The Holler Red Tails are being besieged by the Ravens. As soon as they take flight they are surrounded by flocks of harassing ravens. (Please click photos to enlarge).
They are usually outnumbered at least twenty to one, and you can see the missing flight feathers from their aerial battles. The raven population seems bloated and out of control. I’ve seen this so many places where I travel.
They fight continuously. The hawks hold their own for the most part, despite the disparity in numbers. I wonder how they get time to hunt though, since so much of their time is spent fending off attacks from the ravens.
The ravens are relentless.
Here is an actual attack shot into the sun so it’s not a good photo, but you can see the hawk reeling from the raven’s slam and you can see the raven screaming!
The hawks strategy seems to be to fly extremely high and out-altitude the ravens. The one below is climbing. Occasionally at altitude they dive-bomb back on to an unsuspecting raven. Revenge must be sweet for the hawks.
This one is starting the descent to attack. When they actually start to dive, they tuck their wings and dive-bomb at up to 135mph! Thrilling sight!
Rarely they fly away as you see this one doing.
Often other Red Tails enter the fray to come to a beleagured hawks assistance.
Most hawks carry signs of their battles.
I am, of course, on the hawks side, since the ravens are cowardly bullies, using numbers to overwhelm and harass, but there is nothing I can do, except watch these aerial battles in total fascination.
Speaking of hawks, remember my recent post about invasive windmill farms? My husband sent me this article about the effects of massive windmill farms. Check it out and see what you think. Raptors need our protection too!
Two very friendly baby Great Green Macaws. They love to hop on your shoulder and play with your hair. (Please click to enlarge!)
Anza Exotic Birds/Avian Rescue is a bird and animal rescue facility in Anza California. It is owned by Kathleen Willhelm.
Anza, Kathleen, and her bird and animal inhabitants, are all quite fascinating.
Scarlet Macaw. (Please remember to enlarge for optimal viewing!)
Lets’s start with Kathleen. She was a stock broker working on the 80th floor in Manhattan, who decided after 9/11, and the death of friends and co-workers, that stock brokering was no longer for her, and that she was wasting her life. So she pulled up stakes, purchased a 26 acre ranch in Anza California, and started her exotic bird and animal rescue.
She has over 1000 birds.
Many are handicapped, missing feet, parts of their beak, or are blind. Others were relinquished by owners who decided they couldn’t manage their bird. Quite a few of the parrot species survived owners who predeceased them, since parrots have long life spans. Some were scheduled for euthansia. Kathleen is breeding several species of endangered birds.
Many of her birds talk fluently. Most are immensely gregarious, and prone to hop on you when you least expect it, for a friendly visit!
The rare and highly endangered Golden Conure, AKA Queen of Bavaria. I was enchanted by these birds.
I have been to many bird breeders, stores, refuges, etc., over the years, but I have never seen a collection of such happy, healthy, contented birds. Kathleen is not interested in adopting out her birds unless she screens you and makes sure you are worthy of her birds.
Good for her!
She guarantees that her birds don’t bite and they don’t. This is a no-brainer, because her birds are content.
She hooks new birds up with companion mentor birds. Birds with special needs are not adopted out, but accommodated. She has a team of dedicated volunteers who work in her facility, and she runs an oncology rehab program, that hooks up elderly Anza cancer patients with rehab birds, who cheer the patients up.
I don’t know about you, but I would chuck being a stock broker in a heartbeat to do what Kathleen does. She rocks!
Check out more of her happy birds.
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo.
In my next post I will introduce you to some of the other animals Kathleen has acquired as her rescue reputation has spread. She has a whole menagerie of happy, well cared for animals, including abandoned doggies, Patagonian Guinea Pigs, Pot Bellied Pigs, two skunks, one named Flower……you get the idea.
This is a baby Sun Conure and a bird I am considering adopting, but not until February of 2014.
Kathleen selected a most interesting area to open her refuge. Anza is a semi-desert community in an isolated part of California in the San Jacinto mountains, right above the descent down the mountains, into the Mojave Desert. It is located about an hour and a half east of The Holler. “It is estimated that the Cahuilla aboriginal tribes inhabited the area now known as Anza more than 2000 years ago” and first encountered white invaders in 1774. It is a community of around 4,000 people according to the 2010 census.
Here’s what Wiki says about Anza, “Due to its history and relative isolation for hundreds of years, Anza is dissimilar to many areas in California settled during the same period. The cultural identity of many long-time Anzans exhibits the marked influence of Cahuillan aboriginal culture on the White population, expressed in terms of art and folklore.”
Anza is a wonderful place with interesting residents, like Kathleen.
Oh, and Red Skeleton lived here, in his ranch on Burnt Valley Road.
They are mesmerized by “Viva la Vida!”
They will stop what they are doing, and watch, and listen!
It is best if you can sound just like this:
If you do, they will be stunned into flightless stupor. They will sit politely. They will not try to kill each other, and they will watch you, like this:
It’s unheard of for them to sit politely and share a branch. What can I say? They love Coldplay?
Or is it David Garret?
Of course, it could also be that my whistling is so out of tune and discordant, it renders them dumbstruck and flightless.
Whatever. I suggest you try it. Just whistle Vida while you work and see what flies over!
Cheers to you from my marvelous, musically-inclined, little hummers!
Sunnylands, the former Annenberg estate in Palm Springs California, is now open for public tours. The 200 acre desert estate consists of 9 acres of formally designed desert landscape, with 53,000 drought tolerant plants. Join me for a tour.
Sunnylands was designed by landscape architect James Burnett at the behest of Leonore Annenberg. It was modeled after Van Gogh’s 1889 painting, Olive Trees.
The gardens are laid out in a precise geometric grid and are completely flat. This would not be my choice for a desert garden, as I prefer the rolling, random-look, of natural desert landscapes, but the effect are sometimes striking.
The garden was designed with plants selected so that something would be blooming year round.
An amazing variety of of desert plants are growing here.
And despite the geometric-grid design, there is the peaceful feel of the Impressionists here.
Just arrived at Joshua Tree National Park and I had to fire you a few preliminary shots! (Please click to enlarge!)
The geological formations here formed over 100 million years ago. The outcrops of rock are called Monadnocks.
Joshua Trees are native to the south-western United States and live mainly in the Mojave Desert where the National Park is located.
The geological formations in the park are some of the most interesting in California.
I have lived within a three hours drive of this place all my life and have never been here. Obviously, having gotten my first look today, I can not imagine why I never came here before! It is gorgeous!!
Joshua Trees scientific name is Yucca Brevifolia and it is a member of the Yucca family.
They are blooming now and I’ll show you this beautiful sight soon. There are lots of plants here I have never seen before and I will show them to you soon too!
I named this formation the dinosaurs spine because this is just what it looks like to me!
Cheers & more to you soon from this amazing place! I am jazzed to be here!
We started down here with a plan to drive up the mountains you see reflected in the lake, on an unpaved forest service road, to an infamous hang-gliding drop-off point, on Mount 7 in Golden, Canada.
Views above the tree line on the way up.
The drive up took a couple hours.
Finally reached the summit. Quite a view, even on a cloudy day.
The kinda place where you don’t want to accidentally put your rental car in drive and lurch a few feet forward!
Informative map showing wind directions and where not to land i.e., “Don’t land in the Canadian Pacific switching station.” No s@#% Sherlock! (Click to enlarge and read map).
Memorial to two hang gliders who didn’t make it.
Just a few steps to the drop. Gave me the heebie-jeebies to just walk out on the platform!
It’s a very long way down!
Even on an overcast day, I’m sure it is a beautiful ride!
I wish I drove this home to The Holler and parked it in the lower field. It would fit right in here and we could use the tractor too. No need for the snow chains though. I wonder where the owner drives this mobile in the winter time? Probably anywhere he/she wants? It would be a sight on a snowy road!
Cheers to you from The Holler even though I’m bummed I didn’t make an offer~