Winter Storm Ulmer has been an incredible storm so far — we woke up to rain that quickly changed to sleet, then snow. The atmospheric pressure keeps dropping — Pueblo, Colorado, set an unofficial low pressure record already this morning, and it’s supposed to drop further.
But even in the middle of a bomb cyclone, animals gotta eat. And so we had a robin and a squirrel at the feeders this morning.
And there are those who must keep watch…
We called her in after we took this photo. If an animal is trying to eat in this, it must be really desperate. And Zoe was glad to come.
Just after we took this shot, five hours into this storm, we had a significant peel of thunder.
I wasn’t sure she had an egg there, but she didn’t move for a very long time.
Just as I was getting ready actually get to my work, the eagle stood up. I was able see the egg just to the side of her tail.
Moments after she stood up, the other eagle returned, with a branch in it’s beak.
The stick needed to be placed in just the right place.
I was surprised at how much they dragged that stick around, and that they didn’t hit the egg.
Excel has two cameras on the eagle nest at St. Vrain. The rest of these images are from a different perspective, because I switched to the other camera.
The stick was repositioned several times, and some of the branches trimmed with a quick snip of the beak. Finally, it was in a good spot.
The eagles touched beaks, and one, presumably the male took off. I have no idea if the beak-touching is a frequent thing, or was just for Valentines Day. Sorry. A little anthropomorphizing.
The remaining eagle fluffed the nest a little, rolled the egg, and settled in
Most of the egg-brooding is done by the female. She has 35 days to go before this chick hatches out. Bald Eagles lay between one and three eggs, so we’ll have to keep watching to see if more eggs appear.
Many years ago, the local power company, Public Service of Colorado, placed a nest box on the smokestack of one of their power plants. They put a camera inside, and watched what happened.
What happened was that a pair of Great Horned Owls moved in and raised a family. The public got to watch. Very cool.
Fast forward several decades. PSC merged with two other power companies in 1995 to form Excel. One of the other companies also had bird cams (which is the story you read in their “Information” page.) Excel now has at least five raptor cams, three in Colorado and two in Minnesota. https://birdcam.xcelenergy.com/cams
I love going to the library! You get the entire world at your fingertips — fiction, science, art, music, geese.
Yes, geese were at the library this morning. Colorado has become a wintering stop for vast numbers of Canada geese, who earn their keep by turning dead grass on lawns into organic fertilizer. But this small flock included this odd duck — er — goose.
I think the bird in the center is an immature blue-morph Snow Goose. Snow Geese breed in the far north, on the Arctic coasts of North America. There are three populations of Snow Geese — western, mid-continent and eastern.
There are two color forms, or morphs of Snow Geese — white or blue. While the coastal Snow Geese populations are mostly the traditional white, the mid-continent populations has a high percentage of blue-morphs. And this is apparently an immature blue-morph.
I took these shots with my cell phone. Now that I know that at least one Snow Goose is hanging out with the Canada Geese at the library, I need to take my camera with me when I go, to get some better photographs of them.
As I pulled into my driveway this afternoon, I spotted a red-tailed hawk about 20 feet up in a cottonwood across the street.
I think this bird is a female, based on her size — female raptors are bigger than males. And she is big.
I’ve seen her several times in the neighborhood, usually being mobbed by the resident crows, ravens and magpies.
Which brings up the question — why is she in a suburban neighborhood? I mean, we are on the very western edge of the Denver metro area, with the mountains about half a mile away — she might cruise in once in a while to see what she could take, but the open foothills are better habitat for her. And we have a healthy resident population of woodland raptors like Coopers and sharp-shinned hawks that already patrol this territory.
She gave me no answers. I’ll just have to watch her like a hawk this winter, and see what happens.
After training (Zoe the Corgi’s First Day of Pet Therapy) and an initial evaluation, Zoe and I went to our final Pet Therapy evaluation today. Considering that Zoe is my third dog in the program (Dog as God’s Messenger), I was surprisingly nervous. I worried that I might forget something or that rules might have changed while I wasn’t looking.
Things started off well. We met Lyn, our evaluator, at hospice, and proceeded to visit the staff. We always try to see all the staff we can at hospice. It takes a special person to work there, and they deserve all the warm fuzzies we can give them. Zoe was her charming self, her little stub of a tail wagging furiously as she dashed over to see her next new best friend.
Once all the hospice staff had been suitably loved, we walked down the hall to see patients and family. As we approached our first room, we were surprised by a little Scottie who came charging out of the room, barking to mark it’s territory. Zoe, startled and challenged, barked back.
I groaned inside as red-alert alarms went off in my brain. Pet Therapy dogs are not supposed to bark in the hospital. I corrected Zoe by giving her the “leave it” and “quiet” commands, but I also waited for Lyn to show us the door.
But Lyn just shrugged. While patients can bring pets into hospice, they are supposed to abide by the same rules as pet therapy dogs, and not bark in the building. This dog had startled Zoe, and barked a challenge. Zoe responded, but quieted almost instantly. No harm, no foul. Whew!
The rest of the visit went fine. We shared the love with patients and visitors. I didn’t make any mistakes. Lyn’s biggest concern was that Zoe pulled at the end of her leash in her eagerness to get to people. Since she weighs 22 pounds, it wasn’t as if she was going to pull loose and go tearing down the hall. With age and experience, and me gently reminding her, we agreed that she’ll settle down and save her energy for wagging her tail stub.
So it’s official: Zoe has earned her purple scarf, and is now a Pet Therapy dog.