Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Old Brown House and the Little Bridge in the Deep Woods

This weekend we went for a visit to "The Old Brown House."  The Old Brown House is a historic abandoned house deep in the woods on our property.  I believe it was built in the early 1800s.  The weather was nice so we thought we'd see how it was doing.  I also was looking for a black vulture nest.  The vultures have been flying around this area quite a bit. 

I think it's kind of large for such an old house.  It has 4 large rooms, 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs.  No bathroom, no kitchen, just rooms.  There are 2 fireplaces so all the rooms had heat back when people used to live in it.  I really like this old house.

Here's The Old Brown House from the side view.  It's skinny, isn't it?

The poor old house is falling apart.  When I look at it I imagine the hands that built it.  Someone put all those boards in place with care.  I imagine the woods were all fields back then, and this was a working farm house.

In the corner of one of the rooms is a pile of old doors and windows.

Wait - look there!  What's that behind the door?  

It's a black vulture nest!

Black vultures are weird birds.  They don't make any kind of nest, they just lay their eggs on the ground.  The vultures were flying around overheard as we walked around inside the old house.  They were not happy with our visit.

I'll keep an eye on the vulture babies as they hatch and grow up.  I love vultures - they are good birds.

We walked outside The Old Brown House looking for the outhouse.  
I know there was once an outhouse, but have not been able to find it.  We figure it must have been destroyed.  It would be neat to find remnants of it.  

While we were walking around we found a turkey feather...

...And a big bunny rabbit.   

The rabbit wasn't afraid of us at all.  She just sat there.  We didn't disturb her, but walked around her carefully.  Maybe she had babies under her, who knows.

We also saw an old teapot.  I don't think this was that old - it certainly doesn't look like it's 200 years old.  There's a lot of trash in the woods where people dumped back in the 1980's.  We're always cleaning up trash.

As we left The Old Brown House we went by The Little Bridge in the Deep Woods.  
It's so cool - it's a little bridge in the middle of the woods.
Again it makes me think of the people who built it.  The bridge is old and falling apart now.  It sits on a dirt road and covers a tiny creek.  Maybe the creek was a larger stream at one time.

Well, that's it for this trip into the woods.  I'll keep an eye on the vulture eggs.  I can't wait to see the babies!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Guinea Fowl Videos

Here are a couple short video clips of our guinea fowl.  The large dark one with white spots is the male who sings to his 2 ladies who are beside him.  However, I didn't get a video of his beautiful melodious songs.  He's not singing in this video.  He wouldn't sing when I had the camera.  Of course he's shy about this talent, as it's not normal for guineas to sing and he must know it!  The guineas are making what I call "happy sounds" - which are their short chirps that are not obnoxious.

You can also hear a pilated woodpecker in these videos.  They are all around us.  You can't see him, but you can hear him!

 A few evenings ago I arrived home from work right when the guineas were roosting in the big pine tree.  And sure enough they all were singing their beautiful melodious song.  I grabbed my cell phone and recorded a video (with sound) of the pine tree.  However, after I went inside to preview it, I couldn't find it on my phone!  Somehow it seems it didn't save it!  Drat!

The guineas seem to sing mostly first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  The rest of the time they are out and about.  I'll keep working on getting a video of their unusual songs!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chick pics

Our chicks are in that scruffy age.  They are growing quickly.  Hopefully today will be their first day with the rest of the flock, the first day they get to venture out in the chicken flock.  We'll see if it gets a little warmer outside first.

Here's mama hen Charlotte.  She is the best mother hen we've ever had.

It appears as if 2 of the silver laced wyandottes are actually gold laced wyandottes.  I think we have 1 silver laced wyandotte.  The red sex links are the scruffiest looking of all the chicks. The white leghorns are pretty and white already.  The gold laced wyandottes are the friendliest of all the chicks, although none of them are shy around us.

All the chicks are healthy - we lost none.  These were store-bought chicks and they were started on medicated chick feed.  We were concerned about the hen Charlotte because she was only broody a few days before we gave her chicks, and it was as if she wanted to still be broody at first. She still had the desire to sit on eggs.  But after a few days the active chicks got her up and running around like a normal mother hen. 

I wondered if the store-bought chicks, who had never seen a hen, would accept a mother hen.  The answer was - without hesitation they went right to her.  It must have been born into them to want a mother hen.  They went right under her wings and snuggled with her just like it was natural to them.  They refused to leave her side.  One wanted to ride around on her back at all times.  It was a normal thing for a baby to want a mother.

This will probably be Charlotte's last time to be a mother hen.  She is an old gal now, we are surprised but happy she went broody this spring.  She was one of our original chicks.

Tomorrow I'll make a guinea post.  Stay tuned to hear about the guinea fowl songs!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Beautiful Guinea fowl & Mockingbird songs?

Last week I noticed a beautiful melody coming from the fields near my house.  When I went to investigate the beautiful and melodious bird song, I couldn't figure it out.  I only saw my flock of guinea fowl walking in the front fields.  Hmmm.

This morning I went outside and there was that beautiful melody again!  It was so close to the house!  I looked in the bushes and saw a big spotted male guinea and his 2 mates.  And sure enough, the guinea boy looked right at me and sang the beautiful melody.  The melody had high notes and low notes, and is truly breathtaking!  And then a bird repeated the melody from up in the treetops!  The guinea answered, the bird answered back, and before I knew it other guinea fowl and other birds in the area were all answering with the same melody.  I was speachless!

Normally guinea fowl noises are ugly honks.  Every now and then the guinea boy added a honk or two to the song, but then continued with the melody.  I believe the birds which were singing overheard were mockingbirds.  Also other guinas in the area were honking every now and then, don't get me wrong, there were random guinea honks, but the melody was louder than the honks.

I know that mockingmirds repeat after other birds, but I never knew that guinea fowl sang such beautiful songs!  I only saw the same guinea singing, the 2 females with him were both silent.  He was singing to them.  They followed him everywhere we walked and sang.  He often stopped and waited for them to catch up to him and sang to them.

I called my husband outside (he was inside) and asked him to listen to the melodies.  He said he noticed the past few nights the guineas have been singing this beautiful bird song in the evenings before they fly up into their roosting tree.  He called it their happy song.  He was amazed the mocking birds were repeating it throughout the area.  He wasn't sure if it was only the males that sang.

Has anyone else heard their guinea fowl singing a beautiful and harmoneous song instead of honking?  Please do tell!  I will try to record this and post it in a future post! 

The bird song made me think of the mockingjays' music in The Hunger Games trilagy by Suzanne Collins.  In the books, the mockingjays repeated songs and tunes, which truly sounded beautiful.  Now I have my own bird music right outside.