A Bird’s Eye View

One afternoon, in the soft Autumn light, a figure appeared that caught everyone’s sight. Sitting tall and calm on a twisted tree limb, he surveyed his surroundings to see if the pickin’s were slim.

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The visible visitor was very pleased to find, the pickin’s where plenty and amusingly terrified! He always loved to watch the show, as his prey panicked and scurried and freaked out below! ย Now, satisfied he would have a nice hearty meal, he sat back and relaxed to watch everyone squeal!

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The sparrows swarmed and hid in the bushes, the quail dove under cactus to cover their tushes. The doves left the scene in a winged whoosh of flurry and the squirrels dove in their holes in a psycho crazed hurry! All the while, their feathered foe took his time, primping and plotting his culinary crime.

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When he was sufficiently refreshed and ready to rock…”Now, my little morsels, time to eat!” Screeched Mr. Hawk. His tail twitched, his eyes focused as he scanned Todd’s Backyard. He looked and he looked, he looked very hard. Something was amiss…where had all the food gone? He knew he had seen it!…Had he been wrong? Then he reminded himself, he chose to snooze, and of course you know what they say….

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Keep your eyes on the prize!…And don’t be a fool ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Now I’ve See’d Everything!

Peckasso has been at it again!

Last week, while sitting on the porch, we observed a new sculpture on the bird seed podium. What we saw was both amazing and a bit puzzling. We walked out to investigate. It was obvious at first, that it was a non-indigenous species to Todd’s Backyard- a toucan… which would be odd since all of the previous sculptural work has been inspired by the immediate desert environment! Was Peckasso going in a different artistic direction? (If you haven’t read any of the Peckasso Blogs, check it out to see the previous works created by the artistic bird collaborative we call ‘Peckasso’).

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But, as we stood and admired this new creation, we noticed that the trees were abuzz around the yard…it’s that time of year…hummingbird migration! Of course!!! This was NOT a toucan, but an ambitious attempt at a hummingbird!

Ok, ok…it probably resembles a toucan a little more than a hummingbird. But hey, come on, Peckasso partook in a particularly perilous project to produce and be publicly presented…so we can’t be too picky ๐Ÿ˜‰

Peckassoatwork“What do you ex-pecked?”

Temper, Temper…ature!

WTF! We just survived the hottest June in Tucson history! As a menopausal woman with hot flashes, this is NOT the ideal place for me to live in the summer! ย But, regardless of the sweat drenched attempts to sit on the porch trying to enjoy some outdoor time, life in the desert goes on! Everyone and everything is just looking for a little relief, and there are those that can get a little bitchy, a little crazy and even a little tempra-mental! Take the cardinal that’s figured out if he comes and sits on the patio and screams at us long enough, he will eventually get a little refreshment…

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I’d like to think that if I sit on the porch and bitch long enough, someone will bring me a refreshing treat before I burst into flames! But, actually, I need to go into the house for a little blast of air-conditioning, get my own refreshment…perhaps an icy Tangueray and Tonic….ahhhh yes ๐Ÿ™‚ And then I’m ready to go sit back out on the porch and sweat some more!

And after a drink… or two, with my irritability slightly extinguished, I can enjoy some summer antics happening in the yard, as the desert critters go about their business.

Now, here’s a guy that loves the heat! When nature turns up the heat, he turns up the colors! …Or wait a minute…did I just have one too many drinks? Actually, I believe his colors go crazy when he’s hot, like in a Van Haleny/ ‘hot-for-creature’ kind of way ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Poor Gerti (our desert tortoise)…

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She can only dream about a ‘hot’ summer romance. No wonder she gets so grumpy!…Really! If you don’t think a tortoise can have a fit, think again! When she’s mad she stomps back into her house and won’t come out for days!

The sizzling summer heat brings out the beast in everyone! Check out these squirrels!…They literally went NUTS!

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I mean, holy crap!…You can actually see ’em ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thank goodness there’s only 3 more months of this crazy hot summer!!!

Getting Freaky!

For the past few years, we keep witnessing a phenomenon that is, quite frankly, getting a little freaky! We call it the ‘Peckasso Phenomenon’. The first time we saw it, it was pretty cool. A bird seed block that had been pecked to the point of an interesting organtic form….

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We had been putting bird seed blocks out for many years, but had never seen anything like this. I’m not sure if it’s just because we never noticed, or the birds pecking it had never created such an interesting piece of ‘art’.

So, after this, we did notice!….It was hard not to notice, because now, every bird seed block that we put out is transformed into something! But what’s weird, it’s not just any something! It’s always a sculptural representation of the critters in Todd’s Backyard. For instance, the next creation was on a seed block out in the middle of the yard where lots of rabbits hang out….

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Then, right after Gerti, our tortoise, came to live with us, this is what we found at the seed block that was just outside her enclosure…

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Ok.. you might be thinking, tortoises don’t stand up like that. Well, Gerti actually does like to pull herself upright along the wall…kinda weird.

The next installation was created, again, on the seed block in the middle of the yard. It was in the spring when all of the quail are running around with their babies…

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Maybe a stretch, but, hey, I can see it!

Next?….

PeckassoA crouching roadrunner.

Can Peckasso top this one? I think so!

We were astounded to discover this last week on the seed block that sits right outside the chicken coop…

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WTF!

Weird, True, Freaky!!!

The Bird’s Motel

The nature and desert serenity of Todd’s backyard should be the perfect setting to experience the beauty and joy of Spring. The trees and plants are lush with new growth. Buds are bursting out on the cactus and the smell of orange blossoms fill the air. Especially nice, every Spring, are the migratory birds that travel through the area! We see new faces ‘n’ feathers every year….but they don’t stay long. These travelers know a dark secret that most might miss amidst the flurry of Springtime merriment. And that, my friends, is…..murder! Yes…MURDER….

There is a sinister resident in Todd’s backyard, lurking among the spiny cholla, who set up the scene for murderous mayhem one twig at a time! Not quite a fairytale, her story is rather gory…

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It all started when the young bird carefully built her first nest, choosing an unassuming yet respectable place in a nice big cholla cactus.ย  She laid her eggs and waited for them to hatch…she was young and innocent then. So happy, when her chicks came into the world that spring day long ago! But, that very night, her beloved children were gone when she returned with food. All that was left, was one tiny leg and a pile of bloody feathers! Her heart was broken. So, she abandoned the first residence and she built another. This time, higher into the spines of the cactus…surely this would protect them from the evil that dwells in the night! But once again, her children were brutally killed, one before it even hatched!

birdhotel7The sites of the first 2 murders.

The grievingย  mother’s sadness turned to madness! She must build another nest…and another and another if she had too! She told herself, she will have a child that will survive, and she will do everything in her power to see that happen!!ย  So she found another spot deep in the bowels of the cholla. There she built a fortress that could never be invaded by the forces of evil!

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She finally had a child, who she doted on until the day he left the nest. We will never know who committed those heinous crimes. But she does! Because now, unsuspecting young birds move into those nests and the monster returns to kill again!

And to this day, the mother still sits in her empty nest and waits…. and watches the horrors that come out at night, in Todd’s Backyard.

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Sweet Tree-ts

Todd’s Backyard is basically a desert forest. When we moved here 9 years ago, the property had a lot of mature mesquite trees and Todd decided to plant a few more, just to fill it in. Now, the trees that Todd planted over the years, have grown into beautiful green canopies that shade the desert landscape from the scorching summer sun! A relief to us, as well as our local desert dwellers!

Of course, the yard has become a favorite hangout for all of our feathered friends! The birds have flocked to this branchy paradise, so you will at find at least one bird… or two in every bush ๐Ÿ˜‰

And, since we are on a bird migration route, we sometimes have bird guests, that baffle us. We keep our handy bird book on the porch so if we don’t know who they are, we can look them up!

I think I have identified this one as a White Tailed Kite?…Similar to a Falcon.

The cardinals have been particularly high-profile and prolific this year. There are several cardinal families that have put on some great shows for us, feeding their babies! It’s the dads that actually feed their offspring…who knew!

They make and incredible racket when doing so, so if you don’t spot their brilliant pop of red among the treetops, you just need to follow the tweets!

In Todd’s Backyard, the birds are boutiful, but it’s not just the birds you’ll see in the trees…

We have some real tree-huggers here!

And some tree slitherers!

And some furry little acrobats!

You may want to call Todd’s Backyard a desert forest, but whatever it is, it’s always entreetaining ๐Ÿ˜‰

Relax…It’s All Good!…

Especially when your a dog! Or, at least when you’re one of Todd’s Dogs! Having a nice wet and mild winter has given us all hope for a spectacular spring and I think Baily, Cooper and Lulu can smell it!

There is an atmosphere of relaxed anticipation in Todd’s Backyard…

In his favorite porch spot, sits Baily. Taking in the landscape, daily….

Watching the pond full of bathing birdies, getting rid of all their desert dirties!

Then he spots a humming bird, resting on a branch, undisturbed….

So much to see, so much to smell! Baily’s in heaven and all is well!

For Baily’s brother, Cooper, he’s just not into birds.

His daily nap, is much preferred!

Until, his nappy is disturbed, by the pungent odor of the local herd…

And where o where is sister Lulu?

A friend just flew in to say ย “Heyyouwhoo”!

But Lulu is not much of a yard dog like her big brothers.

When it comes to relaxing, she has her druthers!

Princess of the house is her M.O.! Like….what would you expect….Hellooo!