I hope everyone is having a good start to the weekend! As much as I love to camp, I am content to stay off the roads and enjoy my back yard, swing in the swing and feed the fish. The cats and chickens gather wherever I am perched, so it’s nice to have all this furry, feathery life around me. I have three turtles in the pond and if I get real still, I can mash a small lump of bread onto the end of a stick and the largest of the three will swim over and eat it. I’m a cheap date, it seems, and am very easily amused.
All my kids are fine over here. Each morning as I ascend the trail to the barn, I am listening for Sam's 'chortle' and Scully's 'trill'. Every day that I have them is an extra ladle full of gravy heaped on top of my life shared with them.
This time last year, I thought I was losing Sam and I was absolutely shattered, wondering how I would survive his death. He stopped eating, his blood count was low and my wonderful vet was trying to prepare me for the worst. When you 'opt-out' of the family experience, your animals become your world and it seems that each subsequent death chips off a small piece of my heart and I often find myself pleading to please let me be the next one to go because the grief is terrible. I cannot imagine what it must be like for a parent to lose a human child, punching a hole in the heart that cannot be spackled.
But Sam did pull through and with his recovery, brought a new perspective to my life. After spending (at that time) 21 and a half years with someone, you rather take them for granted, but these days, I spend more time with him (and Scully). They may be just birds, but I believe they know they are well loved.
Back when Sam and I were young and beautiful...he bit my nose that day. :)
Scully is coming though his moult the same as always...he loses his entire head of feathers during the month of August and you see nothing but eyeballs and his crooked smile... Bless his heart. :)
I’ve added a new kitty named Dobby, which was David’s nick-name. He's wonderful!
I don’t see the young owls during the day anymore. I was outside at about 2am this morning and one was hooting In the yard and one off in the distance, but I don’t think they were from this season because the youngsters are usually pretty quiet until they become more mature. I still offer food on the hack board, but it’s hardly ever taken, so I guess my job is done for now and I will start over again next year when the orphans find themselves in need of help.
This was one of the last photos I shot of 3 of the 5 that were still coming during the day…
Garden is still producing pole beans, okra, volunteer Heirloom tomatoes and I recently harvested the sweet potatoes. I feel like a real farmer! It’s so nice to grow, then pull, prepare, cook and enjoy the food that you nurtured. What a blessing.
I still have the Red-tailed hawk that flew into the methane plume at the local landfill. He’s been eating his way through the summer here and in a couple weeks, I will pull him and see how his moult has come along. Unfortunately, he was well into it when the accident happened and so some newly moulted feathers were damaged. I have some donor feathers that can be imped but I’m worried about the coverts and other, smaller feathers that were singed. I hope he’s been a good boy and has been preening like all get-out. I really want to give this bird a chance because being a 2011 hatch, he was one of the scant 20% that made it through his first winter.
Below is a poignant post by the Good Samaritan who drove an hour and 20 minutes one way to get an injured hawk to me last week…the bird had been shot and isn’t releasable. I have not edited his grammar or punctuation.
I’ll do my best to (wo)man him into an ed bird, but I’ll have to see how he is able to adjust to a life in captivity. Most don’t.
This was posted on my HawkTalk site a few days ago and I thought I would re-post this Good Samaritan's childhood experience and my follow-up comment...
By Brandon Ensley
I like most little boys once shot a bird with a bb gun....for no particular reason other than I was a boy....But my momma , Uncle Bobby and my Granny saw me do it...I felt ashamed and cried.....I was made to hold the wounded animal until it drew its last breath...I could feel its heart beating, it's blood ran down my hands, it cried as it died, I cried out with it, I looked it in the eye while it lost its life...A life I had taken...for no reason other than I could....In that moment I changed and realized how precious life is, I learned empathy, humility and sorrow all in the span of a few minutes. I love the outdoors fishing, hunting, watching,,,just being there....But I was taught...no ... I was raised better ...you eat what you kill...you take only what you need and you give back....You never shoot to wound or just for the sake of shooting.
A life is....precious..regardless....I gotta get better at giving back.
28 August at 18:22
My response -
HawkTalk, Inc. - I once received a letter from a 5th grader that read very similar to your own account. It's almost like a rite of passage for a boy to shoot something with disregard, which is why I chose that grade level; you can plead your case and they are old enough to understand what you are saying and young enough that the hormones don’t demand they do the opposite of what someone is asking of them..
I wish I knew the stats on how many are affected enough as kids to learn that valuable lesson to 'eat what you kill'; I would like to think that most guys grow out of it.
I have taken him to Dr. Martinez and he has wrapped the wing to get it up out of the way because it droops. We will purposefully leave on the wrap longer than normal, hoping the ligament tie-down will cause the entire wing to contract up and out of the way. Otherwise, either distal ulnar-radial amputation or a patagium pinning to keep the wing up. Frankly, it's all a crap shoot, but it's all we can do.
Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my blog and if you have a little Mouse Money to spare, we sure could use the help. Our school programs have not picked up, so we rely on the generosity of strangers to help put mice on the table…
HawkTalk, Speaking for the Wild
P.O. Box 130
Holly Springs, Ga 30142