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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Beautiful skies, bobcats, and hummingbirds

The pups and I hit the trails early enough to see the end of the sunrise.
I love the gentle hue of the world when the sun is awakening.
And, we saw deer and elk who were also awakening. R's recall from ungulates (deer and elk) has become incredibly strong over the past week. We seem to be seeing them daily or even twice daily - and K has shown R how to whip back to me instead of chasing them. It seems like one of the deer is missing but I don't know how cohesive deer herds are. The size of small herd seemed to decrease by one around when I last saw lion tracks.

I mentioned yesterday that male bobcats kill and eat deer. My husband reacted with disbelief. The evidence is strong. It comes from examining the stomach contents of thousands of dead bobcats killed for fur from all over North America. The book that I'm reading Bobcat: Master of Survival by Kevin Hansen cites numerous primary research papers to support the idea that bobcats eat deer. The part that's harder to prove scientifically is that the bobcats actually kill the deer that they eat rather than feeding on carrion. That part of the story is based on numerous observations of bobcats in the act of killing deer in the wild.

As the dogs and I climbed upward after our animal encounters, we emerged above the trees and I involuntarily said "wow". The clouds and mountains were stunningly beautiful.As we stood and soaked up the beauty, I honestly believed that I heard a male hummingbird pass overhead. After the metallic buzzing passed, I wondered if I'd hallucinated because it's a month early for the first hummingbirds to arrive. Then, I remembered two years ago when we had a wayward Broad-billed Hummingbird hang around our house for 4 days about 6 weeks after our native hummingbirds (Broad-Tailed and Rufous) had migrated. Broad-billed Hummingbirds usually live far south of here and have been seen in Colorado only very rarely. This guy was definitely lost, and the fact that we'd left our feeder out provided him with food during a few days rest. I have video of him below - I couldn't get a still photo because he left everytime I went out on the deck but the video camera on a tripod worked.

So, based on that experience, and thinking that I heard a hummingbird today, I think that I'll put out my feeder to help any wayward hummers that are passing over our snowy mountains.


  1. Even here in the dessert we get hummingbirds, year round. With regards to your previous post and the feeling that you are being observed while you ride, I get the same feeling when I am in the dessert, even though about the only animal that might sprint out of nowhere might be a coyote or a burro (donkey).

  2. Hummingbirds, already? It is too early, but maybe I should cook up some juice and get our feeder out.


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