wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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A Little Help from our Friends

The pine siskins are whirring around in flocks of hundreds, landing here and there on the grass, in shrubs, in the garden, and wherever else they might find a bite to eat while staying in the safety of their numbers. Even the odd Oregon junco sits with them for safety from the hawks who will catch any loners or stragglers.

I feel guilty for living in a house with so many windows. I purposely don’t clean them often, so the birds will see that there’s a barrier of glass. (Good excuse for not cleaning them, right?)

But still, in their frenetic staging maneuvers, many of these little birds hit the glass. Many survive, but this little guy looked in bad shape. Broke my heart! You can see that his eyes are nearly closed, and in this morning’s chilly air, he looked to be in bad shape.

I wanted to pick him up to warm him so the cold cement walk wouldn’t sap the warmth from his tiny body, but it would have freaked him out even more and the last thing he needed was more stress.

I watched as he leaned to one side. If he had a broken foot or damaged wing he would die a slow death.

Some of his friends flew in to feed nearby and he perked up ever so slightly. He turned his head slowly back and forth as he watched them. I was glad to see he didn’t have a broken neck.

Then, as his friends chirped encouragement, he straightened so he was sitting up without leaning. He looked up at the sky, over to his friends on the ground, back and forth. He shuffled his wee legs to lift his body off the ground, and then a miracle happened. He decided he was not ready for bird heaven just yet.

Before I could get the camera turned on again, he hopped up into a nearby rhodo, and from there he flew away.

In desperate times, when we feel that all is lost, sometimes all we need is a little help from our friends.


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Rest Area

This broad-winged hawk must have needed a rest. He chose a perch on the railing of our deck to catch his breath and get his thoughts together.

I looked on the internet to identify him and then found, to my horror, that he eats all kinds of little animals, including squirrels.

Run, Lincoln! Run!

OMG! Do you see what I see on Anneli’s deck?

But I think this fellow had just eaten, judging by the bloody morsels still clinging to his beak.


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Surf City Plus One

These Brewer’s blackbirds are enjoying their day at the beach.

Remember the Beach Boys’ song, “Surf City”? Two girls for every boy?

Well, at this beach, it’s three girls for every boy. You may have to look hard for the sixth “girl.”

Black Bart at the bottom right says, “Now listen here, gang. It’s all very fine to cavort around, playing ‘king of the castle’ on this boulder, and leaping off it like you’re an Acapulco cliff diver, but keep in mind these are dangerous times.

“We have to stay in our bubble. Anything up to 23 is fine, but never, never, never be part of a group of 24.”

“But that just doesn’t make any sense,” chirped Betsy Brewer. “If it’s okay to be in a group of 23, what’s one more?”

Black Bart puffed up his chest. “What’s one more?” He shook his head sadly. “Betsy, Betsy, Betsy. I’ll tell you what one more is. It’s blackbird pie!

“Good grief! Haven’t you heard of four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie? Here, I’ll recite it for you.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing—
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?

The king was in the counting-house
Counting out his money,
The queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey,

The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes.
Along came a blackbird
And snipped off her nose.

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.

When the pie was opened
The birds began to sing—
Wasn’t that a dainty dish
To set before the king?”

Betsy felt foolish at first, but she was not to be shamed so easily. “That’s okay,” she chirped. “When the pie is opened and the birds begin to sing, that will be me with my lovely voice, and I will please the king … and who knows? Maybe I’ll be rich.”

Black Bart rolled his eyes. “Yeah, that’s rich, all right. Rich, like a rich gravy is what you’ll be.”

*****

Please visit my other blog, anneli’s place, if you are interested in informal writing tips.

*****

If you need a good book to read, click on the cover images at the side of my blog posts. Romance, plus drama and adventure.


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Bluffing by the Bluffs

Who knew that below these bluffs, a bluffing contest would break out? Meet the harlequins, Harley and his girlfriend, Quinn.

Hey, wait up, Quinn! Want to go sit on this rock for a while? Catch a few rays?

Oh, Harley, this is so boring. And all you ever want to do is take a nap. I need more excitement in my life. Speaking of which, I think I see some arriving, over my shoulder. But three to one … I don’t know….

Back off, boys. She’s mine.

And you two can get off this rock and go join your buddy, or you’ll see what I’m capable of. I’m not bluffing.

Did you see that, Quinn? See how I put the run on them? Now come on. You stick with me.

Okay, Harley, so I was impressed … but just a little bit.

Harley! You’re such a brute. Don’t you know a lady doesn’t like to get splashed? You’ll ruin my feather track.

Sorry, ’bout that, Quinn. Here, I’ll make it up to you. I’ll find you a crustacean for an appetizer. They’re right under here in this shallow part. See them, there, on the bottom?

Well, if you want to get it for me, Harley, go for it, but I’ll have you know I am not a bottom feeder.

Harley loved his girlfriend, Quinn,

Stood by her through thick and thin,

But the bully boys came ’round

Asking where his Quinn was bound.

“Nowhere special, just these rocks,”

Up they scrambled, all these jocks,

Harley shivered and he shook,

Quinn gave him a frightened look.

“Fear not, Quinny,” Harley said,

“We’re just fine, I’ll use my head.”

And with that, he butted them

Off the rocks, to save his femme.

“Now my dear,” he said to Quinn,

“Let’s go swimming, jump right in,

I’ve a rock crab just for you,

Tender so you need not chew.”

“How delicious is this treat?

Little rock crabs can’t be beat,

Harley Baby, you’re my man,

I am now your biggest fan.”

Please visit my other blog for all things writing related. Anneli’s Place


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Rufous-sided Towhee

I don’t know …. Looks a bit suspicious to me.
I’ll just try a nibble. Mmm … mhmm … not bad.
Hey! This is all right!
Uh-oh. Somebody got pictures of me gobbling my food. Who would have thought she’d spy on me right through the window?

What a feast these berries make,

No one says how much to take.

Guess I’ll eat them while I can,

I’m becoming quite a fan.

First I wondered ’bout the flavour,

Now I just can’t wait to savour,

All the berries growing here,

At their best this time of year.

Down the street the mountain ash

Berries fell down just like trash,

Down they fell, kerplunk, kerplunk.

Robins ate them and got drunk.

Not so good for flying straight,

Easy to become owl bait.

I will stick to pyracantha

Cuz for me it is the antha.


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Pine Siskins and Friends

I don’t know why the pine siskins all got thirsty at once, but they seemed happy, to judge by their twittering, to find this makeshift birdbath. Siskins are tiny birds of the finch family. These days they are swarming around in large flocks, feeding as much as possible, probably building up their strength for flying farther south for the winter.

Several of them are hiding in the overgrown, neglected garden. I think I see six of them hiding.

An Oregon Junco decided that he needed a bath. Being a bit bigger (not much) he took over the whole bath. One brave siskin was left at the edge, wondering if he could get a sip.

He decided to go for it and managed to get a good slurp of water.

But that sneaky junco flexed his muscles to show who was boss. Siskin didn’t like it. Hear him shrieking, “HEY! You’re splashing me!”

“Oh you think that was a splash? Just watch this,” the junco says.

If you click on the video, you can see how brazen the junco is about having his bath. The siskin reacts just the way I would, backing up from being splashed.

Please visit my other blog, Anneli’s Place, for writing tips posted in small doses so as not to be overwhelming.


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Paying it Forward

We have so much to be thankful for.

Even the chestnut-backed chickadee is thankful for the sunflower seeds that are left behind once the sunflowers are finished.

If only the dinner plate were not upside down.

“That’s okay,” he says, “I can be an acrobat and reach around to get the seeds on the other side.”

Out in nature, the little animals have struggles with food and shelter. But what about people? Are we struggling too? I think many of us are, and not only about food and shelter.

This has been a very trying year for us all. Hard times due to the coronavirus have touched most of us in one way or another. Politics has driven a wedge between longtime friendships. The threat of shutdowns and economic upheaval have us worried about shortages of basic supplies, especially food. Social distancing has kept family and friends apart.

Trying times, for sure.

Certainly we need to think about our welfare within our household, but as we look after our own mental and physical health, it would do us good to lift our heads and look around at the connections we have with our community and friends.

How long has it been since you did something good for your friends or neighbours who are also struggling with these same issues?

Have you asked how they are managing? Whether they need anything that you can help with? Sometimes just a friendly word or moral support goes a long way.

If social distancing keeps us apart physically, why not make an effort to be in touch by phone or email, or even across the fence?

We have been very lucky to have a good health care system, good food and plenty of it, and many modern conveniences to make our lives easier. But I feel as if the social fabric of our families, neighbourhood, community, and country is threadbare to say the least.

They say “it starts at home,” so why not hug someone in your socially distanced bubble for a start? Let’s take care of our families.

What about those close friends? Neighbours? Colleagues from work? When did you last speak to any of them and let them know you care?

Have you noticed that many drivers or pedestrians in crosswalks are selfish and rude? I have. Why not set an example with considerate behaviour ourselves? Pay it forward and hope it spreads like the virus.

We have so much to be thankful for, but on this Thanksgiving Day, I thought it would be good to consider not only our own food and comforts, but to think about doing our part to begin rebuilding the mess the world is in. We can only do this one small step at a time. Yes, it starts at home. Go pet your dog or cat or feed your backyard birds. Then look around you for the next step. You’ll know it when you see it.

Think positive thoughts and do something good. Repeat as necessary.


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Flicker

What is he thinking?

Anybody home?

This house is for a gnome,

Inside what will I find?

Something left behind?

Perhaps I’ll find a stash,

Hidden oh so rash,

A home that’s for a squirrel,

Behind this bumpy burl?

Perhaps a juicy bug,

I’d better give a tug.

Shelter from a storm,

Although it’s not the norm.

Good to find this hole,

Might someday save my soul.

Writers, please have a look at my other blog for the occasional writing tips and book posts. You never know if there might be something to help you with your writing.


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Dark Days, Dark Nights

I thought it was cloud cover and the potential for rain at last, but no such luck. This blanket of cloud was not made of water. Smoke from California wildfires filled our atmosphere all along the Canadian south coast, and inland through the southern half of British Columbia. The air quality rating goes to 10 but today it was 10+. It was darkish all day.

The sun tried to come out, but isn’t it supposed to be yellow? It was red! Just like it was two years ago when we had wildfires all over BC.

After a dark day, the pitch blackness of night set in, and I took the dogs outside for last call. Above me in those trees in picture one, sat Einstein, screeching to the Junior Professor who was someplace deeper in the woods. They shrieked to each other every 10 to 15 seconds.

For the video clip below, I tried to hold a flashlight in my left hand and the camera in my right, and somehow bring the camera’s lens to focus on the owl in the beam of light. Then came the challenge of turning the video button on with one hand.

Later when I looked at the video, I thought the owl was probably doing that circular motion with his head trying to follow the movement of the light and the camera, which  were casting about all over the place. As always, apologies for the blurriness, but it was pitch black and I was struggling to get a picture with both hands full. But you may be able to see the owl’s head swiveling around. Did you know they have a range of about 270 degrees? 360 makes a full circle.

Also, you can hear their shrieking, screeching call, so different from the soft hoo-hoo-hooing call they use later in the winter. Einstein must have gotten something on his bib from his last meal, or maybe it was pitch from the trees. He is pulling on it to tidy himself up for the camera.

Einstein, perched high in the tree,

Poses unafraid,

Lovely, big-eyed gorgeous me,

For the camera made.

Shrieks and screeches I can make

Scaring little mice,

Keeping nearby folks awake,

Judging by the lights.

Smoke-filled air will hide me more

When I’m on attack,

And while folks at last do snore,

I will nab my snack.


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Not “Hoo” but Where?

It was an owly night. I couldn’t sleep for the sounds of hooting and hissing and screeching right outside my bedroom window. But WHERE were they? I needed them to get rid of those pests.

Owls are not the only animals on nightshift.

Look what that destructive little bunny did to my front yard. I don’t know what he’s digging for. I suspect it’s the roots of those tiny dandelion-like flowers (weeds). He must have heard the owls, but these roots are so yummy (I guess), it’s worth the risk of becoming dinner himself.

He deposits some tiny raisins of fertilizer – a snack for Emma and Ruby –  to show his appreciation for the midnight snack, but … those huge holes are everywhere.

Einstein and the junior professor are asleep at the switch. I guess that’s what happens when you stay up all hootin’ night.

 

 

The night was black until the moon

Lit up the darkness and the gloom,

“Soft lighting on our dinner plate,”

The old owl says, “It’s getting late.

Glide down with me. I’ll show you how

To catch this rabbit. Come! Right now!”

 

As Einstein swooped on silent wings

He thought, Tonight we’ll dine like kings.

The bunny leapt, he heard the whoosh,

As talons missed his ears and tush.

Into the hedge he slipped away

“I’ll eat those roots another day.”

 

 

“The holes I’ve dug will still be there

I’ve dug so many everywhere.

I know that Anne-li will be mad

And curse me out for being bad,

But everybody’s got to eat,

As long as I’m not Owl Meat.”