Wildlife Wednesdays: Bringing up Baby...Homes for the Birds

Click through to see my latest post for Laura's Lean Beef about providing nest boxes for backyard birds.

Bringing up Baby...Homes for the Birds

Wildlife Wednesdays: Northern Ravine Salamander

With the warmer temperatures, we've been tackling our spring chores with gusto; including cleaning up the yard. I happened to be cutting weeds along the fence and picked up an old piece of wood. At first, I thought I saw a really big worm. Luckily, there were no chickens nearby to grab my "worm" before I got a chance to investigate. Because it wasn't a worm at all, it was a salamander; specifically a Northern Ravine Salamander.
Ravine salamanders (Plethodon richmondi) get to be about 3 to 4 1/2 inches long and occur in much of southern and eastern Ohio. They prefer moist slopes of wooded ravines where they can be found hiding beneath rocks and logs.

These are completely land-dwelling salamanders that even lay and hatch their eggs on land. Ravine salamanders can be found in the spring and fall but rarely in the summer since they spend most of that time buried deep in the ground seeking moisture.
The kids and I had a good time investigating our backyard find. Then we released our salamander into my sloping front garden far away from the chickens.

Feeding the Birds

Click through to see my latest post about backyard bird feeding for Laura's Lean Beef...

Move Over Cleo...Here Comes Buff

Yesterday I was petting our cat, Cleo. She was in her favorite spot; the top of the slide on the backyard play set. Our buff orpington, affectionately named Buff, was at my feet cooing to me and pecking at my shoes. More than any of our other chickens, Buff is like a big dog who lays bonus eggs. She loves to sit in your lap to get petted or be held like a baby.

I guess Buff was in desperate need for attention. So rather than wait her turn, she did something I've never seen her do before. She jumped up onto the stairs and peeked over the top of the platform at Cleo. It was almost like she was asking Cleo for permission to come on up. When Cleo didn't object, Buff hopped the rest of the way up and then settled in to get petted too.

From now on, I think Cleo will have to share her petting time with Buff!

Wildlife Wednesdays: A Lucky Present

Almost two years ago, my daughter and I found a beautiful white and gray tom cat hanging out in our yard. He was friendly and accepted our gift of food, but I was hoping he wouldn't make our house his new home. After all, we already had two great outdoor cats. Lucky, as he's called, had other plans and quickly settled into life at our house. I, of course, fell in love with him and am so glad he joined us.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. I was on our deck enjoying lunch and 73 degree weather in March. My two outdoor girl cats were basking next to me, with Lucky nowhere in sight. Then, he came bounding onto the deck with a snake hanging out of his mouth. He walked right over to me and dropped it. I immediately noticed the snake wasn't hurt and put a bucket over it so I could get something to hold it.

It turns out that my kitty present, was a beautiful common garter snake that had emerged from winter looking for some food. I kept the snake until my kids came home. They loved touching it and holding it. Then we let it go in my garden under generous leaf cover and lots of foliage.

I think this snake and my cat should share a name; Lucky!

Nest Box Bandit: Did You Want That Nest?

I was lucky this morning; I actually got a picture of the most hilarious nest box behavior.

This brown leghorn is trying to occupy the nest box with a barred rock.
For some reason, my brown leghorns love to be in the same nest box that another hen is occupying. It's not that they don't have enough next boxes; they do. It's not a location issue, because it happens in any of the boxes.

I've watched this quite a few times and I don't think it's aggressive behavior. I actually think the brown leghorns like the company. Because if they both need to lay eggs at the same time, I'll find both brown leghorns happily occupying the same nest. But my other hens are not appreciative of this behavior. Usually a squabble takes place with the leghorn getting her way. The only hen that doesn't allow the leghorns to win is Hoppy, our partridge cochin. She loudly defends her turf. And, sometimes I actually have to remove everyone from the coop and let them start over.

For the meantime, our nest box bandits will keep up their stealth operations and enjoy their new found laying companions.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...