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May 1st through May 6th.

It was a very busy week here at the Critter Cafe
Penns Creek Mountain

The first visitor was a lone wild turkey, who has been enjoying himself pecking the ground for goodies.
He is a large turkey with a big long black beard hanging down over his chest.
Since he has been here a few times and alone, we named him the Lone Ranger.
Wild turkeys are covered with dark feathers that help them blend in with their woodland homes.á The bare skin on the throat and head of a turkey can change color from flat gray to striking shades of red, white, and blue when the bird becomes distressed or excited. When it is mating season, the males fan their tails and just beautiful to watch them dancing to attract a mate.

The next visitor was our huge black bear.
He was here on April 24 th. but all we saw was the
garbage all over and the ten foot pole leaning way over once again.
My husband Joe had seen the bear on previous visits but on the night of May 4th,
I had the pleasure and excitement of seeing this big guy.
Joe figures him to be a good 350 to 400 pounder.

He busied himself scraping the ground for sunflower seed, that dropped from the feeders
we hang during the day and take down in the evening.
He checked the water dish, and then he layed down and stretched out his big body.
Then he would sit up on his hind legs and scratch his belly. So funny.
I took some indoor pictures but am always concerned about flash back off the windows.
Well after I got my nerve worked up, I quietly opened the door,
sneaked around the corner of the house, and got several pictures.
He looked straight at me when the camera flashed, so I quietly and quickly came back in the house.

He strolled around for about hour and then he came in towards the house.
UH OH! We forgot to bring in the bird seed feeder that was hanging from the roof edge right by a window near our patio door.
Needless to say he found it. He was playing with it, trying to get it off the hook. Joe tapped on the window right in front of him, but that didn't phase him one little bit.
We have lost a few feeders to the bears dragging them off and didn't want to lose another one,
so I opened the door, left out a yell, and wow did he take off.

Can your imagine in the dark quiet of night, an ear piercing yell
in the stillness. I hurried out and grabbed the feeder.
He has not returned, but we have no doubt in our minds that he will be back.

We have been getting entertained by one little red squirrel,
who has been here two years now, and the only one, chasing the gray squirrels
away from a suet holder. Of course they are not ones to go away and stay away, as anyone who
feeds them knows. Squirrels are very persistant critters.
A red squirrel is about half to two-thirds the size of a gray squirrel, but never tell that to a red squirrel.
Red squirrels are very territorial and will yell and scold anyone who comes too close.
A key characteristic of tiny red squirrels is their preference for huge nuts:
the bigger the better! But this little guy loves suet.

Four different kinds of woodpeckers, including two pileated woodpeckers
who have moved into our woods, love the suet cakes. We put new cakes in holders
every other day if not daily. Downy, hairydowns,
pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers frequent here.
Pileateds are fascinating to watch as they fly majestically
with wide spread black and white wings. They are the big mouths of the
woodpecker world, and when they mate they are lifelong partners.

Both the male and female pileateds are master drummers, and frequently
proclaim their dominion over the territory that they hold until they die.
And, when one or the other partner does die, the surviving mate holds
on to their territory and waits for another mate to appear.
We have watched pileated woodpeckers strip dead trees to shreds.

One morning they were all flitting around looking for their suet on the trees
and making all kinds of racket. Joe got the suet cakes and took them out and
put them on the trees. He said "okay fellas, come and get it".
No sooner did he turn around and start back towards the house then two were there. GGggggeesshhh!
And believe me, they know exactly where the suet is hanging.

Pileated Woodpecker

Then on the afternoon of May 6th, two young deer wandered in from the woods, just a couple yards from our back porch. They looked rather thin,
so Joe put ear corn in corn crib for them. They were having a good time running around the open field.

UPDATE: May 9th -12th
10:10PM - Our boxer dog Lilah began barking very loudly, and there was our huge black bear.
He checked the waterbowl, the tree where the suet hangs, and the humming bird feeder.
But he was in a hurry so didn't stick around, he headed right on down the road.
You don't suppose he can still hear me yelling, do you?
2:30 AM - Again Lilah did her fierce barking, Joe saw motion lights on,
but no bear, only garbage strewn all over.
4:10 AM - Lilah once again barking, motion lights on, and this time it was NOT the big huge bear.
This time it was medium sized bear with a vee marking on it's chest.
And it must have rolled in the mud at one time beause it's fur was a dusty color.
He stood up against our ten foot high steel pole with house feeder on the top and shoved it half way over.
The bear then proceeded to lick up the seed he dumped on the ground.
8:45 AM - Joe went out and picked up all the garbage that was strewn all over.
Now which bear did this mess we don't know.
It is going to be a lonnnnnnnnnng summer/fall folks.

This picture is of an asiatic black bear.
It is a cousin to the north american black bear.
I couldn't
find a picture of our black bear
with a vee on it's chest.

The redbreasted grosbeaks have been stopping by for some treats
before they travel on. They are migrators and stop here every spring and fall.
Their diet consists of fruits, seeds, and insects.
They also eat safflower, apple slices,
suet, millet, peanut kernels, fruit. Their call is a sharp, penetrating, and metallic "eek-eek."

Folks, please enjoy every day. Go out and enjoy
the beauty that surrounds you.
Listen for sounds of wildlife or birds.
Watch the butterflies dance among the flowers.
Or go to your nearest park or beach,
and relax beneath the sun,
or take a dip, even if only for an hour or so.

And for those of you who are home bound,
have someone open a window,
or take you outside, if just for a breath of fresh
air and let your imagination flow.

Click here to learn about black bears
and how to live with them, or just watch them from a distance.

Written by ęBarbara L Carter/bluejay12
May 13th, 2009

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