The Corvid Clan

Tracy, the blogger over at “Reflections of an Untidy Mind” has just presented the blog-o-sphere with a new once-a-week writing challenge:

magpie-4661322_640Introducing – ta-da! – Corvid – 2020.
You can check out the details here, but basically you’re supposed to post something once a week about modus operandi of the family Corvidae.

Like the Borgia bunch and other nefarious family groups, this is a clan of clever, scheming thieves, including crows, ravens, jays, and magpies. But if you want to say something nice about them, I think that would be okay, too. Even the blackest of families have an occasional white sheep.

Blue Jay.croppedRaven

An Ungraceful Visitor

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is GRACEFUL

Which immediately makes me think of SWANS. Don’t they always look so graceful when they’re floating serenely in a stream?

Swans my webst

Other birds just don’t have the knack.
Duck down. Alexas Fotos

🙂

Which calls to mind an rather ungraceful visitor we had one morning some years ago.

Great horned owl.Pexels
Image: Pexels — Pixabay

On the wing, a great-horned owl can be a very graceful bird. I’ve read that the owl has a feather construction and placement that allows the predator to fly without a whisper of sound, swooping down with no warning on its prey.

Its efforts on the ground are another matter, rather ungainly, as we were to learn one day.

We’ve often heard a great-horned owl in the woods beside our yard and in the evenings we’d see one flying over the pasture behind our acreage. We’ve heard them and have seen le Grand Duc, (Grand Duke) as the French call it, many times in the tallest bare trees, surveying their domain or looking for some unsuspecting morsel of lunch. One evening we saw two owls in the treetops hooting back and forth to each other, discussing prospects.

One September we could hear a screech or squawk and decided that this noise was coming from a young owl. Then we went away on a five-day trip to visit friends in mid-September, and early on the first morning at home I let our long-haired black cat, Panda, go outside. A few minutes later I was hearing this funny loud peeping or squawk outside, so I glanced out the window and beheld a fascinating sight.

A great-horned owl chick was sitting in our driveway near the car shelter, staring toward the house with its big golden eyes and letting out a screechy sort of peep about once a minute. Fluffy and cute with its pointy “ear tufts,” this young owl looked almost white to me. Our huge black Panda, about the same size and shape, sat silently on our deck eyeing the owl with her big golden eyes.

Were they curious about this odd specimen in front of them? The way it was peeping, you could almost think the chick was lonely and thought Panda might be another owl for company. Or were they sizing each other up, wondering who should eat who? Perplexed as to what should be done about this strange white cat – or black bird, depending on whose viewpoint you took?

I decided not to take any chances, so I let Panda in and the owl soon got bored sitting there. It proceeded to make its way down the driveway and back again, snapping up grasshoppers as it went. Its “running” was quite amusing and anything but graceful — a kind of waddle-and-hop from side to side as well as forward.

For a couple of hours the owl chick stayed around our yard, entertaining us and eliminating some of the many grasshoppers we had that year. It did the rounds of our garden and lawn, flying up to roost on the clothesline post in between. We never did see it fly away, nor see it again. My husband guessed the chick had made itself to home in our yard while we were away; it must have decided not to come back when people were around.

Sunshine on the Snow

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is LOOKING OUT MY FRONT DOOR.

Since we live in a mobile home, with both doors on the same side, the view isn’t any different. However, today we do have a lovely view — with a promise of spring to come. Yesterday morning the temp was -31C first thing; this morning it was -14, so a great improvement. Hubby says it’s +1 C this afternoon. With the sun so bright and warm, our snow is getting soft.

Because we’ve been putting out birdseed, a flock of English sparrows has moved into our trees; we see a lot of them in the caragana bushes outside our front window. As I write this, dozens are scrambling around and under the bird feeder, grabbing what they can.

Come spring when the tree swallows return, I’ll be ready to shoot all these aggressive English invaders before they drive my swallows away. I see a few have already claimed the swallow nest on the garage. By feeding the birds we were actually hoping to attract chickadees and woodpeckers, and one hairy woodpecker does raid the feeder regularly.

I’m not feeling very inspired to write today, so this will have to be a sufficient response. However, while I’m here I’ll mention another writing prompt you might like to try your hand at: Crispina’s Creative Challenge, or CCC. Every Wednesday Crispina Kemp posts a photo as inspiration and you can write up to 150 words, in any genre. Better yet, you have a whole week to do it.

This week’s picture is a rather forlorn old mill. Check it out HERE

From My Back Door

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is:  LOOKING OUT MY BACKDOOR.

hoarfrost-3491999_640
Clarence Peters — Pixabay

We don’t have the new dusting of snow and hoar frost this morning, but our scenes are as above, all winterish white and gray. The odd magpie and crow visits or flies over now and then to add its own shades to the scene.

magpie-4661322_640
TheOtherKev — Pixabay

However, the other day when I drove out of my yard a huge bird took flight from a tall old tree at the edge of our yard; a second look told me the bird was a bald eagle. As it circled over the field just south of the road I was on, I got a good view of this regal bird.

bald-eagle-1018717_640
skeeze — Pixabay

If you haven’t already, why don’t you pop over and see how various bloggers have responded to this prompt. All bloggers are welcome to write and share their own posts on the topic. LOOKING OUT MY BACKDOOR