Our birds, our squirrels, ourselves
Al B of Hartland: “I didn’t need an early wake-up call, but I got one anyway. A flicker declared his territory by drumming on an unused TV antenna tower attached to the house. The flicker’s energetic percussive instrument, which he hammered at about 25 times per second, sent reverberations throughout the house. Northern flickers eat mainly insects, especially ants and beetles that they find on the ground.
“I’m glad I got the alarm. It allowed me to hear a brown thrasher. It’s one of my favorite birds. Brown thrashers are mimics with extremely varied repertoires. Brown thrashers believe that some things bear repeating. Men share that belief. The male sings a loud, long series of phrases with no definite beginning or end, typically singing phrases twice. Some people describe his song as this mnemonic: “Plant a seed, plant a seed, bury it, bury it, cover it up, cover it up, let it grow, let it grow, pull it up, pull it up, eat it, eat it.’
“I watched a fox squirrel tightrope-walk on a utility wire. It’s an amazing feat that is amazing to see. It was a one-squirrel circus.
“Ruby-crowned kinglets and yellow-rumped warblers gleaned the trees for food. Purple finches delighted me with their beauty. Like the juncos, they’d be booking flights out of here soon.
“Chickadees entertained with their antics. The average lifespan of a chickadee in the wild is 2.5 years. Keeping their tiny half-ounce body working requires a lot of fuel. From sunrise to sunset, the chickadee spends most of its time feeding. During the summer, it eats 70 percent insects and 30 percent seeds.
“Song sparrows, house finches and white-throated sparrows sang. The birds were full of song. I was filled with listen.”
Jm Shumaker of New Richmond, Wisconsin: “Please find attached a photo of a beautiful wood duck found on the Willow River in St. Croix County. I hope your readers enjoy the photo!”
Mounds View Swede writes: “Last May, we visited Israel, and in Haifa, the Jacaranda trees were blooming with their purple blossoms.
“I talked with one of the gardeners there, and he told me they left the petals on the ground for a while as ‘purple rain’ and a tribute to Prince. I was impressed that someone in Israel was paying attention to what was happening here in Minnesota and thankful that they thought to remember him in this way.
“Today I spoke with a neighbor and took a picture of his Creeping Charlie. He said it was a tribute to Prince.
“I don’t allow that in my yard, but do understand that this time of year, the blossoms provide nectar for the bees.”
Vanity, thy name is . . .
Red’s Offspring, north of St. Paul (still reporting from well south of St. Paul): (1) “The personalized plate on the vehicle in the shopping center parking lot in Naples read: ‘DAS BMW.’
“I didn’t catch the make of the car.”
(2) “The personalized plate on the pickup from South Carolina read: ‘EL CID 1.’
“Was there more than one?”
(3) “The RAV4 in the Publix lot in Naples had a personalized Massachusetts plate: ‘BUYSEL.’
“In response to my query, the driver replied: ‘Real estate.’
“Now we know.”
Our pets, ourselves
Dolly Dimples: “Subject: Hoping for better days
“Something bad is attacking Percy, our beloved rescue poodle-something dog. He is very sick. He is not his usual happy, chipper, sociable doggie self. Instead of exploring what the rest of us are doing, he crawls on a cushion and naps. I wish animals could talk and tell you where it hurts.
“His Mom took him to the vet, and the diagnosis is that his pancreas is infected, as are his intestines, He has no appetite or desire to drink. He’s been put on a low-fat dog food as well as an array of medications — so many I think we could start a pharmacy. It makes us sad to see him hurting so much. He looks at us with those imploring eyes which seem to say ‘Help me.’
“We have had Percy for 13-plus years, and he has been a fun companion, a loyal guard dog (all 12 pounds of him; what he lacks in size, he makes up for in bluster and frenzied barking), and a welcoming presence when we return home after being gone somewhere.
“When someone says ‘Why are you so upset that he’s sick? He’s only a dog,’ I reply: ‘He’s not only a dog. He’s family.’ And that is what he is and why it hurts to see him sick. We hope and pray the meds will do their job and heal him. We’re looking forward to better days ahead.”
In re: Naked mole-rats (cont.)
Poet X of PDX writes: “Subject: Naked Mole-Rats.
“They are one of my favorite exhibits at the Oregon Zoo. Here is a picture I took of them: https://flic.kr/p/8bvjg6.”
The Monkey Lover’s Wife of Northfield: “Subject: More naked mole-rats!
“Just because you can never have enough: https://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/naked-mole-rat-cam.
“This is a not-to-be-missed science museum for all ages, right near the Space Needle. This exhibit, in particular, enthralled the teenagers with us.”
Band Name of the Day: Squirrel Circus
Website of the Day: Brown Thrasher