Sunday, July 13, 2008

Birds and Cows

I enjoy bird watching—if I don't have to walk through the woods with a pair of binoculars and stand quietly for long periods of time. Here we can sit in our RV and look out the window or sit out under the awning and watch all kinds of birds. I have identified several I've not seen before, as well as being able to observe carefully many familiar birds. It is special to watch the American Goldfinches at the feeder and the Western Bluebirds coming and going from their nest in one of the bird boxes out back. Mama and Daddy Bluebird are darting in and out of the birdhouse to feed their family—usually 4-6 young.

The biggest treat has been the family of California Quail. First I saw the adult pair outside the door at dusk. The next night I observed them near dark with their family of babies—so many little balls of feathers I wasn't able to count them in the half-dark. Another day I watched the adults walking along the fence rail on the pasture—probably near their nest. Last night we watched the mom and dad quail walk 8 or 9 babies along the edge of the pasture to eat. Some of them flew from one clump of grass to the next. What fun!

We have so many hummingbirds I must refill the feeders every couple of days. And we watch the Rufous Hummingbird try to claim and protect his territory by driving the others away from each of the three feeders. Why can't he share?

A good way to learn to relax and just enjoy life is to watch cows grazing. Why hurry? they seem to say. The herd slowly ambles from one part of the pasture to another. One cow with take off and in a while the whole herd has followed. Sometimes one cow or calf doesn't follow right away. Then they will take off bawling till they find the rest.

Some of the calves are young enough they are really playful. The other evening I watched two black calves run after each other full speed across the field. They reminded me of horses running. Later the two, probably males, were butting heads like a pair of bull elk, practicing how to fight.

We don't have a very good internet connection here, so I can't upload photos. When we get somewhere I can do it, you will be able to see some of our animal friends.

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