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Showing posts from February, 2013

How we have changed the balance - Crowley

When I ski the trails on our property I am always looking at the tracks.  They change daily and with the snow conditions. Many (too many) are made by deer, and there are plenty of squirrel tracks and occasional feral cat prints, but what I am really looking for are canine tracks.  Not those made by dogs, but by wolf, coyote or red fox.  I think I have seen one coyote track crossing through our woods in the last week and possibly a fox track today, but they are rare sightings.   I am sure there are occasional wolves in the nearby CC Andrews State forest, but they have not ventured onto our property that I know of.  We, Americans of European descent, have a complicated and convoluted history with canines.  On the one hand we have a deep, abiding love of our dogs, which are just domesticated wolves.  But when it comes to the real thing and its cousins there are many who react with one of two extreme opinions.  They either adore the wolf to a nearly supernatural level, or they hate it wit…

Grosbeaks - Kate Crowley

They are called Grosbeaks, which describes their heavy duty, large bills.  Gros in French can mean ‘big, large, thick, or heavy’.  In French you don’t pronounce the ‘s’, but in English when speaking about these birds, we say what sounds like grossbeaks.  Of course in English, ‘gross’ describes something that is offensive, but these birds are anything but offensive – unless you happen to be trying to put a band on their leg and they get a piece of your palm between aforementioned beak.  You can’t really blame the offending bird for this behavior, but you quickly learn to do “Anything” possible, to prevent it from happening again.  I have had the chance to hold and band rose-breasted grosbeaks -those beautiful birds of summer with the black and white plumage, highlighted by the splash of red spilling down their breast (only on males).   These chunky birds are a handful, literally and figuratively.  They belong to the same family as the cardinals, which you have probably noticed also hav…