An Unbalanced Diet

The Red-headed Woodpecker who comes to my feeders has been eating a steady diet of peanuts.  Typically, he lands on the squirrel proof feeder, but he has also discovered that this fine fare is available in the trays attached to the deck rail.

His peanut pilfering routine has become pretty predictable.

He first lands on one of the vertical branches attached to my deck and carefully looks around to see if any competitors need to be persuaded to relocate.

Did you notice the size of this guys claws?

His next step is to swoop down onto the Bark Butter branch, which is only a few feet away from the seed tray.  Once again, he pauses to check out the area.

Then, he heads over to the food supply.

The only problem is that the deck rail is a flat surface and is much harder for him to grip, so, he often gets unbalanced when he is trying to snare a nut.

He is usually quick to recover, and then flies off with the spoils to a place where he can get a better grip.

Despite his “unbalanced diet,” his guy is amazing!


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The Latest Little One

A juvenile Blue Jay has been loudly making his presence known in the backyard!

The other day, he followed Mama to the feeders and perched on a nearby branch.  He kept a close eye on her…

…while she gathered up a heapin’ helpin’ of peanuts.

You can tell he’s a youngster, not only by his mannerisms and the remaining fluffy feathers, but also because of the bit of pink at the edge of his beak, which you can see has turned dark on the adult.

Once her beak was sufficiently loaded, Mom flew off to a neighbor’s pine tree with her little one close behind.  Now that he knows where the peanut stash is, I don’t think it will be long before this fellow is coming on his own.

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Weekends Are Meant For Water

For some folks it’s a time for errands, while for others it’s a time for entertainment.
Some opt to grab a little rest and relaxation, while others catch up on some housework or yard work.
But if you’re a Lab (mine included!) weekends are meant for water!

This morning, we took Tucker to the White Water trail along the Chattahoochee River – a place that has become an unofficial dog park because of its long stretch of shallow shoreline.

There was much romping and racing and neon green toy chasing!

And occasionally, there were some deep spots where a bit of swimming was required – doggy paddle, of course!

There’s only one thing more fun than river romping and that’s river romping with friends!
Today’s playmates were Zoe…

…and Jerry, who loved getting to share Tucker’s toys!

The three amigos had a grand time together!

If you’ve ever seen Field of Dreams (and you must if you haven’t!) Shoeless Joe Jackson asks Kevin Costner’s character, “Is this heaven?” And the reply is given, “No. It’s Iowa.”  Well, I’m pretty sure Tucker echoes the question whenever we go to this particular canine paradise.

Such a fun way to spend a Saturday morning!

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First Hummer of the Summer

Okay…so it’s technically not summer yet…but for the sake of a rhyming title, I am taking the liberty of welcoming the season a few days early.

And I did indeed get a picture of my first hummer of the summer today, only it wasn’t a Hummingbird…

…it was a Hummingbird Moth!

The first time I ever saw one of these interesting insects I had no idea what it was.  It seemed to me a cross between a Hummingbird and a Bumble Bee, so I turned to the wisdom of Google and discovered its true identity.

Being a moth, it has 6 legs, 4 wings, a pair of antennae, a straw-like proboscis, and a fuzzy body…but it hovers and flies like a Hummingbird.

How about a view from each angle?  Here’s the front view…

…here’s the rear view…

…and here’s a view from the side.

He spent quite awhile gathering nectar at the Butterfly Bush this afternoon.

He would sip and slurp and then curl up his tongue and flit to the next flower.

I find these cool creatures fascinating to watch…especially now that I know they don’t have a stinger!

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Fight, Flight, or Out of Sight

The diminutive Downy Woodpecker is a delightful little bird that rarely makes a fuss.

These cuties are regular visitors to the backyard Bark Butter branch.

But when a bigger, bossier bird appears on the scene – like this female Red-winged Blackbird…

…rather than resorting to fight or flight, they just opt to drop out of sight.

They hang out until the coast is clear…

…then they pop back up and resume their merry munching.



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This Is What I Was Made For

Did you ever do something that you really enjoyed, something that was totally soul-satisfying, and find yourself thinking, “I was made for this!”?

Well, I’m pretty sure Tucker makes that declaration anytime he gets let loose in a creek or a lake or a river.

The boy has such unbridled joy when he dashes and splashes in the water.

And when he gets tuckered out, some lazy Lab lounging hits the spot – especially if there’s a tasty stick to chomp.

Although river romping doesn’t bring me quite the same satisfaction that it does Mr. T (although I do find it to be great fun!), I think I am moved to say, “I was made for this” when I am able to use words – spoken or written –  to bless or benefit another.

How about you?

What makes you feel like the picture above?
What makes you say, “This is what I was made for!”?

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Appearances Can Be Deceiving

Did you ever look at someone and make a wrong assumption about them simply because of the way they looked?  I’ve (sadly) done it with people, and this past week, I did it with a bird.

It was with this young Red-bellied Woodpecker that’s been showing up looking all aggressive with his open-beaked attitude.

But the thing is, as I watched him over the course of a couple of days, I realized that I had misjudged the fellow. (I am calling him a fellow because I see a hint of more head red on its way, but it could be a gal.) It would seem that his aggressive appearance is not because he is intent on looking menacing, but because he has some sort of defect or injury where he can’t fully close his beak.

But that hasn’t stopped him from finding a way to enjoy the Bark Butter.  he simply scoops it a little more sideways and then uses his tongue and gravity to push it farther back in his mouth.

He really is a fascinating fellow to watch, and you can’t help but admire his determination.

By the way (and this should come as not surprise to those of you who are regulars!) I named him Dennis…as in the menace…as in he looks menacing…Hey! No judging!

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