Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Snow Bunting and a Squirrel Problem

Here is the painting I have been working on the past few days. I think it's finished now. This sweet bird visited our backyard a few years ago. I didn't even know what kind of bird it was at the time. It looked to me like a cross between a large sparrow and a bunny. So fluffy! I looked it up and found that it was a snow bunting. I'm glad it stayed long enough for me to take a few photos of him.

I did a previous painting of him but I like this one much more. I hope to have prints and cards available with this image in my shop in the next week or so.

I love birds and have always fed them in our backyard. Having a garden that welcomes wildlife is important to me. I also wanted Emma and Chloé to learn about nature through our garden. From when they were toddlers, I kept bird, caterpillar and butterfly guides near our back door so we could identify our garden visitors. Among the birds that have visited our yard are sparrows (many, many sparrows), chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, juncos, robins, swallows, mourning doves, cedar waxwings, hummingbirds, house finches, goldfinches and woodpeckers. We've had rare visits by a kingfisher, a hawk and a ruffed grouse. Plus the sweet snow bunting.

We have been in our current house for over 16 years. It was a new neighbourhood when we moved in so there were very few trees initially, which also meant that there weren't any squirrels. But there are now! The trees have matured. Now my bird seed isn't just attracting my feathered friends, it is attracting squirrels as well...which would be fine except for Meeko. Meeko is calm and accepting when birds are at our feeders. But squirrels? Oh my. He gets riled up, wants to chase them and he barks...a lot. I try to keep him quiet for the sake of our neighbours and our own sanity but it's hard to do. Last week, Chloé was studying for exams and Meeko was barking incessantly at the squirrels. She suggested that maybe I need to stop feeding the birds or to find another place for the feeder that is not visible from the house. That is such a hard thought for me although she may be right. I'm trying to think of alternate solutions. I thought of placing food on the ground somewhere to divert the squirrels' attention. I've even thought of placing paper at Meeko's eye level on the back door so he can't see them from inside. If you have a brilliant idea, let me know!

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On another topic, I have a few of my prints on sale currently! You can have a look at them here. I've been working on my shop a lot these past few weeks. I now have my art organized by category and theme. I hope it makes browsing more efficient and interesting. 

5 comments:

  1. Hi Kathleen, wow that is a beautiful painting of a snow bunting. You have really captured its essence. It is now amongst my favorite in your collection. Thanks for sharing. Shirley

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    1. Thanks so much, Shirley, for your kind words and taking the time to comment here. I'm glad you like it. :)

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  2. Oh so sweet!
    I've been training my puppy for 4 years now "Quiet, Good" "Look" "Just Look" as he barks at walkers, cats, deer, etc. ... it's slowly working. Now if I say "Look" he will run to the front door and look up and down the street to see what ever may or may not be out there. :)

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    1. We worked very hard with Meeko to reduce his barking and then there were a number of break-ins in our neighbourhood and I decided that having a barky dog wasn't such a bad thing, especially if people are approaching the house. I do something similar to you, Rita. I acknowledge the bark, tell him he's a good boy for telling me and then say 'that's enough'. Unfortunately, that approach does not work with squirrels. He goes crazy! I have moved the bird feeder to the side of the house. I can still see it there and I've blocked the window at Meeko's level. So far, he hasn't figured out that the squirrels are there! :)

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  3. The simplest things from our nature can be so beautyful!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and to leave me a comment. I love reading them. -- Kathleen

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