This November was so incredibly warm and the outdoors so inviting, I was remiss in posting on my blog, and for this I do apologize. However, I don’t apologize for wanting to spend as much time outside as my retirement now allows me. The computer and blogs take second place to that, I’m afraid.
But, today we have a weather alert…up to 30 cm of snow they say. So, time for me to ensure my critters are going to be comfortable and satiated before the storm. There was a few cm of snow yesterday, and I just love the stories the fresh snow tells … goings on while we sleep…
For example, when I went to feed the broad-winged hawk this morning, I followed a set of fresh ruffed grouse tracks up the hill as it wandered unhurriedly around my garden and then up to the green grass poking through the snow by the flight cages. The tracks tell a story …
I could just see its face while it sauntered by the pen, saw the hawk and … oh, oh…I’m atta here….
And just when it thought it was safe, it saw the eagles…
The weasel, whose tracks show above the grouses, had no fear of either raptors and was happily munching on the fresh meat I had fed the eagles this morning.
And then, of course, the snowshoe hare, red squirrels, deer mice, deer, pigeons, chickadees, etc all had to leave their monikers.
But back to the hawks…they are still enjoying being outside in the mild weather but soon (tonight?) I will have to move them into smaller enclosures that will keep them from the severe weather. The red-tailed hawk is a repeat customer…it flew free when a storm damaged its pen. A month or so later, I got a call from a fellow in Redditt who had found it along the Redditt Highway, likely bumped by a vehicle while feeding on road kill. I took it in, fed it well, and was assessing its release potential. But a few days after its return, I watched a red-tailed fly past my window….hmmmm…seems that the wolves had pulled a side off that flight cage too, leaving a gap the hawk got out through. Well, seems healthy and flew well, so adios…or so I thought. A few days later, my hens and roosters are screaming bloody murder. When I investigated, ol’ Red was happily munching on the now deceased little laying hen. He was so bent on defending his kill, I had no problem tossing a blanket on him and returning him to a secure pen. I since noticed he had some cloud in his eyes which would limit his hunting small game and decided to overwinter him.
The broad-winged hawk has regained good flight, but is showing some signs of arthritis so will also overwinter and hope for the best in the spring.
I am happy to say, my rehab population is low this year. The plethora of prey in the form of grouse, hares, squirrels, mice and voles likely has kept many hawks and owls in good health. And the lower than previous year deer population meant fewer deer killed on the highway during the rut which means few eagles being hit while feeding on them.
It really does seem like I am retired…actually got a chance to read and paint a bit this fall.
Have a wonderful safe December and a merry Christmas to all! Ooops, I hear some creatures stirring outside…better check it out.