Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Our Backyard at Random

23 April, 2022

     American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) is the most common species to visit our yard, and may be expected in all seasons.
     The drab plumage of winter is yielding to breeding finery.



     Here a couple of goldfinches are joined by a very handsome male House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus).


     For some reason, Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) seem fond of perching on the side of the bird bath, drinking from time to time, but seldom bathing.



03 May, 2022

     Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) is a very common species, and the song of the male trilling ardently from high atop a tree is an uplifting springtime melody. But even singers have to eat!


     Eating seems to be a permanent occupation for Eastern Cottontails (Sylvilagus floridanus) and they are quite capable of invoking Miriam's wrath as they merrily chew away at every green shoot that pops above the ground, studiously ignoring the weeds, but laying waste to the coneflowers.


     A Purple Finch (Haemorhous purpureus) is an infrequent visitor; we were delighted to welcome this resplendent male.


     White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) is common spring and fall.


     Familiarity never breeds contempt for American Goldfinches. A group of them is appropriately called a charm.


     This Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) seemed to be engaged in a shouting match.


     In some years Pine Siskins (Spinus pinus) are abundant, in other years totally absent. The spring of 2022 brought flocks to Waterloo Region and some visited our feeders.


     A male House Finch is a handsome fellow, but not quite as splendid as his congener, the Purple Finch seen above.


     Eastern Chipmunks (Tamias striatus) find everything they need in our backyard, including friendly humans.


     And what would a backyard in southern Ontario be without a Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) or two?


04 May, 2022

     Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) does not patronize our garden anywhere near as often as in years past so it was a great pleasure to welcome this individual.


28 May, 2022

     A pair of Black-capped Chickadees (Poecile atricapillus) had been checking out the nest box and seemed to have decided on it, only to lose interest and move on. Finally, however, they have built a snug nest, and seem set to raise a family.


     We thought at one point their plans were going to be thwarted by a Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) and you can see where the male woodpecker had worked at enlarging the hole.
     Raccoons (Procyon lotor) have prospered in urban situations and it was no surprise to see this individual ambling along the fence, totally unperturbed by humans.


29 May, 2022

     An American Robin (Turdus migratorius) is a very familiar visitor. 


     A few years ago a pair raised young in a nest at the side of the house, and we keep hoping for a repeat performance.
     We had not realized that the chickadee nest already had young, but here is an adult carrying a juicy caterpillar into the nest box to feed hungry chicks.


     A constant shuttle was maintained by both parents.


     These little birds are kept busy. Miriam and I tallied the number of food deliveries made in two half-hour periods as follows: 09h:16 - 09h:46 - 16 visits, and 16h:30 - 17h:00 - 12 visits.
     During that period the adults have to locate prey, capture it and return to the nest box, all the while getting food for themselves to maintain their energy levels.
     On two occasions we watched the chickadees fiercely drive a goldfinch from the feeders, brooking no competition for food I presume, since there was no threat to the young. I kept the feeders filled with sunflower hearts so the adults would have ready access to sustenance.
     What goes in must come out and here is an adult leaving with a faecal sac.


     Not only do they have to feed the kids they have to clean up after them too. Sounds a bit like humans, doesn't it?

30 May, 2022

     Who doesn't enjoy having a chipmunk in the garden?


     A Common Grackle is a very attractive species, especially when viewed in sunlight to highlight the iridescence of its plumage to best advantage.


     This Black Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was unusual (and very distinctive) in having a red tail.


31 May, 2022

     An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) is one of our most impressive butterflies.


18 June, 2022

     Many species have fed their young in our backyard, but for the first time we had a Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) feeding a single juvenile.

Adult

Juvenile

      It is remarkable what can be observed in a regular suburban backyard.      
David M. Gascoigne,
David M. Gascoigne,

I'm a life long birder. My interests are birds, nature, reading, books, outdoors, travel, food and wine.

75 comments:

  1. Hi David.

    You have so much beauty in your garden.
    You almost don't have to leave the house for that.
    Great Squirrels and super beautiful birds.
    The raccoon is great.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  2. Your backyard contains an incredible amount of variety, David. The Blue Jay is very beautiful, and it's so beautifully photographed. I wish I had a Eastern Tiger Swallowtail in my garden. They are so pretty.
    Hugs and kisses, Marit

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  3. A lovely visit to your yard, David. We don't have much of a tradition of bird feeders here which means we don't get the variety of birds you do although some of the magpies and the resident willy wagtail sometimes join me in the garden to see what juicy morsels turn up.

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  4. Your yard is packed with what is definitely exotica to me. Hours and hours of awe and wonder. Thank you for sharing it.

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    1. Ah, but what I would give for a corella or a cockatoo, a rosella or a fairy-wren, a magpie-lark or a magpie, a spinebill or a honeyeater........I'd even settle for a currawong!

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    2. You are right. We have most of those beauties daily - and I love the currawong warble.

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  5. Lucky you ! So many beautiful birds and wildlife around you ! So colorful too !
    Thanks for sharing your lovely photos !
    Have a shinny day !
    Anna

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  6. Hello David,
    You have a nice variety of backyard birds. Beautiful nature photos. Take care, enjoy your day!

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  7. You must have done something right for your backyard because of so many beautiful visitors!

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  9. I remember the excitement seeing my first Goldfinch in my grandparent's backyard.

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  10. ...David, you sure had a fabulous collection of visitors!

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  11. What a wealth so many beautiful birds in your garden.

    We have a magpie here, he takes the food of the smaller birds.
    It is a real rover, but also Intelligent.

    Nice to read on this blog.

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  12. Hi David! I much enjoyed seeing all your yard visitors, you reall have a great variety. ove the raccoon and the chipmunks. I found your comment in my spam yesterday and published it, I don't know what Blogger is up to. On some blogs I have to comment as anonymous. Crazy! Have a great day, take care, hugs to your both! Valerie

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  13. A positive, engaging visual report.

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  14. Lucky you!!! You don't have to go far from home to see all these beauties... raccoon and all.:)

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  15. Your garden critters provide hours of entertainment! Such a wonderful way to pass the time, David. Those rascally rabbits can be a nuisance I bet.

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  16. All your photos are so sharp and clear. Nice of your subjects to hold still while you take their picture. That squirrel is very unusual. Do you think parents were different colors? We have small red squirrels here that like to scold us for being in our own yard. Just today one sat on the front porch doing just that while I filled the watering can. Acts like he/she owns the place.

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  17. Se ve que les gusta vuestro patio . Mucho visitantes tenéis. Buenos padres cuidando y alimentando a sus crías. Como los humanos. Gran serie David .Gracias.
    Buen martes.
    Un abrazo.

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  18. Lots of visitors and activity going on which makes your garden a special garden.

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  19. That's a lovely tour of your yard! I once watched our robin choose 3 or 4 bugs, landed on the nest, dumped its cargo, and shoved the bugs into various beaks!
    (ツ) from Cottage Country , ON, Canada!

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  20. Hi David - it is beautiful ... love all the birds, critters and insects ... a great range of colours. I can understand Miriam's horror at the bunnies eating every green shoot that appears. Stunning ... wonderful photos - cheers Hilary

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  21. You see so many colorful birds in your yard! I posted photos of plants and 2 dogs in my yard, but no birds, yesterday. LOL. Gigi Hawaii

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  22. You certainly have some colourful visitors to your garden, though somehow it's easy to overlook just how beautiful frequently-seen species are. I know if I post a picture of a Blue Tit, it always creates a lot of comments from those unfamiliar with our common birds.
    From what I recall of Pavarotti some singers have to eat a great deal!

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  23. If teleportation was a reality, David, I'd probably be asking you if you'd be interested in swapping back yards for a week or two. You have such a wonderful variety of wildlife there.

    Best wishes to you and Miriam - - - Richard

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  24. Hi David.
    Your backyard is a paradise! The four-legged fauna is really exotic for me! It's so beautiful to see all these animals within camera.
    All this life is a fabulous show. And as usual the jay is my favorite!
    Gros bisous David.

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  25. What a beautiful backyard you have! how I would like to have a wide one with such a variety of living beings. The species that visit you are wonderful, one more beautiful than the other, although surely to see the cardinal's color it would be my favorite.

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  26. Hi David,
    never a dull moment in your backyard. Marvelous, the amount of birds you can watch over there. I love the looks of the Blue Jay and in the picture here it's looking even more beautiful.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  27. A wonderful backyard, filled with so many beautiful birds and other amazing animals. I loved living like this, surrounded by nature.
    All photos are fantastic.

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  28. Wow, how amazing and beautiful! Your garden is filled with colour and activity. We got a lot of visitors today, especially grackles with their young. And we have a chipmunk that lives near our front steps; has been living there for years. We feed the little critter several times a day. We call him Mr. Buttinski and he (or she) is simply adorable! Thanks for sharing all these wonderful images.

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  29. Not being a gardener, I only get a smile out of seeing a cottontail out and about.

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  30. Wow David these photos are excellent. Well, all of your photos are. Have a lovely day. Ohhh about the rats. We do give them back for predators to eat.

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  31. That squirrel is really interesting. And for chipmunks, or in your case rabbits, I'm with Miriam. Today some chipmunks ate all the green beans coming up. So annoying. I have never seen a rabbit around my area, probably too many rabbit predators. You have some great bird photos. I think we have the same birds on a normal basis. Happy first day of summer. Hugs-Erika

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  32. Do you ever have wrens; photograph them?

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    1. We do have wrens and we have photographs, Joanne. I can publish a few pictures if you wish.

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  33. That is really lovely you have so many sweet birds and creatures visit your garden.

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  34. Stunning photos. I find the chipmunk really appealing. We don't have them here, but I have seen a couple at my daughter's home and thought they looked so cute :)

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  35. Your backyard is like your own little nature reserve - colourful with lots of interest for you both to observe and appreciate.
    I wish that my visiting Woodpigeons behaved like your Mourning Dove i.e. sit politely on the side of the bird bath and drink now and again. Instead they swoop in, have a drink, splash all of the water out, and leave little messes behind. I am constantly cleaning and refilling the birdbath.

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    1. I will send a memo to the Woodpigeons, Rosemary, but I suspect they will pay little attention to it!

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  36. Of course I thought of Jeanie's photo of the bi-colored squirrel when I saw yours. And now I'm going to have to look more closely at the finch that has been coming to my feeders. I thought it was a vibrantly colored House Finch, but now I'm wondering if it might be a Purple Finch. In either case, it's a great singer. I do envy your Goldfinches. When they're in our area, they're rather drab; seeing one in its bright yellow plumage is a rarity.

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    1. I doubt that Purple Finch would make it as far south as Texas, except perhaps to high elevation areas with conifers, Linda, but birds are sometimes found well outside their normal range. Perhaps you will be able to get a photograph to clinch the ID.

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  37. The chickadees seem to be extremely busy with all those visits to the next to feed their young. Loved the squirrel, chipmunk, raccoon... and that blue jay is stunning. Beautiful photos David.

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  38. Hi David, I am a retired teacher and I mention that so you’ll know why I say something like: High marks for your blog. I really like your photography, the design … weaving in the descriptions, and all the knowledgeable information you pass along. In this post I really enjoyed the variety of birds AND other critters. Congratulations on having a backyard that yields so many wonderful photo ops for critter lovers. The presence of a Raccoon made me smile. It’s so interesting that they move around unperturbed by humans. John

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  39. Les oiseaux ont tous des couleurs sublimes. Les écureuils et le lapin sont mignons, même si les lapins abiment un peu le jardin.
    Bonne soirée

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  40. Wonderful pictures. Your backyard looks a lot like what I imagine as paradise.

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  41. What a wonderful variety of backyard/garden birds you have, a delight to see.
    I enjoyed the critters too :)

    All the best Jan

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  42. High time to once again allow myself one step back on my quest to become the laziest commenter in this universe and those universes yet to discover: It is alway a pleasure to visit your site, David, to admire your photos, to enjoy your words. A great pleasure, indeed.

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  43. What a beautiful natural reserve you have in the backyard!....We have here many blue jays and cardinals...they are beautiful!!.......Abrazotes, Marcela

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  44. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  45. What a wonderful variety of birds and little critters in your backyard. Quite of some of these we have as well (including the raccoon), but no chipmunks. Almost every winter we are told to put down our bird feeders because of salmonella that seem to kill mostly Pine Siskins. Do you have this problem as well? I did find one ot two dead ones in my garden. I usually clean my feeders thoroughly, but when I found the dead birds I took the feeders down. It was sad, but I prefer live birds. Someone told me that now there is bird flu going around the birds. I have noticed that I have less birds this year, but I am not sure that this is the reason.

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    1. We don't winter issues with salmonella, Carola, and perhaps our cold winters have something to do with that. Avian flu is a bit of a concern right now, but seems to be mainly affecting waterfowl. I think that if you keep your feeders clean it's safe to feed birds and derive the pleasure from doing so. There are many factors to the serious declines in songbird populations, but in some species it is catastrophic.

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  46. You certainly have a wonderful assortment of birds and animals in your backyard, David, and it's wonderful that they present such colorful photo opps for you to share with us. The bluejay and the finches were favorites when we had our own home and they frequented the feeders. Grackles were the least favorite species.

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  47. Ohhhh, you live in a great place! So many cute animals!

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  48. You are so blessed to have so many different and colourful critters visiting your backyard. Parent birds cleaning up after their young chicks is new to me. They are just like human parents. Beautiful birds, cute rabbit, raccoon, chipmunk and squirrel making their appearance for your camera.

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  49. Hi David- gorgeous photos!!! As an avid bird watcher and bird lover i have thoroughly enjoyed this post. With the exception of that special squirrel, racoon, and monarch I am lucky to have all these creatures in our back yard. There is a second pair of house finches nesting in a geranium basket. Hoping we get another Carolina wren to nest as well. We also get hummingbirds regularly- though not a lot of them. And we just saw a mother and baby skunk leave from under our shed to new horizons. Isn't nature just beautiful and amazing...

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  50. Bueno, ya estamos por aquí después de este corto período vacacional y de revisiones médicas, saludando a los amigos.
    Ya estaba echando de menos tus maravillosos reportajes estimado amigo. Este es todo una preciosidad, me ha llamado mucho la atención que también tengas por la cerca de casa hasta mapaches. ¡Qué gran diversidad!, una larga representación de asiduos visitantes.
    Recibe un gran abrazo de tu siempre amigo y compadre Juan.

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  51. David, Your backyard is an aviary and a haven for smaller animals. What a great colourful collection of backyard visitors. Unfortunately I cannot brag the same with mine which is a happy home to snakes, iguanas and monkeys! Just 2 weeks ago, we had a cobra in the porch. I was a bit surprised that birds have winter and summer plumage cos over here with no seasons, birds are the same colours all year except maybe for a touch of difference during breeding season. The shinny butter of the goldfinch is eye catching, even the grackle has character!! GOOD job on this post

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  52. What a beautiful environment you have created to draw in so many birds and wildlife David, this really warms my heart. I have never heard of a purple finch, what a sweet bird that is.. The red cardinal is one bird I really would love to see and hear. Stunning.
    Happy TAD (fingers crossed this comment posts) Tracey

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  53. Our bird feeders seemed to attract only house sparrows this year -- we were very disappointed. Then squirrels figured out how to beat the squirrel buster. So we took the seed feeders down for the summer. Sad. Because our neighbors are having their yards fogged for insects (even with supposedly non-toxic spray), we think the bird life has suffered. Very sad.


    best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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  54. Whenever I post pictures on Facebook of all the birds that visit my backyard, local friends are amazed. I tell them they need to just pay attention! My backyard visitors are pretty much the same as yours, although I've never seen a Pine Siskin.

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  55. Doing your favorite thing in your own backyard, with a glass of wine in hand, no doubt. It doesn't get better than that! Oh...yes it does. Miriam is there with you too.!!

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  56. Hi David. I hope you join in FFO with all of these beautiful bird and critter faces. I now have Mr. Linksy up and running. Have a lovely day.

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  57. Una maravilla toda la variedad de aves que puedes ver desde tu patio, en mi jardín ahora mismo hay varios nidos, uno con cuatro jilgueros. Besos.

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  58. I wax nostalgic viewing your back yard pictures as it is the same back yard that I had to move from a few years ago. I loved every minute, every animal, every bird even most of the insects that shared their lives with us on the lake. I miss it terribly so I am happy for you that you still have it to wake up to every morning. We did have an occasional skunk, Opossum and even Coyote now and then. It was a wonderful life, needless to say :) Live life and enjoy, David ...

    Andrea @ From the Sol

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  59. Dear David,
    wonderful again, your shots of the birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and even a raccoon.
    We also live in the suburbs, but you generally have more animal visitors AND a far greater number of birds than we do - and they are more colourful. Bright yellow, purple, gorgeous red and now the brilliant blue of the Blue Jay - I think I see why you're a birder all your life. When I was a child in the city, I only knew sparrows, blackbirds and pigeons - there was no blaze of color and no great variety. (There wasn't even a Chipping Sparrow with a red mohawk ;-)) And my parents didn't know many birds or bird calls either when we were in the forest. I'm only starting to get more interested in birds, insects, plants now that I've retired. Nature has always been important to me, but now I'm out and about with friends who are interested in nature more often than I used to and I have more time to appreciate the animal and plant life around me.
    All the best and have a nice weekend,
    Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2022/06/hochbetrieb-im-lavendel-und-andere-juni.html

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  60. Hi David, you left a comment on my blog posts that you suspected your comments have been going to spam. I check comments daily and see that yours are showing up. Any identified as spam are promptly deleted.

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    1. Thanks for checking. Glad to hear that the comments are getting through.

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  61. David - House Finches are common at our feeders, and seeing the color flash through the trees is wonderful. I share Miriam's wrath at the rabbits; here, they favor the Aster and nibble it to the ground! We have dozens of pine siskins - I love the zipping sound they make when in a group. We have a pair of robins nesting on top of a light fixture on our garage. Last year, a pair was on top of the bat box on the back of the garage - perhaps the same pair? Earlier this week, I was thrilled to see the Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on a pot of Verbena! Enjoy your weekend!

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  62. I can count on you for fabulous birds -- but today I especially love the bunny and the raccoon!

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  63. We have basically the same birds down here though cardinals are our most common one. I take my bird feeders down in the summer when food is plentiful so that the birds don't forget how to forage. When they're up I see cardinals, chickadees, titmice, sparrows, white wing and inca doves (used to see mourning doves but they seem to have been pushed out by the white wing doves) and as they migrate through house finches, warblers, goldfinches, cedar waxwings. Resident year round but don't come to the bird feeders are wrens, bluejays, mockingbirds, grackles, crows, red shouldered hawks. I see bluebirds rarely though a pair nested in one of my birdhouses one year. Haven't seen any flickers this year. My most unusual visitors were a hooded warbler and a male painted bunting.

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We acknowledge that the land on which we are situated are the lands traditionally used by the Haudenosaunee, Anishinaabe, and Neutral People. We also acknowledge the enduring presence and deep traditional knowledge, laws, and philosophies of the Indigenous Peoples with whom we share this land today. We are all treaty people with a responsibility to honour all our relations.

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