Saturday, February 25, 2012


I love these photos Rob took of a crow at Richmond Beach a few weeks ago.

Birds have taken over my life, I'll just admit it.  I trudge into the rainy, today snowy, still-dark yard most mornings to go check on the chickens first thing, in my pajamas, maybe my coat and my chicken coop boots.  I might do yoga, make coffee and breakfast and then I usually have to bring them an additional treat or rotate the birds around.  We've added Little Red and Buttermilk to our existing flock and the addition now requires more effort on my part - making sure the first birds allow the newbies time with the food and water.  But these birds are worth it - the news ones are poster birds.  I get why the first birds are resentful and a little jealous of the new ones.  Anyway, the rest of the day is punctuated by trips to offer snacks, freshen up water, sing to them (this they love), check for eggs, praise the layers, and encourage the non-layers.  The rhythms of their days have woven themselves into the rhythms of our days.  Before I go to bed, I sneak back down one more time to tuck Buttermilk onto the inside roost:  she is usually on the outside roost, freezing because the other birds keep her out of the nesting box.   I think the whole family has benefited from me having additional recipients of my tenacious and fairly intrusive love, affections, and recommendations, not to mention serenades.

Here are pictures of the new ones, first, and the old ones, second.

The dark one is Little Red; the lighter one is Buttermilk.  They were named by our friends who we inherited them from.

And the original flock from our farmer friends in Central Washington is below.  Ruby is the one facing the camera, and that posture definitely reflects her nature.  Smoky, the white one and once the newbie herself, has always been the sweetest and mildest of the birds, but now she is the meanest to the new birds. Peep, lurking behind, shares the same black/white coloring as Ruby but not her Type A personality.  If Ruby is the alpha dog, Charcoal is her wing man, a firm second-in-command; she's the black one you can see best in the second photo down.  You can tell these three photos below were taken by me, not the resident photographer who took the ones above of the crows and the new girls.  In the last one you see the chickens are they often are, racing across the yard.  They can run very fast - faster than you might think, and sometimes they add some flapping of wings to really propel themselves across the yard, especially if they have an inkling of a tasty treat.