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For The Birds #2

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I absolutely love bird watching.  I’ve created quite the bird habitat in my front yard and am able to enjoy several different bird species every day.  I love seeing my old friends who come and go with the change of the seasons, like the White Throated Sparrow, Pine Siskin, and the Dark Eyed Junco, but my favorite birds are those who never leave me.  I know every day of the year, no matter the season, I can step on my front porch and see a cute little Tufted Titmouse or a beautiful Cardinal.  They are always there sharing their lovely song and lively activity with me.  This post is for those faithful friends.

I recently got a DSLR camera, and I must say I can’t believe it took me so long to make the switch!  I am obsessed with it!  I may never use my point and shoot again!  Some of the first pictures I took with my new camera were of my beautiful birds (after taking pictures of my cute kiddos first, of course).  I was amazed by the change in picture quality.  I guess those extra megapixels really do make a huge difference.  And it doesn’t hurt that I have a nice zoom lens now, also.  So, without further ado, here are my first birding pics with my new camera…aren’t these guys lovely…see why I like bird watching so much?!?




The lovely, blazing red, male Cardinal.  Perched on a pine in the middle of a snow storm.




My very favorite bird of all!  The Tufted Titmouse…cute as a button.  You should see these crazy guys peck at a sunflower seed.  Hours of enjoyment!

Hope everyone has a wonderful day.  Try to get out and enjoy the birds for a minute…you’ll be glad you did!

For The Birds: Rescue Mission

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Yesterday, while spending some time outside with my kiddos, we encountered a little bird acting very strangely.  It was trying to fly, but was unable to.  It was also unable to stand upright and kept falling backwards.  I was immediately concerned that this bird might have a broken wing or leg, but upon inspection of the wings and feet, I found that they seemed to be fine.  I am not a vet or an expert, but the bird seemed to be moving its wings without problems, and was able to grip with its claws and move its legs.  So why was this little bird unable to stand or fly?


I put the bird, which I believe was a Wood Thrush, on a soft towel in a box with air holes.  The box was actually a Build-A-Bear box my son found for me to use.  So sweet of him to donate his box.  I called the Wildlife Rehabilitators who referred me to a vet in Charleston who cares for wild animals.  I drove over an hour to take this bird to the vet.  I had a bit of a let down when they just took the bird to the back without me.  I guess I thought I would get to go back to see what was wrong with it, even though it wasn’t really a pet.  I didn’t even get to say goodbye.  The receptionist couldn’t give me any information about what she thought might be wrong with this little bird and told me to call later when the vet had a chance to look at it.  The bird, if it could be healed, would be released from that location, not coming back home with me to be released where I found it.  So, I left, with no answers and no bird.


As soon as I got home, I called the vet’s office and was told that the bird had neurological issues and was euthanized.  No other answers, no other explanation.  I was very sad to hear this.  Such a beautiful bird that will never fly again.  I’m guessing this bird fell from its tree or flew into a window, as many birds do.  I know this isn’t the first time a bird has suffered from neurological issues, and I know putting it to sleep was more humane than allowing it to suffer and starve to death, but I still keep wondering if there was something more I could have done for it.


So, today I am mourning for a wild bird that wasn’t even my pet, but was just in my care for one short day.  I’ll always remember the way it looked up at me with such curiosity and trust.  I hope it at least felt some safety and love for those last few hours of its life.  And I pray there is a heaven for animals so this beautiful little birdie can fly and be whole once again.

Meet Mr. Toad

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You may recall that my children are on a mission to find as many reptiles and amphibians as they can this year.  At my last reptilian post, I believe we had 16 frogs (plus hundreds of tadpoles), 5 blue-tailed lizards, 1 salamander, and one lovely little turtle named Boxy Roxy.

Now, we can add a handsome little toad to the list.  Meet Mr. Toad!


Such a cute little warty guy!  He loved sitting in my hand for this picture.  What is it with all these photo loving animals?

My kiddos decided to name this guy Mr. Toad because of their love of the stories of Mr. Toad and the classic Disney movie.  I think he looks an awful lot like the character from the book, don’t you?


My sweet little children were so happy with their find.  Ribbit, ribbit!


Now, the list for reptiles and amphibians found by my two little explorers consists of 16 frogs (plus tadpoles), about 20 blue-tailed lizards (we’ve found more!), 1 salamander, 1 turtle, and….one lovely little toad!

Maybe we’ll find a few more today.  Hope your day is “toad-ally” awesome!

Meet Boxy Roxy, The Turtle

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My kids are really into reptiles and amphibians.  Those of you who have been reading my blog know this already.  For those of you who are new to my blog, you should be forewarned that there will be lots and lots of reptile and amphibian pictures posted on here because every time my kids find a new lizard or frog or salamander, they must have a picture taken, and usually insist that I post it on my blog (which they seem to think belongs to them).

So far this year, we have found 8 lizards, 1 salamander, 16 frogs (that isn’t counting the hundreds of tadpoles), and a turtle.

The turtle was found for my kiddos by their cousins.  They have been dying to find a turtle, and having trouble doing it, so this really made their day.  They finally got to add turtle to their list!  And what a sweet turtle it was.  It wasn’t shy at all.  It came out of its shell for a picture, and crawled around all of us (even across our toes), until it finally made a nice little home in my landscaping.  The kids named it Boxy Roxy!  Where do they come up with these names?

Here’s our sweet little turtle, Boxy Roxy.


Boxy Roxy brought such joyful smiles to my kid’s faces as she crawled around and looked at us with her cute little face.


Then, she decided she had had enough attention, and crawled into my landscaping to rest.  Bye, Boxy Roxy!  See ya later!


What will they find next?

My Furry Family

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Well, you’ve met my husband and kids, but have you met the rest of my family? They are all covered in a great amount of fur!

I keep saying I have a sign up somewhere at my house that says, “Strays Welcome Here”.  I haven’t found it yet, but I know it’s there.  Either that, or all the strays are sending out the message that a big softy lives here.  Yep, that’s me, big softy.

We started out feeding this little gray and white cat that kept hanging around.  He was so adorable, and I actually wanted to take him in, but he only wanted me for my food.  So, I kept feeding him in the hopes that he might warm up to me.  Well, he didn’t warm up to me so much as he did the little female stray that showed up on our porch on a cold November evening a few years ago.


Chessie, as I named her because she reminds me of the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland, wandered right into the house…and there she has remained.  She is a very shy cat, and I’m pretty sure she was abused at some point before coming here.  She showed up cold, scared, and without claws, and my softy heart melted.  My vet thought since she was declawed, she was also spayed…she even saw the scar.  But that’s a story for a little later…

Well, Chessie is, as we came to find out, a Bengal cat.  These cats are a breed between a domestic cat and an Asian Leopard cat.  She is the most beautiful cat I have ever seen.  She is also very snobby and aristocratic.  She talks, yes, she talks, and opens doors.  I’m just waiting for her to start flushing the toilet…just kidding.

Shortly after Chessie came into our home, the little gray and white cat followed.  He had been injured in a fight with another cat and had to be inside for over a month, and he just stayed.  We named him Grayson.  Grayson is a very large cat, and now that he is so pampered and loved on and fed, he is a very fat cat…and so adorable.

Our next addition was a little black cat who must have seen the sign on my front door.  He got to us through the children.  He is the most loving cat I’ve ever seen.  He’s always bumping against us for a good petting or jumping in our laps.  When the kids realized they could actually pet and hold this cat, they wanted him…and softy couldn’t say no.  My son named our little black cat Punch.  There’s a funny story behind that name…Wallace and Grommit…bunnies named Munch…my son hearing the name wrong…and Punch was born.


Here’s where Chessie being “spayed” comes into the picture.  Punch was not neutered when we first got him.  And clearly, Chessie was not spayed, because she started getting really fat.  And a short time later, she had 5 little kittens.  We had no intention of keeping them…3 cats is enough!  Well, softy, that’s me, got attached, and so did my kiddos.  And whether hubby will admit it or not, he did, too.  So we added 5 more cats to the already full house.  And here are their names (get ready…they are super original)…Moseley, because he looks like an old man, Whitey, because he’s white, Climby, because he likes to climb, Scrapper, because she likes to fight, and Baby, because, you guessed it, she’s the baby!  I told you they were original!  Hahaha!


So one would think with 8 cats (no, they don’t all live in my house, only Grayson), we would find a way to remove the “Strays Welcome Here” sign.  Obviously not, because this past summer, a little puppy showed up in our yard.  At the time, I thought it was an old dog on its death bed.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen an animal in worse shape.  She was so skinny, I could see her ribs.  She had  fleas jumping all over her.  She had huge bald spots and sores from the fleas and secondary infections.  She was so bad off that she wouldn’t eat, even though she was clearly starving.  Just to get her to drink water, I had to put it on my hand and stick it to her mouth.  She was dying.

We took her to our vet to see what could be done.  We got rid of the fleas, got antibiotics for the infections, and got all the vaccinations for a 14 week old dog!  I couldn’t believe she was just a little puppy!  We planned on helping this pup until a friend could arrange a transport for her to a new home…and she is still here today.  After all the love and attention we put into saving her life, we couldn’t send her to live with someone else.  So, my husband got the honor of naming our latest, and hopefully last, addition…Lady.


Almost one year later, Lady is no longer a bald, skinny pup.  She is a shaggy, healthy, happy dog, and I hope she loves her home here with us as much as we love her…and all the rest of our furry family.

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