A tree swallow peers at the sky for prey and predator.

FullSizeRender.jpg

A tree swallow peers at the sky for prey and predator.

Fake owls frightened together by real ducks.

Fake owls frightened together by real ducks.

FullSizeRender.jpg

A red-winged blackbird tries to eat and sing at the same time.

FullSizeRender.jpg

This yellow-headed blackbird found something for lunch.

A Great Horned Owl nest in April.

A Great Horned Owl nest in April.

Whooping Crane at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Whooping Crane at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

This house wren just dropped a nesting-material stick.

This house wren just dropped a nesting-material stick.

Tree Swallows will use large feathers in their nests.

Tree Swallows will use large feathers in their nests.

A thirsty deer.

A thirsty deer.

Proud of Joey Batt

As seen on a hoodie. 

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg

Rock on!

The new neighbors (tree swallows) seem nice.

The new neighbors (tree swallows) seem nice.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
A catbird dances to music only it can hear.

A catbird dances to music only it can hear.

A raccoon is a trash-diving omnivore extraordinaire.

A raccoon is a trash-diving omnivore extraordinaire.

FullSizeRender.jpg

This Great Crested Flycatcher makes a call that sounds as if it’s accusing me of being a creep. I hope the bird isn’t a keen judge of character.

FullSizeRender.jpg

This Great Crested Flycatcher makes a call that sounds as if it’s accusing me of being a creep. I hope the bird isn’t a keen judge of character.

This red-tailed hawk makes sure every vole comes to a complete stop.

This red-tailed hawk makes sure every vole comes to a complete stop.

A fawn hiding in plain sight.

A fawn hiding in plain sight.

Sunny days are made for squirrel naps.

Sunny days are made for squirrel naps.

I had no frog in my throat, but there was a frog on my forefinger.

I had no frog in my throat, but there was a frog on my forefinger.

Al Batt: How old do deer fawns need to be before they can learn to walk?

by Al Batt, albertleatribune.com
June 8, 2019 09:00 AM

Al Batt of Hartland is a member of the Albert Lea Audubon Society. Email him at SnoEowl@aol.com.

My neighbor Crandall stops by.

“How are you doing?” I ask.

“Everything is nearly copacetic. I haven’t eaten any black jelly beans or eye of newt recently and the zombies have left me alone. I have a diversified investment portfolio — debt and lottery tickets. I went to Mel’s Repair, where all cars will be Mel adjusted. It was Brake Pad Day. That’s quite a celebration. Mel talked me into joining Bump Whistlebritches in entertaining at The Home. I played my guitar and yodeled a bit. Afterwards, I talked to a lady there who was ailing. I told her that I hoped she’d get better. She replied, ‘I hope you get better, too.’”

Naturally

In the dooryard, I watched warblers feed on caterpillars feeding on leaflets as toads trilled the background music. I appreciated the blooms of wild plum, lilac, serviceberry (Juneberry), cherry and crabapple. I saw the silken nests of eastern tent caterpillars in the forks of the branches of apple, chokecherry, crabapple, plum and cherry trees in May and June. The larvae feed on leaves, sometimes defoliating trees, but generally don’t affect tree health. The hairy larvae have blue, black and orange markings, a white stripe down the back, and a series of hairs sticking out from the sides of their bodies. Two inches long when fully grown, eastern tent caterpillars feed on tree leaves during the day and remain in their tents at night and during rainy weather.

A catbird, slim and slate-gray, produced jumbled songs that mimicked other birds. I heard a robin caroling. Donald Kroodsma, in his book “The Singing Life of Birds,” wrote, “Anyone who listens thoughtfully to robins can’t help but bubble with questions about why robins are the way they are.” Kroodsma found that each male robin has 10 to 20 different, whistled “caroling” phrases and 75-100 varied, high-pitched “hisselly” phrases. The familiar daytime song consists of caroling phrases that sound like, “Cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up.” At dawn and dusk, the bird often tosses in hisselly phrases.

I watched an American redstart female gather plant fibers for nesting material along Albert Lea Lake. A boy told me redstarts were junior orioles. A correspondent from Mankato told me about a shopper at Aldi’s who had bought three cases of grape jelly. The orioles in that person’s neighborhood were eating well.

I attended an outdoor church service at a state park when a hooded warbler landed on one of the pews. It was the first time I’d gone to church with a hooded warbler. Hallelujah!

The gnats have been terrible. Vanilla extract or vanilla essentials oil seem to repel the little buggers. Some people mix it with water and use it in a spray bottle. The gnats will leave you alone, but people will be attracted to you because they think you’ve been baking.

I watched birds at Myre-Big Island State Park, Afton State Park, Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Cheyenne Bottoms, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge, Switzer Ranch, Buffalo River State Park, Geneva Lake, Bluestem Prairie Scientific and Natural Area, Rasmussen Woods, Albert Lea Lake, Steinberg Nature Center, Walnut Lake State Wildlife Management Area, etc. I birded so much, I feel incomplete without binoculars hanging around my neck.

Q&A

Harp Bartness of Hartland asked how old a fawn is before it can walk. Fawns are able to stand within 10 minutes of birth and can walk in 7 hours. They are left alone daily while their mothers go off to forage. Fawns stay with their mother through the winter.

Daniel Otten of Hayward asked what birds feed on orange halves.

Baltimore orioles, gray catbirds, red-bellied woodpeckers, brown thrashers, scarlet tanagers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, house finch and others.

Customer comment

Mark Christenson of Columbia Heights wrote, “When the Smothers Brothers were on TV, they had Pat Paulsen as a candidate for the presidency. His best line was, ‘I’m not right winged or left winged, I’m kind of like I’m in the middle of the bird.’”

Pelican Breeze

Please join me as I host cruises on Albert Lea Lake on the prepossessing Pelican Breeze boarding at Frank Hall Park Boat Landing in Albert Lea. The cruises are at 1:30 p.m. June 23, July 28, August 25 and September 29. For more information, call 507-383-7273.

Thanks for stopping by

“I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one’s weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can’t all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.” — Arthur Conan Doyle

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” — Hal Borland

Do good.

(c) Al Batt

Purple martins and fashionably up-to-date gourds.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Purple martins and fashionably up-to-date gourds.

 “The sunsets come, the sunsets go.  The clouds pile high, the air moves slow.  And the young bird’s eyes do always know.”  Lyrics by It’s A Beautiful Day.

 “The sunsets come, the sunsets go.

The clouds pile high, the air moves slow.

And the young bird’s eyes do always know.”

Lyrics by It’s A Beautiful Day.

It’s always a plumb pleasure for me to see a cedar waxwing.

It’s always a plumb pleasure for me to see a cedar waxwing.

An oriole and an orange go together like copy and paste.

An oriole and an orange go together like copy and paste.

The bill color difference between a drake and a hen mallard is striking.

FullSizeRender.jpg

The bill color difference between a drake and a hen mallard is striking.

A jelly jar feeder is a popular item.

A jelly jar feeder is a popular item.

FullSizeRender.jpg
Tiger beetles are fast runners and amazing sights.

Tiger beetles are fast runners and amazing sights.

FullSizeRender.jpg
John Burroughs, a great American naturalist and writer, compared columbine to flowers of flame.

John Burroughs, a great American naturalist and writer, compared columbine to flowers of flame.

A Jack-in-the-pulpit grows the imagination.

A Jack-in-the-pulpit grows the imagination.

The berries from a chokecherry (or bitter-berry) make a great jelly.

The berries from a chokecherry (or bitter-berry) make a great jelly.

This chipmunk was chipping as if it had chopped down the tree.

This chipmunk was chipping as if it had chopped down the tree.

Al Batt: Slugs part of diet for several creatures (not including naturalists)

Al Batt: Slugs part of diet for several creatures (not including naturalists)

 Al Batt of Hartland is a member of the Albert Lea Audubon Society. Email him at SnoEowl@aol.com.

My neighbor Crandall stops by.

“How are you doing?” I ask.

“Everything is nearly copacetic. I stopped at a cafe in Iowa. It has great food, but I hadn’t been there for a long time. I told the waitress that it’d been over five years since I’d first come in there. She said, ‘I’m sorry, but you’ll have to wait your turn. I can wait on only one table at a time.’”

Naturally

I smelled the lilacs. I love the smell of lilacs in the morning. It has weight. Some find the fragrance cloying, but I find it heavenly and memory-producing. I try to inhale lilac scents each day they are in bloom. I was pleased that so many birds decided to spend time in my company. Animated birds fed with a vigor larger than their size. Small things are a big part of my life.

I watched a raccoon eat under a bird feeder. A catbird landed on the shepherd’s hook holding the feeder and pooped. Everyone has to go. Its aim was excellent. It was a direct hit on the raccoon, which wasn’t bothered in the least.

It was nice to see dragonflies. I strolled past ferns, recalling transplanting some in the past. That’s best done when new growth first begins to emerge. Dandelion and violet flowers blared silently.

As each year, I saw many yellow-rumped warblers this spring. Autocorrect wants them to be yellow-rumpled warblers. I heard the song of the bobolink. The bird sounded pleased with the world. I saw a good number of black-winged redbirds. Scarlet tanagers. The bird of happiness comes in many colors. As a tanager fed on a window feeder, I made a wish. It seemed like the right thing to do.

An April wind blew hard enough to gnaw rock. The blizzard/ice storm (named Ice Storm Ichabod) knocked down some of our trees. A tree is a bed and breakfast for birds. Trees with architectural problems fell and smashed a number of faithful bird feeders. Replacements were secured. It will be good, but different.

Leading a bird hike at Afton State Park, I saw a pair of ravens. I’d never seen them in that park before.

Paula Comeau, naturalist at Bluestem Prairie Scientific and Natural Area near Glyndon, told me that coyotes love to eat wild plums.

A good friend, Carrol Henderson, retired director of the Nongame Wildlife Program of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, is a wonderful guy. He was birding in Guatemala, Columbia or Costa Rica (I’m pretty sure it was one of them, but in this report, it doesn’t matter which one it was) and having an amazing time. He’d just bought a new camera and found it much to his liking. He gave his previous camera, a perfectly good DSLR, and its accompanying tripod to his guide. It made two people very happy.

Q&A

“What eats slugs?” Not me. Things that dine on slugs include: toads, snakes, frogs, ground beetles, turtles, firefly larvae, ducks, chickens and some songbirds.

“How far can Japanese beetles travel?” Japanese beetles can fly in from as far away as five miles.

“I walked in a forest at daybreak. How do birds decide who sings first?” Birds at the top of the forest canopy would sing first during the dawn chorus because the light reaches them first. Birds with the largest eyes would be the first to sing at all the levels, as the big eyes let more light in allowing them to see better in low light.

“Why do we feed just grape jelly to the orioles?” Orioles aren’t very picky when it comes to jelly. I’ve been told that Baltimore orioles enjoy the grape flavor because it tastes similar to the dark, ripe fruits they eat. Jelly feeders attract other birds: gray catbirds, woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, house finches, rose-breasted grosbeaks and others. Orioles eat orange marmalade, apricot preserves or cherry, strawberry, apple and raspberry jams or jellies. Jellies and jams are both made of fruit, sugar and pectin. In jelly, the fruit is in the form of juice. Jam is a chunkier form containing pulp or crushed fruit. I stopped at a store to get grape jelly. The grape jelly shelves were bare and the back room lacked any. I was in a bit of a rush, so I bought the only jelly they had available — strawberry. I put it into the feeders and the birds snarfed it down in record time.

Thanks for stopping by

“Those little nimble musicians of the air, that warble forth their curious ditties, with which nature hath furnished them to the shame of art.” — Izaak Walton

“A man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, which is but saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.” — Alexander Pope

Do good.

A black-winged redbird perches on a branch. - Al Batt/Albert Lea Tribune

A black-winged redbird perches on a branch. - Al Batt/Albert Lea Tribune

I put the snow shovel away. Winter is officially over.

I put the snow shovel away. Winter is officially over.

The Rolling Stones sang, “Little girls, and boys come out to play  Bring your dandelions to blow away  Dandelion don't tell no lies  Dandelion will make you wise  Tell me if she laughs or cries  Blow away dandelion, blow away dandelion.”

The Rolling Stones sang, “Little girls, and boys come out to play

Bring your dandelions to blow away

Dandelion don't tell no lies

Dandelion will make you wise

Tell me if she laughs or cries

Blow away dandelion, blow away dandelion.”

Orange plus grape jelly equals scarlet tanager.

Orange plus grape jelly equals scarlet tanager.

Wilson’s Phalaropes at a spin class. The females are more colorful than the males. They spin in circles to create whirlpools that suck food to the water’s surface.

Wilson’s Phalaropes at a spin class. The females are more colorful than the males. They spin in circles to create whirlpools that suck food to the water’s surface.

Wilson’s Phalaropes at a spin class. The females are more colorful than the males. They spin in circles to create whirlpools that suck food to the water’s surface.

FullSizeRender.jpg
Karate class for geese.

Karate class for geese.

I canoed the Missouri River. My alarm clocks were the Western Kingbirds. They had no snooze alarms to punch.

I canoed the Missouri River. My alarm clocks were the Western Kingbirds. They had no snooze alarms to punch.

Sunrise on a Kansas swamp.

Sunrise on a Kansas swamp.

Black-bellied Whistling-ducks I enjoyed seeing in Kansas.

Black-bellied Whistling-ducks I enjoyed seeing in Kansas.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Orange you pretty.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Orange you pretty.

FullSizeRender.jpg

A female indigo bunting is a fine looking bird.

FullSizeRender.jpg

As the rain poured down, the great blue heron and I became drenched.

FullSizeRender.jpg
FullSizeRender.jpg
A meowing gray catbird.

A meowing gray catbird.

Orioles feeding at the trough of oranges.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Orioles feeding at the trough of oranges.

FullSizeRender.jpg

I watched to see how much wood it would chuck if it could chuck wood. It did no wood chucking.

A scarlet tanager’s song has been compared to that of a “robin with a sore throat.”

A scarlet tanager’s song has been compared to that of a “robin with a sore throat.”

Orioles share a kiss.

Orioles share a kiss.

A black-winged redbird.

FullSizeRender.jpg

A black-winged redbird.

The scarlet tanager.

A tanager with a hint of a smile.

A tanager with a hint of a smile.

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay  My, oh, my, what a wonderful day Plenty of sunshine headin' my way Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!  Mister Bluebird's on my shoulder It's the truth, it's "actch'll" Everything is "satisfactch'll"

Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay

My, oh, my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine headin' my way
Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay!

Mister Bluebird's on my shoulder
It's the truth, it's "actch'll"
Everything is "satisfactch'll"

A raccoon giving me a Bronx cheer.

A raccoon giving me a Bronx cheer.

Al Batt: Where did the baby geese go? Ask your nighttime animal neighbors

 Al Batt of Hartland. Email him at SnoEowl@aol.com.

My neighbor Crandall stops by.

“How are you doing?” I say.

“Everything is nearly copacetic. Any day I wake up and there is no chalk outline drawn around my body is a good day. I spent a few bucks on lottery tickets, but they didn’t turn me into a multi-millionaire. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’ve yet to lose a billion dollars.”

Naturally

I watched warblers. There are collective nouns for warblers: bouquet, confusion, fall and wrench. The most abundant warbler I saw was the yellow-rumped warbler, nicknamed the butterbutt for obvious reasons. It winters farther north than most warblers because it can digest the wax in berry coatings. It gleans insects from vegetation and from the ground, catches flying insects and will eat suet and peanut butter. This warbler will even snatch insects from spiderwebs.

Denny Tostenson of Albert Lea told me that a look out a window of his house showed rose-breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, scarlet tanager and indigo buntings. Denny canceled his tee time on the golf course.

Some might consider where I live to be nowhere. But it can’t be nowhere. I can see everything from here.

We should know the common birds the best of all. Nobody will ever look at birds the way you do. Knowing the common birds makes it easier to recognize uncommon birds. If they don’t match the looks of a common bird, they might be something else. Neal Batt of Hartland found a long-eared owl that way. It didn’t quite look like a great horned owl.

The morning started the usual way. The neighbors’ rooster crowed. I had to chase a long-haired yellow cat, fat and nearly pink in color, away from my feeders. This day, that apparently well-fed cat had killed a tiny Lincoln’s sparrow. A sad thing indeed. The nimbleness of a cat that looks out-of-shape is impressive.

I watched a number of grackles in our yard. Common grackles sometimes nest in loose colonies, showing limited territoriality except in the immediate area of a nest. Ogden Nash wrote this about the grackle:

“The grackle’s voice is less than mellow,

His heart is black, his eye is yellow,

He bullies more attractive birds,

With hoodlum deeds and vulgar words,

And should a human interfere,

Attacks that human in the rear.

I cannot help but deem the grackle,

An ornithological debacle.”

As I look out my window, I realize there are those who might think that I live nowhere or at least I can see nowhere from here, but they are wrong. I look out my window and I see everything.

I came out of a Barnes & Noble store. I go into bookstores because I’m unable not to. I bought a book written by a late friend, Bill Thompson III. When I came out, I saw a mallard nesting in a concrete planter outside the busy bookshop and just in front of a parking stall. Birders are noticers. There was sparse vegetation in the planter, but the hen did an effective job of hiding. It wasn’t perfect camouflage or I wouldn’t have seen her, but it was good. The disturbing thing was that there were many cigarette butts in the planter. I don’t think the duck had been smoking them.

Q&A

“What is the range of Baltimore Orioles?” They breed into central Canada and in the eastern U.S. as far south as Louisiana. They winter in southeastern U.S., Central America and the tip of South America.

“Do you have a simple tip for using binoculars to watch birds?” Find the bird with your eyes and then bring the binoculars to your eyes.

“I see some baby geese are missing. What would take them?” Raccoons, foxes, bears, coyotes, ravens, crows, gulls, hawks, owls, snakes, mink, eagles and snapping turtles could prey upon the goslings.

“What bird incubates its eggs the longest?” The kiwi, 70 to 80 days.

“What bird builds the smallest nest?” My guess would be the bee hummingbird of Cuba. It weighs less than a dime and its nest is an inch across.

“How long does it take an oriole to build a nest?” It takes a Baltimore oriole about a week, but bad weather may stretch nest building to as long as two weeks.

“What is the difference in binoculars?” Some are better than others. Some are a Chevy and others a Lexus. They both get you there. One costs much more. Maybe you get there a little faster or the ride is a bit smoother. And you might look cooler.

Thanks for stopping by

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery — air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ’This is what it is to be happy.’” — Sylvia Plath

“Of all the paths you take in life make sure some of them are dirt.” — John Muir

Do good.

 

© Al Batt 2019

Thanks to a good GPS.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Thanks to a good GPS.

It may quack like a duck, but the wood frog blends in.

It may quack like a duck, but the wood frog blends in.

The lovely wood anemone flowers before the trees set leaves. I hear it called windflower or nightcaps.

The lovely wood anemone flowers before the trees set leaves. I hear it called windflower or nightcaps.

I walked the trails of Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in Waite Park, Minnesota. It was a marvelous mosey.

I walked the trails of Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in Waite Park, Minnesota. It was a marvelous mosey.

I walked the trails of Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in Waite Park, Minnesota. It was a marvelous mosey.

I walked the trails of Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in Waite Park, Minnesota. It was a marvelous mosey.

I love the smell of lilacs in the morning.

I love the smell of lilacs in the morning.

Seeing a red-headed woodpecker adds a luster to my day.

Seeing a red-headed woodpecker adds a luster to my day.

A yellow-rumped warbler. Autocorrect wants it to be a yellow-rumpled warbler.

A yellow-rumped warbler. Autocorrect wants it to be a yellow-rumpled warbler.

Al Batt: Will orioles eat marshmallows? How long are pelicans’ wings?

My neighbor Crandall stops by.

“How are you doing?” I ask.

“Everything is nearly copacetic. I’m looking at old cars that

would be new to me. I do car rescues. I adopt cars. One is an itty-bitty job. I’ll have to lose weight just to get in it. I’ve gone on a diet of pizza and jelly doughnuts.”

“You think that will help you lose weight?” I say.

“I don’t know, but I’m willing to give it a try.”

Naturally

I walked to the mailbox one morning. At the edge of the yard, there were two gray partridges. I startled them into flight. One flew north and one flew south, not likely to be seen by me for another year. I’m glad they survived our April ice and snow. I see them rarely here in the backcountry.

I watched a male cardinal feeding his mate. I’m surprised to see a cardinal anywhere other than in its preferred habitat, a Christmas card. Male goldfinches made it a lemon drop day.

My eyes were drawn to a dead tree where a great blue heron, a turkey vulture and two starlings were perched. I’m easily amused, but that thrilled me.

I let my ears take me hostage. A house wren sang a song that a bird the size of an eagle should have been singing. It provided a yard full of song. A chipping sparrow chooses to trill more like an insect than like Elvis Presley.

A visit to a local lake showed a double-crested cormorant as a blue-eyed low rider when settling in the water like a loon. Spring hurries along. It wasn’t long ago when I watched a love hexagon of five northern shoveler drakes chasing one hen. They flew as a group. It was a cross between a courtship flight and police pursuit. Now Canada goose goslings are learning to mow the lawn.

Wings & Wetlands Festival

It was my pleasure to speak at the Wings & Wetlands Festival in Great Bend, Kansas. The festival featured Cheyenne Bottoms and Quivira National Wildlife Refuge — two of America’s best birding spots for both birds and birders. The great wisdom of the world was evident as there were always more birds than birders. Cheyenne Bottoms is the largest inland marsh (41,000) acres in the US. I visited the wonderful Kansas Wetlands Education Center. It gave me a delightful walking and learning experiences.

My first field trip stop presented a motionless American bittern pretending to be marsh vegetation in a sneeze of a misty and foggy morning. In my boyhood years, this bird was called a slough pump because of its loud “oong-KA-chunk” or “pump-er-lunk” call. Others called it a belcher squelcher, thunder pumper or stake driver. When spotted, the bittern sometimes freezes in place with its bill pointed skyward. It sways side to side, hoping to be mistaken for reeds.

I pointed out a sedge wren for some avid birders from New Mexico. I listened as I told them that I was pro-sedge wren. Odd. “Way to take a stand,” I thought.

I pointed out a skink and a Kansan told me that when I see a lizard, it’s a sign of rain. I smiled in disbelief, but it rained anyway.

In his song, “It Can’t Happen Here,” Frank Zappa warbled, “Who could imagine that they would freak out somewhere in Kansas.”

I’m going to use the definition of freak out indicating heightened excitement and conclude that Zappa was watching birds at Cheyenne Bottoms or Quivira when he wrote that.

Another line in the song said, “Who could imagine that they would freak out in Minnesota.” I could imagine that.

There are two kinds of people. Being someone at the Wings & Wetlands Festival might be better than either one.

Q&A

Millie Westland of Hayward asked if orioles eat marshmallows. They do. I’ve seen people in the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas feeding marshmallows to orioles and other birds. If an oriole in your yard is wearing a cowboy hat, it’ll likely be used to chowing down on marshmallows. Are they good for birds? I don’t know. A dedicated s’mores eater I know claims marshmallows are a health food.

“How long are a pelican’s wings?” An American white pelican has a nine-foot wingspan.

“How long does a deer live?” The oldest wild white-tailed deer lived 20 years.

“What percent of blue jays migrate?” Less than 20 percent.

Thanks for stopping by

“We don’t need more to be thankful for, we just need to be more thankful.” — Carlos Castaneda

“A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained. It can afford to extend a helping hand to others. It is a weak nation, like a weak person, that must behave with bluster and boasting and rashness and other signs of insecurity.” — Jimmy Carter

Do good.

©Al Batt 2019

This white-faced ibis, sporting the colors of a flock of bantam roosters, can be mistaken for a glossy ibis. - Al Batt/Albert Lea Tribune

This white-faced ibis, sporting the colors of a flock of bantam roosters, can be mistaken for a glossy ibis. - Al Batt/Albert Lea Tribune

We all itch. If we’re lucky, we can scratch.

We all itch. If we’re lucky, we can scratch.

The expectant couple.

The expectant couple.

An orchard oriole gives me a mirthful mind.

FullSizeRender.jpg

An orchard oriole gives me a mirthful mind.

Sweet jelly brings a sweet bird (orchard oriole).

Sweet jelly brings a sweet bird (orchard oriole).

I don’t see many flamingos in my yard. Actually, I don’t see any there. These are three of the flamingos I’ve never seen in my yard.

I don’t see many flamingos in my yard. Actually, I don’t see any there. These are three of the flamingos I’ve never seen in my yard.

This is the work of a taxidermist in Kansas. He has a smelly job.

This is the work of a taxidermist in Kansas. He has a smelly job.

A magnolia blossom brightens the leaves.

FullSizeRender.jpg

A magnolia blossom brightens the leaves.

It’s easy to become too lippy about tulips.

It’s easy to become too lippy about tulips.

Violets rock.

Violets rock.

The saying is that the song of the rose-breasted grosbeak sounds like a robin that has had singing lessons.

The saying is that the song of the rose-breasted grosbeak sounds like a robin that has had singing lessons.

The April ice storm was hard on the yard trees. Gordy Ebnet rose high and higher to trim damaged branches.

FullSizeRender.jpg
The April ice storm was hard on the yard trees.  Gordy Ebnet rose high and higher to trim damaged branches.

The April ice storm was hard on the yard trees.  Gordy Ebnet rose high and higher to trim damaged branches.

The eye of a mallard hen.

The eye of a mallard hen.

I came out of a Barnes & Noble store in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and saw this nesting mallard.

I came out of a Barnes & Noble store in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and saw this nesting mallard.

This mallard is nesting in a planter outside a busy bookstore. I hope she wasn’t the one smoking the cigarettes.

This mallard is nesting in a planter outside a busy bookstore. I hope she wasn’t the one smoking the cigarettes.

FullSizeRender.jpg
Rocky Raccoon checked into his room. This raccoon is no Rocky. It checks into my bird feeders at dusk.

Rocky Raccoon checked into his room. This raccoon is no Rocky. It checks into my bird feeders at dusk.

A nest being built to a Baltimore oriole’s specification.

A nest being built to a Baltimore oriole’s specification.

A nest being built to a Baltimore oriole’s specification.

Enter stage left.

Enter stage left.

FullSizeRender.jpg

A prairie dog looking for a cubicle.

Are 144 grosbeaks a gross of grosbeaks? I think so.

Are 144 grosbeaks a gross of grosbeaks? I think so.

It was nice of Mr. Harris to share his sparrow with those of us without a bird carrying our names.

It was nice of Mr. Harris to share his sparrow with those of us without a bird carrying our names.