Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

April 26, 2013

As The Feathers Fly

I think I have forgotten to make mention through my blog that our friend Pierre the Pigeon now has a lady friend.  We've named her Maggie.

About a week ago he showed up in usual fashion, waiting outside the back door, only this time there was another Pigeon sitting there next to him.

Maggie is not nearly as bold as Pierre, you can see the lack of aggression in her appearance and how she carries herself.  She won't jump on us but will eat from our palms.  Today we actually moved up to where she kept one foot on my hand the whole time I was with her.  And while she ate, Pierre ran up and down my arm, feeding a bit, but letting Maggie have at the peanuts.  There are days where he's not been quite the gentleman.

Pierre has moved up on me lately, finding comfort on my shoulder instead of my hand.  He's not so keen on the sunglasses as he gazes at his reflection, making low gurgly growly noises with long stares.

And with love and relationships, even in the wild world, there is drama. I bet if Angie and I sit back and watch, I am certain we can muster up a little soap opera with the happy couple and their flock.

I like to think Pierre being so well fed here, would have the up on his male counterparts in strength but maybe his bonding with us is also making him a little soft. I recall last summer he had some fierce battles with the one I referred to as "The Ginger Pigeon", a bully reddish feathered Pigeon who tried to dominate the yard. Pierre, not being as dumb as people might think of Pigeons, knew to come running to me and Ginger Pigeon would back off temporarily. And as long as Pierre stayed near, he ate well and didn't have to scrap it out.  He found hiding behind my legs in such situations to be quite advantageous.

Of course, I've seen Pierre kick the tail feathers on a few over the months.

But today, I'll say a new guy arrived on the scene. Maybe he's not exactly new but his attitude sure is. Excusing my language here, but this Pigeon is a real prick. I was out doing some work in the back, and of course I have to entertain my guests throughout. Sure the duties take longer with everyone around but it doesn't seem so much like work either.

I'm taking a break, filling some feeders now, and feeding Pierre and Maggie. A few of their flock look on like they are crazy being so close to me. I'm sure there is some curiosity and maybe even a bit of envy; but none dare come closer, which is fine by me... one Pierre is enough, and I am willing to allow his lady friend the same experience.

The above photo is from first thing this morning, before we all were out in the yard and this bit happened next...

Suddenly this other Pigeon comes charging in, he's not trying to take peanuts from me, but he's attacking Pierre. And Pierre is high tailing it to get away from this psycho. They are running all over the yard, Pierre's wings up and flapping like it's going to give him some speed, and jerk-o is right behind him, nipping at his rear, and occasionally gaining ground to bite him on his neck and face.

Maggie stands there frozen, not sure what exactly to do. And as they pass her in their circles, jerk-o now turns his aggression on her. He bites her on the side of her face and isn't letting go. He's pulling on her feathers, and lets go only for a second to then go for the neck.

Pierre is off a ways, collecting his bearings I suppose. He begins to move in, I'm hoping to defend his lady, and not try to sneak grub while the prick of a Pigeon's aggression is elsewhere. I didn't get the opportunity to learn Pierre's intentions as buddy lets go of Maggie and is now after Pierre once again. And it's like instant replay of the last attack. Pierre is running for his life and this guy is right on him butt.

I finally had enough, and as they passed me once again, I reached out and grabbed the little jerk, and as quick as I grabbed him, I kinda launched him about 10 feet away from us. It shocked me as much as it shocked him. There was a moment of peace now and I went back to work. Unfortunately it did not last very long and jerk-o was after Pierre again. I had the visual in my head to repeat my last action but feared injuring the bird if I grabbed him the wrong way. I mean, I shouldn't have picked him up as I did the first time around, because I could have hurt him. This time I just stomped my foot at him, made some stupid loud noise, stomped again and he backed off. We went over this 3 or 4 times before Pierre and Maggie disappeared under the apple trees, ass hat was in the garden with some of the others from the flock and eventually everyone flew off together to wherever they roost or perhaps another feeding spot.

Its interesting to watch the animals, especially as you get used to them individually within a group. Their personalities surface, names are given and backyard life has a new meaning.

Here's some of the action from this morning. What? I had to snap a few pics, the point/shoot was in my pocket.

Pierre on the run, and Maggie seems unaware.
Pierre running right for me.
Jerk-o, Ass Hat almost has Pierre here.
"Oh my gawd!  Rob!  Help me!  This guy is crazy!"
The stare down between me and Jerk-o Ass Hat while Pierre gets a break.
A disappointing moment as the mean Pigeon gets a hold of Maggie and what is Pierre doing...  eating!

April 24, 2013

Trashy Fashion... not on wildlife thank you very much

So, Earth Day was this week. Did you know that? Did you give it much thought if you knew? Even for a moment? How about what you can do for it? I know none of us are perfect thanks to old habits; but we all can do a little something to help take away from the situation as doing anything is better than nothing.

One of my biggest pet peeves is litter. Why do people do it? We see it everywhere. People toss it out their car windows, people leave it in public parks and even not cleaning up in your own backyard can have a negative impact.

Look at this Squirrel who visited our yard this past Saturday. I know she's kinda comical looking with the "trash skirt". It's not hindered her in anyway of getting around or eating, but still it's a sad sign that didn't need to happen.

She'd come right up to me for handouts like many of them do. If only I could grab her and pull it off myself; but I can't. Hopefully she's going to chew it off or it just wears off with her daily adventures of climbing up and down trees, squeezing under fences and wherever else she goes.

About an hour after we saw that Squirrel, we then ran into this Groundhog who had a plastic bag wrapped around his neck. As if one wild animal donning garbage wasn't enough! Once again, this was not effecting the animal in anyway; we watched him walk around and graze, and eventually disappear up a hill back to his home, but still... argh!

The handle does look a little tight around his neck and is probably slightly uncomfortable.  I've notified some people who work around where I believe this Groundhog lives, to keep an eye on him.  Also reminding them about the Toronto Wildlife Centre ready to help if needed.  I'm sure the bag handle will eventually break apart but this too should not have happened, if whoever had the bag in the first place disposed of it properly. 

Imagine for either of these creatures if it was something not so easily to get out of and more harmful to them?  What then?  Would someone find them and be able to help in time to save the creature from further harm or possible death?

Just something for you all to think about.  And remember that The Toronto Wildlife Centre is only a phone call away at 416 631 0662 to answer any questions or help you get an animal out of trouble in any situation.

April 20, 2013


On Jan 14th, 2009 I did my very first blog.

I am at 199 posts right now, most published and about 5 in draft form still.

As I key this, I have had 30,631 hits.  I figure about 100 or so are my own until I figured out how to not count my own views when returning to my blog.  I get it that not every one of those hits had a person actually sit down and read the blog they opened, but say even 50% did, that's pretty cool.  I hope they enjoyed the read; obviously some do as they return again and again.

I look at my top 5 most viewed blogs.  I can see why most are in this top 5, but one puzzles me as much as it touches me to make it here.  I will re-cap this top 5 and I am sure you will be able to figure out which one I am referring to.

#1 is a discussion about what the national bird of Canada should be.
this blog has 4352 hits

#2 is a discussion about Canada needing to step it up with the fur imports and not exactly fur you might think.
this blog has 1320 hits

#3 is a bit on the comic strip called "Buckles".  I found joy in this daily strip due to the portrayal of backyard adventures with the Squirrel "Scrappy" and the birds at the feeder.
this blog has 852 hits

#4 wasn't written that long ago, it was about when Misfit took ill last October.  I called it "Send Misfit Some Love".
this blog has 538 hits

#5 is a bit about The Beautiful Joe Park in Meaford Ontario that Angie and I enjoy visiting when up that way.
this blog has 514 hits

So, have you figured out the one I find most surprising?  Think about each one, and what people may go searching for on the internet.  National bird of Canada, yes, some debates and discussion have been made thanks to The Canadian Raptor Conservancy.  Fur imports is on a lot of peoples' minds.  Buckles, no brainer there.  And Beautiful Joe, a lovely park, a famous book.  But why Misfit?  I only recently got into adding labels to my blogs and I think the only label I have there is "sick budgie".  All of these blogs are older entries being over 2 years old at least.  And Misfit's was done about 6 months ago.  I'm no mathematician, hell I couldn't even spell that word just now (thanks spell check), but think about the hits to the time frame on that one, if it continues...  wow!

All I can say is thank you to everyone who has taken the time out to read any of my blogs; of course bigger thanks to those who come back again and again.

I've pondered my own list of faves of mine.  It is a tough one.  I just scrolled my list of entries over the last half hour and it was fun re-visiting.  I am like "oh ya, I remember that!" or "awww, that was a sad moment" and others brought a smile to my face.  I see where I wish I wrote this instead of that, wanting to add to something, trim some lengthy babble; but I won't do any of that.  They are what they are.

I'm going to add my personal faves here.  They are in no real order, I could never narrow it down like that since they all affect me in different ways.

#1 is probably one of my most happiest and most amazing moments since becoming a "birder".  Its too bad I was alone with this experience.  Its about the morning our little family of Chickadees left their nest box out back last summer.  Bye Bye Baby(s).

#2 is quite recent as well, and I received a lot of comments from others about my take on a little Northern Saw-whet Owl I was watching over this past winter that I named "Sam".  The blog is done through his eyes.  It saddened readers, it angered them, and it had some wondering what the hell I was on when I wrote it.  Through The Eyes of a Saw-whet Owl.

#3 is another Owl story.  Its based on a true story and gives more ammo in the argument about the ills of people messing with Owls, babies, nature in general; and why people really need to stop and think before telling the world where these creatures are.  Hmmm, very much like Sam's story.  Stealing An Owl Ain't Cool...  and You Suck if You Disagree.

#4 was from last summer, Meadow had just turned 9, she went for her annual check up and unfortunately she did not get a clean bill of health this time around.  Pets are family, they are our children and we must take good care of them.  Meadow's 9th Birthday "misadventure".

#5 is as listed in the all time top 5, being #4 from all viewers, and that is about Misfit taking ill last October.  Send Misfit Some Love.

#6 reflects on some more personal moments I have had with Raccoons over the years and why I feel a connection with them.  So many people detest them when all you got to do is understand them a little and perhaps not be such a lazy ass, Raccoon proof your garbage ensuring they cannot dump your bins, and periodically inspect your home for signs of wear/tear where they could eventually get in your attic.  Don't blame them if you choose not to look after your property.  The Adventures of Me and My Masked Friends.

#7 is about NO, the nameless one, a Tarantula I rescued from torture and eventual death at the hands of idiots in a pet store.  Even if you don't like Spiders, you may have a place in your heart for NO after reading this one.  Spider #5.

#8 is about another Tarantula, her name is Maude.  She was a very special spider to us, and I had her with me for over 20 years!  Maude Turns 21 This Year.

#9 is a sad tale with a happy ending.  It shows how cruel some people can be.  A Golden Lab puppy was basically thrown out in a park, abandoned in 30+ degree weather, while the person then sped off in his car.  I am so happy I was there to help this dog.  I Saw A Cartoon Come To Life Before My Eyes...

As I am ending this, more stories come to mind, like when Meadow bit me and had me wind up in emergency.  Most understood it was an accident and Meadow shouldn't be punished but others argued her to be vicious and not worthy of living anymore.  My blogs about the masters of camouflage in the wild world; some couldn't find that one Eastern Screech Owl in one of the photos.  And the list goes on.

Once again, thank you all for your interest in my stories.  If you have a favorite blog of mine, I would love to hear about it.


April 11, 2013

Catching Up

Hello again, nice to see you all! I thought I would get anyone who follows my stories and adventures caught up on some recent wild moments.

How far are we into Spring now? Almost 3 weeks? Sure doesn't feel like it, eh? But if you pay attention to nature, despite the cold temperatures and the threat of snow, freezing rain and ice pellets falling on Toronto in the morning (April 11th), you will know Spring is here.

A male American Robin I blogged about last year has returned once again, making this his 4th Spring to be with us. I've been keeping eyes and ears open for him the past few weeks and last Tuesday he made his presence be known to me with his assertive "I'm here!" call in the yard, and racing to one of his feeding spots I've made for him over the years. We are very happy to have him back for another season! If you missed the blog from last year, here it is, just click here.

My little friend enjoying sliced grapes I've been offering to him.

And this week we had another treat. We had the very first ever Song Sparrow visiting our yard, or the first we know of. I first noticed a little bird foraging out back the other day and knew he was different, even though at the distance he was just a lil brown job as some birders say. A skittish little one he be, so it took a bit of time, but I was able to confirm him to be a Song Sparrow. I made him a Facebook status right away, and wished for him to sing to us out back. Well, my wish came true as I've been awoken the last 2 mornings to his beautiful song outside our house. And I do mean I have been awoken to it... waking up, not out of bed yet, coming to life, and my ears tune in to his song before my eyes adjust to the dim morning light. He's given me the drive to get outside almost immediately for a better listen to his song. He's not one for the bird feeders but is helping clean up the grounds of spilled seeds. And he's been belting out his song quite steadily which I am totally enjoying.

A Song Sparrow I saw at the park. Our visiting one is very skittish.

Pierre celebrated his 8 month anniversary with us on March 21st. He was very sporadic with his visits through the winter that I can only blame on the cold temperatures and threats from the hunting Hawks. But ever since I returned from my Alberta trip over Easter weekend, he's been at the back door every morning waiting. He's not keen on the attention I am giving other birds right now, like my friend the Robin, who I try to ensure eats every visit while I scare off the Starlings who enjoy much of the same foods. Pierre gets quite loud with his cooing as he tries to get my attention. It's actually quite comical to see (and hear). The eye contact, the circling around my feet or in my general area and first instant that my arm is stretched out, he is flying onto it. Silly bird.

He looks confused to me, or annoyed that he must eat off the deck, and not from my hand here while I tend to the Robin.

And what a difference in the colors depending on the lighting. He's got a very full crop in the lower photo.

Ya, what a Pierre! Who ever thought a wild Pigeon could get one's attention and steal a bit of their heart? Here's a funny couple pics. One is Pierre and I. The other is Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and perhaps his own Pierre? I laughed, and still do at that shot. Actually found it a few years ago when there was this "doppelganger" week on Facebook and people were to post celebrity look-a-like shots. Now, having this bond with Pierre, the Mustaine photo is even more of a likeness to me these days.

And over Easter weekend, I was in Okotoks Alberta visiting Angie who was out there a couple days before me, and meeting her brother and his family for the first time. Of course we got a little birding in while out there (I wish I brought the Sigma 500mm). We visited the Inglewood Bird Sanctuary. I got a lifer in way of the Magpies in Calgary. Angie got a lifer in way of Bohemian Waxwings. And I feel this is a lifer as well... red shafted Northern Flicker. We have the yellow shafted in Toronto. The real difference is our male Northern Flickers have a black mustache while their males have a red one. It's enough of a difference to me to make it a lifer while some disagree. What'eva!

red shafted Northern Flicker

one of many Magpies we saw, and a lot of nest building going on with them all

A mammal lifer for me out there was the Richardson's Ground Squirrel, or as locals put it... the Gopher.

And also with this trip, Angie was delighted to be able to have her nieces hand feed some Black-capped Chickadees for their very first time ever. They enjoyed it immensely; and so did her brother and his wife! I mean, who doesn't enjoy such a personal moment with the wild world? Chickadees are awesome little birds. It's my stress reliever and escape to hang with them and feed 'em; has been for years, even before I was into birds. It's just something I did.

Last bit has to do with the little Northern Saw-whet Owl I picked up off the road the other week and buried in the back yard. Almost 2 weeks later something came along in the middle of the night, dug up the Owl and ate it! What the hell is up with that? The grave was shallow since the ground was still frozen, maybe a foot down; so I placed a couple cinder blocks over afterwards. And then comes along who knows what, perhaps a 'Possum, and dug down from both sides of the blocks, to get at the Owl's little body beneath. I found the holes the other morning and lots of Owl feathers blowing around. I was quite sad (and shocked) at first; but now I see it as the Owl has served a purpose in death by feeding another creature instead of getting smeared all over the road. If you missed that blog, here it is, just click here

Northern Saw-whet Owl. I kinda like the darkness of this photo I took.

Thanks for giving this a view. Hope it reads well as I've been up for about 17 hours now and the "Whisky Wednesday" shot is making me pretty relaxed.