Before the snow came, I kept asking myself if it is the middle of December while I stand outside in shorts and a t-shirt. With the warm weather, I often mistook it for a pleasant fall or maybe spring day. Unbelievable!

Did you notice the dandelions? In and around my yard were the beautiful yellow flowers. Such a marvelous December surprise!

For someone who loves flowers and the color yellow, they were quite a treat hidden in the browning grass.

I did notice on the roundabout grass mound that there were dandelions in the fluffy seed stage standing tall and proud, ready to release at any given breeze.

~~~

While my husband drives I gaze, admire, and contemplate the scenery. With the leaves from the trees scattered and blown to infinity and alee I was able to see hedge apples still hanging from tree branches of several Osage orange trees.

AH! A hinterland Christmas tree bearing colorful light green “bulb” balls. Some were strung in straight lines and others sprinkled playfully through the branches. I thought the trees were truly ready for the holidays.

~~~

I have recently seen two bald eagles in two different places. The first one was along 69 Highway, driving northward from Louisburg.

South of 199th Street there are very large, metal electric poles with round discs placed on the top. Seated upon one was a beautiful bald eagle, looking westward.

Was it contemplating its next meal? Maybe it was waiting for the sunset (by the way, the sunsets recently have been absolutely magnificent)?

The other eagle was east of Hillsdale.

At first I thought it was a vulture because of its large size, but then I quickly roused my memory. Our Kansas vultures have already traveled to their winter vacation grounds.

The brilliant white head and tail-feathers became obvious as it banked slightly to the north, catching the radiant sunlight. Yes! It was a bald eagle… always so impressive to me. I will never grow weary of their appearances.

~~~

A friend of mine recently had an eagle incident in her backyard.

She had just returned home from work when she suddenly heard the loud and raucous sound that a hen makes upon laying an egg. Baa gawk! Baa gawk!!

She headed to the door to find one of her precious, friendly, loyal, egg-laying hens on the ground. Standing next to the obviously dead chicken, named Louise, was a very large juvenile bald eagle.

Her neighbor had reported that she had two eagle nests located around her large pond. Possibly this young eagle was a member of one of the nesting locations.

Looking over the total scene it became apparent that the eagle caught the chicken and, because of her heftiness, was dropped into the yard.

Anyway, my friend started yelling from her deck,”SHOO! SHOO!” to the bird eyeballing the bloody carnage at its feet.

The other chickens, after hearing the commotion, made a mad dash to the underneath of the deck.

Poor Louise was done for, but she had an ally in the form of a large cat named Binx, who had befriended and loved all of the backyard chickens. Binx had witnessed the whole ordeal and was now angry at the eagle for beheading one of his dear friends.

Binx was not afraid. He was two feet away from the eagle in a stare down. Suddenly the cat lunged as the eagle took off from the ground just in the feather flick of time.

Binx caught the eagle in mid-flight touching the rear end feathers… rather like someone getting pinched in the behind.

The eagle tucked in his tail feathers and flew to the top of the nearby backyard swing… sitting there considering its lost chicken dinner and eventually leaving for the top of a forest tree.

The remaining chickens, under the porch, were terrified and frozen with fear. Even enticing them with a cup of mealworms wouldn’t bring them into the light.

Putting on her husband’s coveralls, she crawled and called to her remaining chickens under the deck. They were hiding next to the foundation. She shooed the panicked chickens out. They immediately hustled back to the safety of the coop.

The grief stricken chickens are staying in the coop now under the watchful eye of a fake owl who hopes to scare away any other predatory foes.

In reference to birds of prey … I have noticed many hawks on posts or wires very close to sunset, still on the hunt. Is this due to a lack of prey? Are they failing to find the food they need to eat?

Was this the reason for the eagle’s chicken pick-off?

I am not sure, but I have been concerned for them.

Beth Conner is a Miami County resident, teacher and outdoor enthusiast. She can be reached at bethconner2019@gmail.com.

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