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The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

The "Standard of Ur" from ancient Mesopotamia

13 January 2010

My Town Wednesday: Stuff in my yard

I'll return to blogging about writing next week, when I will talk about how attending the six-week Clarion Workshop this past summer affected my writing.

This week, I have enough new pictures to do a new

My Town Monday: Stuff in my yard

featuring coyote, finch, Western scrub jay, and California quail pictures taken in my yard in Riverside, Southern California.

“My Town Monday” is the brainchild of Travis Erwin at One Word, One Rung, One Day. The goal is to introduce one's blog readers to what’s special about the place where one lives. "My Town Monday" currently resides at


Our feeders continue to attract many birds, primarily sparrows of various types, house finches (Carpodacus mexicanus) and lesser gold finches (Carduelis psaltria). Below are finches eating at the niger seed feeder.

Scrub jays

After seeing a Western scrub jay (Aphelocoma californica) check out the sunflower seed tray a few times, we got a peanut feeder. It took several months, but now two Western scrub jays visit every day to eat peanuts.

California quail

This year for the first time four pairs of California quail (Callipepla californica came nearly every day during breeding season to forage underneath one of our bird feeders. After the chicks arrived, they came too.


Yesterday, a coyote (Canis latrans) made a rare visit during the daytime to eat cherry tomatoes and strawberries. (We had wondered where the fruit disappeared to!) Here are a few pictures I took of it.






Carleen Brice will be giving away book baskets to celebrate the debut of the Lifetime TV channel movie "Sins of the Mother" on 7 February. This is the movie version of Carleen's novel Orange Mint and Honey. Here are the rules. (I interviewed Carleen here.)

The blog Suko's Notebook will be giving away a copy of Linda Weaver Clarke's Melinda and the Wild West. The give-away lasts until January 24. (I interviewed Linda here.)


ninthmuse (roz m) said...

This is my first quail sighting, even if it is vicariously experienced! They're quite rotund, aren't they? And how long did the coyote hang around once it realized you were there?

Charles Gramlich said...

Coyotes aren't yet so tame in our area. We hear 'em at times but I haven't seen one. Did see a deer in our neighborhood the other day.

Great birds. Lana will like this one.

Shauna Roberts said...

ROZ, yes, the quail are quite plump. The funniest thing about them is the way they walk in a series of little jerks, sometimes in parade formation, with their head doodads (technical term) bouncing with each jerk.

I moved very slowly, and I was behind a window, so although the coyote did note I was there, I managed not to spook it.

CHARLES, that's great you at least get to hear them sing. We love to listen to them, especially how packs on other mountains join in.

The bad part of their tameness here is that they snatch cats and small dogs to eat and occasionally attack children.

Liz Argall said...

Gorgeous, makes me want to come visit even more :) .

I didn't realise how fox-like coyotes were, makes dingos look even doggier.

Shauna Roberts said...

LIZ, we've got a dedicated guest room with private bath always ready for our friends. So come on down! Nick can provide an evaluation of the accommodations if you need one. :-)

I emailed a couple of the coyote pictures to relatives, and one person did think it was a fox. I think it's the short bushy tail.

I believe dingos ARE dogs, but they have become undomesticated and reverted to a more wolflike form. Do they forage in people's yards?

Angie said...

Very cool. :) We can't put out bird feeders (at least not seed feeders; we had a hummingbird feeder for a while) because our area is plagued by pigeons, and leaving food out just encourages them. :/

I'm hoping to be able to do the bird feeder thing after we move. [crossed fingers]


Rick said...

Coyotes!? I have never seen one, but would love to get a glimpse of one. I've always thought they were like skinny wolves.

writtenwyrdd said...

We have foxes that are tame from locals feeding them. I know of at least three generations that were raised near my office, which come by and are fed by coworkers. Some even denned a couple of winters ago under a camp down the road because someone was feeding them there. They even all have names and some of them recognize them.

coyotes, on the other hand, are rarely seen. I did see a lynx last winter. Very furry, very big paws.

Lana Gramlich said...

Awesome! If you feed them, they will come! My ex & I used to raise California (aka "Gambel's") quail, among many other types of game birds. The chicks are just so adorable! Like little puffballs with great big feet. Once our power went out & they were in danger of getting too cold & dying. We tucked in our t-shirts & loaded them all up in there, keeping them warm with our bodies until the power came back on.

Barrie said...

It was a little scary to see how close the coyote was to your house. I always worry one will munch up our little dog. Great pics!

Steve Malley said...

The finches and quail we have here in Christchurch. The scrub jays not so much. The coyote, that was just beautiful!

Shauna Roberts said...

I just discovered the answers I had posted, hadn't. Hmmm.....

ANGIE, many people have trouble with squirrels eating all the seed at their feeders. I hope you don't acquire that problem when you move.

RICK, coyotes do look rather like small wolves, but their behavior and diet are different. Our coyotes seem to eat more plants than meat.

Writtenwyrdd, it would be so cool if the coyotes here learned their names! But it's dangerous to befriend them because it encourages them to lose their fear of humans. Already they eat cats and small dogs and occasionally attack children.

LANA, raising the quail must have been fun. They seem to have a lot of personality.

BARRIE, as you may have seen above, the coyotes here DO sometimes eat dogs. My husband was talking to an older guy, and he had had several dogs eaten by coyotes. (Yet he continued to buy tiny dogs and walk them off the leash. [shakes head in wonderment])

STEVE, I didn't realize there were scrub jays elsewhere. I've never seen them in any of the other places I've lived, although until now we always had blue jays.