Tag Archives: Chickens

All kinds of backyard birds

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Backyard Birding.’ See more responses here. Also posted in response to Becky’s October Squares challenge theme of ‘Kind.’ See more responses here.

Almost all the birds I see in the backyard are fairly common, but no less interesting for that.

Hoppy the rooster

This is the first day of Becky’s July Squares challenge theme of ‘Perspective.’ See more responses here.

I thought I’d start with this photo. To many people this probably looks like a somewhat windblown rooster, but from my perspective, this is something else entirely. This is Hoppy, the temporally-challenged rooster. This is Hoppy, the no-amplifier-required rooster. This is Hoppy, the demon rooster.

Hoppy has a bad foot, hence the name, and perhaps this has thrown him off. He’s started crowing as early as 1:30 in the morning, but regularly pipes up in the two o’clock hour, the three o’clock hour, the four o’clock hour, and the five o’clock hour. Since his roost is in the hedge next to the house, his first blasts tend to be close by, and he is loud. Perhaps it’s just because it’s so quiet otherwise, but his call carries and I don’t need to hear rooster rock at those hours.

I generally succeeded in training him not to hang out into the yard, but have failed to dislodge him from his roost. He keeps coming back. Or should I say, kept coming back. Whisper it quietly, but I haven’t seen or, more importantly, heard Hoppy for three days now. Whilst I’ve thought unkind thoughts about him, I haven’t actually done anything to him. But other people live within earshot, so perhaps they have. Or maybe Hoppy just wandered off in the same way that he wandered in. He never acquired any hens here, so I’ll think positively and and hope he’s found a true love and is happy. Unless he comes back, that is.

Dawn chorus

This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Awakening.’ See more offerings here.

Around here, awakening is usually courtesy of the dawn chorus. That occurs when the birds themselves awaken and announce to the world that they made it through the night. Pretty much every bird species that lives within earshot takes part, but there are some standouts.

Roosters (above) are the traditional greeter of the new day and that’s true here, though it has to be noted that they’re equally likely to sound off at any time of the day or night. This neighborhood used to be rooster-free for several years. Then one wandered in from across the road and now there are several in the vicinity. One in particular keeps trying to make my yard part of its territory. I am resolved to prevent this.

Gray francolins (right) are smaller than roosters but might be even louder. Their call has a little wind up before soaring to full screech. It gets people’s attention at any time of day, but at 5:30 in the morning it’s more effective than mainlining caffeine.

The northern cardinal (below) is a smaller bird still but, from its typically high perch, its variety of powerfully-sung songs tend to ride over everything. But rest assured, the other birds contribute, from the red-billed leiothrix, to Japanese white-eyes, to an assortment of finches, they make sure that I’m up to greet the sunrise, whether I want to or not.

Three little pigs

This week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Something Good.’ See more responses here.

These three little pigs have been my top source of entertainment over the last couple of weeks. They’ve been regular visitors, looking for fallen mangoes and tangerines, or just foraging for worms and the like in the grass. The littlest pig seems the most adept at finding things and, when it does, the others try and get a piece of the action. Usually the littlest pig runs off with its trophy and the others chase it.

A couple of days ago they met Hopalong, a rooster thinking about making the yard his territory. Usually, when a rooster does that, I make a point of ushering it away every time it shows up and eventually it gives up. But Hopalong has a bad foot and doesn’t get around well, so he’s reluctant to move on. He wasn’t sure what to make of these pigs trotting toward him, so he retreated into the neighbor’s yard, looking affronted.

The three little pigs are easily spooked, scooting into the cane grass at the least disturbance. I think that’s where they live. I ventured in there one day and saw three little houses, one made of straw, another of sticks, and a third of bricks. I was going to investigate more, but I heard a low growling noise followed by some huffing and puffing, so thought better of it.

Also posted in response to Becky’s April Squares challenge theme of ‘Top.’ See more responses here.

Proud parents

I saw this rooster, hen and chicken on one of my walks and was struck by the parent birds’ attentiveness to their chick. I’d like to think this turned out well, but since these were free range birds, the chick would be lucky to survive to adulthood.

I’m a rooster

Rooster

Since this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge theme is ‘Awakening,’ it seemed an appropriate time to feature a rooster. After all, they’re widely associated with heralding in the day by loudly announcing the new dawn.

As it happens, I know a few things about roosters, mostly because, for six months, I lived across a narrow street from a rooster farm with 40 or 50 birds. Here in Hawaii, roosters and chickens are everywhere. While many are farmed in some form or other, others wander free. They can be seen milling about both town and country, crossing streets, wandering across lawns, scratching up flowerbeds.

I can confirm that roosters do indeed crow at daybreak, but this is along the lines of saying a broken clock gives the right time twice a day. That’s because roosters are quite happy crowing at daybreak, during the day, in the evening, in the dead of night, and all of the above. In theory, it’s quiet for a few hours at night when roosters sleep. In practice, all it takes is for one bird to wake suddenly — possibly from a bad dream, possibly barbecue-related — and cry out, and any other rooster within earshot is likely to join in. So that dawn chorus could go off at midnight, at 2 a.m., at 4 a.m., or all of the above.

But what is it these roosters are making such a noise about? Well, after exhaustive research, using my Dr. Dolittle translator kit, I have figured it out. What they’re saying, each and every time they open their little beaks is, “I’m a rooster.”

Forget ‘cock-a doodle-do,’ forget whatever the version of this is in different countries, “I’m a rooster” is what it boils down to. And when one announces this, it prompts other birds to announce that, they too are roosters, just in case anyone had forgotten.

Many’s the night I was jarred awake by this call, first one rooster, then a couple of others, the noise swelling, and then gradually ebbing as each bird forgot why it woke. At these times, I’d lie in bed hoping this would be the cue for another hour or two of blissful quiet. And then, somewhere out there in the dark, one of the slower roosters in the neighborhood would stir. Deep in that little bird brain a cog would clunk into life. ‘Did I hear a rooster? Well, shoot, I’m a rooster too. I’d better let him know.’ Out would come the cry and all those birds that had just settled down would pop awake again. ‘Hey, he’s a rooster. What d’ya know. Me too. “I’m a rooster.”’

So, yes, I think a rooster is an appropriate post for ‘awakening,’ assuming, that is, one can fall asleep in the first place.

These two birds appeared in the neighborhood a few weeks ago from who knows where. When I see them, I shoo them off, not wanting them to get too comfortable here. The alternative is making their dreams come true, assuming they’re barbecue-related that is.