Friday, October 31, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
"Cara" is a Crested Caracara. These birds are also called the Mexican Eagle.
Name That Bird. Hint: They are a national bird, and on a coin in one country. Her species is more closely related to the vultures and falcons than the other birds of prey. hmmmm.
*Maybe Jinnie knows*
They are not found in the Midwest, but this one was flying in my front yard today. She's 32 years old, and was hatched in captivity for a research project about this type of raptor. When she was five years old, this bird was permitted over to a raptor rehabber/educator. My good friend Doris Mager, Florida's Eagle Lady, is travelling through on her way out west to give lectures about birds of prey. I started volunteering with Doris and S.O.A.R. (Save Our American Raptors) when I was just 15. In college, I worked for the organization, and I get to see Doris every once in a while when her path crosses the midwest. She lives in North Carolina when she's not on the road. Believe it or not, Doris is 83!!! She's still going strong, and makes me feel old and tired. She's got this curious creature in her van, plus a Great-horned Owl, a Burrowing Owl, and a beautiful male American Kestrel. I'm hoping to catch some photos of the Kestrel tomorrow.
This funny bird was around when I was a kid volunteering. She always hated the SOAR volunteers, and would "heckle" us when we were cleaning her flight. She's quite the little character. See the orange skin on her face? Well, you can tell when this bird gets upset, because the skin turns yellow. They also have a very interesting call. It's a chatter, and then the throw their head backwards, and touch the top of their head to their back. I'll try to get some video of it tomorrow.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
WOW! I have my very own swarm of bees in the maple tree! That was my first thought. How fascinating to see this giant mass of bees up close and personal. My second thought was that this could not be right, not with winter approaching. Where was their hive, and why are they not IN it??? I needed to call someone.
My favorite lip gloss is from Anthony's Beehive. If you have never heard of Anthony's Beehive, it's well worth reading his story, here: http://www.anthonysbeehive.com/about.htm A true success story, and I'm very happy to buy locally and support Anthony's endeavors.
It was already after 6pm, but I decided to try and call the contact number, expecting to leave a message. Dad Tony answered right away, and I told him I had a strange question. I described what I had in my tree, and he said that it did sound like Honeybees, but this was the *wrong* time of year for them. He went on to tell me that if the bees were swarming like this, their hive must have been uninhabitable for some reason. Tony said that the wild bees are falling victim to a mite that infests their hives. The "kept" bees can be treated for these mites, but the wild populations of bees are declining in the area due to these mites.
So I asked Tony what I should do. He said that these bees obviously don't have a hive, and at this time of year, they would never be able to make it through the winter. I did not want to kill the bees, or write them off as victims of the upcoming winter, because we need them. But I also wanted them to move to someone else's yard and live their lives! It was very interesting to hear about how the beekeeping works. Tony said that beekeepers identify their hives that they think will not make it through the winter, and they'll bring in a new swarm and queen to take over the hive and improve the population of that hive. Tony tells me that beekeepers come out and remove the bees, and they will take them and bolster their own populations with the new bees. Unfortunately, with the distance (about an hour) between Tony and my bees, and his work schedule, he was not able to come to Independence to collect the bees.
Then I lost my mind COMPLETELY, and I asked Tony, "How would one go about getting the bees into some kind of container to bring them out to you? With the 'one' being me?" I think Tony was amused that I was going to play beekeeper, and he gave me some options to get the bees into a container. His first option, to hit the tree with a stick and knock the bees about 7 feet down into a container did NOT appeal to me. Not when Tony told me that I should try to wear a veil. Um, I'm not sure where I last saw my beekeeper's suit! His next idea was to take something like a piece of cardboard and scrape the bees into a container seemed much better to me.
I asked my next door neighbor David if he wanted to help me with a new "adventure." He was also fascinated with this ball of honeybees, and he agreed to help. Another neighbor had some kind of hood, and then another neighbor came over to see because his dad (or was it his uncle?) used to keep bees. So we had quite a crew ready to catch some bees!
Long story a little less long, we were successful at getting the bees into a rubbermaid container, and thankfully, no one was stung. I now have a box o'bees, and tomorrow I'll put that box into another box, into another box, and I'll drive my bees to meet Tony from Anthony's Beehive. So, the next time I buy a new lip balm, it might have been made by my very own bees!
Here is the motley crew, we almost couldn't get started with our bee capturing because we couldn't stop laughing at each other! Please notice that neighbor Ray is in short sleeves, and he mentioned that he's allergic to bee stings. I told him in the friendliest way possible that if he was stung and he passed out, I'd have to drag him back onto his own property before I could call 911!
P.S. Almost three hours later, and I still have the creepy crawlies, and every once in a while I feel like I have a bee crawling on me!
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Syd just cracks me up. She loves baby Frankie, and she always wants to play with him. Poor little pup, he can't even stop for a potty break without Syd trying to get him to play again!
This morning, I broke out the baby pool. It's going to be in the 80's today, and with winter coming, the dogs won't have much more time to have pool parties!
I wondered if Syd would be possessive of her pool, or get cranky with Frankie. I already knew he would like the pool, he must get that from his mother. His father? Well, Hawk won't even walk in wet grass, so Frankie did NOT inherit his love of water from his dad!
Here's a video I took this morning, and it makes me laugh. Syd was really good with Frankie about the pool, but notice her not-so-subtle possession of the pool. Any time Frankie wants to investigate the pool, WOOPS, Syd's in the pool. So sorry, Frankie, but this pool belongs to the QUEEN of Everything! Maybe another time. :-)
To see the video on YouTube, click on the link below: