Saturday, February 28, 2015

Feathered Freeloaders

Winter snow storms bring many feathered visitors looking for free handouts today.  Can you blame them?  With the recent welcomed snow and moisture, birds take advantage of available offerings.  

Living anywhere else could certainly be enjoyable.  But without Northern Cardinals around, it would feel like something is missing!  Here, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and House Finches join the feast.

Geese love the "waste" seed left in milo fields to help get through the hard times.  Here, Snow Geese, White-fronted Geese and Canada Geese join forces.

Even a big tom turkey comes by for easy pickings.  A cardinal was caught in this shot flying in for same.

And in completing the feeding frenzy, our semi-tame Greater Roadrunner, Gerry, gets his portion of meat.  These little carnivores occasionally may catch a bird near the seed/suet feeders but generally are looking for winter mice as well as our human handouts of deerburger to get through the tough times.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Prickly Puzzle

     As a departure from the regular natural fodder I present in this blog, this post is a little different.  This will be an effort to solve a natural puzzle.  I came across this interesting plant, or what's left of it, in a pasture in the Red Hills.  I first noticed the whitish figures in a clumpy mass raised above the soil surface.  Giving it a kick with my boot, it was easily extracted.  Examining it further, I noticed spines around the bases of the white, circular forms.  My first thought was that cattle in the pasture had eaten some yucca leaves clear to their bases.  But the small spines present implied otherwise.  Something definitely had chewed on this plant--some tough critter that can handle spines.  What's your idea about this natural mystery?  The plant?  The animal involved?
The whole clump had spines at the base of each of the circular features.  This is obviously a plant and suffered at the demands of a hungry or deranged animal.

Closer up, you can see the spines around the bases of each plant or part of the plant.  All the parts were eaten to their bases.