Conall’s Food Bank for Ravens

If you pay attention, the natural world offers endless entertainment. This winter there's almost daily life-and-death drama unfolding right in my yard. Nature's circle of life, on a small scale. In late December I wrote about two ravens who had discovered my dogs' discarded marrow bones. I toss them over the yard fence into the… Continue reading Conall’s Food Bank for Ravens

Who Stole My Treasure?

Starting with his earliest forays into the forest near home as a puppy, Conall has had the ability to follow his nose to animal bones left on the ground. Some bones appear in the normal course of life, after animals die from natural causes or as a predator's meal. Other bones appear after hunters kill… Continue reading Who Stole My Treasure?

Altruism

Animal sentience is generally defined as the ability to feel, perceive, be conscious, or to experience subjectivity. The word “sentience” comes from the Latin verb sentire, which means “to feel.” The RSPCA Australia (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) Knowledge Base website has a good definition that’s easily understood: Animal sentience is… Continue reading Altruism

Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Great Horned Owl

Great horned owls are making a comeback in my neighborhood. At least, I hope they are. I wrote last summer about my dog Conall briefly catching an owlet in his mouth in July of 2016 (it survived). I also described two encounters, several years ago, with great horned owls in the forest. I used to… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Great Horned Owl

Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Deer

White-tailed deer are a regular feature in my world. Living very close to a national forest boundary, they often cross my lot in small groups as they move from one section of forest to another. Spring and autumn are their busy times, but they're around all summer. If my dogs notice them, they'll woof at… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: Deer

Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: House Wrens

I had no idea what a house wren was until Conall caught a baby wren in the yard two years ago, spitting it out unharmed. That's when I noticed an upset adult wren on the other side of the fence, in the wildflower garden. Wrens were using a small hole in the siding of my… Continue reading Spring 2020 Critter Encounters: House Wrens

Bird Updates: Sandhill Cranes and Tree Swallows

Some of the local birds have been busy lately, fascinating to watch. Some updates to previous posts. Cranes The boys monitoring the ditch on the west side of the road. Earlier this month while walking my dogs on our usual valley road, I heard sandhill cranes making more than their usual ruckus. (I wrote about… Continue reading Bird Updates: Sandhill Cranes and Tree Swallows

Red-winged Blackbirds – “Nature’s Assholes”

Red-winged blackbirds aren’t very big. They’re smaller than robins, about 8” head to tail. But they’re easily spotted, at least the males: jet black feathers with bright red and yellow shoulders that are even more visible when they’re flying. Here in the central mountains of Idaho, they’re one of the first migrating song birds to… Continue reading Red-winged Blackbirds – “Nature’s Assholes”

Tracks and Bones

Winter is beginning to show signs of arriving in Idaho's Salmon River Mountains, my home. I love winter. I love snow, almost as much as my dogs do, except I don't roll in it. Having real winters with snow - as opposed to Seattle's dreary constant drizzle with the occasional snowpocalypse that brings everything to… Continue reading Tracks and Bones

Giving Thanks For…

...the gift of living boldly, close to nature, with my dogs. Simple things, really. The following is a photo essay of thanks-giving, using shots taken over the last three days. I have so many things to be thankful for, but in the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday I'll focus on the current season. I'm thankful… Continue reading Giving Thanks For…