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Hummer’s Mean Home: Part I (Perching)~


Coming home means hanging out with the hummers.

I don’t worry about them when I’m gone.

I just miss them.

My husband, the actual-factual, logical-biostatistician, said incredulously, “They fly up to me like they missed me.”

He’s not used to thinking like this,


but he can’t help noticing such obvious birdy behavior.

Speaking of birdy behavior, we are having a problem this year.

The snoozing little capitalist you see above is dominating two quart-sized feeders and relentlessly attacking and driving all hummers off who try to feed. He spends more time hoarding nectar than feeding and snoozes all the time because he’s exhausted from all his effort. Of course he can’t even begin to drink this much nectar!

You can see him perched on the wire above the feeder, waiting to attack any bird that dares to drink! We have three feeders now spaced far apart to control him, one in a bush that is impossible for him to monitor, but when I shut one of “his” feeders down, he goes to dominate another. We have never had such a greedy little guy and he reigns unchallenged. I hope he’s not learning this behavior from watching humans! 😉


Cheers to you from the harmonious Holler Hummers….(and the one little greedy guy)~

Hummer’s Mean Home: Part II (Flying)~


If you read Part I, you know about the greedy little capitalist. Above is one of his victims with a feather askew from a direct hit!

Here is another escaping his wrath.

The good news is, moving one of the greedy guy’s feeders into the bushes worked, and he is now under control.

Birds are now feeding and flying freely once again at The Holler.


We now have three feeders up and about twenty birds actively feeding. This is less than prior years, probably because the persistent drought has ended, and The Holler and all the surrounding orchards are abloom with flowers, giving the hummers lots of dining options.

The orioles and Grosbeaks are here at the feeders too, also in smaller numbers for the same reason.

So once again, peace and harmony reigns at The Holler!


Cheers to you from The Holler’s Harmonious Hummers~

Drifting on Still Water~


“But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful,” WB Yeats

Swans swim,

in synchronized,


silhouettes.


Mama delicately rolls her precious eggs,


to keep them evenly warm,

and plucks her feathers to tuck them in.

Black swan,

slides in singular grace,


while Narcissus is bewitched by his own reflection.
Cheers to you from European swans in springtime~

Saker Falcon~


Saker Falcons live in Austria, Eastern Europe and Asia, including Russia.

They are considered an endangered bird due to rapid population declines in their Asian breeding grounds.

They are a large falcon species,
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that prey mostly on rodents and other birds.

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Sakers often hunt horizontally like Kestrels, not vertically like Peregrines.
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I watched a Saker swoop down on an unsuspecting pigeon, but my presence, in response to the pigeon cries, called off the hunt!
Cheers to you from the remarkable and endangered Saker Falcons~
(Note: These photos were taken in raptor reserves in Europe)

Curious Kestrels~


Are rare for me to find.


This pair was mating on the rooftops in Alsace France.


Kestrels are a type of falcon that live all over the world.


These were photographed in Canada and France.

Kestrels will hunt and nest in populated areas if prey is available.


They don’t bother building their own nests, preferring to steal other bird nests!


They often hover in mid-air over prey, before dropping to consume them.

Cheers to you from the quite handsome French & Canadian Kestrels~

Mandarins in Baden-Baden~


These guys weren’t part of my plan for the day!


I was going to show you Baden-Baden,

but the Mandarins got in my way!

Why are Mandarin Ducks swimming wild in Germany you may well wonder?


Although Mandarin Duck populations are dwindling in their native Russia and Asia, some escapees from captivity are breeding in the wild in Germany and The UK. I happened upon these guys today on the Oos River in Baden-Baden Germany.


So, it is cheers to you, and Happy Spring, from the gorgeous German Mandarins~

Alsatian Heart~


Pair of White Storks mating in Alsace France. (Click on photos to view full size).

The White Stork is the beloved emblem of the Alsace region of France and appears in symbols and art everywhere in the region.


Yet, by mid-1970, there were only ten mating pairs of White Storks left in Alsace.


They were virtually extinct in this area, although thriving in other parts of the world.


Today, due to local co-operative conservation efforts, there are now an estimated 600 mating pairs of White Storks in Alsace.


Stork populations were decimated mostly by power line electrocution and habitat destruction.

I was fortunate to see this pair in the process of mating and nest-building.

When we returned to our apartment after a day of stork watching, I photographed a pair of local falcon’s mating on a nearby balcony. It is springtime in France after all! Vive La France!

White Storks mate for life, and return to the same nests each year.

Cheers to you from Alsace’s beautiful, White Storks~