Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Hawk Attacks in the Blink of an Eye

I couldn't tear myself away from all the activity at our birdfeeders on our snowy Tuesday afternoon here in southern Wisconsin. 

Many of our feathered acquaintances flew in for a belly full of seeds.

Occasionally, one would pause to take a breath.

This sparrow showed me his profile...

and then promptly hopped around to pose for a frontal view.

A handful of Juncos joined the jamboree as well.

Birds move so quickly, I never know what view I'm going to end up with. 

I enjoyed watching this cute nuthatch.  They usually prefer to be upside-down...
...but not always.

(My last blog post shows more of the birds who were feeding during the snowy Tuesday afternoon).
I felt bad when I spotted this little guy.  From a distance, he looked roughed up and frazzled to me.

I zoomed in and was alarmed to see this.   

I couldn't imagine what had happened to him.  He looked hurt.

Suddenly, I heard the thumping of birds hitting the window in front of me.  Something had frightened them terribly.  In the blink of an eye, all the birds had vanished from my sight.  All that remained were two feather smudges on the glass.  

The birdfeeders and the deck below were empty.  I put my camera down.  I was startled and wondered what had forced them to scatter so desperately.  A few minutes later, I looked out at the feeders again. 

On a branch of our pin oak tree above the birdfeeders, I saw this hawk.  His mouth was full of feathers and he had a small bird in his claws.  I was saddened after watching the small birds feeding innocently only seconds before, but I realize that this is how nature works.

It was a grizzly scene but, of course, a hawk has to eat too. 

I was intrigued by what I was seeing.  Hawks aren't an everyday occurrence in our backyard.

I wonder if the scruffy, injured looking bird I showed previously had a run in with the same hawk.

I had to get as many photos as I could.  I doubt that I'll observe wildlife scenes like this very often in my own backyard.

A hawk is what he is and does what he must to survive.  He is beautiful and I appreciate him as I do all the birds I'm blessed to observe outside my window.

(Please check my previous post for earlier activity that same day).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Birds Minding Their Own Business

I picked up my camera this afternoon, hoping to capture a few good bird pictures through the sliding glass doors in our kitchen.  An hour or so later, I downloaded 133 new photos to my computer.

I'm going to put my favorites here in hopes that you'll enjoy them. 

I love the snow blowing across the images in these photographs.

Is that a gorgeous red or what!

I have trouble picking out the "best" pictures, thus I don't leave many out.

Actually, this birdfeeder is on the north side of our house.  I took these cardinal photos through the window in the family room.  
Now I'm at the sliding glass doors facing west. With the snowflakes, came the birds.  There was never a dull moment at the feeding stations.

Everyone was clamoring to fill their bellies while the getting was good.

This fellows getting into some sunflower hearts.

Five birds in one photo!  Awesome.  

"Good grief.  It's a madhouse down there!"

Exit, stage right! 

The peacefulness of the afternoon changed in the blink of an eye.  I'll  share the drama in my next blog post.   

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Bit of Blueberry Drowned in Dark Chocolate

I'm searching the world over for things to eat that contain blueberries.  Blueberries contain something that's good for my memory.  I don't know what that is and I don't really care.  To be blatantly honest, I can't remember exactly what it is. 

Just tell me what's good for me and I'll eat it.  Many of the foods I eat don't taste very good, like plain rice cakes that taste more like cardboard than rice.  I've come to expect that to eat nutritiously, I can't expect great taste.  


I love to roam the aisles at Menard's.  I spotted the package above in a display near the cash registers a few weeks ago.  This "health food" gives me a grand excuse to eat dark chocolate.  Since then, I keep coming back to Menard's for more.  My friend in Delaware, Meika, warned me that these seemingly harmless treats are addictive.  She's right!!!

More good news:  Fortunately, my self-discipline is helping me out.  After dinner every day, I ration out three little chocolates for me and three for Lon.  It's hard to stop at three, but so far, so good.  

A good memory is a fine thing but...     

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It Pays to Pay Attention

I bought this two-pack of Dove 24 fl. oz. body wash today at Walmart for $5.00.  At the opposite end of the aisle, two-packs of 16 fl. oz. of the same exact product were priced at $6.88.

It sure PAYS to PAY attention!     

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Red Crossbills: Our First Sighting

Lon took these photos yesterday morning.  According to our field guide, they are Red Crossbills.  It was the first day EVER that we've seen these birds at our feeders.

Yesterday afternoon, we went to Wild Birds Unlimited store in Rockford to buy some peanuts.  We spoke with the owner and mentioned seeing the Red Crossbills.  He told us that during the nine years he has owned the store, he's never heard anyone say they'd seen this particular bird in this area of southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

Their plumage can be highly variable as you can see here.  Yellow, orange and red colors were all visible in the birds we saw.

We're happy to have seen these Red Crossbills and hope to see more of them.  I did spot a couple again today.

Watching birds is such fun!!!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Today's Argh Moment

I work for a dentist.  I submitted a claim for a patient recently and today I received a two page response in a large 8 1/2" by 11" envelope.  As you can see in the photo, the insurance company paid 92 cents postage.  Anyone with an ounce of sense would have folded the two sheets of paper into thirds, slid them into a normal business letter envelope and mailed it for 46 cents.

Things like this make me SO crazy.    

This is obviously one more irksome reason why insurance premiums are so high.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Brrrr...Birds in the Winter

Jared gave us a heated birdbath a few years ago.  It works well as long as someone keeps it full of water.  Lon loves that job...can you tell?  Thank God he does because I don't like being out in the cold at all. 

These icicles caught my eye.  I don't recall ever seeing icicles leaning sideways. 

Lon took these photos of our snow-covered birdhouses.  He thought they should go on my blog.  So here they are!!

Besides keeping the birdbath full, Lon fills all of our birdfeeders regularly.  The seed, peanuts and suet go fast at this time of the year.  

The birdbath and these feeders are just a few feet from the table where we eat.  It's a joy to observe the splendid variety of birds who stay with us all year round.