The Great Backyard Bird and Coyote Watch

All the animals are out and about now.

Spring may not begin until March — which I quibbled about previously, so I won’t reiterate my arguments, much as I enjoy reiterating my favorite peeves — but the wildlife around Santa Fe is gearing up for warm weather.

Tuesday evening, as dusk fell, a couple of bunnies came out to hit up the game bird block out front. And a jumping mouse hopped by. Then, yesterday morning, I awoke to fog outside the window — and a coyote walking by. Last night, a bobcat came up on the porch to nose around. And sniff around the game bird block.

Predators following prey in the eternal cycle.

The flickers have been diligently hammering on the house. If you’ve never heard a woodpecker at work on your house, well it sounds like the roofing crew showed up again. Maybe just the finish crew. But you could swear someone’s out there pounding nails. If you look behind the suet feeder in this photo, you can see the fresh hole in the portal post that this selfsame bird drilled into it.

I assume that’s her, anyway. She refused to give her name.

Being a woman, I decided food was the answer. The gal at the local Wild Birds Unlimited was dubious.

“Are you sure they’re not looking to carve out a nest?”

“It’s about the size of a quarter,” I say. “If so, they’ve got a ways to go.”

I’d walked in and asked for the Woodpecker’s Friend. Which makes sense to me, but I apparently live in my own delusional world. I’m at peace with that. At any rate, the thing I thought I saw at Christmastime wasn’t what I thought it was and it wasn’t called that anyway. The upshot? I have to be my own woodpecker’s friend. So I got the basic suet frame and the recommended suet and made David install it all over the hole, so the flickers would eat the suet and not the portal.

Right, he thought I was nuts, too.

And for a while, all we got on there were the bushtits. Which turned out to be really neat because they hadn’t visited us other wise.

Then, a couple of days ago: the flickers found the suet. They’ve been happily cracking away on it — and no other part of the house — ever since. I know. I am totally vindicated. I *am* the Woodpecker’s Friend. One day all you people learn not to scoff.

The Great Backyard Bird Count starts on Saturday. No qualifications required to participate. This year, if you tweet, you can use the hashtag #gbbc to report bird sightings. Hey, it does NOT get more fun than that people!

Nobody seems to sponsor the Great Backyard Coyote Count. But we caught one on the night-vision camera last night. It’s actually an amusing sequence as he and the bunnies visit throughout the night. Tonight we’ll see if we can’t snap one of the bobcat and maybe I’ll post the whole sequence tomorrow.

Oh, in this photo? I’m pretty sure he’s looking at Isabel in the window.

She’s hiding in the laundry basket today.