Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What was THAT?

Last night there was a terrific racket on the deck.  I thought it was a cat fight on the deck- but whose cats?  In fact it was Andy the fat cat down at the glass door screeching and making the most terrible noises.  What the heck?  I looked out the window and what did I see but a huge red fox.  The fox was after a mouse in the verdant new growth at the base of a redwood tree.  I have often seen the shadow of a fox at dusk come looking on the deck for any morsels the ravens might not have eaten that day.  The shadows were small and I expect they were the native gray fox.  We often see the small gray foxes jump off the road into the ditch when driving the mountain roads at night.  This red fox however was three sizes bigger than Andy the fat cat.  It is a good thing that Andy was protected by the glass door.  So because of the ravens I get to see foxes on the deck!  You will have to excuse my braggadocio about my raven pair!
Yesterday I put out some chicken fat, 2 mice and dry dog food for the ravens.  I wanted to see the raven's food preference.  Bold came down and grabbed the chicken fat, as much as he could stuff in his beak.  It was hanging out of his beak in all directions when he took off flying.  Bold came back.  This time he stacked the two mice in his beak and some more chicken fat and took off.  I wonder if Bold shares?  Does he eat it all at once or hide some?  Bold left the dog kibbles until later in the day- hoping for another mouse perhaps?

Since the time change Bold and I don't have our greeting and feeding down to a precise time slot.  I find that I want to sleep in more since the time change for some reason- of course the rainy foggy days may have something to do with it!  Bold isn't much for showing up on rainy days either- he doesn't like rain!  I can tell- he looks all discombobulated on a rainy morning.  So now when I put the food out whenever I get up- I first listen for ravens sounds- if I hear a click or a clack I call out RAVEN really loud and here Bold comes.  If I don't hear the ravens, I call out RAVEN and FOOD really loud and Bold appears in a short time.  The raven must have good hearing or is close by. 

It is another raven day.  There is a weak sun coming out.  I must go out and call to the ravens and start the day off right!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mouse Day

Oh the ravens love mouse day.  This would be a day when we catch a mouse who has the temerity to invade my art studio and to lounge among my finished goods.  So today a dead mouse was on the menu.  This is recycling in my mind.  I do like to live and let live with nature BUT they eat the labels off the wine bottles and chew on my cards.  Why do they do that?  There are so many more delicious things to eat outside!!

However- BOLD raven was delighted with the prospect of mouse for breakfast.  He flew down, scooped it up and was gone.  Shy got left out of the feast as usual, even though Shy was here first sitting in the redwood tree.  Shy is really Shy.  Bold came back after taking the mouse away, so I put out two eggs so they each had a treat.  Bold really seems to like it when I talk to him.  As long as I am outside and talking to him- he stays around to see what the crazy human will do next.  Perhaps another mouse will appear?

It is a beautiful day.  The camellias are in full bloom and the daffodils are holding their golden heads up to the sun.  It coudn't be better.  Andy the cat is lounging in the window in the sun and all is right with the world.  I filled up the thistle feeder sock for the first time this year and within 4 hours the gold finches had appeared.  They are hanging all over the sock having a thistle feast.  I have been throwing black oil sunflower seeds on the ground near the kitchen door.  There is a squirrel out there right now and 2 rufous sided towhees feeding on the seeds.  A whole covey of quail come each afternoon to pick up seeds.  It is just great to see all the wildlife.  What I can't understand is why the mice prefer labels and cards instead of sunflower seeds????
Go figure.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ravens Expand Their Territory to Next Door

The ravens have not been spending their days in our little valley as much lately.  They have been next door trying to get the chicken feed from the neighbors chickens!  A new source of food and probably some raven fun trying to swipe the chicken's food!  They still come every morning to get their morning treat- steak bones, eggs, whatever we have handy.  I got a great buy on chicken eggs the other day.  The supply will hold for sometime at two eggs a day.  Both ravens are still visiting each day.  I am wondering if they are not going to nest this year.  They have had two or three babies each year for the last five years.  The female is usually on the nest by this time of the year so I am puzzled this year.  Maybe the last batch of babies drove them crazy.  One baby would not leave!  It was as big as they are and still wanted to be fed and made so much noise that all the neighbors were commenting- what is with the ravens- they are so noisey!   Actually it was just the one baby making all the racket.  That was one fat baby as the parents kept feeding it to keep it quiet- sounds familiar?  I will miss not having babies this year even if they are very vociferous.  Time will tell.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Raven Abandonment

This has been a very weird week to say the least.  On Tuesday we went down town.  When we got home about 4 PM the ravens were in the redwood trees looking for a treat.  I went inside to make the bed and could hear them outside making little noises.  The shades were down in the bedroom so that I could not see outside and they could not see me but they KNEW I was in there.  About 4:30 PM my husband starts yelling that my car is on FIRE!  Sure enough flames were coming out of the passenger side wheel well.  He told me to call 911, which I did.  Since we live in the county this call would bring the Dry Creek/Lokoya Volunteer Fire Dept and the California Dept. of Forestry, but not for awhile.  So we got the hoses and sprayed water on the car.  About this time black smoke started billowing up from the burning tires and the ravens LEFT!  Smart birds- abandoned by my so called bird friends!
It was very nerve wracking until the volunteer fire dept arrived with the big hoses and lots of water and put out the fire.  We were afraid the gas tank would catch on fire and burn the house down as the car was parked close to the house.  The windshield shattered and started shooting pieces of glass- all in all it was a horrible experience but no one got hurt and only the car is toast.  Junky Cars is coming to pick up the car today.
It is raining, it seems appropriate to say goodby to my car.  Tuesday was a bad day for me and Toyota.  We have no clue why the car caught on fire.  I won't be getting another Toyota anytime soon.
I expect the ravens to arrive in about 30 minutes.  They will get steak scraps today and they will be very happy.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunny Days and Where is MY FOOD!

We have had a few half sunny days and what a difference it makes.  The daffodils have their shining heads held up to the sunshine and the ravens are looking perkier.  They are SO perky and pesky that they have been hanging around by my window all day- off and on.  This morning I was cleaning out the refrigerator and came across 5 chicken sausages past their prime.  I looked outside and could not see the ravens.  So I went outside and yelled really loud- RAVEN- RAVEN- and in about 2 minutes- here they came on the wing. Bold tried to line up the sausages on the deck railing so he could put as many as possible in his beak.  Bold got them perfectly aligned and was able to get 3 sausages in his beak at once.  Then Shy came and picked up the remaining two sausages and that was the end of the sausages!
When the sun is shining the world looks so fine.  The trees are leafing out, the miner's lettuce is abundant and the world is verdant.  I see soap plant poking its leaves up and fairy lanterns about to bloom- the forest is alive with native plants and the pugnacious Allan's and Rufous hummingbirds are passing through on their migration north.   Their golden bodies shine in the sun as they feed at the hummingbird feeders.  Ah Spring is in the air even though it is still winter.  There are still piles of ladybugs over in the sunny spot by the creek.  The ground and the tree limbs are red with their little bodies.  Sometimes I walk over there to see how they are doing.  I come back with ladybugs attached to my socks, pants and shirt.  I have to de- ladybug myself before I go in the house.  Such is the pleasure of nature in the almost Spring.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rainy Days and Where is MY FOOD?

It has been raining every morning for a few days.  The ravens are out in full force each morning making all their raven noises for food service.  Yesterday I didn't feed them right at 7:30 AM.  I was sitting in the living room sitting by the fire and looking out at the rain and fog and what do I see but Bold flying back and forth in front of the big windows.  He wanted to make sure that I saw him.  Then Shy joined in with the flying back and forth.  It was quite the show!  It was then imperative that I get up and put out the two raw chicken eggs.  After that all was fine in the raven's world.
Late in the afternoon Bold arrived and sat on the sawed off redwood tree stump that he favors.  Bold started doing his displays of fluffing his head feathers, dipping the head, and raising the wings.  A pretty fine show it was.  For a reward he got a barbqued chicken breast.  What a boon- picked that up in a NY minute and was off with it to parts unknown.  A good day for raven and the sun had come out too.