Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Update: Tiercel with a Bright White Chest - We Have Closure

    Although peregrines have adapted to a life in the city it is in many ways much more dangerous than their natural cliffside habitat.The glass covered skyscrapers & traffic congestion being the two most deadly for them. DC knew the Rochester skies well as he had been flying over them since 2012. He had only migrated once early on and so was used to the harsh upstate NY winters. 
But he was now a senior falcon approaching his 12th year. I had wanted to believe he had migrated this past winter as it would have explained his absence. But in my heart I really doubted it. 

   On the 18th of May we got an answer to his disappearance. While on a 911 call at the old Rochester Riverside Hotel firefighter Neal & his partner found a deceased peregrine falcon on a lower roof. They did some research and realized we were missing one and contacted Rfalconcam. Our DEC contact, Amy Mahar, was notified and she came to Rochester. She was able to confirm that the deceased falcon was indeed Dot.ca, Black Band/13 over Y. 

   It appeared he had collided with the building and died instantly. I believe it may have been one of the blinding snowstorms with relentless winter winds that caused his demise. I would like to thank the firefighters for taking the time to give us answers we needed for closure. The DEC has been asked to bury DC together with his beloved Beauty and I thank them for agreeing to. Now they fly high and free together and will never be forgotten. 

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Tiercel With a Bright White Chest: The Story of Dot.ca

   I wanted to believe DC had just migrated now that he is in his senior years and would be returning any day. He had migrated once before in the 2012 winter season and returned the following March on St. Patrick's Day. Every day I've searched the camera views for a bright white speck of hope announcing his return. But the day of luck came and went without him making an appearance. He may not have survived the migration or possibly he did not make it through one of the harshest winters we've had in quite some time with the snow, wind and cold temperatures. While we'll never know for certain what happened he did not return. And so it is with great sadness that I believe our beloved DC whom I affectionately called Dot is gone forever from the Rochester skies. 

   DC hatched in May of 2010 on the 18th floor of the Sun Life Financial Center in downtown Etobicoke, Ontario, CA to parents Angel & Jack. He had 2 other male siblings, Blackberry & Mercedes. He fledged successfully and needed to be rescued once from a balcony. It was a rather stressful nesting season as Jack was attempting to manage 2 different nest sites, something DC would inherit from him.  

   In April 2012 DC showed up in Rochester in the midst of several traumatic events. Beauty had been severely injured in a battle with Unity and after being rescued was in rehab. Unity had claimed the Times Square nest box and was close to laying a egg when Archer appeared with injuries to his legs and then was not seen again. Alone with her egg Unity begins mating with DC. I didn't want to like him. I felt he was responsible for the loss of my father falcon Archer. Falcon watchers know that feeling, your head knows it is the falcon way but your heart isn't quite there yet.

   In yet another twist of fate Unity is struck and killed by a car the on same day as Beauty returns to Rochester after being released from Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. Not knowing the events that have transpired both Beauty and DC claim the Times Square box as their own. DC attempts to drive her out with continuous dive bombing but she isn't going anywhere. Finally after 3 weeks they are seen bowing and eventually mating takes place. Beauty lays her first 2 eggs with DCOn June 20th 2012 one of the eggs begins to hatch while DC is sitting on them. He is quite surprised to see his newborn eyas. Orion the miracle pefa is banded on July 13th becoming the 1st of Beauty and DC's offspring. The firstborn of a legacy that will last for years to come. For the next 9 years DC and Beauty will rule the Rochester skies. Together producing 31 offspring over those years in clutches of 3 to 4 eyas.  DC also mates with Pigott at the BS sight and then after she moves on another female that takes up residence there following in the footsteps of his dad Jack.

   DC was an amazing hunter and great provider. He loved sitting on his eggs and there was often quite the standoff when Beauty returned and he didn't want to budge from them. These standoffs could last for quite some time with much vocalization between them until Beauty either kicked him off or on occasion gave in and let him stay. He also loved to feed the eyas once they hatched. When Beauty let him help with the feedings he often indulged himself as well and it was hilarious to watch. As the eyas grew Beauty & DC would do tandem feedings which were always fun to watch especially when the girls were outgrowing DC in size. As the eyas near fledge Beauty & DC would do flybys attempting to coax them off the ledge. After fledge they were busy teaching them the ways of the falcon and learning how to hunt. DC would usually be in charge of teaching the boys and took them on day trips as they got more experienced.

   Memories flood my mind of Dot.ca and I will be forever glad I have them. DC and Beauty next to each other on a on a ledge on OCSR. DC watching over his territory from high atop the Times Square Building. And DC delivering a meal to Beauty on the Mercury statue. This tiercel with a bright white chest will be missed but not forgotten. His legacy lives on. Fly free Dot.ca.



I was nearly finished with this story last week when we lost Beauty and struggled to finish it but hope I have it justice even in this time of great loss.


Wednesday, June 30, 2021

To Freyja

 To Freyja

I dreamt of you long before your hatch.

The name I chose for you befitting of a peregrine.

A Norse goddess wearing a cloak of falcon feathers.

As I watched you grow I nervously awaited your time to fly wild and free.

To soar the skies above the city your parents rule.

But it was not meant to be.

Fate somehow interrupted your destiny.

And your short life was no more.

And now as I watch your brother Golden learn the way of the falcon.

My eyes leak and my heart breaks at the thought of what might have been.

But I will never forget you. 

Fly free my precious girl.

All my Love, 



Monday, October 14, 2019

The Story of Sir Laredo Bam Bini

  It has been a year today since my precious boy passed away and so it is time to tell his story. I had 13 wonderful years with him and although he had his quirks like an insatiable appetite for plastic and Parmesan cheese I loved every minute of it.
  The first part of this story is taken from the original story I wrote in 2001 after I found him and is about how he got his  formal name and I am leaving it the original way I wrote it then with the original title :
**Be careful what you pray for because you’ll always get what you really need

           I had been kind of down the past month of May mainly due to my car situation. It seems that Ester Lou, my 92 Geo Metro, is ready for car heaven. With my prospects for financing looking grim, it is a big concern to me. So I have been praying for a car.
            Them, on Wednesday May 30th, I opened my door to go down and put my laundry in the dryer. There in the hall stands this tiny little adorable kitten. I don’t know where he came from; I had overheard someone talking in the hallway earlier and think they must have dropped him off there. I yell for Timothy and within minutes kitten is inside our apartment, of course Timothy is instantly in love with him.
            I immediately looked up and said “Lord I said car not cat.” Could He have misunderstood me? Was His hearing as bad as mine I wondered? I knew of course that this was not the case, God always knows what He’s doing better than I do.
            I tried to be standoffish at first, adamant that we were not going to keep her. However God knows my heart better than that, slowly and surely he was winding his little ball of fur around my soul.
            Of course he is a little monster. Tearing all over the place and biting everything in sight-teething we think. When he finally gets exhausted, he plops down on top of you purring his little heart out.
            So what could I do but keep him, after all God had put him right in from of my door so there must be a reason for it.
            And his name? Why its Laredo of course. A current Country single about a guy trying to win back his girl.

Oh oh Laredo
Don’t let her go
Just take her by the heart
And let the wheels turn slow
Oh oh Laredo
You’re my only hope
Just get her back
To the day we met, cause
That’s as far as she needs to get

            And so he is my Laredo- restoring my soul with faith, hope, joy, and peace. Thank you God for giving me what you knew I needed most.

            And to that poor lost soul who left her in my hallway-you are forgiven. Although you may not have had the best of intentions, God always does. Go in peace!
  So there he was, a kitten named Laredo that I tried very hard not to love at first. Having just separated the year before and being in the midst of a divorce I didn't want to let anything into my heart . But I couldn't help myself, after all I am a lover of all things animal. And so into the apartment he came and he would make it his domain. And the Bam Bini, Italian for baby , influenced by the 3 years we lived there and he was most definitely mine  He was also called Bam Bam by his vets as they thought he was named after the Flintstones character. But a royal cat he was and with much character to boot.
   After finding him in the hallway, I heard from neighbors that people in the other building connected to mine had been evicted for breeding cats that same day. So that explained where he had come from but why did they leave only him. And then the first time my cousin saw him she said you have a cat there I have seen at cat shows, a Turkish Van. So I read everything I could on this breed and he was a perfect match except for one thing. The breed standard is an all white body with a colored tail & coloring on the head. But Bam Bini also had 3 colored spots on his body. And although I saw several photos of Vans with colored body spots I think the breeders thought he would be less valuable and that is why he was dropped in my hallway. He had no undercoat but had a much thicker winter coat which he would shed in the Spring. He also had a fondness for water and did not mind getting wet and always much preferred drinking from the sink. And he grew into that magnificent tail, the large breed cat he surely was.
   He was never big on toys but he loved a couple, one being a golf ball he played with only in the bathroom. I would wake up hear him playing golf at night. And the other being a  spider toy I found,. He actually pulled all 6 legs off the first one and I think I bought two more. He grew up with my Diamond dove pair and I trained him not to get on their cage with a cafeteria tray that would tip if he stepped on it. Tim taught him two things he never forgot, first to open the balcony screen door with his paw if he wanted to come in and 2nd, when he shook the coin purse of quarters it was time to race down three flights of stairs to the laundry room. The only problem was getting him to come back up the stairs. He wasn't the most affectionate of cats but he did like to be scratched behind his ears. And lapsitting required caution since he might just decide to bite after a few minutes. But I loved him with all of my heart.
   There were  a couple of scares over the years like the time he ate rubber bands & we nearly lost him. But the vet was able to flush his stomach and saved him. I never allowed another rubber band in the apartment. And he got very sick after grabbing a huge hunk of cheese off the table and trying to eat it all at once which required meds from the vet. But he was a generally healthy cat up until the end albeit he had litter box issues from time to time. It was difficult watching him decline in his last year. His appetite just wasn't what it once was and he lost a lot of weight. I took him up to the vets at one point thinking it was time but they wanted to try a couple more treatments. Unfortunately that did not help and the vet thought he probably had cancer in his gut somewhere. And so I took him back to the vet and stroked him gently as he crossed over the Bridge. They were very kind and let me stay with him as long as I wanted. I had him cremated and now his ashes are in a beautiful wooden box. I made a special photo album of pictures of him throughout the years. I will never forget this special cat that came into my life at just the right time and I know someday he will be waiting for me.

Editors Note: This story was originally written August 1,2015

Wednesday, October 9, 2019


Dear MOD’s,
Thank you for giving me the time off I needed this past week. During those days I read and saw much on Facebook both good and bad. And it became clear in my head and my heart what direction I needed to take with this group. I created this group almost 6 years ago because I was removed from another owl group after speaking up in defense of others. I needed a place to go and a place others could go as well. A place of refuge. I said I would allow anyone to join the group as long as they followed my only rule which was to be nice to each other. It was difficult at first, there were friends of mine that refused to join because I had allowed someone they didn’t like join the group. But I persisted and I kept my word. And the group grew. It started out with MOD’s I knew from the social stream, then MOD’s from chat & SPO joined as well. As time went on friends new to owls also joined. A group of people bound together by their love for owls. During these nearly 6 years there have only been 2 times I’ve had to remove someone because they weren’t following my rule which I think is a pretty good record. I admit the farther away we’ve gotten from those Molly & McGee days the harder it has seemed to keep the group going. Groups have become very popular in the last few years and I think people often get overwhelmed by them. But I have persisted even as seems at times there are very few of the 300 plus members interested. Last fall at the International MOD Meet in Minneapolis I met my friend Sylvia Oey and she asked me why I kept the group going. I believe my reason today is the same as I told her then. If I managed to make just one person’s day by making them laugh or smile or get their mind off all those other things out there then it was worth it. Yes it can be a lot of work at times and sometimes I get discouraged. Take the latest fall coloring contest for example, I gave a month and a half to enter thinking that would create more entries and yet there were only 5. I admit I was disappointed and I still owe the winners their prizes. I considered whether it was time to end the group after that and then I heard about Susan Shepler Blum, who was a group member and had committed suicide. She had suffered from depression & anxiety for many years. I don’t know if she looked at any of the group posts or if it would have made any difference but I wanted others in the group to know they mattered. I wanted them to know if they felt down or sad or lonely that we MOD’s were here for them because it speaks to the very core of what I was trying to do those almost 6 years ago. A place of refuge. And then to this past week which has been most difficult for me. I found myself struggling to reconcile my activity outside this group with my activity inside this group. I did not want to make mistakes with this most treasured place so I told you I needed to take a break and not post. I didn’t know how long it would take but after 2 days things became clear to me on the direction I needed to go with this group. Despite differences we all may have this must remain a place of refuge I still need a place to go - a place of peace, a place of love, a place of community

Editors Note: This was originally written in Nov. 2016

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November 15, 2016

   I lay face down on the ground defeated

Surrounded by a cloud of sadness thick as fog

A deep grief of shattered hopes I held onto

I was certain it was a bad nightmare I would wake from

But a week has gone by now and I know better

I take in a breath of fresh air and cherish it

How much longer before it will be stifled by pollutants

The nature that I love faces grave danger

Will the future generations witness a falcon soar in a blue sky

and an owl in its silent flight on a moonlit evening

Or will they become stuffed exhibits only to be seen in a museum

Many families will now live with the threat of of being torn apart

Simply because of the partner they choose to love

Or the county they have fled from for a better life

I worry about the life saving health care

That may soon be taken from myself and many others

And as a woman how can I not help but wonder

How it become acceptable to treat us with such disrespect

As objects of desire rather than competent equals

How did hate and bigotry and bullying win out

I must find the answers with my actions

My weapons are just out ahead of me

I reach through the pain to grab hold of them

Strength, courage, love, peace, loyalty

Slowly I stand and gather them into my quiver

This battle will be long and hard fought

But I do not fear because I am am not alone

I have a nation of pantsuits standing with me

We must prevail because retreat is not an option


Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Store Continued .......

   It's Oct. 19th 2015, a beautiful sunny fall day. Tomorrow it will be eight years since mom passed.I don't how that much time has gone by so fast but it seems it has. She is often in my thoughts and special times without her still make me lonesome for her laughter, her singing and of course her cooking. But today is a day to celebrate the memories I have of happy times shared and special places visited with her. And so I am heading to one such very special place. 
   The drive down is a slow glorious one. The air is cool but the sun is shining and the foliage is spectacular. The trees are in all their splendor, golden yellows, flaming reds and all shades in between. 
As I come into Naples I head right to my favorite place for all things grape, Cindy's. Now fully stocked with grape tarts & cookies I head back to the old standby Bob & Ruth's restaurant to use their outdoor facilities. The park across from them is alight with color. Sunlight streams down through the huge maple trees and the golden leaves look ablaze. After taking some pictures & walking around a bit I notice the beautiful old house across the street has a sign up. Vintage & More Antiques & Vintage it says, I must go investigate the treasures. It's a beautiful old place filled with lovely things but as I walk around I'm not seeing any owls so I inquire. She hasn't any there but we get to talking about collectibles and such. I pick out a green glass bowl that is a piece my mom' green glass collection doesn't have and tell her I'll take it. I tell her my parents were collectors and how we've been coming down this way since I went to Alfred State. That we would come down for the Cohocton Fall festival every year and go to the Bee Hive antique co-op that used to be across from the store. How I loved that Olde Country Store and I was heart broken when it closed and every year since I drive down to check on it. And then she says the most amazing thing. The store she says has in fact reopened. I almost think I have heard her wrong. But no, she tells me some of the story about a German family taking it over and I scarcely can take it in. And the candy I ask hesitantly, yes she says the candy is back also.
   I stand there in total amazement. She has no idea that my heart has just lit up like a Christmas tree. My eyes water on the verge of tears. I wrote a story about the store I tell her, just last year. It's like a dream come true, a miracle I never thought I would see happen. I am beside myself with joy and I all I can think of is getting there to see it for myself. She tells me her name and to tell them she sent me. And I am off and running back to the car with my treasure and a feeling that mom is looking down smiling also. North Cohocton is a 5 mile drive from Naples heading down Rt. 21 south and I feel as if I am floating all the way. As I drive past the old familiar places I am still in shock over what she has told me. And then I am there, pulling into the parking lot across from the store. And I see what despite the beauty of the nature all around me has to be the most splendid sight I have ever seen. A brightly colored open sign on side lawn of the store. 
   And the store looks amazing. The exterior gleams in the sunlight and a new sign, The Olde Country Store & More shines brightly on the roof over the porch. The porch is decorated with cornstalks and pumpkins and a neon OPEN sign lights up the window. I can hardly take it in this monumental sight. I grab my camera and take some photos and then grab my purse and head to the door. I step up onto the porch and look around. The Republican & Democratic benches have long since disappeared and I will forever wonder where to. But my mind fills will memories of siting on my favorite blue party bench. The last time I was on this porch I was looking through dirty glass at a few scatted remnants of penny candies. But now I reach forward and grasp the old metal handle of the door firmly and pull. As it it opens I step inside a place I never thought I would be again and I stand there in awe of it. I am welcomed by a girl at the counter and I tell her how I just heard the store was open again and I suppose I went on about my history with it and how I had written a story about it. She tells me they reopened on July 4th
   After taking it all in I quite naturally turn my attention to the candy. The wooden bins which hold it run the entire length of the store. And they are once again filled with candies of every size, shape and variety. A candy lover's dream come true. And so I do what I had done so many times before, I grab a paper sack & I begin to fill it with the penny candies. Hand candies and taffies, sweet candies and sours, so many favorites to choose from and like old friends I welcome them back. I just can't believe I am in the store once again and I almost don't want to leave. I peruse up and down the candy rows making sure I am taking it all in and missing nothing. I see a beautiful owl Christmas ornament from Germany that I would love but I haven't enough money left today. So I pay for my candies and tell the girl I'll be back again for certain. And with one last look around I force myself out the door. 
   The drive home is slow but steady and I stop at at Bristol to take some photos. I get home and start to put away all my grape things, still in awe of the day. And then I pour out that paper sack and eye all my penny candy treasures, trying to decide which one I should try first. Banana taffy is a favorite of mine but I also like the blue raspberry frooties and the mint juleps. I text my son and tell him the fantastic news about the store. He can't believe it either and is excited  to hear all about it. So it isn't until the next afternoon that I go to my blog and reread the story I had written the year before. And then I notice at the bottom there is a comment dated July 24th : Hello Braveheart !!! I just want to inform you that The Olde Country Store is again open !!! At least we are in our startup "soft opening" phase. 9-5 every day of the week. I hope to see you the next time you're in Naples for some grape tarts. Jeff Wells
  I sat there staring at my laptop wondering how I have missed this. If there is a way to get notified when someone comments on my blog I don't know how to do it. But I never imagined anyone connected with the store would read it. And they have a link to their Facebook page which I go check out. And there I find the story about how they came to reopen the store. And what a story it is. Store owner Jeff grows up in nearby Naples,NY on the family farm. Then seeking adventure a tour of duty with the army brings Jeff to Germany. There he meets his wife and they have two daughters. They continue to live in Germany for several years but after the loss of his wife and job a decision is made to return once again to upstate NY. After their original plan of opening a nature center doesn't succeed they go with plan B which is the reopening of The Olde Country Store.
  And so the store is once again a living breathing vibrant place and I hope it lives on for many more years. The future plans Jeff has for the store make me believe it will. There will be stories to tell by next generations of the wonderful memories they have of visits to the store. And I am thrilled to once again be making trips every fall to the store. I may make a few trips at other times in between, after all one's candy supply needs to be restocked and I will have to check out all the new things Jeff has planned for the store. Welcome back old friend, I have missed you. Here's to many more years at The Olde Country Store.