Hoppy Easter | Hooray for suburban wildlife!

This is one of our wild little backyard bunnies.


Ever since our sweet old Bijou, a Boston Terrier, died last spring ~


Following the passing of our nineteen-year-old cat Cairo the previous fall (you can tell what a good cat he was) ~
 

We've been wanting more pets but just haven't been ready yet. Three kids is a lot to juggle, plus going back to work for me - in any capacity - is a recipe for chaos.


One good thing about having no pets is that there's nothing in our yard to deter the local wildlife from coming around and staying around. I would say that following the passing of our pets, the wildlife in the backyard has really flourished because there are no permanent resident predators - just the kind that always exist (coyotes and birds of prey, as well as the occasional marauding neighbor cat).


Behold our current "wild" pets. I know they're pests for some, but I don't have a decent vegetable garden to defend so I love watching these cottontail rabbits. They live under our home office/shed in the backyard and come out to explore often.


They hang out together and find different plants to nibble.


There are parents and babies (kits).


They scratch themselves and clean their faces with their paws between feedings.


The kits sometimes come in pretty close out of curiosity.


I guess they like honeysuckle!

                         

They like to nose around in the kids' sandbox.


And what about birds? I've started putting out peanuts to attract crows.


But someone else has stolen their thunder with its beauty, personality, and moxie - the California Scrub Jay.


This is how it tucks into a peanut (I used to think this was a male, but then its mate showed up and they are identical). Did you know that they mate for life? For other amazing facts about these brilliant corvids, check out their Wikipedia page.





When it's finished all the peanuts, it perches right outside the window and looks at me expectantly.


They also pick up and drop several in a bid to determine which nut is best before flying away.



 I can sit only four feet away now!


We have other birds too. I'd be lying if I said these mourning doves didn't make me a little hungry. Hah!



This is a California towhee.


This is one hunting.


A Mockingbird.


Anna's Hummingbird!


She was thinking about nesting again in the chandelier.



This is a plucky House Wren.


They sing a loud, lovely song!


And a giant Red-tailed Hawk.


This is the smaller - but still sizable - Cooper's Hawk.


 And a lovely little Hermit Thrush.


Here's a handsome male House Finch. 



This one's a Flycatcher - a darling little hunter!
                                       

And this is a Western Fence Lizard, which eats a lot of the same insects that the birds do.


So now to our Easter Day. For us, Easter is the ultimate celebration of springtime. We started the day with a leisurely breakfast while watching our backyard animals after the initial excitement of basket-finding - with colored pancakes and bacon and eggs and strawberries.


Then I made my soft pretzels for the Easter party we were celebrating at a dear friend's home. I told you I make them for every party! She asked that we bring a dish "preferably from our country of origin" (assuming prior to the United States) so I used the Austrian heritage of our surname and had my daughter make a painted menu ala Jacques Pepin.
Haven't seen his lovely hand-made and painted menus? Take a gander herehere or here.


And the party! The kids enjoyed the egg hunt - the dads all hid tons of candy-filled eggs while the kids and moms waited inside. Here they are searching for their tiny treasures.




It's fun to spend Easter with the same families you've spent it with several times over the past years, watching all the children grow. I like comparing this year:


- with 2012: (how funny is Hugo in this one?)


We got home just in time to have a lazy Easter evening with a dinner of rack of lamb and roasted potatoes with a salad and baguette. Easy peasy for sure, especially when you buy the lamb pre-seasoned and make the potatoes using the Lipton soup recipe, tossing in a bagged salad to boot!


Hope you enjoyed your springtime Easter celebration.
Thanks for looking! xo

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