An intruder in paradise …


(a Red Tailed Hawk)

We have a back garden that is filled with an outdoor kitchen, stone terraces, and a small forest of evergreens that enclose the space as well as a willow tree and various flowering trees and shrubs,  There is a Tiffany Studios mosaic (1890) of stylized art nouveau flowers presiding over one of the terraces.  The whole thing has a "Wind in the Willows" atmosphere.

In a far corner there is a Redbud tree.  It is about 30 feet tall and in early Spring is a glory of red-purple flowers.  I have pruned the lower branches into projections from which to hang the various elements of my bird feeding station.  There is a double sided seed feeder with the weight adjustment set to accept birds no larger than a Cardinal.  There is a wooden platform feeder for those who don't want to perch on a moving bar to get fed.  There is a caged suet feeder for the Downy Woodpeckers.  They like cakes of suet studded with insect eggs.  There is another hanging feeder full of bread bits, old dry cereal, etc. 

I have a chair in place about thirty feet away where I can smoke Burma cheroots and watch the action among the birds and squirrels.   Catbirds, a tribe of Cardinals, Woodpeckers, Mourning Doves, Bluejays, and little brown things with great voices.  There are also European starlings (a nuisance), and tiny green hummingbirds who like my wife's flowers.  These are the habitués of my private utopia for birds.

Yesterday I was surveying the scene and puffing contentedly when a red tailed hawk arrived in this scene like a brown cannon ball .  It streaked in through a hole in the foliage along the fence and made a grab for a dove that had been pecking at seed on the platform feeder.  There was an explosion of birds and squirrels in every direction with much screeching and squawking.  The hawk missed the dove.  The intended prey fled across the back garden with the brown rocket in pursuit.  It passed me at about ten feet.  As it went by it saw me and turned its head to look even as it flew a wild course among the many head high plants.  It disappeared around a corner of the house still climbing and still chasing.

God help the dove.  pl

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70 Responses to An intruder in paradise …

  1. Larry Kart says:

    A few years ago I saw one of those hawks snatch a sparrow right out of the air and fly off with his prize in his talons. I felt bad momentarily for having created the backyard “paradise” to which so many birds pay regular visits, but right now I’m more ticked off at the young deer that this morning gobbled up almost all the plants I’d been nurturing in plastic tubs for months with much success. I guess that plant is called Sweet William for a reason.

  2. Eric Newhill says:

    Where there are doves, the hawks will show up sooner or later to take advantage of the plump easy prey.
    In recent years I have become a bird watcher of sorts. Never thought I would be enjoying such a past time, but I am.
    SWMBO and I rescued three fledging Kestrels (small falcons) that had been sealed in an attic during a construction project. We raised them on raw hamburger and chicken until they could fly. Before releasing them into the wild, we purchased some mice at the pet store to make sure that they knew how to kill and eat on their own. Their attack on the mice was awkward and ineffective at first, but instinct quickly took over and they got very good at it. One day it was time to release them. All three took up residence in the big old oak tree. They attracted mates who also began to live in the oak tree. They successfully raised off spring. They and the offspring returned each year for several years to the oak tree. We really enjoyed watching them gliding beautifully over the farm.
    However, they were hell on all the non-raptor birds, the swallows, the jays, the doves…..they really hated the mocking birds,who would imitated their high pitched “klee klee klee”. I watched the kestrels kill several mocking birds after an imitation was performed. They’d dive in on the mocking bird like a rocket and then there would be a small cloud of feathers at the moment of impact.
    Eventually, over the course of a couple years, the crows and starlings drove the kestrels away. This year was the first since 2011 that there wasn’t a single kestrel in the oak tree. What is interesting to me is that the other seed eaters normally don’t get along with the crows and starlings. yet they clearly formed an alliance against the kestrels with their [less deadly] natural enemies. This same inter-species avian alliance existing against the barn cat too. When the cat is on the prowl, it is usually the jays and wrens that sound the alarm. Sometimes it is another species, perhaps a starling or even a sparrow. The jays and wrens respond and appear on the scene and dive bomb the cat; sometimes even striking on it head. The cat flees for cover.
    My guess is that your various seed eating birds will also form a mutual cooperation against the hawk. They will make its life miserable until it leaves the area for good.

  3. AEL says:

    Sounds like an allegory between chickenhawks and SJWs.

  4. John Minnerath says:

    Out here we have a lot of different hawks and falcons. The Red Tail is a common Buteo and I’ve seen several come blasting through the trees and brush around my feeders like a brown feathered cruise missile.
    I’ve never seen one successful though.
    I did see one of beautiful little falcons, the Sparrow Hawk, take a chipmunk right in front of me once. With a supreme effort it got its prey up on a branch of a nearby bush and then crouched over it with wings spread wide and screamed at me, daring me to take one step closer!

  5. FB Ali says:

    Lovely little vignette of your retired life.
    May it long continue in the peace and contentment displayed here!

  6. The Porkchop Express says:

    There is a family of red tailed hawks that have lived in a very large pine tree in the front yard for years. Usually they go after squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and occasionally will go after neighborhood cats-though I’ve never seen one nabbed. But for some reason they are obsessed with mourning doves. I’ve never seen any of them go after any other birds around here BUT the doves.

  7. David E. Solomon says:

    Morning Colonel,
    That was a really lovely piece.

  8. Jill says:

    “… little brown things with great voices.” Your backyard sounds very much like mine so I’m guessing you have Song Sparrows. (Song Sparrows are brown/beige/cream flecked with a cocoa brown thumbprint on the breast.) I take my morning coffee outside, regardless of weather, to enjoy the wildlife that lives here with me.
    Congratulations on getting to see the hawk on his hunt!

  9. mike says:

    Up here in the NW we feed the banded tail pigeons instead of doves. Although lately the California Doves are coming further and further north. I put down food for goldfinches, towhees, and Oregon juncos. We have plenty of northern flickers who sometimes eat the leftovers on the ground dropped from the feeders, but mainly they feast on our cherry trees. No cardinals, but we get an occasional orange tanager. I lease out barn space to the swallows, cheap rent, they pay by keeping us mosquito-free. The great blue herons in the mudflats feed themselves.
    The passing overhead of an occasional bald or golden eagle sends them all into hiding. Although those eagles are much more interested in the ducks and geese out on the bay.

  10. Pajarito says:

    I like the accipiters, a Cooper’s Hawk frequents my yard interested in the free-range chicken chicks. This winter it even took a full grown chicken. Bold he/she is, sometimes roosting in the shed where the chickens hang out or on the stall fences. The chickens have a distinct call the makes the chicks immediately hide under anything nearby.
    Once while deer hunting, camoflaged, I watched a tassel-eared squirrel on a down log in front of me, range about 15 ft., suddenly a gray streak pounced on the squirrel. A goshawk had it by the thigh firm in its talons. The squirrel (about 1.5 lbs) was dragging the hawk and reaching back with its head to chew up and down on the hawk’s leg, the un-feathered part (tarsi). The hawk let go. Then I understood why these squirrels have a very tough skin, about 1/8 inch thick. Squirrel 1, hawk 0 that day! Still one of my fondest outdoor memories.

  11. dsrcwt says:

    We had a Cooper’s hawk that learned to chase the robins into our deer fencing. The hawk would veer away at the last minute and then come back for the stunned or dead robin on the ground.

  12. rexl says:

    I feed the birds in Phoenix, approximately, one hundred pounds of milo, and white millet per month. Part of the reason, is I love seeing the sharp-shinned hawks come in a take inca doves. We have much fewer types of birds but the hawks hold a dear place in my heart. They negotiate the busy yard at about three to four feet off the deck, and sometimes stop to pluck their catch, drink out of the numerous bird baths, and just rest in the shade. My wife often comments how many more birds would be around if we did not have hawks, however, there are hundreds of birds everyday, so I do not thing the numbers suffer that much.

  13. Swamp Yankee says:

    I like this very much.
    There’s a pair of ospreys that have been nesting in the saltmarsh behind our house. They’ve been coming back for a few decades, and it has been wonderful to see them raise their chicks over the years. Earlier this spring, a pair of bald eagles tried to use their nesting spot for a fishing perch. What ensued was a raptor-vs.-raptor aerial battle.
    About four ospreys (one “local” pair, another from down the bay a little bit) continuously swooped down on one of the eagles (it’s mate must have been away fishing), screaming, clawing at it, for a good hour. The ospreys prevailed in the end. Just now I saw one of the adults on the top of a very tall Norway spruce, yelling to the chicks in the nest below as I tended my grapes.
    It was for these “fishing hawks” as they’re sometimes called locally that the English sailors are said to have given Buzzards Bay its name. They nearly went extinct fifty years ago, and to see them come back as they have is a great and powerful thing.

  14. Degringolade says:

    Best thing I ever saw was on a vacation up on Vancouver Island (Yellow Point Lodge….worth a plug).
    Was out paddling around on the sound when a bald eagle swooped in and carried off a pretty damn big salmon.
    I just watched it eat the fish on the shore 50 yards away.
    One of the best hours of my life

  15. ISL says:

    Dear Eric,
    I was directed to a TED talk on crows:
    which changed my concept of intelligence in birds. Crows (at least) are quite a bit more intelligent than humans presume, and your observation suggests overlap to other species.
    There are also a number of fascinating other documentaries on youtube that make good evening watching.

  16. John Minnerath says:

    One summer day my brother and I sat on a big rock on the shore of one of the high country lakes not far from my place. An Osprey flew out over the lake from its nest and commenced fishing at the creek inlet. Going high, then stooping into a vertical dive, sometimes going all the way underwater.
    Over and over, I gotta say Osprey are really poor fish catchers 🙂
    It finally succeeded and struggled for altitude with what looked like a nice Rainbow.
    It got up hardly a couple hundred feet when a bald Eagle, we’d spotted it watching from ITS nest across the lake. There was an aerial battle for a few minutes and the eagle knocked the fish loose, did an amazing backward roll and came up under that fish and grabbed it while still falling.
    Then it flew off to its nest.
    The poor Osprey just went back to fishing again and finally got another it managed to take back to its own nest.

  17. Eric Newhill says:

    Thanks. I have seen that vid before. It’s a good one indeed.
    IMO, most all animals, great and small, are far more intelligent and altruistic that humans presume. More honest too. Mostly they just do what they are. I think humans presume them stupid because they are not clever in a deceitful way and they are satisfied with what little they have. I further respect animals because they don’t feel sorry for themselves. They keep doing the best they can until they can’t and then they accept their fate. I begin to appreciate their company more and more the older I get.

  18. DH says:

    What a lovely scene. You inspire me. Alas, the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago.
    I once saw a hawk flying with a shrieking squirrel clasped to it’s chest.
    And speaking of an explosion of birds:

  19. Charlie Wilson says:

    Try it with an Arturo Fuente Don Carlos y Robusto and 21 year old Glen Garioch, straight up.

  20. Haralmbos says:

    We are the fortunate beneficiaries of a birder who sends his photos daily, often 20 or more. He is a friend from our adjacent village, Ft. Edward, NY. We grew up in Hudson Falls, the site of the first falls in the Hudson River. Ft. Edward, the adjacent village, was, I believe, the largest British Fort in the US and the home of Rogers Rangers, precursor to the current US Army Rangers.
    I sent him a link yesterday about birds: This piece highlights a red-tailed hawk young that imprinted on bald eagles in Canada and seems to have been accepted by the eagles.
    Our friend replied that the juvenile hawk seemed safe since the birders ans conservation folks were involved. I am wondering how the deprogramming might be effected.

  21. Fred says:

    ” As it went by it saw me and turned its head to look even as it flew a wild course among the many head high plants.”
    I believe Alan Farrell, quoting Joyce, would call this a “secret messenger”.

  22. The hawks grab a dove once in a while in my back yard. Usually I just see the pile of feathers where the poor unsuspecting dove meets his/her fate. I accept it as part of nature, but I’m still rather protective of my feeding birds.
    I have a murder of crows in the woods behind the house that share the peanuts I throw out to the squirrels every morning. Once a bold young squirrel got tired of sharing the peanuts and jumped on the back of a crow. The crow took off and the squirrel hung on close to ten feet in the air before dropping off. One old crow had a game leg. We called him Hop-Along. He was around for years. One day the crows were enjoying their morning peanuts when a hawk landed on the top of the gazebo. The crows gave out their warnings, but Hop-Along was a little slow on the take off. The hawk dove for him. I launched myself off the deck wearing nothing buy a robe. The robe flew behind me like a cape as I flew through the air buck naked screaming at the hawk. The act saved old Hop-Along. The experience of me and the hawk both barreling through the air towards him probably traumatized him, but he was back the next day. It was a while before the hawk came back.

  23. turcopolier says:

    The hawk’s message was that there are many doves across the river. pl

  24. sid_finster says:

    When I was a kid, farmers had loads of stories about crows and how smart they are, how they had as much individuality as people.

  25. Jill says:

    Great story! Oh the strange attachments we form and the even stranger responses those attachments sometimes provoke.

  26. Bandolero says:

    Yesterday I had an intruder in my paradise here, too.
    I was laying on the couch in my living room, looking a bit in the internet. It was quite hot, and so I had one wing of the door to the balcony open. And then the intruder came, flying stright through the door, directly into my living room and then taking a sharp right turn crashing into the closed window there. I had never experienced something like this and looked up. And there it was: a hooded crow, sitting on the table under the window it had just crashed into, seemingly as befuddled as I was and looking into my eyes.
    I said to it: oh, no, there is the door. The crow took off, but it panicked and flew directly into the next closed window. So I stood up and wide opened the second wing of the door to the balcony and placed myself under the window where it had first crashed into and said: you’re likely a nice bird, but please leave. There is the door. And now the crow understood: the frightened bird took off and flew through my living room to the door. It sat there relieved on the floor for a minute or so, and looked to me, before it jumped onto the balustrade and flew to the other side of the street.
    The apartment is top floor and the balcony is on the corner, so crows are common guests there on the balustrade. Crows are funny birds, and watching them often reminds me to sitcoms in TV, but I have still no idea what was on the mind of the crow as it flew into my living room. It looks to me like this crow was so self confident that it had just forgotten that it’s a good idea to think about how to get of a place before intruding it.

  27. elaine says:

    Interesting info on red tail hawks: The female is larger, they’re a monogamous bird
    but don’t usually live in the same tree with their mate.
    Hummingbirds are my favorite. This year I’ve only seen four, each site-ing felt
    like a blessing. Those little guys go into a very deep sleep @ night I imagine
    their dreams are spectacular.

  28. Philippe T. says:

    I wish this red tailed hawk could come to Brussels to get rid of all the European starlings and finish their nuisances….

  29. turcopolier says:

    Philippe T.
    I don’t know how the damned things got across the ocean but they are a great nuisance. pl

  30. Nancy K says:

    Hummingbirds love red salvia, I plant them in front of our sunroom window so I can watch them feeding.

  31. Nancy K says:

    While living in CA, our 17 year old dachshund died. The next day a dove flew into our house, this had never happened before, it flew to our dog’s dish took a piece of dry food and flew back out the patio door. It stayed around for several days making it’s mournful sound and then was gone. We had not noticed doves around before this.

  32. Oilman2 says:

    My place is quite different. We are fighting hog invasion daily. We have feeders out dropping corn, and part of the weekly routine is to make a dawn pass with the rifle down by the feeder.
    Last week we killed a sow that was easily 250 pounds. I hooked her and drug the carcass to our ‘boneyard’. a glade within the woods at the base of a hill. This is SOP for us, and the animals know this too. The sound of the 4-wheeler in early morning, in that glade, has become like a feeding bell.
    Normal customers are crows first and fast, fighting over the eyes and softer stuff. Then the buzzards rip it open and the feast is on for 12-36 hours. Yesterday everything changed.
    I pulled the hook out of the hog shank, and tossed the chain back into the 4-wheeler. I drove off under the oaks to see who was going to hit the buffet first.
    A bald eagle literally slammed into the carcass, in a nearly vertical descent. The creature looked at me with that sidelong bird glance, and then removed a dead eye. It tossed it back and down into its gullet. It fed alone, all other birds staying far away.
    I watched for a few minutes, then started the 4-wheeler. That elicited quite a screech from the eagle! I drove away, and when I took my grandson out an hour or so later, the usual customers were at the buffet – buzzards, squawking crows and the local coyote was even there, lurking in the shadows of the underbrush.
    I hadn’t seen a baldy up close here in pineywoods Texas in some time – was quite a sight seeing that big white head and large wingspan.

  33. John Minnerath says:

    The European starling was purposefully introduced to North America in 1890–1891 by the American Acclimatization Society
    We can thank them for these invasive pests.

  34. turcopolier says:

    I am surprised that there is not a market for the wild hog meat. pl

  35. NancyK says:

    Col. Lang, your description of your garden sounds just heavenly,except of course for the poor dove. Thank you so much for sharing it.
    My husband and I belonged to a group that monitored Blue Bird nests. One morning we were checking the nest and where the day before we had observed 4 lovely little birds with feathers almost ready to leave the nest we now saw a large, fat black snake curled up contentedly in the nest with no birds. We were shocked, but when we relayed what had happened to our 8 year old grandson, he responded, but that is nature papa Simon.

  36. Degringolade says:

    Give a shout next time you do your pest control.
    I’ll have that thing dressed out and in the smoker faster than you can say “Jack Be Nimble”.

  37. dsrcwt says:

    Apparently, a crazed Shakespeare lover released 60 starlings in NYC in 1890, because he wanted all the birds mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays to live in NYC.

  38. Oilman2 says:

    pl –
    There is a market, but it is also a royal pain to trap them, get them into a trailer and drag them 60 miles to a processing center. I tried letting hog hunters trap them – the result was a lot of grass ripped up, gate damage and then erosion from rains on my newly-bared hillsides.
    We reverted to simple expediency – a round or two and feeding the local wildlife is a lot cheaper than all the hubbub of trying to use the meat. And they are like mice – everywhere, and a terrible pest. They caused me to have to grade acres of pasture from their rooting, they make my creek dangerous for grandkids and many other issues. It hasn’t become hatred just yet, but at times it gets my blood boiling. But a nice ice-cold toddy seems to calm me down…LOL

  39. ked says:

    By sheer coincidence last Thursday as I wandered around my office parking lot (advising my SO on estate management matters… her old-school upper mid-west progressive/socialist dad made it to 102, her younger mom made it 7 months further), I came upon a sizable Cooper’s Hawk perched on a picnic table… just gazing over the adjacent field. Given trucks parked nearby I was able to sneak in to 10′ & get a nice photo just as it turned to look towards me (I’ll fwd it to you if you like).
    I knew I was caught, so I very slowly moved closer. It didn’t flinch, but finally, at about 5′, without a sound it alighted, rising to a tree branch about 10′ away & 20′ up. I was taken by the deliberate efficiency of its motion, the slow pace of its flapping, the exact trajectory to a very nearby point I could not reach. I guess that’s where the word “unruffled” comes from. I marvel at the power-to-weight ratio of such powerful birds.
    We are fortunate in the deep south to see so many species of birds of prey hard at work, seemingly independent of man’s activity (well, the protected ones anyway). In my own backyard (lotsa big trees & close to small hills) I can tell when such a bird is nearby. It gets very quiet as chipmunks, squirrels & other birds disappear.

  40. Jack says:

    Thank you for this very nice post. Glad to read you are relaxed and enjoying your garden.
    I have become much more observant of animal life since I moved to our ranch a few years ago. My property is on the migratory path which affords an opportunity to witness them in great numbers by the marsh particularly in spring.
    After losing several chickens to hawks and eagles I’ve had to build a mesh cover around their coop. A variety of geese, egrets, herons, hawks, eagles, woodpeckers, owls, Jays and warblers are frequent visitors.
    My grandkids who have been here for the summer are having a grand old time outdoors and trapped a red fox last week. They spent couple hours observing it before releasing it.

  41. turcopolier says:

    “I’ll fwd it to you if you like” Please do. pl

  42. jld says:

    Oh! I see… nice regulations you have, you should be thankful to the gubmint to care so much about people’s health.
    (I predict someday there will be a “rule” for with which hand to hold your dick when you pee, and not only in the US, the European Commission may beat you at that)

  43. Philippe T. says:

    I was trying to make some joke about the bureaucrats of Brussels and their political nuisances, but I failed miserably…. Anyway, thanks for the information.
    PS : Colonel, Mother Nature can use bizarre ways to spread nuisances : for example, the death of all plane trees in southern France during the last 20 years, due to the ammunition boxes of US Army unloaded on Marseille harbor in 1944-45.. (no joke intended). RY,

  44. Oilman2 says:

    You can have the wild ones. They are what they eat, and it is mostly roots and grubs. The meat tastes muddy and musty unless they are on the teat or just off of it. We eat the piglets and very young ones.
    The older ones you need to put on a diet of grain and feed for a month or so to grow the wild out of the meat. The really big ones – they just don’t taste as good as those fed grain or table scrap. If times were tougher, I would eat them. But not quite there yet…

  45. Oilman2 says:

    Texas isn’t quite like the rest of the USA. We have had state hog eradication programs going for years now. As for peoples health, the nearest other people to me on my farm are 1/2 km away. If we bury the carcass, the other hogs dig it up and eat it. With the buzzards, the carcass is mostly eaten in 24 hours. In 48 hours, only bones remain, and they are drug away by the coyotes. Maybe the skull or the spine are left as bones – the rest is eaten.
    Government unlikely to get involved, as then they would be required to make the same arrangements for dead deer and dead dogs on the highways. The money expense would be staggering here in the US.
    What? No right-hand-rule in the EU? Here in America we MUST hold our man-parts with the right hand only. If your right hand is injured or damaged, we are supposed to ask a friend to use their right hand. Using the left hand is a minimum of 60 days in jail. We are very far ahead of the EU in civilized laws. /sarc

  46. ISL says:

    Thanks for the image.
    I sure learned a lot from my border collie about life over the course of his life. Native Americans considered animals and their spirits teachers – it makes me glad that people are seriously exploring to learn about non-human intelligence.

  47. Jack says:

    My youngest son hunts wild boars at our ranch. He dresses it, smokes the belly and makes sausage. Very tasty IMO!

  48. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    TTG et al,
    One of my favorite sections from Walt Whitman’s poem,

      Song of Myself

    is the one in which he regards animals:
    I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain’d,
    I stand and look at them long and long.
    They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
    They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
    They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
    Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,
    Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,
    Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.
    So they show their relations to me and I accept them,
    They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession.
    I wonder where they get those tokens,
    Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them?
    Myself moving forward then and now and forever,
    Gathering and showing more always and with velocity,
    Infinite and omnigenous, and the like of these among them,
    Not too exclusive toward the reachers of my remembrancers,
    Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms.
    A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,
    Head high in the forehead, wide between the ears,
    Limbs glossy and supple, tail dusting the ground,
    Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving.
    His nostrils dilate as my heels embrace him,
    His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return.
    I but use you a minute, then I resign you, stallion,
    Why do I need your paces when I myself out-gallop them?
    Even as I stand or sit passing faster than you.
    Sometimes predator, sometimes prey. It’s all part of the Great Going Forward.

  49. optimax says:

    The regulation will state men must squat. Urinals will be considered a symbol of white male oppression.

  50. dsrcwt says:

    I’ve seen people asking $100/inch for the tusks, and up to $300 for the skulls. The tusks are sought after as a legal source of ivory by carvers. Might pay for your ammo.

  51. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Well, I don’t know, optimax. Steve Sailer over at Unz Review related an interesting experience that his wife just had, discovering a urinal mounted in the ladies’ room at some shee shee location, presumably for the benefit of trannies still equipped with their guy parts (and since it is apparently optional for trannies to perform excision surgery to attain at least some degree of versimilitude with the female gender, the self-identification as female being the essential thing, why not just continue as you were in your physical form? Gives the politically correct female liberals something to be gleeful about, although I am not sure that they would be equally gleeful with having their unaccompanied female children use the facilities after they think about the possible problems that might arise from them sharing a restroom with biologically-unaltered adult males, even if he/she says that they are now female.
    So, urinals might no longer be considered symbols of white, male oppression, but rather viewed as being emblematic of liberation from gender oppression instead.
    So, how about that, sports fans?

  52. Oilman2 says:

    dsrcwt –
    send some links… I just hate cleaning 200+ pound hogs weekly. But I can sure run a cable thru the skull and keep the coyotes from dragging it off.

  53. LindaL says:

    Wow! Quite the experience. By the way, your backyard sounds great.

  54. turcopolier says:

    Jersey Jeffersonian
    Apropos of nothing there was an English “comedy” film years back in which a group of drunk women hiked up their skirts, edged up to urinals in a pob bathroom and peed successfully. I have never seen one try that, but … pl

  55. TimmyB says:

    My wife and I had two seed bird feeders in an old twisted fig tree in our yard. After a few months, there were always doves feeding in the fig tree. We kept feeding the doves until hawks killed two of them. Realizing we were luring doves to their death, we removed the feeders.

  56. jld says:

    But they are cheating, they use some kind of a funnel:
    Ain’t it a “wonderful world”?
    Any idiocy you can think of has already been tried.

  57. Cee says:

    Col. Lang,
    Mine seem to only bother the squirrels and the rat snakes who climb trees to get baby birds and eggs.
    I witnessed one ripping the head off of one snake. Amazing.
    He left me a tail feather in the struggle that I Incorporated into a trellis that I made from twigs, string and beads.

  58. Cee says:

    Col. Lang,
    Good stuff. Cabbelas hunting supply store sold it in their deli at one time.

  59. Cee says:

    My blue salvia planted in the same area plus four o’clock flowers attract them here dawn to dusk

  60. ked says:

    sent to you ismoot addr. cheers,

  61. Cee says:

    I put a squirrel baffle up to stop the climb and a slinky at the top for the dive bombers so they can’t hold on. They still try but now they just have to get what I put out for them or what falls from the feeders.

  62. Cee says:

    Buy that predator spray to keep them away. It does work.
    I didn’t spray soon enough to save some lilies but after application none returned to eat anything else

  63. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    There have been legitimate attempts from time to time to design and install female-appropriate urinals in order to avoid all of the possible sanitation issues that arise when all of the women have to sit on toilet seats (hovering, as my wife tells me, being the workaround to that), but they have never achieved acceptance. Since women are attired in anything from skirts/dresses to tight jeans, an easy solution is surely hard to arrive at.
    My Pennsylvania Deutsch mother, following the lead of her often earthy culture, told me a joke current in her youth. A boy and girl are on a picnic, and when the young lad feels the need, he opens his fly, pulls out his johnson, and relieves himself, much to the amazement of the girl watching the procedure. She remarks, “Gee, that’s an awful handy thing to bring along on a picnic!” And there you have it in a nutshell; biological females don’t come thus equipped. Unaltered trannies on the other hand…

  64. dsrcwt says:

    It seems I’ve been mis-informed. I just checked tusks and skulls on E-bay and they are considerably cheaper than I said. Tusks from Poland as low as 2.50 each. Skulls about $60. Not worth the bother, as you said.

  65. Bandolero says:

    That sounds weird to me, too. Our doves here don’t eat meaty stuff like dry dog food. They eat cereals like oat flakes here. But the crows love the dry dog food, even more than they like our cherry tomatoes as soon as they get red. Destroying our cherry tomatoes the crows seem to do just for fun, but stealing dry dog food from the balcony the crows seem to do for nutrition. Though we never have dog food in our living room, it may well be that your experience plays a role here, too.
    Our Small Münsterländer crossbreed is now 17, too, and not very fit anymore, especially when it’s hot. I think it may well be the crow lost respect, thought the dog is old and it could intrude before it saw me laying on the couch.

  66. different clue says:

    If you listen carefully to the crows cawing, you can hear every crow has a slightly different and distinct caw. Of course if you get hundreds or thousands all cawing together, you maybe can’t tell one caw from another. But I suspect the crows still can.

  67. different clue says:

    One wouldn’t normally think of a red tailed hawk chasing and catching a dove, but then one wouldn’t normally think of a sapsucker sitting on a lateral branch and dashing out to catch insects in flight and then dashing back to its perch on the lateral branch, either. But I once spent 10 or so minutes several decades ago watching a sapsucker doing that very thing.
    Once a few years ago where I live I suddenly saw a movement overhead which turned out to be a robin flying faster than I have ever seen a robin fly, with an accipiter hawk about 10 feet behind it. I saw it all for only little more than a second so I couldn’t say which accipter it was.
    Another time I saw a Cooper’s hawk ( they live in the area) fly with a bird to a big lateral branch, hold the bird down with one foot and tear off feathers. It then began tearing off and eating meat. It was icky yet morbidly fascinating to watch.

  68. different clue says:

    Here is a few-second video showing a domestic turkey feeling and showing emotion it seems to me. A bird, even if domestic. The contributor titled it: “Dude! It’s my cuddle time. Go away.”

  69. different clue says:

    Here is something I read about to stop birds from attacking tomatoes when they become red. I have never tried it so I don’t know if it really works.
    But here it is.
    When the very first ones are about to get red, spray or paint them with a solution of sucrose ( table sugar). Supposedly birds are unable to digest table sugar and it ferments in their intestines and releases uncomfortable amounts of gas. It gives the birds passing discomfort without any permanent injury. They remember the pain and associate it with the red tomatoes and don’t attack the red tomatoes any more.

  70. optimax says:

    I was walking on a path next to the Columbia when I heard the crack of a branch break behind me. I turned and twenty feet away I saw two bald eagles ride a branch to the ground. One flew toward the river, the other directly toward. His great wings slowly whooshing the air, slowly lifting its huge mottled self to pass 5 feet over my head.
    Three people on the beach saw the whole thing and my dog danced.

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