Monday, January 7, 2013

short stories 11 – the birds


I found a dead cardinal at the base of the bird bath in the front the other day. It had been a cold night and I couldn't tell why it had died. I picked it up and put it on the brick planter beside the front door, not knowing what I was going to do with it exactly.

Two days later, it was mostly gone. I suppose a possum or some other night creature got it but whatever it was it left me the head, a wing, and three tail feathers. The tail feathers I picked up and put with other feathers I've picked up. The wing, I left but I did nestle the head in a fire ant bed hoping they will strip it for me so I can add the skull to my collection of bird skulls.

Creepy, I know.


new visitor

I looked out at the bird bath in the front yard the other day and saw a kind of dove I had never seen before. We get mourning doves, inca doves, and white wing doves. This one was gray like a mourning dove but considerably larger, didn't have the wing spots but did have a dark crescent mark around it's neck. The next day there were two of them sitting in the branches of the crepe myrtle that hangs over the bird bath.

Further investigation revealed it to be a Eurasian collared dove. These birds are not native to North America but several small populations have developed from birds that have escaped from captivity. There is one in Florida, one in Texas, and one in California (I think).


the tea cup feeder

You may remember I mentioned making a couple of tea cup bird feeders the other day and I finally got mine hung outside under the eave outside the window that I face when I am working at the computer.

It took several days for it to be found and so far only one bird has made the discovery. Granted, it's been cold, overcast, and rainy for most the time it's been up. Late yesterday afternoon, I was sitting here when I noticed a male cardinal was perched in the branches of the shrub right next to it giving it the eye.

He'd look all around, then cock his head towards the bird seed, hop a little closer, look around and then turn his beady little eye on it. Eventually he got up the nerve to actually perch on the rod and sample a seed or two. He was a little nervous especially if I was moving around but he seems to be getting used to me. He's been back a half a dozen times today already.

Several days later, he still appears to be the only bird that has discovered the little feeder and my presence makes no difference to him at all.


flying south

Large and small Vs of geese have been flying over for weeks now. I always hear them before I see them overhead in their often unsymmetrical formations, wobbling and shifting as they go. I read somewhere once that they change point position often, with the lead bird dropping back and another taking it's place.

Last Friday as we were getting ready to head into town, Marc hollered in the door for me to come look quick. I grabbed my camera and he pointed to the empty cotton field across the road. There must have been hundreds of geese on the ground with small flurries of birds taking to the air and then settling down again.

I couldn't get close enough for a good picture as they were on the far side of the field but I could see, when they took flight, that they were white with black wing tips so I guess they were either snow geese or the smaller ross geese.

An hour or so later they were all gone.


note:  most my pics were taken with the zoom through window and screen or with the zoom at maximum outside which accounts for their poor quality.


  1. awesome to see the geese!!

    we have a nice little flock of eurasian collared-doves at our place this winter. saw them a few times over summer, but now they're routinely eating under the feeder tree (they clean up the round red seeds no one else eats!) :)

    the bird skulls reminded me of laura at forestwalk art. she loves bones and skeletons and makes 'bone doodles' from them very cool stuff!

  2. I think the collared doves came up from the Bahamas.They are pushing a few species out of the area, but have a pleasant call.

  3. Interesting about the Eurasian collared doves. I hadn't heard of those before. I wonder if we have them here in England? (I mostly see pigeons!)

    I think your bird skull collection is cool. I'd save them too!

  4. I'm not with you on the skulls Ellen but I like your teacup feeder, and think it's cool that the cardinal is now not bothered by your presence.

  5. I love the feeder - I should show that idea to my dad (like they need another feeder!).

    We've had canadian geese movement around here. I have no idea what they're up to - shouldn't they already be somewhere warmer? I know I would be if I had the choice! (Um, not really).

  6. It is bleak here in the winter without my feathered friends. It is almost 50 outside today and making me long for spring!

  7. What pleasure it is to watch birds. I love it and can spend hours staring out of the windows.

    The collared dove is very common here, I have a pair in the garden right now and sometimes there are more. They are peaceful birds, unthreatening and gladly make room for smaller birds.

  8. The doves are lovely. We don't have those around here.. at least not that I've ever seen. I'm not surprised that you collect the bird skulls. You've probably said that before. I'd like to know what each of those are, if you know.

  9. I collect bones and skulls too. They are interesting to draw.

    Birds are so difficult to photograph. I've been trying through the window, but my pics are awful.

    The Eurasian doves have begun to trickle into Oregon (not good).

  10. Loved your day dairy...thanks for sharing your thoughts and your images

    Love those skulls!!

  11. Beautiful. One cardinal down, but another one found the feeder.

    I love the way you keep an eye on these things, Ellen. Most folks wouldn't even notice.

  12. This is a beautiful collection. I love your teacup feeder (bird in a cup!), and I don't find your skull collection creepy.

  13. What a great post Ellen. Like you, I love the birds and always have a couple of feeders going. The thing about Florida, my home state, is that there is a colony of most every creature on earth here, including humans. A few years back Hurricane Andrew blew the Miami Zoo into the Everglades, along with a dozen or so other exotic animal parks. We still have no idea just how many colonies of what now live in the wild.

  14. I miss cardinals (they don't live in Oregon), and would have thought that your dove WAS a mourning dove (I simply never looked at them that closely). Right out my front door, there are many kinds of waterfowl. Before I moved here, I had no idea that seagulls could be found 60 miles inland.

  15. Creepy! But one-of-a-kind! Be yourself! I like your attitude! Hahaha...


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