Yes, looking back over the last few posts, it is clear I have become a bit moon mad. But in the best possible way, I hope. I do think that I can be excused for my excessive interest (although this article doesn’t), as this was the third and final super moon for 2019, a bit of an event I think.
As the Latin title says, ‘From the moon, knowledge.’ According to the CBS news website (US television):
This close approach [to earth, definition of a super moon] is called perigee by astronomers.
The March equinox [Did I forget to say it marked the spring equinox as well?] is the start of spring for the Northern Hemisphere. Full moons that occur in March are often called “worm moons” because spring brings warmer temperatures — and, therefore, more worms, CNET reports. Put these two things together and you get the “super worm equinox moon.”
While Super Worm Equinox is cool, this moon is also known by the following names: Lenten Moon, Crow Moon, Crust Moon, Chaste Moon, Sugar Moon, and Sap Moon.
I am liking the Crow Moon
Because, as I have mentioned in previous posts, when not talking about the moon, I now have a resident crow family. Not resident in the sense that they have a nest or even roost in my yard (that would be so cool), but because when they do leave wherever it is they roost, they pretty much report for work in the vicinity of my yard and touchdown for some food in it. It helps that there is a field across the way, and plenty of trees to watch and gossip in. They, as well as the resident robin and blackbird out front, wake me up in the morning . The problem is that one of their favorite gossiping posts is a tree in the next yard that borders another yard. I wouldn’t class those neighbors as the most wild-life friendly. And it’s their windows the crows have decided to have their loudest, most prolonged conversations (when they are not buzzing my yard to scope out the food opportunities. I swear British Crows have lower pitched voices than American Crows…
And they’re off!
It just seems like all the birds and bees are amped up just this past week, in time for equinox. I have three boy blackbirds, including Boss (my pal for going on 6 years now), too busy chasing each other out of territories to bother with worms, which leaves all the more for the girls, one of which follows me into the garage in the morning to get her own stash.
Of course, this behavior is nothing new to the robins; they have been chasing each other off for at least a month now. But, in the past week or so, I have noticed this behavior in the great tits. This is interesting to me, because I am of the opinion (not empirical mind, but from years of observation) that this is the point at which the rather close-knit family of great tits, parents and children who have been together since last spring nesting and fledging, starts to come apart in territorial battles before breeding. I think last summer there were at least two sets of fledges, vying for the bird feeders.
The bees I am keeping an eye on for now. We have not invaded their space to examine or to leave fondant. I bought the fondant and had every intention of giving it to them. Aside from lack of opportunity, I held back because my bees, if I can presume to use the possessive, never go for it. So I am keeping an eye.
It’s a new one on me
I’ve never had any dealings with them before, but have seen plenty on Yukon Vet (tv series). I’m a little dubious of the ‘keeping’ of them especially if not in a herd. But maybe I am getting a little extreme on the subject of wild animals and captivity? (can’t bear to see birds in cages). Anyway, as part of my volunteering for Cinnamon Trust, I am helping someone tend to alpacas. They are fascinating creatures. I have read that alpacas are more like cats, and llamas are more like dogs. I don’t know any llamas, but I think the comparison between cats and alpacas is a good one. They are aloof, indifferent to touch, but their curiousity allows for some pretty close contact. I have been in the paddock twice with them, and it’s been–you guessed it–cool!
As it’s spring, another country heard from
Which allows me to report that I have finally found the one sensible voice in the hedgehog world–finally! Pat Morris has actually run projects on hedgehog behavior, including eating. He’s the man who essentially ‘wrote the book’ on hedgehogs which has just been updated. None of this ‘don’t feed them peanuts, don’t feed them mealworms because they will get bandy legs’ nonsense based on no empirical evidence, only that a few bandy legged ones had been reported from a garden where big bowlsful of peanuts had been left.
This is what Pat Morris has to say:
Now this is going to upset a lot of folk. In seventeen nights, at least eleven different animals visited our principal food bowl. The six radio-tagged ones (all caught at the bowl) did not simply pop in…to feed at the special bowl and then go back again. They all went to other gardens as well…the normal pattern was to forage from one garden to the next, taking in neighbours’ food bowls on the way. So each particular garden does not have its own separate set of visitors. Moreover, on some nights the animals deserted the study garden and went to visit others in another road 200 metres away. (p110).
The point is that despite the easy pickins’, hedgehogs roam far and wide, and they have a wide diet. It might be disturbing to some to know that they are partial to other animals if the opportunity presents, maybe even birds and rats (this page mentions Morris’ data, and provides graphs on the stomach contents of hedgehogs. While Morris is careful to say he hasn’t evidence of mammals as part of their diet, the writer on this page is more convinced (not I didn’t say ‘convincing’). The upshot is that hedgehogs are scavengers.
Oh, and about the peanuts: just make sure they are chopped as whole ones can get stuck in their teeth. And Morris kept referring to bread and milk, and I know milk is anathema on sanctuary websites. Not necessarily so, according to Morris.
Wooh, began blog with one obsession only to finish with another!