Friday, January 18, 2019

On hibernation and courting


I have not been sleeping well the past week or so and as a result I have been getting to the dog park late. Not that that is a hardship, but it does mean I miss meeting up with some of my dogwalking friends. When that happens Hapi and I go off on some of the mountain bike trails which we both love. In the winter time there are no bikes to contend with, just the silence of the trees.

This morning that was what we did, and we followed some of the more remote trails this time. As we were arriving back at the parking lot one of the regular dog walkers showed up, she said she deliberately came late in hopes of meeting me since she was aware that my regular schedule was awry. So Hapi and I did one more round of the ponds with P and her dog Maddie.

It is a truly gorgeous day. Very cold, but sunny and windless with only a thin layer of snow on the ground. There is quite a bit of ice under the snow so one does need one's ice grippers, and those of us who frequent the dog park have determined the best grippers around and we all wear them (Lee Valley Icers).

Anyway I was talking about my sleep issues, mostly caused by a series of minor painful inflammations. Seemingly unrelated, but when they happen one after the other one does wonder if there might be a connection. I was saying that it might be a response to stress. Not that my life is stressful or that there is anything serious going on, but still. Even minor stress can be stressful.

P says, "You know, most mammals hibernate at this time of year. Perhaps you should hibernate."

Ahhh. My sentiment exactly. I just want to hibernate, say 'à tout à l'heure!' to the world. I want to run away from all social responsibilities. Spend a week or two in my jammies.

I also ran into A who was born the same year as my mother and shows up in all weathers no matter what with her cute little Teddy. In her bright red ski jacket with a fake fur trimmed hood, her ski poles and dark sunglasses she looks like a well-dressed Arctic explorer. And M with her big old Owie who is the doggy version of Eeyore. So I wasn't the only late walker. There are ice skate marks on the big pond. Even though the snow has not been cleared the ice is thick and the snow is thin. And the ravens are just going crazy.

I don't know what is happening with the ravens, maybe courting? There was always a pair of them at the park, with their nest by the parking lot. Last summer they successfully raised quite a brood of youngsters and now there are at least half a dozen of them. They are unusually loud and engaged in producing strange sounds, I heard one today that sounded like it was trying to sing.

The other thing they are doing is tearing off the growing tips of pine branches. Some parts of the trails are quite littered with the small pine branch tips. I watched one raven ripping off a branch tip, it did not appear to be eating it, just tearing it off and dropping it on the ground.

The singing raven was clearly directing its efforts at a raven in a nearby tree; when a couple of other ravens flew by it immediately reverted to regular raven caws. I think it was telling the passers-by to mind their own beeswax.

Haven't seen our two resident eagles lately, they are most likely participating in the annual Eagle Watch.

Back in the '70s and early '80s there were hardly any bald eagles here. Then one farmer got the idea to try to bring them back; he collected farm animal carcasses from his neighbours and put them out in a field to attract the few eagles remaining. Farmers all up and down the Valley heard about his efforts and were happy to contribute dead animals. It didn't happen right away but within a couple of decades he was hugely successful. Today we have a tonne of eagles. That farmer is long gone and large animal carcasses are no longer put out for the eagles, but the local chicken farmers do put their dead birds out, especially at this time of year. Facebook and Instagram are full of eagle photos from the Eagle Watch right now. So our resident eagles are temporarily away feasting, while the ravens stir up a ruckus in their absence.

3 comments:

Rain Trueax said...

Neat on the eagles. When we lose a lamb to the coyotes or even a lamb that didn't survive being born, the bald eagles show up. Everybody else backs off when they arrive and until they finish feeding.

Wisewebwoman said...

I like reading about your day and I do hope that the sleep patterns that you are comfortable with are restored. Hibernation. I'm kind of doing that at the moment. I love being indoors and feeding my spirit with different endeavours. Then again, I don't have the dog walk responsibility anymore.

I love the eagle story and ravens and crows fascinate me. I have one crow that sits on a pole outside my office/bedroom window and just stares at me every morning. I talk to her. Of course.

XO
WWW

Annie said...

WWW, it's good to have a crow to talk to. And you don't have to take it for walks. Although I will miss the morning dog walk when she's gone. The eagle story is a great one, we have so many eagles now. I met that farmer many years ago, I was a student in biology at the local university and he was a regular visitor there. The eagles were his life's work.