Archive for October, 2023

Carolina Wren

Picture taken from “All About Birds” website.

I love when all the people noise on the farm stills and you can hear the birds, tree frogs, crickets, cows, chickens and other animals singing, mooing, clucking, screeching and twittering their wings.

We have a Carolina Wren that sings every morning and at different times through out the day. But unless you are tuned to it you won’t hear it even though he loudly sings his praises. I think often of the Bible verse, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10). It is in the stillness after the morning rush, the quietness when humans aren’t running trucks, cars or tractors or when you dare walk out of your tightly closed up house with the tv and air conditioning running and sit on your porch, that you hear the songs of the happy birds with their heads tilted upwards, praising the God who designed and created them. They are unashamed or timid with sharing their song and it will bless anyone who pauses to listen.

This particular wren I have been trying for weeks to see. He usually sits in the tree by the shop very close to our store. The leaves on the tree hide him from view. Yesterday his song came from a different spot and suddenly I saw him, sitting on top of the stack of shavings on the dock at the warehouse.

As I clicked away on my camera, he lifted his head heavenward and sang his heart out. I had not sung any song of praise to God that morning, but he did. He exalted God with all his being.

I goggled “Carolina Wren” and found some very interesting facts and information on “All About Birds” website….”This shy bird can be hard to see, but it delivers an amazing number of decibels for its size. Follow its teakettle-teakettle! and other piercing exclamations through backyard or forest, and you may be rewarded with glimpses of this bird’s rich cinnamon plumage, white eyebrow stripe, and long, upward-cocked tail”. 

Psalms 66:4 All creation, come praise the name of the LORD. Praise his name alone. The glory of God is greater than heaven and earth.

Some “Cool Facts” taken from the website:

  • The Carolina Wren is sensitive to cold weather, with the northern populations decreasing markedly after severe winters. The gradually increasing winter temperatures over the last century may have been responsible for the northward range expansion seen in the mid-1900s.
  • One captive male Carolina Wren sang nearly 3,000 times in a single day.
  • Unlike other wren species in its genus, only the male Carolina Wren sings the loud song. In other species, such as the Stripe-breasted Wren of Central America, both members of a pair sing together. The male and female sing different parts, and usually interweave their songs such that they sound like a single bird singing.
  • A pair bond may form between a male and a female at any time of the year, and the pair will stay together for life. Members of a pair stay together on their territory year-round, and forage and move around the territory together.
  • The oldest recorded Carolina Wren was at least 7 years, 8 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during banding operations in Florida in 2004. It had been banded in the same state in 1997.

I have the “Merlin Bird ID” app on my iphone and really enjoy using it to identify different bird calls. I have currently captured the calls of about 20 different birds (this app is free).

Psalms 148:13 All creation, come praise the name of the LORD. Praise his name alone. The glory of God is greater than heaven and earth.

Box Turtle Fight

He almost has an evil gleam to his eye!

Did you know the pokey slow, retreat to your shell box turtles can have an attitude and bully each other?

Today we watched two male box turtles have it out. We have an area behind the store where we can watch wildlife (mostly deer) through a window. It is so interesting to watch what comes to our feeders. We know these two were both males because of their concave underside. When we found them, they were staring each other down with the bigger of the two the more aggresive trying to prove he was “alpha turtle”. According to Wikipedia, they were probably competing for the same female. He kept turning the smaller one over on his back and if left upside down too long it will die.

We separated them but left them together but it wasn’t long until the small one was upside down again. We finally moved them about 4 feet apart and pointed their heads in different directions. We were curious to what they would do. A few minutes later they both had slipped away. It is amazing how fast slow turtles are. I guess they had exhausted themselves and one had won. We didn’t see any female turtles nearby but it was near the edge of the woods.

Box turtles commonly live over twenty years but an internet search revealed they could live 40-100 years. I quote from Wikipedia...”They are omnivorous and their eagle eyes and keen sense of smell help them find foods such as snails, insects, berries, fungi, slugs, worms, flowers, fish, frogs, salamanders, rodents, snakes, birds and eggs. (It is hard for me to imagine a turtle catching a bird, frog, salamander or snake!) During their first five to six years of life they are primarily carnivorous. Adults tend to be mostly herivores, but do not feed on leafy greens. They have been known to feed on dead animals along the sides of roads…..Hatchlings and young turtles need more protein and prefer a carnivorous diet, but as they grow the incorporate more and more plants.

It is hard for me to imagine a turtle catching a bird, salamander, frog or snake! All of those can either jump, fly, slither or skitter fast! Maybe the slow methodical movements of a turtle are all a ruse! I don’t think I will stick my finger in front of his mouth.

Spot-She Was One Of A Kind

Through the years I have written several times about Spot, our rogue, fence walker, gate checker, “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” kind of cow. She was one of our favorite. When you have 200-250 brood cows you don’t give them names or make them your pets. But once in awhile, one is different and Spot was one of the different, she had a unique personality!

In a herd of mostly black Angus, she stood out like a beacon on a dark winter night as she looked more like a holstein. She was white with black spots. She also developed a unique reputation. She was our fence-line mower. Whenever she was near a fence, she would drop to her knees and stretch her neck under the bottom wire, and stretch out her tongue to get every available blade of grass. When that area was cleaned, she would get up, move a few feet and repeat the process.

Yesterday Gene came in and said, “Spot passed away.” It wasn’t a total surprise as she had loss some weight and wasn’t feeling well. Gene had penned her up and was keeping a watchful eye on her. He didn’t know what was wrong but suspected either hardware or cancer. She had some mastitis in her udder which he treated with LA200.

In looking back, my first blog post about her was written in December 2014 and the second one was in 2015 announcing the birth of her sixth calf. This spring she would have had her fifteen calf! She would have been about two years old when she had her first, making her approximately 18 years old. If a cow lives to be 20 she is old! She was a productive, valuable brood mama.

You did good Mrs. Spot. Rest in peace. We will not forget you!

Other blog posts about Spot: