wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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A Case of Harassment All Around

It was a glorious morning, very early.

Ruined!

“Caw! Caw! Caw!” came the ugly croaking call of a crow, summoning his cohorts to make a try for the breakfast that was about to happen when Robbie, Ryan, Ross, and Roberta left their robin’s nest.

I picked up some pebbles from the yard, grabbed the slingshot and went looking for the murderers who threatened to skewer the baby robins with their sharp beaks, much like hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party.

As I walked down the path in front of my house, the crows flew away, and I stood a moment to admire the view.

I took a few breaths of fresh sea air and turned to go back home. Just then, something burst out of the two-foot-high St. John’s wort shrubbery at the side of the road. It flew up onto a fence rail about ten feet away and stared down at me.

It stared and stared and stared, for maybe 30 seconds, and then it flew up into a nearby fir tree.

I hurried into the house and traded the slingshot for a camera.

It was much farther away now, and I had to zoom the camera. It’s a bit fuzzy, but I was still thrilled to get any kind of a picture of this great horned owl.

Later I saw what it might have been after.

Looking back, I was harassing the crows who were harassing the owl who was about to harass the rabbit who was about to harass my garden which held the worms that the robins were about to harass. And what was harassing me? The backyard supervisors, wanting their breakfast.

Sorry for the blurry picture of Emma. She can NEVER sit still.

And Ruby, patiently waiting for her breakfast.


39 Comments

New Beginnings

“C’mon down, Robbie.” Harriet’s soft voice was barely audible.

Farther along, on the same branch, Harry, the hairy woodpecker, edged closer to Robbie’s nest. “You guys should get out while you can. Don’t you know there’s crows around? We got out a couple of days ago and they’re still hovering near us.”

“Naaah! They wouldn’t bother me. I’m big and tough. See how tall I can be?”

“Brother Ryan left the nest this morning. I guess I’m next. Not sure what these little guys are going to do.”

“Roberta’s not looking too happy, but I think Ross will fly out with me. See him right here next to me. He’s ready.”

And in fact, that’s just what happened. The big goons left little Roberta alone in the nest, crying her eyes out.

Then finally with one panicked PEEEEEP, she leaped down out of desperation and flapped her wings with all her tiny might.

And a new adventure began.

****

It’s crowded in the old homestead

With only one small room,

Roberta being tiniest, 

Her outlook full of gloom.

 

When Ryan flew, the other boys

Just couldn’t wait to leave,

Roberta stood there all alone

And all she did was grieve.

 

She called her mother loud and clear,

She called her father too.

They heard her but said, “Berta, dear,

You know it’s up to you.”

 

“It’s so far down and I’m alone

With no one helping me,

I do not want to die so soon

By falling from this tree.”

 

“Just take a leap,” her mother said,

“And flap your wings like mad.

Your other option is to stay 

And be forever sad.”

 

Roberta plucked her courage up,

She shrieked and then she leaped,

She flapped her wings and on the ground

She fluttered, “Peep, peep, peep!”

 

With happiness and wonderment

At being on the ground,

Roberta blinked her eyes and said,

“I’m happy to be down.”

 

“My whole life lies ahead of me.

I have to do my best

To make it last a long, long time

Before my final rest.”

 

 

 


27 Comments

Housebound

“Throw your head back, open your mouth wide, and look hungry,” chirped Robbie Robin. “And, oh yeah, peep as loud as you can.  Ya gotta sound desperate … like this: PEEP! PEEP! PEEP!”

“Is that you making trouble again, Robbie? You know I can only feed one of you at a time. Maybe two. Good thing your father is helping out for a change.”

“Sorry, Mom! But we’re all kind of hungry here … not to mention BORED! We’ve been in this one-bedroom nest for over 10 days now. It’s so bohhhhh-ring.”

 

“Hah! Four more days, she says. We’re going to be falling out of the nest by then. I mean there’s hardly room for me, and then there’s Ryan, Ross, and Roberta. I don’t even know if Roberta’s going to make it. She’s kind of small and getting squished. Can you blame me for being a bit grumpy these days?”

“Hey! There’s Anneli with her shaky video camera. Maybe I’ll show her how I can do my exercises and stretches, and scratch my itches. ”

“Oh Robbie, you’re so boring. You put me to sleep.” Roberta yawned and nodded off.

 

See for yourself. Roberta nods off and so does Ryan.

 


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In Another Time

In another time, pioneering farmers lived in these houses and kept them cozy and inviting.

Hard times and the elements have changed the sheltering homesteads to cold windswept shells. In some cases, after the original farmers eventually died, their children, having seen their parents’ hard work, opted for an easier life away from this lonely prairie.

On a previous trip to Montana, the Captain and I saw many old homesteads.

“Let’s skedaddle,” the pheasants cluck. “I think these might be hunters. The locals welcome them, but I find them downright annoying, if not dangerous.”

“Did I hear you say the ‘H’ word?” the white-tailed deer asks. Then he shakes his head and goes back to his browsing. “It’s birds they’re after. I don’t think they’re here for me …  are they? Hmm, maybe I’d better run too.”

“You’d do better to be careful, Whitey,” the Harris sparrow warbles. “And by the way, watch your step.”

“The prickly pear isn’t named for its smooth skin. Those spines can really hurt.”

“Oh, what a fuss,” the robin sings. “I was enjoying the last days of autumn sunshine in this Russian olive tree. Why did they have to talk about hunters? They don’t bother me! Mrs. Hunter just wanders around with her camera. I show her my best side, and she goes home happy.”


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Late Bloomer

I’m hoping this little guy will be lucky and not get picked up by the crows. Robins in our area have very bad luck with their hatches, so they nest two or three times, starting in March. Probably this chick is from a second or third hatch.

He is nearly through the worst of it. He’s getting his grown up colours and his wing feathers are growing quickly.

He still has plenty of camouflage colouring though. He sat so still in the grass that at first I didn’t realize it was a bird.

As I took his picture, I heard his mother call very quietly. He immediately turned to look for her, but she didn’t come right down to him.

As I tried to get closer, he got smart and started to hop away. At first I thought he might have a hurt wing, but he was able to get around quite well.

I find it amazing how the parents know when it’s time to back off, just hovering nearby, but letting the chicks start fending for themselves.

He’s hopping around on the ground, very uncertain of the big world around him. Probably he can make short feeble flights. I hope he makes it, now that he’s come this far.


27 Comments

Robin’s Breakfast

Hi Anneli! I see you up there on the deck. Thanks for scaring that crow away. I’ve lived to see another day and it looks like it will be a good one too.

I’ve learned to hide better.

I’m thinking of eating one of these holly berries. Do you think they taste good?

Oh, I see a good one.

But these prickly leaves are bugging me. They’re poking right into my fluffy feathers.

I think I’ll go for it. They look good, and red is my favourite colour.

Oh, you should have told me they were sour!

I suppose I’ll get used to them. At least I can feed myself these berries. I’m tired of having  my mother cram everything down my throat.

And anyway, I’m sitting on a goldmine of berries here.

Yes, life is good.


30 Comments

Foodies

I have a confession to make. I’m a foodie. One of the best things in my life is having enough to eat.

Alas! The Missus says I’m putting on a bit of weight. She’s no spring chicken herself, and getting a bit plump. She should look into the birdbath one of these days and have a look at her reflection.

It’s a terrible time to try to diet, just when the larvae of the ten-striped June beetles are surfacing. When the next heat wave strikes, the prawn-like grubs will sprout wings and that will be it. No more delicacies for me.  As beetles, they will become the prize of raccoons and bats.

 

Anneli loves it when I help get rid of the grubs. This critter is putting up a bit of a struggle. I hate it when they fight back. It’s so pointless, and I feel like such a bully. There’s no escape once I find them. This one thinks he’s a boxer. Good luck with that, buddy.

He’s tickling my beak, but if he thinks I’ll put him down to scratch an itch, he’s dreaming. This fat “prawn” is so worth the razzing I get from the Missus.

Oops! I just caught my reflection in the sliding glass door of the deck. Hmm…. A tiny bit portly around the waist. Maybe I should have limited myself to just a few of those grubs. But they were so good, and Anneli’s yard is full of them.

But I’m still a handsome devil, don’t you think? I can’t just walk away from a feast. What would you do?


37 Comments

Baby Robin’s Regimen

My mother says I have to learn to preen and groom myself. She’s sitting up in the walnut tree, watching for danger while I fix up my feathers.

I’ll start with my throat and shoulders.

Then the right armpit …

and the left armpit.

Looks like that one needs a better job done on it. I think I broke out in a sweat when that crow flew over. Better give myself an extra preening there.

What are you looking at? Can’t a bird have any privacy?

Oh, I see! You think I made that mess on the fence rail? I have no idea how that got there.

Just check that shoulder again.

Now this one is really tricky. You have to be able to bend a lot. No problem for me!

One last good stretch to help my wing muscles grow,

and I’ll be soaring with the falcons. Well, maybe not the falcons, but soon I’ll be able to keep up with mom and dad.

Here I go!

DSCN0315


55 Comments

The Lookout

The Captain has been working on the hull of the boat at the annual haulout. He’s had to take the boat to a haulout facility several hours’ run from home.

The work is nearly done and I think he’ll soon be home.

Do you think that could be him coming into the bay, Mr Robin?

Well, Admiral Anneli, I can be your lookout. I’ve got a good view here, but I don’t know…. I see a boat, but it could be anybody.

I sure hope it’s him. The lawn needs mowing. I need him to come home.

I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you. Could be anybody. Lots of boats around here.

 

It’s a fishboat, but it’s too far away to tell if it’s the Captain. No … maybe not ….

I’ve got good eyes, but I can’t see that far. I’m not an eagle, you know.

What do you see now? Are you looking around the corner?

Yes … I’m just making sure he finds his way into the harbour.

Can’t be the Captain then. He knows his way, no problem.

Probably not him then. Better get that lawn mower fired up yourself.

So Admiral, when do you think he’ll be home then?

Oh, any time now. Soon….

Harrumpfff! Why don’t you just mow that lawn before it rains? Don’t you know it’s harder for me to find worms when the grass gets too long? My children are depending on me to bring them food.

That’s the last time I’m going to bother worrying about the Captain coming home. I don’t care who cuts the grass as long as it gets done. I need access to those worms.

I only stopped to rest my wings

And not to worry over things.

The railing seemed a perfect place

I stood there tall with style and grace.

A fishing boat was cruising past,

Perhaps the Captain, home at last.

The Admiral needs a helping hand

To cut the grass that’s on their land.

It suits me fine to have him back

As things ’round here are kind of slack.

Let’s hope the next boat in the bay

Will be her Captain home to stay.

For a while….


34 Comments

Cool Days for Baby Robins

Everyone knows what robin’s egg blue looks like. We often use that term to describe a pretty shade of blue, perhaps on some piece of clothing or a paint colour, but I think it looks best on the shell of a robin’s egg. I found this half shell two days ago on a cold miserable day when the little bird that hatched out of this shell probably wished he were back inside it.

It is a testimony to how tough the robins are, when they risk nesting so early. It is also evidence that they  need as long a growing season as possible for the young birds to grow to adulthood before the fall.

I took this picture of the egg shell when the sun was shining through the living room window for a few minutes that day.

Later I took another picture with the robin’s egg on a piece of white paper, next to a chicken egg as a size comparison. Somehow the “robin’s egg blue” colour looked more faded and greener. What a tiny egg it is, when you consider that the baby bird will grow to be the size of a robin.

“That’s my boy,” the robin chirps. “He’ll grow up to look just like me!”

As a point of interest, this photo of the robin in the dogwood was taken on April 29, 2016.

This year on April 25, this same dogwood tree is just getting tiny leaves and there is no hint of flowers yet. What a difference in temperature. It’s a very long, cold spring this year.