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Photo of mountain lion courtesy of a neighbor's critter cam.

By Mary Alice Murphy

Exciting times at the Murphy birdfeeders.

We've watched a white-breasted nuthatch family and baby titmice this week.

Last Sunday, Mama and Papa nuthatch were feeding their two young'uns, as the babies precariously perched on the edges of the cages that hold the seed block and the suet.

By Thursday and Friday Mama was swatting the adolescents away when they tried to get her to feed them. They were on their own. Still not always steady on the perches, but they managed to come around often, so they could get enough to eat. Just like teenagers.

Midweek, a Mama titmouse and her fuzzy baby were visiting the feeders. By today, Baby titmouse was on his own, but still with a tousled feather-do.

I've seen quite a few ladderback woodpeckers, too, and suspect some of them are juveniles, as their plumage is not fully colored for male or female.

House finches have been having lots of young'uns, and Papa is certainly strutting his bright red feathers.

I also suspect the Black-headed grosbeaks are bringing their juveniles to feed, too, although I have not witnessed Mama feeding any young.

When I took our dog out for a short walk this evening, a hawk of some sort flew out of the juniper tree near the front door. I thought it was perhaps a kestrel, but it was too large. I suspect it was either a prairie falcon or perhaps a peregrine falcon, although I'm not sure. Hope it's not scouting for baby quail or other bird babies, but I guess falcons have to eat, too.

And why did I mention mountain lions and post a photo? One of our neighbors has a critter cam out, and caught a photo of a mountain lion at a nearby water hole in May. A little too close to our house for my comfort.

I know lions are around, as another neighbor couple saw one strolling across their property late one afternoon a couple of years ago.

I've heard bobcats, but not mountain lions, at night. But maybe the cougars know enough to keep their mouths shut.

Early in the morning seems to be the best time to hear coyote choruses. I love hearing them, although they used to scare me when I was a kid. Especially when they were "singing" right under my window.

The deer, of course, are merrily munching on the lower branches of our fruit trees. Hope they don't get all the low peaches! We also have some plums, although we had many, before the high winds culled them out by the dozens.

May your musings bring you beauty!

Live from Silver City

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