November 2: Back to cold and gloomy weather again. A bit of snow yesterday really sent the birds into high gear at the feeders. We've had a few sick A. Goldfinch that appeared to be suffering from salmonellosis. I just dread this awful disease, it spreads so quickly and it can linger for weeks. I sanitize and clean our feeders monthly but will have to do this more often until the disease runs it's course. Also need to visit with neighbors to see what's going on at their feeders- if they aren't keeping clean feeding stations, then all of my efforts are fruitless.

November 5: Sighted quite a few hawks on the way over to Prescott yesterday. A couple Northern Harriers, a Red-tailed & a Cooper's hawk. This is always a good region for watching hawks & there were a few American Kestrels perched on wires around the area. We have a young 6 pt. buck that is coming in nightly to feed, and he is chasing many of the does around. A large skunk has been visiting the feeder areas again and I watched it with binoculars at the pond last night while it drank. They really are beautiful animals.. from a distance.

November 6:

A Hummingbird Prayer

Spirit of our highest aspirations and deepest dreams in a flight of fancy mood, would that I could see my world as hummingbird does: I would take precious moments to sniff the flowers tapping into every precious variety. I would hover over the fragrance of life. I would be mobile in my imagination, unencumbered and alert to each of life's tiny pleasures, each dear moment worth its weight in gold. Boredom would find no domicile for earth is a dwelling surrounded with gardens, banked high with flowers. I would seek to be continually energized by your fragrant grace, I would pull up and away from sour, rancid days and descend to the very point of my heart's desire. Reveling in the splendor of each petal, each golden branch; my rest would be intense, my flight fluid and graceful. An artisan of flight, a harrier rising straight up, pulled up and away again and again toward my pursuit of bliss.

(Father William J. Fitzgerald)

In loving memory of my maternal Grandmother, Bonnie Oleta Bottoms-Yandell, who loved flowers and hummingbirds and life.. so very well.

November 9: The recent warm-up has brought a few moth species out again in the evening.. mostly noctuids. They're quite worn but still a very welcome sight.

November 12: On the xpressway heading south today we sighted many Canada Geese- hundreds of them were resting on the ponds near the highway. Counted 8 Red-tailed hawks from the Sterling exit to the Wilder Rd. exit. Our resident Sharp-shinned hawk is once again visiting the backyard often.

November 15: Although we can't see up close what's going on in the wooded property to the east of our own, the birds and wildlife are telling us in their own way (and so did about 10 very loud rifle reports at daybreak). The area birds are letting us know where the hunters are at on neighboring property by their constant scolding, especially the large flock of Blue Jays & the few American Crows that roost in that area. Mourning doves consistently announce when the deer feel safe enough to come in to feed- a flock of 12 or so always follow the small herd around and usually feed right at their feet. When the deer rest, the doves rest- when the deer bolt or move on, the doves flush. The herd is being pushed around alot today so we're hearing the doves flush often. Our local family of 4 Pileated Woodpeckers are very active and have been sounding off in alarm whenever they are disturbed. A female chisled on a dead birch near the pond for awhile.

We still have 5 Hairy Woodpeckers that continue to follow each other around the property- why they stick so close together is a mystery to me, they did this last winter season too. 4 of them are males. They exhibit classic mating behavior, swaying their heads back and forth and call to each other constantly. Gives new meaning to the phrase 'male bonding'.

November 23: Mom got confirmation on two hummingbirds that have been at her feeders for the past few weeks. A hummingbird bander-in-training came to her home and was able to get a few photos of the smaller female. He has tentatively id'd both birds as Rufous Hummingbirds. Mom is delighted to have them there and there's a good chance they will over-winter in her yard in Sallisaw Oklahoma.

We hearing two separate Great Horned Owls nearby lately. With rifle deer season still in full swing, the deer are still very scattered and cautious. I'll be glad when the season closes, there is alot of poaching going on this year in our area.

November 25: Right at dusk, I glanced out the kitchen window and noticed a beautiful male Northern Cardinal sitting on the platform feeder. We had 4 cardinals here for most of the summer, but they dissapeared about a month ago, so this was a very pleasant sighting.

November 27: While watching one of the yearling does drinking from the pond, I thought something was very amiss- her demeanor was that of a starved animal, and after she stood up I was horrified to see she's been shot in the mouth. She is obviously in great pain and to say I'm upset about this is putting it mildly. I took photos, but for evidence only. I can't bear to look at them.

November 28: No sign of the doe, but she did visit the pond during the evening and left blood stains all around the flagstone. I put out soft bread in the hopes she finds it before the racoons and possums- my hopes are she can chew soft food, but her injury looks pretty serious and could proove fatal if infection sets in, she's already so very weak and dehydrated. I'm saddened by the fact that no matter how much effort we put into keeping our property a safe haven for wildlife, that someone who doesn't respect life can change that with one thoughtless act. I say thoughtless because it wasn't a 'hunter' who shot her. This person is shooting deer illegally. I will do what I can to see that they never do this to another animal. With a heavy heart, I tried to get into the spirit of Thanksgiving, not in the traditional sense, but in the sense of being thankful. I sat out in the cold winds listening to the many beautiful birds that grace our property and thought of just how much they enrich my days with their presence. I'm thankful that I have the eyes to see them with- the ears to hear them with- and loved ones to share them with. One need not think too hard or long to count their blessings when surrounded by the beauty that is found in nature. I will again make this a safe haven for all things wild- I will settle for no less. They give me so much in return.

November 29: A few Canada Geese remain on the unfrozen areas of Henderson Lake and a young male Ruffed Grouse was very well hidden in the dense cover nearby.

Additional 2002 Monthly Journals: March April May June July August September October December