Category Archives: winter

Friendly neighbourhood magpies

A pair of magpies frequent the rowan tree outside my window.

One morning this winter they were huddled together on a branch, their white breasts gleaming together in the sunlight.

magpies

I often see one silhouetted atop a spruce in the distance – a striking tree-topper.

Last month I saw one of them struggling to remove a branch from the abandoned magpie nest in the rowan, and fly with it across the street to a tree in the alley – an early sign of spring!

Three weeks ago this pair were chasing a harassed little red squirrel through the rowan tree (all our squirrels are little and red).

Today a blue jay alighted in the tree with what appeared to be a peanut shell in its mouth. Before long this pair arrived on the scene and chased the jay around the yard and out of sight.

Spring cleaning

The sun is especially warm today and the backyard filled with spring-like sounds of dripping water and bird song. A dozen chickadees twitter and flit from a large puddle in the icy garden to the oak branches above, busily grooming.

Alongside the cheery chickadees and nuthatches flitting through the branches, this industrious Downy woodpecker didn’t mind a nearby admirer…

Downy Woodpecker, North Saskatchewan River Valley

Downy Woodpecker, North Saskatchewan River Valley

Duet

This morning serenaded by two owls calling back and forth with each other. Has gone on for some time and continues now. Coming from the direction of the park where the owl took up residence this past summer. Never heard anything like this before.

Sickle moon

Saw the merest wisp of the sickle crone moon low in the sunrise-pink sky around 8 this morning – crescent so delicate it could melt away in a moment; just a glimpse of her back as she slips out the door.

The sun still had a ways to climb before breaking the horizon on this solstice weekend.

Moon and sun meeting at the darkest end of their cycles.

A perfect weekend to enjoy the gifts of the darkness – healing rest, quiet contemplation, stillness – a peacefully introspective time.

Gift of the Raven

A raven was on our front walk this morning, with a prize, and an audience of magpies arrayed in the surrounding branches.

Raven and prize

Raven and prize

It flew up to the lamppost, then left soon after. So did the magpies – all abandoning the prize alone on the pavement.

“It’s a bird,” said my partner… “It’s still alive,” seeing it flutter a little.

We stood at the window and contemplated the harsh realities of predator and prey.

Soon after, we went out and saw the prize close-up –

A young raven?

No – a styrofoam, feather covered little crow figurine, with wires coming out of its feet.

Little crow

Little crow