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Daily Archives: January 30, 2013

The Competition for Dinner

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In keeping with the bird theme this week, I am noticing that the backyard predators are becoming patio and deck predators. They must be running out of field mice, voles and other rodents down in the meadow.

Friday the young Cooper’s hawk decided to hang out in the maple tree off our patio and watch the happenings. What is interesting about this predator, the birds don’t seem to care about him. He is looking for bigger prey usually. While he was there the juncos just remained in the burning bush.

wheat berries 014

Now today, the sharp shinned hawk felt like making the bird bath his perch in case any small birds were inclined to show up. He didn’t even flinch as I took at least a dozen pictures of him through the patio door. He was about 25 feet away from our door.

stormwater and italian meal 017

He causes the most havoc around here. Swoops in low and at high speed and the birds scatter. Occasionally one hits a window in their panic and he gets an easy meal. It is the trade off here. No cover in the winter on the deciduous trees and bushes, so the birds are more vulnerable.

I do know this year the two of them are doing a very good job at keeping mice out of the house. The population must be smaller due to their constant hunting in the garden and the meadow. I have only trapped one this winter. Usually I have at least half a dozen squeezing up through the openings to the crawl space under the washer and dryer. We have to have traps in the laundry room all winter. This year either the warmer weather, or the presence of two predators is keeping them at bay.

It took me a while to get used to them when we moved here. Being up close and personal to acipitors is just part of the whole experience in this rural setting.

Celebrating the Super Bowl

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I knew somewhere I had pictures of a raven. It took a while to find them. They were taken five years ago on our trip to wine country. Who knew? I had to fly to San Francisco to take pictures of the Baltimore mascot.

other raven

While out there, we took a ride down the coast and found quite a few birds. Seeing a raven up close, and seeing my crows who live in the yard, the difference becomes noticeable. The raven featured in my header through the rest of this week has that shaggy throat, is very large and has the slight difference in beak curvature.

raven california

Compare them to my backyard crows.

breakfast and birds at new feeder 079

Now, back to deciding where we are going and what we are making for the Super Bowl. I do know there will be venison chili, from my stash of venison in the freezer.