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Aug 1

Be Careful What You Wish for….


Wild Turkeys

Our Big Turkey

Living in the woods in northern Idaho; we always enjoyed wildlife, especially me with a career in wildlife art. We learned that wild turkeys were prevalent in the area, but we rarely saw one. Then one fine morning it happened.

Starting with a meek little tap-tap-tapping on our bedroom glass door; we awoke to see a handsome young male turkey standing on our deck. Needless to say, we were thrilled!

Finally we had attracted a real wild turkey. Immediately we began spreading corn around our yard in an effort to attract more of these amazing creatures; after a few more came; we thought “why don’t we raise some of our very own?”

The next step: Research. Finding a source for the chicks was fairly easy; they would ship them to us when they became available. However, when I called the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, they were NOT encouraging, and came close to forbidding me to raise turkeys, even though the species I intended to raise was native to the area.

Raising turkeys was almost identical to raising chickens; we’d seen it done many times. All you really needed was a light bulb to keep them warm, some feed and a watering dish; very easy; a slam dunk.

Just before we ordered the chicks, our lives changed in two ways. More turkeys began to enjoy our hospitality; I guess he told his buddies; the group began to grow to maybe 6 or 8 birds. But the Kill-the-Turkey-Raising-Project decision was made by our other plans; namely, we decided to sell our home.

Somehow we didn’t think that any prospective buyer would be attracted by the smell and mess of 24 young turkeys in our garage. So we, somewhat sadly, squashed the Turkey Project.

But the native birds didn’t get the word! They kept coming and coming and coming, until we had a big flock of birds (almost 30) attempting to interact with us from dawn to dusk.

It became a real chore. We awoke to a deck full of turkeys Banging on our bedroom glass door almost every AM. If we fed them, more would arrive. If we didn’t they seemed to bother us even more.

But what would have happened if we had decided to raise them? We would have been imprinted on them as a parent figure; they would not have left us alone for one minute! Sooooooooooooo glad we made the right decision.

How did we solve the problem? Idaho Fish and Game to the rescue. We called them, explained the problem; they came, set up a trap, baited it with some corn, and rounded up our entire flock of Turkeys and relocated them.

Moral of the story: Be careful what you wish for, it may come true (in spades)!

Jun 11

Robin Redbreast-part Four. (Two weeks out of the nest.)


We thought we had lost one fledgling, but later came to learn that they easily blend into the landscape of our yard. And we now believe that all three of our babies have survived quite satisfactorily, despite our efforts. And my worst fears were not confirmed.

The cherry season is almost over, but the robins have had their fill for the past two or three weeks. After the fledglings have left the nest, the robins began harvesting cherries, even though they were not entirely ripe.

The way they harvested the cherries was quite unique: the adults would fly up into the tree, pick the cherries and drop them on the ground. After flying back down to the ground, they would pick them up and stuff them into the eagerly waiting mouths of the young fledglings, who would typically take one bite and spit cherry out. The mommy would then patiently pick a cherry up again and feed her fledgling another bite. This would go on and on until her baby had consumed the whole cherry.

She continued performing this task patiently for most of the morning until all three of her fledglings had their fill. Luckily the daddy usually helped by feeding another baby. The fledglings would remain on the ground and excitedly rush over to the cherries as they fell from above. And begin with their behavior of wiggling their bodies, and opening their mouths; doing all they could to ensure that mommy or daddy would feed them.

From along the back fence, enters a baby squirrel. He almost immediately discovers this is a great deal! All he needs to do is stand on the ground under the tree and wait for the cherries to be delivered to him.

But there seem to be enough cherries for all these creatures to have their fill. Our robin family has staked out our back yard and protected it from most other intruders. They feel safe here; have found plenty of food, including cherries, worms and strawberries. We’re hoping this will continue.

The youngsters are fully feathered, but still have the speckled juvenile appearance. They seem to spend most of their time and in our yard, where they have not only food, but also water and several birdbaths, plenty of trees that providing camouflage to protect them from possible enemies.

It’s so great to see all three of them acting cute sitting in the strawberry patch waiting for momma to come and feed them.

Now the male seems to be displaying some courting behavior. Again, we are waiting for the robins to patch up the nest, in anticipation having a second brood this season. The nest, however has been frequented by several sparrows and finches who have for reasons unknown to us, attempted to throw some things out. They do sometimes chirp loudly and seem to be trying to attract a mate. But the robins have responded by repeatedly chasing these other birds from their nest.

We anticipate that the mother Robin will stop feeding the babies and become broody again. Meanwhile, the male robin continues to patrol and protect his territory, our yard. No other robins are welcome here.

Stay tuned…

May 17

Robin Redbreast Part 3

Posted on Thursday, May 17, 2012 in Animal Art, Bird Art, Bird Painting

Mother Robin faithfully sat on her nest with little three eggs for several days. We noticed nothing new until we found a pretty blue eggshell on the far side of the yard, a long way from the nest. We later discovered robins often remove the shells and take them far away from the nest, in order to avoid giving away the nest location to possible predators.

For the past few weeks we’ve been watching mom and dad Robin vigorously and faithfully hunting and digging worms and cramming them into the three greedy little mouths. As a result these little guys are growing like crazy and are now even developing new feathers. I wondered about the new feathers poking through their delicate little skins. Is it like a baby teething, and is it painful? — only a Robin would know.

So life is good for our three little baby robins, nestled comfortably and quietly in their nest. They seem quite contented, and rarely even chirp. In order to get their needs met, all they need do is open their little mouths.

Stay tuned for further adventures…

May 2

Robin Redbreast Part 2

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 in Animal Art, Bird Art, Bird Painting

Robin on the Nest

Springtime on the Nest

We then experienced a windstorm with gusts over 30 miles an hour, after which the female robin was nowhere to be found. We waited in vain, and finally searched our yard and found a few bloodstained feathers; but no further traces of our female robin. Our only conclusion was that she must have fallen prey to a hawk, since they are common in our area.

For the next several days, we witnessed the male robin continued to guard his territory and wait in vain with the return of his lady love. We thought he looked somewhat puzzled and dejected, but continued to guard his territory by fighting off all other male robin intruders. We were so sad.

About four days later, another female appears in our yard and another courtship begins! Our boy is finally successful, and his new mate completes the building of the nest. Almost immediately, she begins laying eggs, and we are ecstatic!! She lays a total of four eggs, and tends them on a regular basis. The male continues to support her, protect her and guard his territory.

We are now waiting in eager anticipation for the eggs to hatch. To be continued…

May 1

Robin Redbreast. Part 1

Posted on Tuesday, May 1, 2012 in Animal Art, Bird Art, Bird Painting

Robin on the Nest

Springtime on the Nest

For several years we have attempted to attract some birds in our yard. Despite our efforts, which included building several birdhouses, moving them on multiple occasions, supplying abundant nesting materials, and feeding the birds regularly, we never attracted a single family of birds. Every year, our birdhouses remained vacant.

Last year he moved to a new home, in a new location. After arriving in June, we put up our birdhouses …but again were disappointed with no takers. We decided it was probably too late for the nesting season.

This spring, we moved our robin nesting platform to a location near our house. Just under the eaves, near a large elderberry bush, where we believed a nesting female would feel more secure. In eager anticipation, we watched many male robins visit our yard and battle for territory. Finally one male emerged dominant and began searching for his lady love. We eagerly watched as he approached many females, but was unable to generate much interest.

Finally, two or three weeks later, he found an acceptable mate. We continue to watch in eager anticipation until she began building her nest on the platform. Needless to say, we were thrilled. Finally, a bird had accepted our hospitality! Over the next three or four days she built a very nice little nest. To be continued…

Mar 14

I’m on Pinterest!

Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 in African Animal Art, Animal Art, Bird Art, North American Animal Art

I’m on Pinterest! See lots of my newest artwork at:http://pinterest.com/jacquievauxart/

I’ll see you there!

Mar 13

Here’s a Painting Lesson- How to paint Old Wood and Plaster

Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 in Animal Art, Bird Art, Bird Painting, How to Paint

Here’s my video: