Birds, Swallowtails and Squirrels, oh my

I had to share the above photo. I was giving a program at The Raptor Center yesterday and right before it started, the merlin I was going to use decided to take a bath. This photo is after it had dried a little bit, but at first she looked just awful, completely waterlogged. It's hard to convince people what badasses merlins are when they are soggy and scrawny looking.

I had my first encounter with an apiary. One of the staff at Carpenter Nature Center took me out to their beehives to begin my training on keeping an apiary. I knew this was going to be a real test. Oh sure, I've been reading about keeping bees, but would I panic and freak when actually confronted with a hive? I didn't freak--I even got see a queen. There's A LOT involved with keeping a hive for honey but this is something doable for me. For those interested, I did not get stung.

While there, I found several eastern tiger swallowtails all over their lilac bushes. They really do love to nectar on those plants. It was interesting to note that birds had sampled some of the swallowtails.

Take a look at the swallowtail at this swallowtail. See the chunk of wing missing. That hole left in the wing almost looks like it had been grabbed by the bill of a great-crested flycatcher, but who knows for sure which bird tried to eat it?

People who were reading this blog last summer may remember my problem with squirrels chewing their way into my bedroom window and I had to relocate all the ones that decided to come in whenever they wished. Once again, I'm having a squirrel issue. Last night while sitting on the couch reading, I heard a chewing sound come from the bathroom. Without thinking I automatically shouted, "Cinnamon, get out of the bathroom!" The chewing continued, I looked up and suddenly noticed that Cinnamon was sitting on the Love Sac right across from me. She stared at me with great disapproval that I would accuse her of chewing. Both of her ears were facing me. We heard in the gnawing sound again. Cinnamon's right ear turned towards the direction of the sound while she continued to stare at me accusingly. It was dark out. Cinnamon was in front of me...what was chewing in the bathroom. I'll give you three guesses: a squirrel.

For some reason a squirrel has decided to build a nest in our bathroom window. You can see in this photo I took of the ledge this morning, the little cup impression on the lower left corner where it cuddled up and slept. I don't know why the squirrel wants to live here. We live in an old brown stone with lots of little quirks, one being a window on the same wall as a bath tub/shower. We keep a shower curtain in front of it, but still you would think a squirrel would notice the hot steam rolling out when we shower. Is this some kind of pervert squirrel that has been peeping when we are showering? What is it with my apartment and squirrels??