nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Archive for the ‘wild life’ Category

Pileated Woodpecker excavations

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The Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) is a common visitor in our yard. The size of the woodpecker and its triangular red crest are impossible to miss. The male also has a red stripe on the side of its face.

There is a big spruce tree in our grey woods where the Pileated Woodpecker loves to visit. The hole in the tree and the pile of woodchips below the hole say this woodpecker has been very busy.  The woodpeckers drill these holes to get insects.

On a drive to see the Smyth Covered Bridge near Hoyt, New Brunswick, we found a roadside tree with evidence of the Pileated Woodpecker’s industry.  The holes are almost a foot in length and deep enough to hide a hand.

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To humans, the best forests may seem to be woods with healthy trees. To provide good habitat for the Pileated Woodpecker, a forest should have lots of dead and fallen trees, to provide food and nesting sites.

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

Written by jane tims

April 27, 2018 at 7:06 am

feeding the birds

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I am late this year with putting out bird feeders. Two reasons: the reported difficulty with disease in bird feeders last year and my general lack of time.

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This morning I made a bird feeder from a coke bottle (my son and I used to do this when he was little) and filled three of our feeders. The old sunflower seed feeders, difficult to clean and too expensive to toss out every few days, are in the trash.

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Presenting my new home-made feeder for sunflower seeds! I may add a simple roof to keep the snow out. I can replace it at intervals to keep it clean.

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The finch-feeder with nyjer (thistle) seed:

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A pile of seeds in our frozen bird-bath, for the squirrels and deer:

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As I came in from outside, I heard a chickadee in the larch tree, so I am hoping they will find the feeders soon.

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one of the illustrations in my book ‘in the shelter of the covered bridge’ (Chapel Street Editions 2017)

 

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Copyright Jane Tims 2018

 

Written by jane tims

February 2, 2018 at 7:00 am

woodpeckers in the grey woods

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If you are new to my site, you might not know that we call the woods behind our house ‘the grey woods’. The woods are mainly balsam fir and black spruce, with grey birch and red maple. Here is a map of our property (about 19 acres).

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Woodpeckers are a common bird in the grey woods. We have Pileated Woodpeckers (Dryocopus pileatus), Hairy Woodpeckers (Leuconotopicus villosus), and Downy Woodpeckers (Picoides pubescens). The woodpeckers love the older trees in the woods. They also peck at our wood-shingled house!

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Here is a Hairy Woodpecker hard at work in a balsam fir. He is hard to tell from the Downy Woodpecker (especially when you can’t see his beak) but the Hairy woodpecker is larger (about the size of a Robin) and sometimes his red cap is divided into two parts (seen clearly in this photo).

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

May 29, 2017 at 7:32 am

Meniscus: Crossing The Churn – alien insects

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It won’t be long and we will be plagued by mosquitos and blackflies here in New Brunswick.

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On the planet Meniscus, the setting for my sci-fi series, there are no mosquitos and no blackflies. Life there is hard enough!

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However, I have populated the Meniscus woodlands with elginards. These are small wingless insects that drift on the breezes. As the book says, they are “… purposeless, ephemeral …”.

The inspiration for these creatures is the wooly aphid. In the late autumn days in New Brunswick, wooly aphids float like flakes of snow on the air.

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Elginards also remind me of dandelion fluff.  The elginard in my book is a symbol for a purposeless life, lived at the whim of circumstance.

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To read more about elginards, have a look at my book ‘Meniscus: Crossing The Churn’ … available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats …

https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06XPPNCGF/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

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Copyright 2017 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 14, 2017 at 7:37 am

Bald eagle

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On a drive along the Saint John River south of Oromocto, we were happy to get great views of two Bald Eagles.

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an uneasy gathering on the river ice …

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watching for dinner …

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017 

Written by jane tims

April 12, 2017 at 7:15 am

end of winter

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Although I love winter, it is so heartening to see all of nature enjoying the melting snowpack and the return of warmer days …

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As bits of fields reveal themselves, the white-tailed deer are out and about, feeding on young sprouts and the left-overs of last year’s harvest …

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The deer are not timid at all, but if the camera makes that whirring sound (remember The Lost World: Jurassic Park?) they are off in a flash, white tails lifted …

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Written by jane tims

April 7, 2017 at 7:09 am

morning bird chorus – ephemera

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When I was a child, one of the things I prized was my collection of ‘bird cards’. These were an advertising give-away from ‘Cow Brand Baking Soda’ (Church and Dwight Limited, Montreal, Canada).

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I would spend hours looking at these, putting them in order of the ones I liked best, thinking about the birds depicted. The Meadowlark was a local bird I had seen many times and his call was as familiar to me as breathing – he always made it to the top of the pile! Today the winner would be the Cedar Waxwing who sits in the tops of the pines at our cabin, or the Goldfinch who spends all winter at our feeders!

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Today I still have two packs of these cards. They are in sets of 16 in a paper envelope. The card sets are called ‘Useful Birds of America’ and the front of each card shows an image of a bird by artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927), an American ornithologist and artist. On the back, there is a tip on how to use ‘Cow Brand Baking Soda’, the bird’s common name, its scientific name and a charming paragraph about its appearance and habits. The card concludes with a short message still relevant today:

For the good of all, do not destroy the birds 

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 3, 2016 at 8:22 am

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