Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mink Steals Duck Egg

I just saw a mink in my backyard steal a duck egg from a nest next to the pond. The poor duck watched helplessly from the pond. But the mink bounded away quite happily. Survival of the fittest.
I looked up minks online, and that is what it was. I can't believe it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ducks and Robins

I scared a mother mallard duck sitting on a nest in the middle of ferns in our yard. I couldn't believe she was on a nest in late June. She dove into the pond in a rush.

The same day, I scared a fledgling robin in a bush. He or she flew out to our driveway and just sat still, terrified. The parents were flying all over and twittering madly at me and their baby.

Then, our backyard robins have gone back to their nest under our solarium eves to lay another batch of eggs.

Busy yard. But that's what you get when you garden organically.

I love it that birds care so much for their young. They watch over them, just as most human parents watch over their children.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Worries About Imported Wasps

I read a fascinating article about inventive ways the border patrol can protect us. It was in the Wall Street Journal. One invention is a "squid" with tentacles that can reach out and stop a car. But the one that worries me is to import a wasp from Spain that likes to live in the type of plants that illegal immigrants hide in.

Remember killer bees? They were imported and are now spreading and hurt regular non-aggressive European honeybees. The Japanese beetle was supposed to be beneficial, but it isn't. Ticks came in on sheep from overseas.

I think we need to be really careful about bringing in these wasps. They could upset still another ecosystem. Does the EPA know what Homeland Security is doing? What will the unintended consequences be?

Read on....http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124286185495041091.html

Friday, May 8, 2009

Deer Netting and the Dove

A poor dove got caught in the deer netting that I had over my lettuce. She struggled so much that she pulled feathers out. I wasn't around to see this happening. I found the dove and the netting in the middle of the lawn with feathers strewn all around. I wondered if a hawk or some other animal had seen her distress and pulled her and the netting off the lettuce. In any event, all that was left were feathers all over the ground and a partly denuded dove. I wish I could have saved the dove.

I've seen birds escape the netting before, and I've rescued chipmunks from the deer netting in the past. One time I did see a hawk descend on a chipmunk who was trapped. The hawk killed the chipmunk but couldn't get at it well enough through the netting. When the hawk saw me watching, he flew away.

Nature and people at work...

Chipmunk Gets Vacuumed

Here is a story from my neighbor:

I was standing in the kitchen doorway to our backyard. The dog, Roger, was jumping in the plantings after something. Suddenly, Roger pounced and a chipmunk shot up in the air, through my legs and into the kitchen. I'm sure you all know what havoc a chipmunk in the house can cause so I was desperate to catch him.
He immediately disappeared into the baseboard heating and I couldn't see him. I quickly got a mop and broom to get him but couldn't find him. I wondered if maybe in the 10 seconds I left the spot to get the tools he had dashed out. So I kept looking....nothing. Then Roger reappeared and started sniffing at the baseboard and then pawing at it. I removed the front plate so I could see in and at the very end, on the bend of the heat tubing and under the endcap, I saw a very big eye. I tried to get him to move by poking him with the handle but he froze. I couldn't get at him with my hands (gloved of course) and I certainly didn't want to leave him there all night.
What to do? I got our Electrolux vacuum cleaner which has a long hose. It sucks the dirt thru the hose and thru a tiny (3/4" dia.) hole into the bag. I thought it might pull the chipmonk out enough that I could grab it and get it outside. Well, it did pull the chipmunk out and THUNK sucked it right thru the hose and tiny hole and into the bag. Now I had to make a decision - throw the whole thing in the trash or try for a 'Alvin' rescue. Maybe he was someone's parent. I removed the bag from the machine and went to the woods. Nothing would come out thru the little hole so I had to rip open the bag and there he was, my chipmunk totally covered with dust and a bit stunned. I put him in a nice pile of very wet leaves were he rubbed himself off and into the woods he went.
I wonder with his teeny little head if he'll have any idea of how I saved his life and then stop digging holes in my yard and eating bulbs I'm waiting to see bloom? I doubt it, but it's a nice thought to think he might feel he has a new friend.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wood Ducks

We've had so much rain -- great weather for ducks.

Yesterday, the wood ducks came in the early evening. I love them because they are so cute. I watched them through binoculars as they swam around. It's like they visit our pond for a vacation.

The mallards were back this morning.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Cardinals have built a nest in a bush just outside our front door. They fly away in fear every time I open the front door. But I really scared them when I was cleaning a bay window that overlooks the nest. They were chirping at me and flying all around, even though I was inside. Birds do not understand glass.