Thursday, February 19, 2009

Counting birds and a very naughty cat

Last weekend Cornell University encouraged everyone to count the birds in their back yard. The information gives researchers a 'picture' of the number of birds of each species and where they are. Here are a few of the birds that were counted in my yard.

A white breasted nuthatch.

A mourning dove. Don't they look like they are wearing blue eye shadow?

A colorful collection of redpolls and gold finches.

A handsome house finch.

I also counted cardinals, blue jays, tree sparrows, dark eyed juncos, several downey woodpeckers, a hairy woodpecker, a red bellied woodpecker, a starling, and many little chickadees.

Now for something non-bird related.

This is the poster boy for Bad Catitude, Toby the Terrible Tabby.

And this is his work.

My oh-so-warm and comfy slippers.

Why in the world did he decide to de-wool them?

Nothing is safe from this devious little wrecking machine;)

Is this the face of a cat who is sorry? No, he looks kind of smug to me.


tina said...

He's looking smug to me too, maybe he was wanting some blog time?:)

The birds are wonderful!

marmee said...

don't all cats have that same look of knowing more than anybody else around. i think that is why men don't like them as much. independents souls who need alot of attention.
it's great fun to count the birds in your area isn't it? wonderful specimens and wonderful captures.

Unknown said...

Great captures of the birds. I would have to agree that is a smug little face.

Randy said...


I absolutely adore the photos of the wild birds. I have fallen in utter and undeniable love with the goldfinches in our backyard this year, but I tell you what!! Those little guys are going to eat Randy and I out of house and home! We fill up their feeders several times a week now ;0) We, too, have many, many mourning doves here as well. I think they're beautiful creatures (and you're right about the eyes).

Your ill-behaved little tabby made me laugh out loud. As I told another fellow gardener on her blog recently, cats are funny "little people" - they have such personality.

--Jamie @ Creating Our Eden

Rock River Stitches said...

Love your bird pics! We have all those same birds. One of my kitties like to chew up my daughters foam flip flops. Anything that is foam or rubber. He even likes those styrofoam packing peanuts.


Anonymous said...

Oh, what a bad boy, and no remorse there, for sure! What a fabulous photo of the nuthatch. Ours stayed away the day I counted, as did several other species that are normally around. Typical. Oh to be able to take the kind of bird photos that you do, Marnie. You are a master!

Dog_geek said...

Oh, he does look awfully smug. I used to have egg crate foam under the dog beds in the living room, and our cats loved to pull chunks out of any exposed foam. I finally had to get rid of it since I got tried of cleaning up foam bitlets from all over the living room. Cats are just bizarre and mysterious creatures.

Zach said...

Love all the bird pics. But I have got to say, the mugshot of your cat was hillarious (I hope I spelled it right.)I really put a smile on my face. I have no clue why he dewooled your comfy slippers, maybee with seeing all of the birds he just had to go for some easy prey. And your slippers just fit the bill!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Good morning Tina, maybe he is sulking because I haven't given him any blog time lately.

Marmee, I like your theory. Men certainly don't appreciate that all-knowing attitude in cats.

Hi Darla, thank you.


troutbirder said...

Beautiful bird pictures. Very similar count to mine here in the far north. I added a Tufted T to my report. That is a very unusual bird here.

sweetbay said...

Wonderful bird pictures Marnie. That nuthatch looks cold! Redpolls always look so wonderfully drawn and colorful to me.

Toby has a look as if to say "My work is done here."

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Jamey, I know what you mean. The finch's favorite food is the most expensive. And they are so sloppy with it. Good thing the doves come along and clean up the mess.

Hi RockRiverStitches. I'm glad you stopped to visit. I'm sure you must get the same birds at your feeders. I keep hoping a tufted titmouse will move into my area. So far haven't seen any around. Do you get them?

Frances bird photos are more technique and camera choice than skill. A telephoto lens that doesn't require a tripod and a blind are all you need. A blind can be anything from a house or car window to an elaborate natural structure.


flydragon said...

Hey Marnie, maybe Toby is just trying to help out by gathering nice, soft, fluffy nest liner for all the birds in your backyard. He's just trying to show them what a good neighbor he can be. Uh huh.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi DogGeek, what are they thinking? Yummy wool, yummy foam.

Zach might be right, what can a cat do if he isn't getting the attention he deserves. Kill the slippers.

Troubbirder, I have been looking for a tufted titmouse for...forever. My Dad has them 10 mile from me. No good housing in my area I guess.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sweetbay, I'm not lucky enough to get redpolls very often. I really appreciated these. Colorful and very active. Typical squabbling finch behavior.

Flydragon, he's a good neighbor alright. He is no longer allowed outside during daylight "bird hours". He is the most efficient 'bird watcher' I've ever had. His job is outside in the evenings to 'watch' the mice eating birdseed under the feeders. He is so sweet to share those juicy mice with me;)


Susie said...

Hey Marnie, he does look kind of smug. I think he was thinking, "so, I chewed on your slippers, what are you going to do about it?"

Your bird photos are wonderful. How far away from the dove were you when you took the picture. Mine scatter like crazy if I even touch the back door doorknob.

joey said...

Stunning backyard bird photos, Marnie, as is Toby the Terrible Tabby's portrait ... most impressed with your talented eye!

walk2write said...

You just never know what kind of tricks those cats will have up their sleeves. I left a closet door cracked open the other day and later found a trail of shredded gift wrap marking our naughty cat's latest bit of mischief. She was probably mad because I had gone to babysit our grandson. Maybe Toby was jealous of your attention being diverted to the birds. He was shredding the notion that any other creature besides him is worthy of your attention and was letting you know that you had stepped across the line. Thanks for making me laugh, Marnie!

TC said...

I had intentions of trying to do a count here but something came up (I don't remember what it was, but that's always a good excuse to use when you don't want to say you were too lazy to do something). And I must take slight offense (actually I'm not offended at all but saying "take slight offense" sounded good) with Ms. Marmee's comment about men not liking cats as much. As much as what? Power tools? ATVs? Football? Roses? We have two tabbies and I like them as much as pulling out stinging nettles barehanded. See Ms. Marmee? Some men like cats as much as anything. ;~)

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Susi, I have a camera with a pretty good telephoto lens. The secret (besides the 18X lens) is to NOT put your hand on the door knob. Take the photo thru the window.

Joey, thank you for your kind words.

Walk2Write, LOL did you follow the trail straight to the criminal? Cats don't bother to hide their crimes;) They just give you that "Yeah, so what" attitude.

Hi TC, Marmee's observations were gained from years of observance;)


Rose said...

Beautiful bird photos, Marnie! They are not easy to photograph. I'm so glad you included the photo of the white-breasted nuthatch--I saw one here a couple of weeks ago and wasn't sure if I had identified it correctly, but that is certainly what it was.
I was afraid for a moment that Toby's mischief was somehow connected to the bird count--so glad it wasn't! Obviously, you have done something to displease him:) My Toby has been in hiding the last few days, wondering when the little "munchkins" (my grandkids) are leaving. He might have some revenge in mind for me, too.

Cindy said...

I love that last photo. What a portrait. Maybe he is tired of winter too.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hey Rose, Voodoo was my only cat that enjoyed visitors. My Toby disappears when adults or kids are here. Toby would love to do some mischief to the birds but I'm way ahead of him on that.

Hi Cindy, cats seem to hate winter more than people do. They want warmth and never seem to get enough hot weather.


Sherri said...

What a bad kittie! That is a smug look if I ever saw one!! Love the bird pics-thanks for sharing!

Pat said...

Love your birds!! So glad you posted. The "Red poll" intrigues me.
Wonderful photos. Naughty cute cat.

Nan and =^..^= said...

Hi Marnie,
Toby has an adorable face but that expression does convey smugness!
I love your photos of birds...we have many of the same here in our yard.

Anonymous said...

Oh Toby..You don't care one bit just like my two boys.....Glad you were able to do the bird count.

Unknown said...

Simon Q Snark likes to sleep in my or my husband's slippers, but he doesn't try to eviscerate them. Toby just did that because he could. And he's adorable and you've forgiven him....haven't you?

BeadedTail said...

Toby looks pretty smug to me - but also so cute! I love his brown nose!

Beautiful photos of birds in your yard! We don't have that many varieties so I enjoyed seeing who visits your neck of the woods!

Anonymous said...

How you get those incredible bird pictures I don't know! They are lovely against the snow.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
Wow, once again you have blown me away with your expertise on getting shots of (and not at!) these beautiful birds! We've seen the cardinals around this winter, but not the finches. They may be there and I've missed them, but I still hear the mourning doves around.

Being puppy centric right now, I've just been trying to keep Hanna from charging the robins who have already come back (brrr for them!) and coming around lately. Have to say, that as common as robins are, they're probably our favorite bird around Casa IVG, well them, the goldfinches and cardinals!

beckie said...

Marnie, your bird photos are wonderful. I especially like the dove. She looks like she is posing for you. What fun to participate in a bird count. I'm afraid I'd have sparrows and starlings only on my list. :} I honestly didn't know cats chewed stuff. Ours never has, she just likes to use the furniture as scratching posts. Toby does look like he's saying 'you want to make something of it?' why do we put up with their attitudes? :}

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sherri, thank you.

Patsi, I don't see the redpolls often. I was excited to have a small group visit.

Hi Nan, I guess the northern US east of the Rockies share many of the same birds.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi RamblingWoods, he was not impressed that I scolded him. He may have been ticked off that I woke him up;)

Hi Jody, I'll bet there is quite a story behind that cat name;)

Hi BeadedTail, I know folks living in more densely populated areas don't have a large variety.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail, they do show up against the snow. Eliminates all the distraction of brown grass and mud.

IVG, I think of robins as a sign of spring. Always enjoyable to watch them hopping around the lawn and pulling out fat worms.

Hi Beckie, Toby is still very young and full of mischief. My older cats are very sedate and well mannered. They wouldn't dream of ripping up a pair of slippers;) Oh well, nothing will cure Toby except years.


A Wild Thing said...

Looks to me like he's saying 'WHAT'...I really miss having a cat, but Scratchy would never accept...she's my lil' furry terrorist, as the hole in my antique lace curtains shows me it was an obstacle in her way, as she guards the fort from marauding felines...the house wrens are my faves, I follow them all over the yard!


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sharon, I have to have at least 2 cats. Usually, cats are restful and affectionate. My border collie is not restful.

Anonymous said...

Love that Nuthatch photo Marnie. I don't see them in my yard so what a treat to view your photo. Looks like you had a pretty good count. I'm vowing to participate next year but only if the hawks stay away. I had just put the feeders back up and a sharp-shinned made a kill the next day! So my yard has been deserted again. I've saved a lot of money in bird feed this winter but I'd rather be spending it on them and enjoying the company. :-(

That last photo of Toby is fantastic. How can you stay mad at such a face?!!! I haven't ever had a cat do these kinds of things, I guess I've gotten lucky??

Roses and Lilacs said...

Kathleen, I have a redtailed hawk hanging around. He occasionally gets a dove. Everybody says hawks need to eat too but I still feel guilty. Sometimes I put out a circle of low fencing for the ground feeding birds to eat in. The hawk can't swoop into it.

Connie said...

Awesome bird photos! what a nice variety you have there.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Connie, thank you. I was lucky to get a sunny day so I could get some decent photos. So often on my days off it's too dark and dreary to to do any photography.


Gail said...

Marnie, Excellent bird always have the best ones! and I do like Mr T, Toby The Terrible Tabby....nothing is cuter then a cat with attitude and style! Gail

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Gail, I'm going to tell him what you said. He will be very pleased to learn he has style;) I probably will leave out the part about him being cute. No point in making him even more smug and full of himself;)

Naturegirl said...

Oh oh.. bad puddy cat!!!!How smug he does look! I loved the humor and any cat owner can relate!!
I missed out on the count and your images are stunning! happy birding..hide the slippers!

Balisha said...

Hi Marnie...He looks like he is saying, "Deal with it!"

Raymonty said...

Very nice photos of birds. How do you get so close to them?

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I don't know why we don't see many kinds of birds. Maybe they're all in the cemetery across the street. we have lots of trees in our area, but not our yard. The sparrows and squirrels really enjoyed the feeders this year.

In the summer, we see blue jays, robins, cardinals, and I can hear woodpeckers.

Yes, your kitty does look smug, and not sorry for taking the fluff out of your slippers. Did you put the fluff out for the birds to put in their nests?

TYRA Hallsénius Lindhe said...

Wonderful post Marnie and your bird pictures are just stunning. I like the look in your cats eyes, unquestionably guilty.


TatteredSpinner said...

Ah. I know that look. You've got to look out when they get their Garfield face on.

Anonymous said...

Your bird photos are wonderful! And I love the picture of your terrible tabby. He's a handsome boy!

Anonymous said...

All the birdie photos are grand and so nice of you to count birds while being so busy. Poor kitty--don't be too rough on him. He's just wanting to be close to momma--right? I mean what does he have against your slippers? Just being curious I suppose. Wish I had a kitty. Darn allergies.

Jan said...

You're right, Toby has catitude--almost looks like 'mad-a-tude'!

Your photos turned out perfectly! You saw quite a variety of birds! I've never seen a redpole-but I do get the housefinches and goldfinches.

It was funny, but I saw less birds during the GBBC days than I usually see! Typical, I guess! I was happy to see a Pileated Woodpecker stop by one day. They don't visit as often as the rest.

Have a great weekend (what's left of it!)

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

LOL, he *does* look kind of smug. Man, I'm amazed neither of my cats does any of the things other cats seem to get up to! And it's certainly not because I trained them to behave!! ;-) The birds I saw were:
Locality: 48108, Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, MI
Observation Date: FEB 16, 2009
Start Time: 4:00 PM
Total Birding Time: 1 hour
Party Size: 1
Skill: excellent
Weather: excellent
Snow Depth: Less than 2 in (5.1 cm)
deciduous woods
Number of Species: 9
All Reported: yes
Mallard - 3
Mourning Dove - 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker - 1
Downy Woodpecker - 1
Black-capped Chickadee - 2
White-breasted Nuthatch - 1
Dark-eyed Junco - 5
Northern Cardinal - 2
House Sparrow - 10

twenty pound tabby said...

Ahhhh! I'd be upset if my slippers were de-wooled too!

Donovan and Eric are also vying for the Terrible Tabby award. Especially at night.

Kylee Baumle said...

LOL. The joys of owning cats! Really. No, really, I love my cats! Even when they throw up.

Great bird photos!

Kerri said...

You have a nice variety of birds there, Marnie. I saw a couple of redpolls the other day. We only see them occasionally.
What a great shot you got of the cute little nuthatch!
They're all great photos. We should see some House and Purple Finches soon. The Redwinged black birds are back! We've had them for about 3 days now. They're a sure sign of spring :)
Oh dear, naughty Toby! I'll bet he's bored with being cooped up indoors too long. Ours are. They're getting antsy. Yesterday I found a pkg of 4 rolls of toot paper with the middle of a couple of rolls ripped into. Ah yes, kitties can be trouble! :) Molly is my suspect.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

This face is a face of someone that totally disregardes what a human might think. He is King of his castle.