The Boy and the friendly Blackbird
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  The Starry Towers Birds 2012 
  The Blue Tits have picked the middle box, I'm thinking maybe the handy strategically placed nest building materials helped them make a decision to move into Blue Tit Street at Starry Towers.  Also in Bird News, them Meal Worms are proving a great success.  
  the Blue Tit moving inthe Starry Towers Blue Tit checking out the view from the bird boxBlue Tit Street and the handy nest building materialsthe Starry Towers Robin at the window Meal Worm feederthe Starry Towers Robin looking at me looking at himThe Starry Towers Robin collects a Meal Worm  
 The Starry Towers Blackbird  
  We met The Starry Towers Blackbird in the Spring/early Summer of 2010.  I first noticed him because of his fondness for grapes.  When I was putting apples and grapes out he'd be on the scene immediately and wouldn't hang about till I left to grab a grape.  He'd lift one quickly and fly just a few feet away to start eating it.  I reckoned we could become friends.  I spent a while tempting him to come closer for his first grape of the day.  We got closer and closer, till he was lifting them from my outstretched hand.  He only does it if the hand is at ground level with arm outstretched, he's brave but he's not THAT keen to cuddle up.  When I told The Boy about The Starry Towers Blackbird he was very interested.  The Starry Towers Blackbird  wasn't fussy who was offering the grapes and immediately took to him too, which allowed me to get a photo.  The good news is we've seen The Starry Towers Blackbird again this year, he's survived the extreme Winter weather so far.  
  the Starry Towers Blackbirdthe Starry Towers Blackbird takes grape from hand first time  
  Other birds at Starry Towers 
 A few years ago I rescued a baby bird which was stuck behind rabbit wire.  It was only stuck because the grass on that side of the fencing was terribly overgrown.  The baby bird couldn't find it's way back up out of the grass, so had made it's way to the edge and run up against the fencing I had at that time to stop the rabbits escaping.  I didn't know what kind of baby bird this was until after rescued it and placed it on The Starry Towers lawn, soon as I'd done that an adult Robin flew down and fed it, right in front of me.  The Robin chick was the grumpiest looking bird I'd ever seen.  The first pic was when it hopped into the rabbit hutch we had in the garden, so the house bunnies had shelter from the elements when they were outdoors.  The last pic, the wee sweetie was so exhausted it was asleep in the Starry Towers Lilac Tree.  I hope it survived and didn't fall asleep in front of a neighbour's cat.  The Robin parents put so much hope, genes, time, work and energy into raising this baby, to think an over-fed fat cat who lounges on some neighbour's over-stuffed sofa in front of fireside rugs, and dines on finest Kitty Food every day, toying with it's few remaining cat instinctual skills, which it no longer actually requires for survival.  To think one of them chubby lazy fat cats may have may have took this baby Robin out, on a whim, breaks my heart.  Fly little bird, fly, and people...stop having pet cats, they are murderers.  They impact on the UK ecosystem and...they should be stopped basically.  
 baby Robinbaby Robin stuck in treestuck behind fencein the lilac tree  
 A few years ago Blue Tits nested in my nest box for the first time.  They started out as 8 eggs, in the end there were 6 strong fully grown babies.  I was lucky enough to be around on the morning they flew the nest, they peeked out a little, then flew straight up into a large tree in next doors garden, and I thought that was that, they were out of my life.  I watched four chicks fly, then discovered a couple stragglers who'd decided they'd stay home and go to Uni.  They left a couple days later.  
   Nest Boxnest and eggsbrand new Blue TitsBlue Tit chicks feathers startingeasrly days Blue TitsBlue Tit ChicksBlue Tit two stragglers  
 The following year the next batch seemed to have difficulty getting out the garden, I followed them round with the camera.  
 Blue Tit chick in Lilac treeBlue Tit chick in the dirtBlue Tit chick on the fenceBlue Tit chick in a plant potBlue Tit chick in the shed  
 A lot of baby birds seem to have problems with rabbit fencing  
 baby Blackbird  
 Seagulls on Inchcolm Island and seals resting on rocks close to Inchcolm in The Firth of Forth in June 2009  
 Seagull eggs Inchcolm IslandSeagull chick and chick hatching InchcolmSeagull and babies InchcolmSeagull and older chick InchcolmSeagull and three chicks InchcolmGrey Seals near Inchcolm Island  
  The Starry Towers Rabbits   
 The reason for the rabbit fencing was our house rabbits.  When The Boy was younger we wanted pets, unable to have a dog due to my working hours we decided on house rabbits.  These house rabbits were plenty run-around outside and fresh grass house rabbits.  First we got a Dwarf Lop tortoiseshell, as a baby he was wild, really crazy.  I reckon it was all that inter-breeding that got the stripes caused him to be a bit deranged.  The cure was to have him neutered, but he was too young, I had to beg the Vet, reasoning that if he didn't give him the snip, he'd be putting him to sleep, because he was unbearably aggressive.  Before I'd seen the aggression The Boy (and remember he was just a little The Boy at the time) came crying to me, 'Mummy, Mummy, the rabbit hurt me', I was giving it, don't be such a baby, it's a cute little baby rabbit, then one night I was on the sofa, got up to go through the kitchen, the cute little baby rabbit was so aggressive I couldn't leave the room.  Had to jump back up on the sofa, batting him back with a cushion, him fighting the cushion to the death.  Eventually I got out the room and slammed the door closed.  That's what The Boy was talking bout.  We named him Tiger.

Once Tiger got sorted we decided he needed company, rabbits don't thrive without the friendship of other rabbits, so we got another male Dwarf Lop, fawn this time, he was so sweet and gentle we called him Angel.  The available info said don't get two males, but Tiger and Angel were bestest buddies from the start.

The story of Tiger is a sad one, he became ill with one thing after another, again, I put his poor physical health down to the inter-breeding that must have been required to achieve his stripy coat.  In the end I realised he was probably mentally ill too, though he did seem intelligent, out of our three rabbits he was the only one I think learned some words.  When I said 'do you want to go out?' he would run to the back door, and 'do you want a carrot' resulted in him running to the fridge.  Anyway, first off one of his ears looked like he'd inured the tip, a scab had appeared, the next night when I got in from work the condition had deteriorated at an alarming speed, black, dried up, dead tissue was all that was left of the bottom half of his ear.  I rushed him to the Vet the next morning, he didn't have a clue what could be causing this, and recommended the removal of the ear in the hope this would stop whatever it was from continuing on up the ear and into his head.  This worked and Tiger was a one eared Lop.

Some time after this his health deteriorated in other ways, he was loosing weight, his skin was dry, then one day I was hoovering in the kitchen, the rabbits were used to the hoover and other household noises, nothing normally disturbed them, even fireworks outside.  But this day, Tiger suddenly jumped up, ran round the kitchen several times, in a circle, then keeled over and had a seizure, and was doubly incontinent.  I wrapped him up and The Boy and I took him to the Vet.  We both knew this would be the day Tiger died, the Vet wouldn't have a clue, and the only humane thing to do was to have him put to sleep.  It's terrible with rabbits, you have no way of knowing if they're in pain or suffering, you have to employ sense and reason, I reasoned he most likely was in pain, perhaps distressed, confused, he could have had a heart attack or a stroke, he could be suffering from any amount of different conditions.  The Boy waited in reception and I held Tiger till we got back home again.  The Parents came over and Dad prepared the grave, Tiger is buried under the lawn.  With Tiger gone Angel needed company, with the knowledge we now had of the Lop's dental problems, those rabbit teeth need a normal rabbit shaped head/face, so along came Sadie, the black Dutch girl.
    Tiger and Angel on fireplaceTiger and Angel on rugbaby AngelSadie and Angel...pistols at dawnAngel and Sadie dandilionsSadie and Angel rude rabbit stuffSadie and Angel in the garden
   Angel and Sadie in gardenAngel and Sadie more dandilionsAngelSadieAngel fond of blackberry bushes
  The Starry Towers Poodles  
 Before The Rabbits and before The Boy there were The Poodles.  First there was Kipling (Kippie), named after, Joseph Rudyard Kipling, the black one, the sensible and calm one.  Then there was Vincent (Vinnie), named after Frank Vincent Zappa, the white one, the silly and hyperactive one.  When I had Kippie and Vinnie, The Parents had Daisy and Vinnie's sister Rosey.  The pictures of the girls here are when they were older.  
 Kippie and VinnieVincentKiplingDaisyRosey  
  The Parent's Leo (he's even had his portrait painted)  
  Leo by Judy RossouwMarcus and Leo  
 The Parent's chickens  
 Marcus feeding the chickensChicken and Sadiewhite chicken  
 Creepy Crawlies  
 Creepy Crawlies found on The Starry Towers Estate   
  Pebble Prominent eating bitsPebble Prominent Moth larvaGrey Dagger Moth caterpillarWillow Sawfly GallSawfly Gall openedSawfly leaf rolling damageWillow leaf rolling damage sawfly
Sawfly Nematus capreae (N. miliaris) eggsSawfly Nematus capreae (N. miliaris) larvaeWillow Ruststrange bee dance
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