Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Crash Cardinal

Meet "Crash."  

     He came to our place a couple of weeks ago and has spent several hours a day crashing into our windows--particularly one on the backside of the house. He never injures himself, only hitting the glass hard enough to make a little sound and scare his mirror image.  In my past job as a nongame biologist for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, I often talked to folks who had similar issues with over-aggressive birds at their homes.  Birds are territorial, even in winter.  They come to your house, especially if you have feed for them, they see other competitors and want to chase them off.  The competitor in the mirror just won't leave though.  Every day he's still there, vying for the same space at the same place.  

     Crash is driven to keep trying to drive his false competitor away.  Is it a problem?  It can get old hearing and watching him continually crashing into a window.  It does provide some entertainment and certainly some opportunity for close photography.  But, feeling sorry for him, we closed a rag in the window and that seemed to put a stop to his silly, mis-directed behavior.  Crash seemed to have gone on to other Don Quixote windows to fight.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Fall Collage

     Summer's brutal heat is over and yields to fall beauty.  Life prepares for procreation and hibernation.  Flowers expend their final energies attracting insects which attract other insects which attract birds.  Wildlife is enduring drought just as it has for eons--the fittest gaining advantage over the weakest and carrying on at least some offspring.  Beauty is mostly irrelevant to wildlife.  The most beautiful aspect of a nonchalant fauna is only in the attractive attributes of a mate which prompts the reproduction necessary for sustaining species.  Humans retain the unique quality of appreciating beauty for beauty's sake.  We find intrinsic qualities in plants and animals for the features, colors, and behavior they display to our eyes and other senses.  Aren't you glad for that?! 

Monarch butterfly on dotted gayfeather.

Egg-laden praying mantis on prairie sunflower.

Red-breasted nuthatch visits on the way south.

White-tails appreciate a late summer drink at a small watering hole.