It really is a celebration not only of 5 years of blogging, 1,041 published presentations, including this entry, but the making of friends and sharing lives around this big beautiful world which has been extraordinary! You all have been such an encouragement and so kind in my direction that this would have never been possible without you.
Thanking each of you so very much!
Thanking each of you so very much!
I am not a huge fan of statistics, and yet some things are done by Google blogger for you from behind the scenes and it is a fun fact to view from time to time.
Here are a few...
Page views all time history for this blog 122,771
8,679 published comments
All time highest visits to any one published post is Waverly Hills Sanatorium
12/ 7/2011, with 2,113 visitors to date~
The image above is from when the Red-Shouldered Hawks had begun the brooding process for this season. A Gray Squirrel had climbed up to the nest rim and was checking things out, and yes, the hen was in residence.
We had a long, hard Winter and following a month of brooding, the breeding and brooding process began all over again. When the eyas were approximately 2 weeks old, it looked like we had 2 young ones, and the nest was a nice size for them. What a big surprise when at 3 weeks of age, we learned there were 4 eyas...oh my and things got really busy, very quickly.
I have to stop right here and thank some very special people...for without permission from the land owners none of this would be possible. To Steve Lusardo, and Jack and Barbara Blombach... words do not adequately express my sincerest gratitude to you.
I tramped around on your property for some 12 to 18 weeks and you never once complained about me being there. I appreciate you all so very much!
The image below shows the pair of hawks on the nest. The male had just brought the female a Vole, which she refused, since he had already delivered enough for the time being.
There is lot in this presentation, but it delivers very quickly.
I hope that you will Enjoy~
Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slide show presentation after you have read the summaries below~
I will also be linking up with Mary at:
As well as I am linking up with Stewart at:
Wild Bird Wednesday
After waiting 2 long brooding sessions it was so sweet to see that first bit of white down showing, just wonderful! The adult pair got very busy, very fast, bringing in many frogs, voles, shrews, snakes and other assorted meals over the course of the coming weeks.
My own little birding club...ha ha... we had the best time and I so enjoyed them all.
This was a real battle for me having been ill the whole time, and just not feeling myself, they so lightened my days. There was Steve Lusardo and his wonderful parents Dick and Anita. Then there was Jack Blombach and I never got a photo of his lovely wife Barbara.
Friends/neighbors Mona, Reva and Laura to name a few, all came to check on me and the birds as well. Every season, it happens, and every season, I get a little weepy when it is all over. It is always just so very special~
Jack and Steve's property connect and one day I arrived to see that Jack had mowed a path to make it easier for us to get to the far side of nest site. He had also placed a camouflaged tarp behind his barn, so that we could get some images without disturbing the birds. Both Steve and Jack always had a chair available as well. WOW how blessed I was~
They grow so quickly, and at the fluffy white down stage they are so sweet. It is most endearing how the hen interacts and behaves with her young. That is one very smart, very devoted bird, she truly is remarkable. Everything she does is a lesson for them and they have only a brief time to get it down right. The male delivers food, very seldom to the nest, but more often times to a near by drop off spot. If too much food is taken and brought in, it is placed in a couple of cache trees where the hen can grab it the next morning to begin early morning feedings, before the hunting begins a fresh. The hen will stay close to the nest until the chicks are 5 to 6 weeks old and then she will begin to make brief hunting trips near by as well. The pair will take turns resting and protecting the chicks and giving each other breaks, but for the most part, the female is on the nest, or near nest site for the next 8 to 10 weeks. When she goes soaring with her mate and she does, she can be back to her nest so fast, it is amazing~
The nest was the same one used last year, just across the lane from me. It is some 60-70' high up in the tree. Last season the hen had 3 chicks and 2 fell to their death. This season she more than made up for her losses last year. The voice of this species of hawk is the loudest in North America. When food is being received, oh my, the sounds being made are unbelievable... excited, and happy and also a little agitated as in ...where have you been, give that to me, and now go get some more, you have 4 babies to feed~
The female is always trying to spruce up her nest with fresh greenery. Even when the nest had begun to fall away, late in the season, she was doing this. The hen found many a frog, just across the lane and not too far from being able to watch and hear her young ones as she hunted, once they began to get bigger~
OK, so here is where it goes from here on out when a meal comes in. The hen tries to make sure for a long while that the chick who has not been fed, gets fed. However, that does not always happen and then well, feathers begin to fly, but the chicks, always respect their parent, each other...not so much. She can only bring in one meal at a time and if it is small, only one chick gets it, if she can morsel it out, she will, but once the chicks get so big that she can no longer be on the nest and accomplish said task, she leaves them have at it, and will only step in, if she absolutely has to and she will too~
One of those days that I so remember capturing the next sequence of images.
The hen brought in a small meal, a little young mouse and presented it to a chick.
The chick tried to down it whole, and the hen could see it was struggling...she would cock her head and watch the young one and finally urged the young one to expel it.
Then the hen fed the chick morsels of it in smaller bites as well as sharing with one of the other chicks. Further down you can see that as the chicks got larger, they could down such meals without any help, and then they would also gang up on one another and many times steal food right out from under each other. Many a battle was witnessed and surprisingly not a single chick fell from the nest this season~
It had to happen, but it did not come easy since there are no perpendicular branches off from the nest area of the tree. That thing called branching, that these large birds need to do, before taking flight. We had many a storm and one night a branch broke and ended up coming across the far left side of the nest...nature gives you gifts when at first you think it may impede the situation, it actually helps. The young ones used that branch, the hen used that branch, it really was quite remarkable the way it all worked out. The hen brought in a small snake seen in one mosaic, and then also you can see the nest from the far side, from where Jack had mowed the path. The nest seemed small from one side, but from all sides, it really was quite adequate~
On June 8, three of the eyas flew from the nest for the first time. On the next morning before going to visit Dad in town, I stopped to check on them and could only locate 3. When I returned a couple of hours later, I still could only locate 3 and the hen was perched near by. I sat and watched her looking into a wooded area for a long time when she suddenly bolted down into the trees with her broad wings hitting branches as she flew. At first I thought that I was seeing her body hanging from a tree. The closer in I got, I saw that it was the missing chick, hanging by a single talon from a tree branch. The hen was trying to get the chick to release itself, but it was too traumatized and weary after hanging there all night. I was able to gently shake the tree and down it came. It flew a short distance and I gathered it up into my arms, checked it over and placed it up into a tree. It stayed there until my friend Chuck with Wingspan of Kentucky could arrive some 7 hours later. The bird startled and flew deeper into the woods and would not get a meal for another long 2 days. It was such a struggle, and the hen did her best to try and get food to him, and yet the larger sisters would always steal it away. Then Jack found a dead Gray Squirrel one morning and I offered it to the hen, which would provide food for all of them. In the images below, the hen is first feeding the starving chick and then later allows one of the larger females to take the remainder of the meal away~
I feel some kind of bond, a genuine nature bond with this gorgeous bird and I am in awe~
Once the birds begin to branch hop, you can see their individual personalities come out more. All 4 birds had very distinct vocal calls, and Steve, Jack and myself could almost always tell which one was where. I think the common word used by the visitors, was that this had been a "fascinating encounter" with these magnificent birds~
The hen brought in a meal, 3 chicks arrived on the branch to receive it and a small battle ensued, leaving one of them hanging by a talon, being held by one of the others, as mom looked on directly to the right of them...I wonder what she must have been thinking ;) practicing for courting one day possibly~
Ha ha, this chick says never again will I sleep on that nest, for this is the leisure life right here, right now~
The Gray Squirrel was such a great success, that one day I brought in a large road killed Gray Rat Snake. First the hen grabbed it and ate to her fill and then the young ones came down. She fed some to one of the chicks and then allowed the chick below to have a chance to partake as well~
Not only are their vocal sounds very different, their colours were all quite different also. My best guess would be that there were 3 females and a single male this season.
Three of them stick together fairly close and one has enjoyed hunting behavior from the time it first left the nest tree. They are all very used to me and often give me the cutest expressions. The oldest would be 10 weeks old now and then one would have hatched about every other day for a week. They are harder to tell apart, unless I hear them yell, which is still most of the day~
They reside in a wooded area that backs up to a meadow for now and they are learning to hunt. The parents will continue to care for them for several more weeks. Our home is about 5 acres away...maybe one, or more will eventually come our way...that would be great...we shall wait and see. That shall be another season in time~
It is a passion, I have held close since 1996 and one that I have been able to walk closer with now for nearing a decade. Every season I glean so much from this experience.
This year was made more difficult, in that I have not been myself, and things still need to get sorted out, and they will health wise. Working on the medications and the side affects and hopefully it will all get taken care of. Google...well every mosaic had to be uploaded one at a time, as I still cannot get them to upload as I once could, but then again, I can still blog and I am grateful for this opportunity. It is always a pleasure~
Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slide show of the images I have just shared and enjoy them and please do share with your friends and family~