Wednesday, July 27, 2011

All in a day's work!

I have to tell you a little story about what I found while mowing the  pastures the other day.  The alpacas only eat the grass in the pastures. In our pastures we have brome and orchard grass, but we also have some wild daisies, thistles, and queen anne's lace growing. So before all that goes to seed we like to mow them down with the tractor and brush hog.
When I mow the pastures it usually takes me two to three days. I can only ride the tractor for a couple of hours at a time as I usually start getting stiff, but I do enjoy doing it. I love the views, fresh air and sunshine. While mowing I stir up a lot of grasshoppers and other bugs, that the barn swallows swoop down to catch and eat. So while mowing I usually have the swallows following me around the pastures. They like to dive close to my head at times, but they never have "collided" with me. They are so much fun to watch.

When I'm mowing, I always keep a look out for other critters hiding in the grass. I have seen everything from baby rabbits, foxes, and fawns hiding in the tall grass. Of course I don't want to hurt them with the tractor or the brush hog.  When I was mowing the other day,  I caught something out of the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was a big toad that was trying to hop away as fast as it could. I looked again and it was a baby bird! It was not able to fly. I thought, oh the killdeers are having their second brood. We do get a few nests in early spring.  But I didn't see any of them hanging around trying to distract me with their broken wing tricks.  So I got off of the tractor and went to look at the bird.  It was trying to hop away. It was so small that at times you could not see it in the grass.  I didn't see any adult birds hanging around, so I wasn't sure what kind of bird it was.  It was in the middle of the pasture, so I couldn't just leave it there, as I might not see it on the next pass. So I took my hat off, and gently laid it over the bird. I then picked it up.

These pics are a little blurry, but I was trying to take the picture with only one hand using my phone.

As I was looking around the pastures, I spotted two tiny brown birds setting on the fence. I said to the baby bird (and yes it listened) "that must be your parents." So I walked over to the area where I saw them and put the baby bird on the other side of the electric fence. It then proceeded to hop away.  As I walked back to the tractor, I spotted another one!  Again, I laid my hat on it, picked it up and walked it back over to where I released the other bird. It too hopped off into the direction of the other bird.  When I got back onto the tractor and started to mow, I noticed the two birds that I figured were the parents.  I got closer to them to try and identify what they were. They looked like they might be what my bird book says are Fox sparrows. They have 2 broods a year and nest close to the ground.    All in all that day I moved 4 baby birds out of the pastures.  I seen that they were found by the parents as they were swooping down into the grass where I had released them. So for the next two days as I mowed, I kept a good eye out for anymore. I did come across one more, but it was close enough to the fence, that I didn't have to catch it. It hopped right out under the fence. So hopefully they are going to be fine and soon they will fly away.

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