Thought For Today

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Life Near the Woods


Cardinal waiting his turn for the feeder.

Life Near the Woods

It is very interesting when you get a first hand chance to see the varied wildlife living near our home.  They come out of the woods at different times, and always seem to surprise us in one way or the other.  Just last week we had around 18 wild turkeys strutting around our house, rutting up the ground near our bird feeders, looking for dropped sunflowers seeds.  That is, when they are not flying into the trees, escaping the coyotes who are jumping from the woods looking for a not so holiday feast of turkey.

Wild turkeys coming for a visit.
Cardinals are beautiful birds that arrive at our feeders throughout the day.  In watching them, it is interesting to note that they rotate the sunflower seeds in their beaks, and crack them by forcing down on the sides of the seeds (weakest area.)  It is done very swiftly and neatly.  Though the cardinals are neat when eating, the sparrows on the hand, that come to our feeders, peck away with their beaks, spraying the seeds in every direction.  The difference between the two bird species is interesting to say the least.  Cardinals usually come one at a time, with their mates and other family members waiting their turn for the feeder, by perching on a nearby tree.  If one cardinal takes too long at the table, another will fly next to the gluttoness bird, and force him to take flight to the nearby trees to await his/her turn for another time at the feeder.  On the other hand, the sparrows arrive in packs and decimate the seeds, causing them to fly in every direction; hence we have a number of seeds to feed the squirrels, chipmunks and wild turkeys on the ground.  Both the cardinal and sparrow offer much enjoyment by watching them eat with excitement and apparent joy. 

Morning Dove
Sometimes we have observed strange occurrences with our feathered friends.  It is quite unusual to see different species of birds, all together, at our feeders at one time.  When this happens, everything from the Tufted Tit Mouse, Downey Woodpeckers, Morning Doves, Blue Jay, as well as Nut Hatches to Sparrows and Cardinals are seen, all vying for a place at our feeder.  We then know that a storm is fast approaching and snow will soon arrive.  These birds are given by God, some 6th sense in knowing that with the storm soon arriving; they must build up their fat reserves.  They do this by vigorously eating the sunflower seeds, so that they can huddle down in their nests, and thus being safe, until the storm passes. 

Coyote on the hunt.
This storm phenomenon can also be observed with the deer as well.  They are seen at times eating near our house, digging through snow-covered grass, stripping the bark from the nearby vines, as well as from young trees.  The heavier snowstorms find them huddled down in our thickets, under the cover of thick vine growth or under trees that offer cover such as the pine tree, that have heavy bows sheltering them from the snow.   The male deer (bucks) seem to find protection in high ground that offers them visibility in seeing predators from a great distance.  They know the direction of the wind, and so find cover that offers them visibility to see downwind, while at the same time, their keen sense of smell offers them protection from the upwind direction.  This ability has often foiled attempts by hunters in trying sneak up on them, due to the fact that the hunter’s cologne, aftershave, and/or deodorant has given them away long before they ever get near their prey.  On the other hand, the doe (female) protects itself by gathering in groups.  They lie together and that alone offers them protection by sheer numbers when huddled together. 

God has created such a diverse world of wildlife; it is beyond words in describing his wisdom, when observing his creatures all around us.


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