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How a chicken got her name.

I won’t post a picture with this one because it’s a bit too gruesome.  One day back in April, I was sitting quietly in the living room while the chickens roamed around outside of the fenced yard.  This was the middle of the day.

I heard a sudden commotion in the back yard.  A chicken giving an alarm call.  I ran to the back door to check. I could see several chickens spread out around the yard motionless, except for one who was high-tailing it for the fenced yard. Curious as to what caused the commotion, I took one more step out the back door.  A coyote, who was blocked from my view, took off for the woods.  Terrified, I gather up my girls and put them back into the safety of their yard and went  in search of the one that had taken “flight”.

It took me a while, but I finally found her in the far corner cowering in some weeds. It looked at first as if she had gotten away clean, but when she turned around, I realized just how close she had come to being a coyote’s dinner.  Half her tail feathers and a lot of her back and bottom body feathers were missing and she had a bad gash under her pygostyle (pope’s nose).

There was no way to catch her until nightfall, so I waited and arranged to have Sara come by to help with the veterinary care. After dark we nabbed her from her perch in the coop and took her inside to clean her up and start her on antibiotics.  I was all for calling her Lucky, but Sara had seen too many Luckies in her years of veterinary practice who were anything but lucky.  Peter suggested Roadrunner and it stuck.

It took about two weeks for the wound to heal and all the feathers to return, but she’s fully recovered and no worse for the experience. I’m able to tell her apart by the fresh black and white tail feathers. At least I will until she molts.

What still baffles me is why the coyote went for a Barred Rock hen, when far more obvious white Leghorn hens were sticking out like sore thumbs in the yard? Prey of convenience, I guess.

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Bunny Brain update

I thought I was so clever figuring out how Oscar was getting out and immediately fixing the problem. Unfortunately, he escaped again. It took me a little while to figure out that he was climbing the brush pile I had created when I cut back the shrubs to install the higher fence. I had stupidly left the brush pile up against the fence and it was just an easy matter for Oscar to just run up the pile and over.

So, out came the chipper. All the branches were chipped including some pear tree, catalpa, and sycamore branches I had trimmed earlier this year, creating a very nice pile of ramial mulch for the fruit trees.

Since then, there have been no escapes. We’ve gone a full two months without having to frantically search for a bunny crazed dog. Of course it does help that the bunnies seem to have disappeared. I wonder if that had anything to do with the coyote I saw one morning running along the fence to the garden yard. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Lepidoptera

moth

While doing the annual Cleveland County Audubon Butterfly Count, I came across the beautifully colored moth. It took me a while to track down it’s identity, because the photo, taken with my iPhone, was less than perfect, and this species wasn’t in my field guide. Starting with the assumption that the moth was named after the host plant it so magnificently mimicked, Gaillardia, got me to the right genus. Then it was a matter of looking at the distribution and photograph of each Schinia species to figure out which one I had.  This specimen is the Painted Schinia Moth (Schinia volupia).

Consequences of rain

frogs

Lots of rain means lots of bugs, and lots of bugs means lots of frogs. Every evening, the gray tree frogs come out of hiding and climb our windows to hunt the insects attracted by living room lights. We have three to four regular visitors each night. The tree frogs are also showing up in more unusual like between the shed doors, and in our bathroom.
lawn

 

 

Lots of rain also means lots of deep green grass, which means lots of bugs and again lots of frogs. Every time I mow small leopard frogs leap to safety ahead of the mower.

pyraustra-tyralis

 

 

It’s really no surprise that the small frogs love our lawn. As I push the mower thousands of tiny insect (some larger) fly aside.  Most of them are little white leafhoppers, but last night I came across this tiny colorful moth (Pyraustra tyralis), with a one centimeter wingspan. A new moth for Windhaven.