Saturday, February 20, 2010

More snowy weather

There seems to be no end to the snowy, cold weather that we are experiencing in NW Missouri. Yesterday the weatherman predicted an inch of snow.......after 4 inches fell it became apparent he miscalculated! Looking out the front door, the snow was coming down so heavy I could barely seen our grain bins across the driveway.


This view is of a corn field across the highway from where we live. The snow was such a wet snow that it clung to the sides of the trees. It was fast accumulating on the highway and made traveling treacherous.

(House Sparrow)

I threw some dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and leftover nuts into the front yard. The birds were grateful, as they scratched around in the snow,looking for the treats. House Sparrows, Cardinals, Starlings, Chick-a-dees, Harris Sparrows and American Goldfinches all showed up for dinner.

(Harris Sparrow)

(Northern Cardinal)


The weatherman is calling for 2 more inches of snow tonight and an additional 5 inches tomorrow. The farmers almanac said that we could get 22 inches of snow in NW Missouri throughout the month of February, appears that they are correct. I can't remember a time in my life when I was more ready for spring and the return of warm weather.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Poor kitty

"Hey!...Ummm...could someone please get this house off my neck?"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter Snow Brings Hungry Birds

The feeders at our house are busier than a McDonalds on Friday night. Black oil sunflower seeds scatter all across the ground as these greedy birds flock to the feeders, beaks frantically and furiously gobbling at the seed as if it were their last meal. Messy messy birds!

This little Hairy Woodpecker seems to be saying "Who you talkin about? I'm not makin no mess!"

"You can't see me! 
This little mockingbird ate his fill of the crabapples and appeared to be so full he was reluctant to fly.
Wonder if he was able? 
"can we say glutton?"

"How dare you call us messy!" Ummppphh see if I eat here again, such insults!

"hey you! Down there! More food.....pleassseee"

It doesn't get any better than this!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Canada Geese

One of the most familiar sights throughout the Midwest are the Canada Geese (Branta canadensis). They are native to North America and easily the most recognized of all water fowl. Distinctive of the species is the black head and the white chin. They are quite large with a wingspan up to 6 feet and may weigh up to 12 pounds. Another species of goose called the Giant Canada Goose was nearly extinct at the turn of the 20th century. A small population was found in Minnesota and through conservation practices they have made a come back in most of the original range. This species is very large, in fact they are the largest goose Worldwide. They may weigh up to 24 pounds and they are capable of living up to 24 years. Average would be anywhere from 10-24 years.

The Canada Goose will breed in Canada and the Northern most states in the United States. In recent years they are moving their breeding territory further south and it is very common for them to mate and raise goslings in Missouri. Canada Geese begin breeding at age two and will remain with the same mate throughout their life. If one is killed or dies of natural causes the other may seek a new mate. They build nests near the edges of water sources like lakes, and ponds. The female will lay 3 to 8 eggs that are protected by both parents. The female will spend more time on or near the nest than the male, but rest assured he won't be far away. Nothing is more protective or easily angered than a goose guarding eggs or babies. These large birds can inflict a painful bite if disturbed. Geese face many predators that are bent on feasting upon their eggs or young, these include raccoons, foxes, mink, ravens, gulls, crows and bears. As adults they are rarely preyed upon, but they can be killed and eaten by coyotes, wolves, owls, foxes and eagles.


 In many parts of their range they are becoming a pest. They occur in such large numbers that the noise alone can drive some people mad, they leave their droppings everywhere and many times these droppings can carry bacteria, and they can be highly confrontational.  Employing scare tactics to make your place undesirable to them will often times encourage them to leave your area. Extended hunting seasons have also helped. If not, relocation practices may need to be implemented. Man is the creation of his own problems in many cases, and in this case it is no different. With the addition of many man-made water sources such a golf course waterways and farm ponds, beaches, large goldfish ponds and large community neighborhoods with decorative recreational water sources. This has encouraged these large birds to come pay a visit. Often times they like what they find and they invite their friends to join them, and before you know it  you have 100's of these lovely birds residing at your local pond.


Canada Geese are migratory, but in much of their range they have forgone this migratory behavior and taken up residence. With all their needs met, there is no reason to move on out of the area. They are primarily an herbivore, and eat forbes, grains and grasses. Although occasionally they will feed on small fish and insects.

While they are considered to be a pest in parts of their range, especially when they take up residence in your neighborhood, they are truly a spectacular bird to watch. They are protective, loving parents. Committed partners, and graceful fliers and beautiful in appearance. The unmistakable "V" formation in the evening sky as it crosses the colorful horizon evokes thoughts of fall, with all its sights and sounds. on the return trip, I can't resist standing and watching as a flock of these large noisy birds travel on their northward journey to breeding grounds in the spring.