sitting on the porch when the wrens fledged, and one of the fledglings flew to my lap, to the consternation of its watching parents. These wrens have a rich, beautiful song, but that day they chattered their disapproval until the little one flew away to join its siblings.          

It's been quiet on the porch this week, and I was hoping the birds didn't move on to another nest. My curiosity got the best of me this afternoon and I peeked into the doorway on top of the basket. I think I was as startled as the little bird inside. So, now I'll be waiting patiently. More or less. We can only hope, when the nestlings are hatched and hungry, that they like Japanese beetles. I'm hoping for raspberries, too.

Friday, July 6, 2018


On these long days of summer, afternoon stretches into evening and evening into night without changing stride, robbing hours from the dark. Raccoons around here seem to have forgotten that they are nocturnal and the adults appear at all hours of the day. This week, 2 kits showed up with their mother at twilight. They stayed close by her side until some noise or movement startled them and sent them scrambling for the nearest tree. This happened 3 times while I watched, and each time, they climbed a short distance before looking back at their mother, who was still calmly eating her breakfast.

Chagrined, they reconsidered their course of action...

...and slinked back to their mother's side.
Caution is good, but hunger rules.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Night Creatures

They come when the sun is low in the sky or under cover of darkness, feeling with their sensitive black gloves for morsels of corn, 
rolling each piece over in their hands while chewing on the last one, their hands and jaws in perpetual motion.

These raccoons are startled by any slight movement; it doesn't take much to send them fleeing to the woods or scrambling up a tree.

"No worries, Mate. It's only the gobbler. Ignore him, and he'll go away."

Monday, April 23, 2018

Traveling Music Show

male baltimore oriole theodosia missouri

 There's a new show in town at our favorite venue--outside our kitchen windows. Composed by the Master of song, the music repeats familiar themes in rich, sweet tones. The costumes are elaborate. Tangerine orange feathers embroidered in black and white flutter in the breeze.

Admission is one half orange, placed in a conspicuous place, and it's well worth the price. But don't wait--they won't be here long.

The show, of course, is Baltimore Orioles passing through our area on their way north and east from their wintering grounds in Mexico. They arrived at our house yesterday, just after the hickory trees started to tassel, and they search for insects high in the trees. We hope they find all the caterpillars.

Blue jays are surprised to find a small bird that they can't intimidate. 

The birds are agile and entertaining and keep us guessing what they'll do next.

One thing is certain, though, as long as they're here, they'll be eating oranges.

Linking with Wild Bird Wednesday