- It's interesting to observe the different personalities of raptors.
Accipiters certainly seem to be more determined than other hawks. One
fall I watched as a Cooper's Hawk flew at a covey of Grey Partridge
foraging near a farmyard's double hedge of caraganas. At the first
alarm, the partridge dove into the caraganas. A Red-tailed Hawk or
Swainson's Hawk would likely have given up at that point, but the
Cooper's barely slowed down as it hit the ground running and plunged
into the bushes. The partridge exploded out of the hedge with the
Cooper's in hot pursuit. They disappeared over the yard so I don't
know the outcome, but it's no wonder that birds panic when accipiters
On Saturday, near White Bear I watched a Prairie Falcon hovering like
a kestrel as it hunted a stubble field. Small rodents are listed as
prey for PRFAs and hovering is considered one of their 11 methods of
hunting, but I'd never seen it before. On the third hover, the falcon
dove for something and remained on the ground for about a minute. I
couldn't see what it caught, but I've seen Deer Mice in the daytime in
that area this year, so it was likely a mouse. There has been a
Prairie Falcon roosting on round bales in this field for about a
month; on February 6 there were two falcons in that same field. The
hunting must be good.
- A bird will be mentioned!
On Sunday we came upon small animal tracks on the snow looping in many, many
circles beside a shelterbelt. The loops got smaller and smaller, and in the
middle was a dead vole.
There didn¹t seem to be any other predator tracks and the body was
Some parasites alter their hosts¹ behaviour in order to get the host eaten
and the parasite passed on to another host: this happens in snails which are
eaten by birds (the parasite causes the snail to seek light, climbing up a
stalk), and mantids which get eaten by fish (the parasite causes the mantis
to enter water).
So I¹m wondering if the vole was forced up on top of the snow and to make
lots of tracks, running around exposed for at least an hour I¹d guess, so
that it might be picked up by a coyote or bird.
Sunday we also saw a Snowy Owl and many Horned Larks near Kronau.
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- A few days ago when it was warm sunny afternoon I went opened the patio door
to let in real air.
That night while walking down the hallway to the bathroom I noticed a mouse
on the floor. Now the only mice I have ever seen have been dead on their
side or running away. So this was an unique house mouse to me.
"Is that a mouse?"
"Yes! That's a mouse," exclaimed Carol. "Kill it."
I was handed a broom that came out of nowhere. I whacked at the mouse. Well,
I did hit it. But with the bristles. Into the next room it zipped where it
huddled by the wall and a bureau. It wasn't moving.
"Put a bucket over it."
This time I found the bucket - a Norwex environmentally friendly soap
bucket. The mouse squeaked.
No idea why until I saw that I caught its tail between the floor and the
bucket rim. With care I released the pressure off the tail and pushed the
mouse up into the bucket as I capped it with its lid.
I have told Maria Nixon, Saskatchewan's Norwex manager, that her soap has
one more selling point and I suggested to Carol that we should have kept the
mouse to get a perfect skeleton.
Maria smiled. Carol was not amused.
Why am I mentioning this? I have never seen such a slow mouse. I wonder
what it was sick with.
Martin in Weyburn
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