Wednesday, May 17, 2017

May 14-16 "How Much Do You Know about Vultures?"

Well, there are still 2 eggs in the nest but as I have been taking notes from my photos I am beginning to realize that the vultures are either bothered by the proximity of us sharing the barn or they are extremely laid back as expectant parents. Their visits to the nest have been rather erratic during the last few days so I have begun changing the SD memory card every other day instead of daily. I also had moved the camera a little farther from the nest but now they seem to pay a little more attention to it. I may have to move it back to it's original spot. I will explain why I moved it later in this blog.
Turkey Vulture in flight
So,.....How much do you know about vultures and where did you get your information?  As I was researching earlier this week I came across an interesting blog by Nicholas Lund. In his blog he explained that everything he knew about vultures he had learned as a kid watching cartoons. He cited several including; the evil vultures in Snow White last seen flying down to feast on the dead Evil Queen, the henchmen in the animated Robin Hood were vultures, and the vultures in the original Jungle Book with their crazy cockney accents. Also there was Beaky Buzzard in the Space Jam movie.  I'm sure we could come up with a few more examples but the point that he was making is that vultures are more likely than not portrayed as harbingers of death and often villainous.  As they do not directly cause death, I prefer to call them first responders. So today we celebrate the awesomeness of vultures. Here are some cool things that you may not know about turkey vultures. ( #3 is why I decided to move my camera, just in case.

May 14-16 Trail Cam Photos
Posing for the camera

Where did this come from?

Checking in

Yes, Orville checked in

And 1 minute later he was gone

Amelia is leaving

And Orville comes flying in by the seat of his pants!

Yes, dear. I'm here now.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 12 & 13 Trail Cam Photos-Amelia & Orville

I did some research this morning and learned that there are 3 species of vultures found in the United States. The most widespread is the Turkey vulture.  The Black vulture is commonly found in the southeastern US and the California Condor which was nearly extinct but is making a come back in California, northern Arizona, Utah and Colorado. The turkey and black vultures can easily be identified by their head coloring.  The turkey vulture's head is red while the black vulture sports an eponymous black head.  The Condor has an impressive 10 foot wingspan which is nearly double either of the vultures.  The scientific name of the turkey vulture is "Cathartes Aura". The word cathartes means purifier. During each post I will try to give a little more information about the turkey vulture.

Turkey Vulture
May 12 & 13  Switched SD memory card Saturday @ 2:11 pm. No adults present so I was able to get a better  egg measurement. approx. 2 1/2-3"

I have decided to name the parents Amelia & Orville (although at this time I cannot distinguish between the two.)

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Amelia & Orville


Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday, May 12 -Guests In The Hay Loft

Last week, Friday May 5, I was in the barn getting the mower ready to take out and start on the yard. As I was working, putting air in the tires, I heard footsteps in the hay mow overhead.  I knew it wasn't the stray cat that sometimes hangs out up there because there was clicking with each step and although they were heavy they weren't as heavy as the racoons that I know hang out up there because I find their scat on the steps. I slowly started up the steps to see what might be there and as I was about head level with the floor I heard steps and then a whoosh as a large turkey vulture exited through the broken window in the south end of our barn.
The broken window in the end of the barn.
Now I know that some of you may find turkey vultures a little repulsive and I guess when you think about the fact that they feed by sticking their heads into dead animal carcasses I can understand your thinking. I, however, think of them in flight, soaring gracefully high above, catching air currents that take them where ever they choose.  Did you know that the Wright brothers studied the turkey vultures in Dayton as they were building their first glider? They designed the wings of their glider to duplicate the aerodynamics of the turkey vulture's wing.  Any way they are among my top 5 favorite birds so I was elated to see one so close. Usually I only see them about 30 feet up roosting in one of our sycamore trees down by the creek. This year several have been spending time in some of the dead ash trees in the pasture near the barn.

On Saturday I was thinking about why a buzzard would be in our hay mow so I went back up with a flashlight and imagine my surprise when I saw that there were 2 large speckled eggs laying in a loosely fashioned nest of straw on the floor in the back corner.

The eggs are about 3 1/2 to 4" long
I hastily exited and dug out my Peterson Field Guide of Eastern Bird's Nests to learn that the eggs are incubated by both sexes and generally take about 30 days before hatching. (it was also noted 41 days or 4-6 weeks)  I've only seen a turkey vulture nest once and that was out at the Wilds in Zanesville. That nest was on a steep hillside under a rocky ledge and had chicks inside that were quite noisy.  I'm not sure how my barn swallows are going to like their noisy upstairs neighbors. Wednesday I went to Gander Mtn. and bought a trail cam,  Yesterday I set it up and I plan to post several pics each day to watch the progress.  I'm not sure about whether the parents will tolerate me once they hatch. When I set up the camera yesterday she (or he) hopped off the nest and hid behind a bale of straw but that may change once there are chicks in the nest.  I do know that they can make a terrible hissing noise when provoked. As a docent when we took animals out for talks on Senior Safari, we had a turkey vulture named Lurch in the back of the van and he hissed all the way to the nursing home we were visiting. (I always wondered what the thought process was when they sent us with a buzzard to visit a nursing home but that's a topic for another day.)

May 11, 2017  The time is stamped at the bottom of each photo
This was soon after I had set up the camera. She had been hiding behind the straw bale.

Notice standing on the left side of the first bale of straw. You can see the eye shine of a racoon.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017- Ash Wednesday

Well, a lot has happened since my last post and most all of the happenings were not happy ones.  We learned, towards the end of December, that Andy would need cataract surgery. It was in the week of that consult, mid-January, that we learned he had a cancerous growth in the pelvic region that would need to be surgically removed.  This surgery took place rather quickly after the initial diagnosis. On Monday, January 31 he had outpatient surgery at Mount Carmel East Hospital. Recovery has been a little slow but tolerable.  For as much care giving as I have done in the last 8 years, I am still not very good at any of it.  (I chose education over nursing for a reason!). Any way, I somehow managed to think ahead enough to schedule the cataract surgery for March 16.  At the time my reasoning was the fact that I was still hoping to go on my mission trip to South Carolina.
This coyote offered some distraction during the recovery period.

He was easily visible from our french doors to the deck.
On Valentines weekend we were treated by a visit from Trish, Chad and the kids who flew in on Friday evening.  Trish said that they had some time Saturday morning and suggested that we take the kids over to see Grandma-Great.  I had Evie for the weekend so we loaded up the 4 great grand-kids for a visit.  What a blessing that they chose this weekend to come to Ohio. 4 hours after we left, Daniel brought his kids over to visit. I'm pretty sure God had a hand in bringing all these great-grandchildren into Mom's room on this day.
Grandma-Great always lit up when the kids came to visit.

 Olive, Grandma-Great, Lillie & Asher.
Asher coined the name Grandma and Grandpa-Great.

Three days later I visited my mom on Tuesday after working at the zoo in the Bear Kitchen.  That is my usual day to visit and I usually try to have lunch with her on those days. When I arrived she was in her chair with the room dark and depressing so I proceeded to try and cheer her up by opening the blinds and talking about the warm spell we were having.  When it was time for lunch I asked her if she wanted to try to walk to the dining room or take her wheel chair.  She was pretty adamant that she didn't need a wheel chair but after 2-3 steps it was evident that she wasn't going to make it by walking.  The aide, Hazel, happened to be going by and came in to help and told me she was concerned because Mom wasn't eating very good.  We arrived in the dining room and had a pretty good lunch, mom ate her mashed potatoes but not much else.  She didn't even seem too interested in her dessert which really isn't like her at all.  I chatted with her table mates, Carolyn and Pat, while she ate, smiling occasionally at our conversation. She seemed really tired so I wheeled her back to the room and tucked her into her chair for her afternoon nap.
     The following day I had this feeling that I really needed to check on Mom.  I called Ramona, who was recovering from knee replacement surgery and asked if she would like to get out of the house.  I picked her up and we headed over to see Mom.  We walked to the dining room, expecting to find her there, but were told by Hazel that she was unable to sit up in her chair at the table so they had taken her back to her room.  As I think back I realize that Hazel might have known more than she was saying.  We found Mom in her chair, resting but unable to acknowledge that we were there.  I did manage to get her to eat some blueberry yogurt but eventually she refused to eat any more.  She drifted off to sleep so Ramona and I quietly left.  We received a call 1 hour later that Hazel had checked in on her after we left and she had passed.  When my brother arrived he found that Hazel had covered Mom with the Old Rugged Cross throw, from my dad's funeral and was singing hymns to her.
     We buried our mother on her 93rd birthday.  Pastor Pribe had a wonderful service that honored our mother and comforted those in attendance.  The service was filled with music and Bob played the piano one last time, just for her. Phil Recob sang Amazing Grace and our new organist played and sang Celebrate Me Home.  Mom lived a wonderfully active and fulfilled life and now she is with the man she had recently spent so many evenings wandering the halls in search of, her husband of 65 years, our father.  We are saddened but oh so happy for her!

Christmas 3 years ago. Luke, Evie & Lily

Christmas 2015, holding her newest great grandson, Arthur.

Christmas 2016
Sara's wedding, 2006

We surprised Mom in Florida on her 80th birthday

Dad's 80th birthday

Another visit to Florida, this time Sharon & Betty were there as well.

4 generations

Grandpa-Great, Lily, Grandma-great, Trish & Luke
Mom's beloved Monday morning Prayer Group
on Monday, Feb 13. Madeline Quinn, Wanda Parks & Sue McDowell went to see Mom, so happy that she had one last Prayer meeting with her good friends.

January 1, 1949

Together again