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Today’s my birthday. People always say that time seems to pass more quickly as you get older… do you find that to be true, also?

Anyway… I’m borrowing this idea I saw somewhere out there… to come up with a list of goals… dreams… intentions… things I’ve been putting off… to accomplish before my next birthday.

In no particular order:

1 Organize the songs on my iPod into playlists that are useful

2 Go iceskating

3 Get Luka into doggy-day-care at least one day a week to save our sanity

4 Read one book from the *to be read* pile at least every other month

5 Buy no new books until I’m commited to #4

6 Stay up all night to watch the sunrise. Stay in bed the rest of the day. Do not feel guilty.

7 Take a photography class

8 Buy a bicycle. Maybe one like this

9 Get together with The Flock for a birding weekend

10 Get the nerve up to submit something to qarrtsiluni

11 Find a cafe that makes a nice coconut cream pie

12 Replace a bad habit with a good one

13 Finally tackle shorebirds

14 Buy a thesaurus

15 Make something handmade for a friend

16 See ten new birds

17 Volunteer for a local environmental project

18 Try a new fruit – maybe kumquats

19 Invite my brothers and their families to go camping for a weekend

20 See the prairie

21 Go maple-syruping

22 Finally learn how to make a nice spaghetti sauce

23 Organize (and back-up!) my photo collection

24 Write a letter to an old friend that’s been out of touch for too long

25 Fly a kite at the beach

26 Sleep outside under the stars

27 Find an old person to teach me how to play canasta

28 Donate some things I don’t use anymore to the thrift shop at the local homeless shelter

29 Drink more water and less coffee

30 Learn how to wolf-whistle

31 Spend a day exploring the sugar-sand roads of the Pine Barrens

32 Buy a good map before attempting #31

33 Accept hugs more eagerly

34 Learn the names of 5 constellations in the winter sky

35 Read a novel in Spanish

36 Catch love in the moonlight

37 Do that one thing I’ve been putting off

38 Refer to this list often

Wish me luck! I wonder how many of these I will have accomplished by this time tomorrow…


What’s that song again?

I hear much better than I can see, especially when it comes to finding birds. Because I have trouble spotting the movement of birds, I’ve come to rely on my ears more than my eyes and have tried over the years to develop my knowledge of bird songs. It’s a handy skill to have and a good way to impress non-birding friends!

I’m reposting this poem cause it’s a good one and some of you may have missed it when I first shared it here.


Wouldst thou know the lark?
Then hark!
Each natural bird
Must be seen and heard.
The lark’s “Tee-ee” is a tinkling entreaty.
But it’s not always “Tee-ee” –
Sometimes it’s “Tee-titi.”
So watch yourself.

Birds have their love-and-mating song,
Their warning cry, their hating song;
Some have a night song, some a day song,
A lilt, a tilt, a come-what-may song;
Birds have their careless bough and teeter song
And, of course, their Roger Tory Peter song.

The studious ovenbird (pale pinkish legs)
Calls, “Teacher, teacher, teacher!”
The chestnut-sided warbler begs
To see Miss Beecher.
“I wish to see Miss Beecher.”
(Sometimes interpreted as “Please please please ta

The redwing (frequents swamps and marshes)
Gurgles, “Konk-la-ree,”
Eliciting from the wood duck
The exclamation “Jeeee!”
(But that’s the male wood duck, remember.
If it’s his wife you seek,
Wait till you hear a distressed “Whoo-eek!”)

Nothing is simpler than telling a barn owl from a veery:
One says, “Kschh!” in a voice that is eerie,
The other says, “Vee-ur” in a manner that is breezy.
(I told you it was easy.)
On the other hand, distinguishing between the veery
And the olive-backed thrush
Is another matter. It couldn’t be worse.
The thrush’s song is similar to the veery’s,
Only it’s in reverse.

Let us suppose you hear a bird say, “Fitz-bew,”
The things you can be sure of are two:
First, the bird is an alder flycatcher (Empidonax traillii
Second, you are standing in Ohio – or as some people
call it, O-hee-o-
Because, although it may come as a surprise to you,
The alder flycatcher, in New York or New England,
does not say, “Fitz-bew,”
It says, “Wee-be-o.”

“Chu-chu-chu” is the note of the harrier,
Copied of course, from our common carrier.
The osprey, thanks to a lucky fluke,
Avoids “Chu-chu” and cries, “Chewk, chewk!”
So there’s no difficulty there.

The chickadee likes to pronounce his name;
It’s extremely helpful and adds to his fame.
But in spring you can get the heebie-jeebies
Untangling chickadees from phoebes.
The chickadee, when he’s all afire,
Whistles, “Fee-bee,” to express his desire.
He should be arrested and thrown in jail
For impersonating another male.
(There’s a way you can tell which bird is which,
But just the same, it’s a nasty switch.)
Our gay deceiver may fancy-free be
But he never does fool a female phoebe.

Oh, sweet the random sounds of birds!
The old-squaw, practising his thirds;
The distant bittern, driving stakes,
The lonely loon on haunted lakes;
The white-throat’s pure and tenuous thread-
They go to my heart, they go to my head.
How hard it is to find the words
With which to sing the praise of birds!
Yet birds, when they get singing praises,
Don’t lack for words – they know some daisies:
“Onk-a-lik, ow-owdle-ow,”
“Cheedle, cheedle chew,”
And dozens of other inspired phrases.

Now go back and read it again out loud!


Here birdy-birdy

I struggled for years to get goldfinches at my feeders, but once I finally attracted them, they’ve been regular customers. I don’t see much of them in the wintertime, but come spring they’re back in the neighborhood and looking for me to fill their thistle feeder. I’ve never had the huge numbers that most people tend to get, but I suspect that may change as a neighbor who also offered thistle has sold their house and moved away. No more competition!

A bird I would really like to get at my feeders is the baltimore oriole. I hear them in the neighborhood singing invisibly from the treetops – how can a bright orange bird be invisible? – but my offerings of halved oranges or grape jelly have been ignored by everyone but the ants and the squirrels.

Is there any common bird that you’d like to see at your feeders, that you can’t seem to attract the eye of? Mostly I’m amazed with the feeder birds I see on other’s blogs – especially Jayne’s – and wonder what you all do to attract such beauties that I’m not doing. Do tell!

Pretty Miss

Okay bunny people… I need a pep talk or a kick in the butt or something, please.

Missy… she’s 7 years old now… youngish for a bunny, but she’s been sick for so long. For at least 3 years I’ve been trying to manage this respiratory infection she has – Pseudomonas – if you care to read about how impossible it is to get rid of. I did the antibiotics (oral and injectable) but saw little long-term benefit. I tried nebulizing her with little result. So I settled for managing it with long-term Baytril. The last six months or so it’s not been managed well at all. The discharge from her nose and eyes is constant; to the point that I can’t keep up with it and most of the fur from one side of her face is always in the middle of falling off and regrowing. Not comfortable or pleasant-looking.

The last two months or so she’s not been grooming herself at all. Her face is so tender that I almost don’t dare touch it. I have to clean her ears for her. She’s not able to manage a litter box anymore so I moved her into a hay-filled cage. A desperate act, that, for me. Things just keep getting worse… her bottom is a mess, despite what I can do in that regard. A full in-the-sink-bath (another desperate act) didn’t help. She’s almost lost use of her back legs and can’t get out of her own way. Very sad.

But… she still loves her hay and salads. And perks up to be petted and fussed over. I’m just feeling like I’m not taking care of her properly, like she’s beyond getting better and will only continue to get worse. Until it’s just all sadness and being uncomfortable, you know?

I don’t know that I have it in me to put her to sleep, but it’s so hard to watch this happening and feel like there isn’t anything I or my vet can do. I think I know what I need to do; I just don’t quite have the courage yet.