If you look back at the images in the last blog, you saw a magpie in the distance under the pear trees. They are a very active part of this mountain valley. They have their beak in everything and are very curious about what we have outside. If they see me with a bag of something that I am emptying, they come and check it over. Last week I put out some pretzel sticks that were stale. There was snow then and they came and looked at them, took a few, but weren't interested in eating them. Now that the snow has thawed the pretzels are still there. They are very unappetizing dough sticks. I don't know if they taste any better but let's go look. I also threw out granola that had been on the shelf for a while. I saw magpies eating something. Here is what I found out. Most all of what I put out there is now gone but for these few pale white pretzels. They have eaten the rest and ,are I think, liking these now. My daughter says that they didn't like the salt. I bet she is right!
Here is a photo of one browsing. You can see what very dramatically patterned birds they are.
As I said above they really like to investigate things. This little replica of a horno, (a mud brick oven) is at the edge of a garden. They have picked it up several times and I find it in all sorts of places. They took it out to the field where the magpie above is looking at the pretzels. Here is a picture of the horno.
I was surprised to find these two pieces of Indian pot sherds on the patio yesterday. They had clearly brought them there. I wonder what that is about? Seems like something but I can't tell you what.
A week ago as I was going out of my studio door and I happened to spot two young coyotes. I had my phone with me and took photos of them, as they were passing along a ditch line to the east of the driveway. I am pretty sure that they were hoping to find Black Bunny or someone that looked like him for a snack. Mice are high on their list as well and anything else that looks like it might taste good.
Here are the coyote twins -
They were pretty far away for a photo. Do they look hungry to you?
Two days ago I saw this older coyote hunting by himself. You can see he is looking very intently for something!
,I will tell you a couple of funny stories about coyotes. I was sanding some icon boards one morning, on the same side of the house as my studio. It was a warm summer morning. All of the sudden not very far away I heard a loud coyote howl. "WOOT, WOOT, WOOOooooohoo."
It sounded close. I went around the corner of the house and looked towards the tree that you see in the photo and there was a big coyote in just about the same place, only facing the other direction.
I said to him, "What are you doing howling during the day? You are only supposed to howl at night."
The coyote was so surprised that someone talked to him that he jumped right up in the air, and then ran up the field. Then in a little bit he stopped and turned around and looked at me. Then he started barking. He didn't like being startled like that!
A mother coyote had a litter of little coyote pups in some pear trees that are a little further to the north of our house. Here is what the pear trees look like. The biggest trees are very old and many little trees have come up all around them so it is a real thicket. You can see that below. Maybe you can see the black and white magpie sitting on a stump to the bottom right as well. I wonder what else might be in there?
One day the mother coyote brought all of the little coyotes out of their den in the trees. There were eight of them. That was amazing to see. Then other days she would bring one or two out of the den to teach them something about being out in the world.
One day I left to go to the grocery store. When I left, I saw her bringing one little pup across the field. When I came home the pup was sitting in the driveway. He was playing with a stick. Jumping on it, he threw it in the air. The mother coyote had left him there, while she went hunting.
What a funny little coyote! I wonder if his mother told him to stay in the ditch and he was just too curious and wondered what was outside of it? That made me laugh. He was so cute. He looked just like a puppy.
Welcome to Wonder and Image by Claire Brandenburg, author and illustrator of children's books.