Monday, December 14, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Frozen Cardinal Kebobs

Step 1. Pick a snowy day.

Step 2. Get some skewers.

Step 3. Impale Cardinal.


And this could have been such a nice serene snowy day bird post.

*No Cardinals were injured in the taking of this picture.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009


I've seen a few bluebirds before. At the park, near some rural fields, on a power line, but never at my house! Yesterday I looked outside and spotted no less than eight bluebirds munching on the poison ivy berries! I didn't think they'd come out this far out because it's pretty wooded here, though most of the people up here have at least an acre each cleared for their yards. The number of different birds I have seen on these vines in the last two weeks is making me really upset that we're planning on cutting the couple trees down in front of our house with the vines growing on them next spring. We're planning on digging out part of a small hillside to expand our front yard, put in a retaining wall, and make some new flowerbeds. But other than our deck out back, this is my prime birding spot (there is a multiflora rose brush pile around the bottoms of the tree where the ground feeders hang out too!) I am definitely going to have to get some bluebird boxes and other birdhouses up before next spring.

Notice the Junco eating the berries in the top left of this picture, too!

This adorable Carolina Wren has been hanging around the house the last couple weeks. Usually I hear him long before I see him, and he's so skittish, these are the only photos I've gotten of him!

White Throated Sparrows are loving the berries...

...and talking with their mouths open!

The cardinals have learned to levitate.

The song sparrow that has been hanging out almost exclusively in the big grassy plant that has gone to seed, finally came up to see what all the commotion was about at the feeder.

It's that time of year again... suet cupcakes!

"I just can't stop singing my praises for your suet dough recipie!"

Yum Yum

The feeder's spinning and I'm starting to get dizzy now.

This baby and it's sibling and mommy have been hanging out in our backyard all summer. When the babies still had spots, we were eating out on our deck, and they were just running around and frolicking for about 10 minutes! They weren't at all bothered by us. Now if they hear us they'll look, and occasionally walk back into the trees, but they don't seem to mind friends hanging out with them.

The sibling

Momma stood up to see what was happening when she heard me clicking away, then she went back to her lunch.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Picture Post

I think this is a Yellow Rumped Warbler... I would love for anyone to help confirm or deny, please :) If so, it's another one to add to my list!

These pictures are all from the past 2 weeks or so... some of the "usual suspects" hanging out in the yard... and some just coming home for winter!

Red Bellies are one of my favorites.

He almost fell in to the burning ring of fire!

Polite dinner table discussions.

Welcome home, Juncos :)

This young guy has been hanging out around here since mid summer. I took a picture with the velvet still on his antlers, and didn't realize that most deer antlers aren't symmetrical. My husband told me they can be in about any shape and definitely don't have to match. This one has a fork at the top of his right antler, and a fork at the bottom of the left one.

This one's gonna need a new set of cheeks if he puts any more corn in there!

Coming soon: Purple Finches, White Throated and White Crowned Sparrows!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Introducing: Benji

My apologies for lack of postings lately... I've been busy hanging out with my new friend, the flu. I'm feeling much better now, just the remnants of a cough left, which also seems to be on it's way out. The most painful part of this flu was sitting inside watching the beautiful last few days of fall foliage and not being able to get outside. It didn't stop me from picking up the camera a few times, and I've been outside for short times the last couple days.

And without further adieu, I would like you to meet my main man (other than my husband), Benji Roethlisberger, aka Mr. Ben, Little Ben, Little Man, My-Two-foot-long-hot-dog, and many others. Yes, he is named after the Steelers' Quarterback, "Big Ben" Roethlisberger, and has a jersey in his size.

Benji already had a name when I adopted him from the Belmont County Animal Shelter in Eastern Ohio. I was going to adopt a dog, and found an adorable little girl named Tia on their Petfinder website, she was a smiley Westie mix. I went to meet Tia and that cute smile in her photograph turned out to be a snarl and growl. Okay, well, maybe Tia's not right for me and my apartment. We kept looking, all around, small dogs, large dogs, puppies, seniors. No one I was completely sold on. Then my dad had me come back in the room with Tia to see the dog in the cage under hers. He was a dirty messy scraggly guy with a funny bark. He had been taken from his last family because they kept him tied to a tree outside all the time with no shelter "because the kids had allergies," yet they had a Lab that lived inside. I have allergies too, and am allergic to Labs, and have never once had a problem with Benji. The Dog Warden decided to take him away from them a week before Christmas. We got him out and walked around with him for a while. In my head, my biggest criteria was a dog slightly under 20 pounds so if I ever had to fly with him, I wouldn't have to put him in the belly of the plane, I would be able to carry him on. Benji was a little bit bigger than that, but the more my dad played with him and petted him, he was convinced that Benji was the little man for me. I played with him and loved him some before making my final decision that Benji would be coming home with me that night. I filled out the papers December 28, 2004 and the rest is history :)

Now I don't want everyone going on thinking "Aww, what a sweet dog, what a nice story." On our way home from the shelter, I took my new muddy, matted dog to Pet Supplies Plus to pick out his new collar, leash, kennel, bowls, food, etc. We were in the toy aisle and I was squeaking and tossing around every type of toy trying in vain to gain his interest and get him to play. Nothing. No interest whatsoever. Enter: Great Dane at the other end of the aisle. Benji locked eyes with this new dog and took off at a gallop toward the dane! At first, we were all thinking, aww, they want to play! NO! Benji! Stop biting the Great Dane! Unwrap yourself from it's neck! Cease and desist! "Oh no! my perfect new dog is going to get killed!" Luckily for all involved, the fully grown dane had a very good sense of humor, and in my mind I can still see him patting Benji's head with his huge paw and saying "There, there little dog. I know, you're big. It's okay." When we got the two untangled, Benji trotted off like nothing had happened. We were still standing there horrified, and the dane's owner just laughed and said they were more worried about Benji than their dog, one chomp could have seriously injured him. We thanked them for their candor and quickly shuffled out of the store. I learned that night that Benji's a tough guy. I've never seen him back down when feeling threatened (even when it's by an 80 year old man with a cane) but he doesn't usually actually attack, just growls to let you know he's the boss. He's still stubborn and always right, and if he doesn't want to do something, good luck getting him to do it. But at home, he's the most adorable loving licking and sometimes playful little guy. As I type this, he's curled up in his pink poodle blanket (it used to be mine; he claimed it. same as he did my fleece robe.) on the couch. He LOVES soft blankets and rubs all over them before forming them into a perfect Benji-shaped nest.

In March, we moved into our house and out of the apartment that kept the Little Man so cramped up. Now he has plenty of space to run and play in, deer to chase, chippymunks and squirrels and turkeys to hunt, and grass to fertilize. The great news for me: he couldn't care less about birds!

This is Benji's Kingdom.

Until we put in our fence, we keep him on a 30ft tie-out which gives him lots of room to sniff and hunt for chippymunks, and a little hillside he can climb up on to see the neighbor's yard and watch for more critters. Then sometimes his tie-out chain gets stuck on the stumps of the multiflora rose bushes we took out in the spring and he gets the pitiful "Mommmeeeee? Please help me" look.

But most of the time, he just lays around and chills and enjoys the grass.

Last March, right after we moved in, our front porch was looking pretty bare.

"Mommee will probably be along shortly... I'll just keep being patient."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Pileated Morning

Yesterday morning as I was getting ready for work, I noticed something large fly across in front of my bedroom window and land in one of the cherry trees just out of sight. I quickly grabbed the camera and ran (then creeped slowly) into the living room to take pictures straight out the front window of this beautiful male Pileated Woodpecker! I don't think their novelty will wear off from me for a pretty long time. I know that I see them usually once a week or so, and hear them nearly every day, but there is something magnificent about this almost comically large bird with it's wild red punk hair style and facepaint and it's wild calls into the forest.

I will eat you from the right...

I will eat you from the left...

And now to eat some berries.

Time for preening!


Fluffy bunny

 Then his bride flew in to nag him check on him.

You'll have to click this one to see them clearly, but he's on the bottom left, and she's on the top right, about 10-15 feet apart.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Daily Mutts

Everything natural - every flower, tree and animal - has important lessons to teach us if we would only stop, look, and listen. ~Eckhart Tolle