Sunday, March 18, 2012

Red-tail Hawks, Beavers and Stellar's Jay Origami

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to get these shots of one of the neighborhood Red-tailed hawks as it was flying close to our rooftop, possibly checking out our chickens.  This is one of the pair that is using the nest in a large cottonwood tree in the wetland behind our fence (the area officially known as Kenmore's Wetland #3).  Its mate was soaring much higher up in the sky.

Back in February I noticed that something had been nibbling on the root of the giant willow tree next to the stream at the front of our yard.  I didn't find evidence on any other trees in our yard.

...until a couple of days ago when I discovered brand new damage on two quaking aspen trees further downstream in our yard -

and some branches chomped off of a willow -

I'm assuming it is a beaver, of course.  I wrapped the damaged aspens with chicken wire to a height of about 4 feet to hopefully prevent further damage.  

But today I noticed that there is new damage on a smaller trunk next to the others....

On a lighter note, a pair of house finches were foraging together in one of our raised beds -

You couldn't miss that little guy's bright red head.

This is a collage of the process I witnessed of a Stellar's Jay folding up a long strand of old onion or leek leaf that it scavenged from our vegetable garden -

A pair of jays has been building a nest somewhere next to our house in our neighbors' trees.  I hope to see their fledglings in our garden this summer - little jays are the cutest little things.  

A funny thing I noticed when putting together this collage is that the jay didn't only snag the plant matter for its nest. It is also is holding onto a plastic plant marker in the first two photos.  It must have grabbed that with a claw at the same time it flew off with the onion bit in its beak!

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