I woke up from my daily siesta this one being from 2:30pm to 4:30 pm when my beloved woke me up with a smile and said ‘it’s time’ which was fine since a fly had been buzzing me for the last half hour. I looked out the western window and saw two Chukar Northern Bobwhite mothers and 13 chicks file past the window headed for shade. Most likely they smelled the bowl of water I leave under the Siberian elm tree grove. They stopped short when my white and buff domestic chickens stood up from their dust bath positions, turned, and filed back towards the talus garland plantings. I did the usual routine of making a cup of coffee and refilling my vape, moving window to window to get a look at the Northern Bobwhite.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology 

Next I checked the hen that was recently injured. She’s in Dora’s and Yoshi’s enclosure with her cage, food & water and is free to move around if she wants to. Dawn & I found her two days ago during the morning rounds and immediately pulled her for first aid. The wounds on her head and neck are healing. We’re waiting for the swelling in her eye to go down (after three rounds of medical treatment) to see if she’ll have an eye left to see out of.

This morning when I was sitting on the deck with my hammer and gorilla glue in hand fixing the herb drying rack, this little guy was wandering around looking rather lost. We’ve got four outside cats and this morning dove baby can’t fly yet so I scooped her up and here she sits in a cage below the tree her mother hangs out in. Probably less than 48 hours before I can let her go. She’s got chicken feed, quinoa seed and water and that should hold her over until her wings can take her up and away from cats.

This happens all the time to any number of young birds on the property. One year we ended up keeping a young sage sparrow all winter in the cage with Philomena until he turned spring frisky and being four times larger than her it was time for him to hit the road. He hung around singing at me most of that spring and then hopefully went off to find members of his own kind.

Every year is different as to the kind and number of species that rove in and out of this desert oasis in the middle of nowhere; yellow bellied marmots, long billed curlews, white tail deer, mule deer, porcupine, quail, pheasant, gopher snakes, black tailed weasels, northern pocket gophers, all manners of mice, rabbits, owls, hawks, osprey, and of course the ever present coyote – those guys have the sense to keep their distance with a little help from 9mm gunshot into the air should they forget. The vet can’t believe we’ve never lost a cat to a coyote.

The year our neighbors (loose term) turned under their CRP when the contract ended we were overrun by grasshoppers http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?p=5139 ,  http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com/?p=5267 and learned how grasshoppers turn into locusts. When their numbers explode and overcrowding occurs their systems produce serotonin which allows them to be in close proximity to one another in their search for food.

This year: it’s mice. We’ve had 9″ of rain in 6 months and our average annual rainfall is 9″ in one year. That’s how we got this backhoe stuck when we tried to pull a neighbor’s equipment out of axle deep mud.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn’s been more than gracious about her temporary housing AND the constant influx of mice into her trailer. She’s turned into quite the trapper Dan trying to deal with the situation. Last week I stepped back into her car after an appointment. She was on the phone with her mother and I noticed two young mice on the passenger seat floor wandering around. We picked them up with napkins and settled them in to a location where they had shade and could probably find food and water. They had traveled 74 miles with us in the car. We like to think of it as our Mouse Relocation Program.