A couple of weeks ago we looked at the Bald Eagle which is the National Symbol of the United States of America. Today we explore other Birds of Prey, various types of Owls

Did You Know?

  • Of all the types of owls the Northern Barred Owl has to be everyone’s favorite, because it is the “Hoot Owl.”           



  • The Great Horned Owl can carry more than three times its weight!
  • It is the fiercest, most aggressive owl in North America.
  • The Great Horned Owl has been recorded living as long as 29 years.



  • The Barn Owl is known as the “Flying Mousetrap” because it can catch up to 21 rodents in half an hour!
  • The Barn Owl can hear the patter of a running mouse’s feet at a distance of 30 yards or more. Because of its hearing, it can hunt in total darkness.



  • The Eastern Screech Owl is another favorite because of its screeching sound.
  • The Eastern Screech Owl is known as the “Wildcat of the Sky” due to its aggression protecting its young. It can even kill birds as large as a barnyard hen.          

Screech owl bird-1646100_1280


“The wailing owl Screams solitary to the mournful moon.”

David Mallet

Source: Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Inc.


Photos by Pixabay

Between a Rock & a Hard Place

I Will Remember

Sometimes life seems too hard
And sadness lingers too long.
Often even memories are charred
And everything is going wrong.

When problems tower
And solutions evade,
When prayer has lost its power
And I’m ashamed of the mess I’ve made
I will try to remember this little flower.


KRM Welcome

I would like you to meet Patrick Litanga who in the video below explains what it is like to arrive in this country as a refugee. Patrick knows because he came here years ago as a young refugee from the Congo. Since then he has completed a Masters Degree and is currently working on his Doctorate while holding two jobs. Patrick is now married and has two children.

One of Patrick’s jobs is with the Kentucky Refugee Ministry (KRM) as a caseworker, giving back to those who have helped him to succeed as an American citizen and to other refugees who arrive in Kentucky.

Listen as he tells you what it is like to be a new arrival and how he feels about the airport welcomes that KRM provides. As a volunteer with Patrick more than once I can say that he does this part of his work with enthusiasm and sincerity. He makes Airport Welcomes work with a very personal touch.


“We cannot forget that we are a nation founded by refugees who were fleeing oppression and often fearful for their lives.” Brad Schneider


Title Photo by Pixabay

World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day, a day designated to consider the plight of refugees, the contributions of refugees and how we might make their transition to our own countries easier.

For the past few years, I have volunteered in various capacities with the Kentucky Refugee Ministry (KRM). My jobs have been very insignificant, serving food, playing with children, welcoming newcomers at the airport as in the photo below. I always, however, learn something important from these experiences.


A family of three were greeted by the local Burmese Community on this occasion recently.

I have found these people to be so grateful for each kindness offered to them. They progress quickly under the leadership of KRM Caseworkers and quickly assimilate into the community working and going to school.

This year, so far, I have personally welcomed 40 individual refugees from countries such as the Congo, Myanmar, and Afganistan. Most have been living in refugee camps for years. Some have been surviving in terrible conditions in such camps for as long as twenty years waiting for their turn to migrate to a country where they can establish a home for their family.

“Refugees are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children, with the same hopes and ambitions as us—except that a twist of fate has bound their lives to a global refugee crisis on an unprecedented scale.”- Khaled Hosseini


Theme Photo by Pixabay

Happy Juneteenth

Today is Juneteenth, a day that recognizes the Emancipation of enslaved Americans. While President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was official on Jan. 1, 1863 it was not until June 19, 1865, that all slaves were freed. The celebrated date of June 19 began when General Grover Granger rode into Galveston, TX with news of the end of the Civil War and the Emancipation of all slaves.

Freed slaves began to celebrate on this date and it is now an official holiday or special observation in forty-five states. As Americans, we should all join in celebrating the abolition of slavery. 



“Now I’ve been free, I know what a dreadful condition slavery is. I have seen hundreds of escaped slaves, but I never saw one who was willing to go back and be a slave.” Harriet Tubman


Photo and graphic by Pixabay

Good Advice

This letter was published today in the Courier-Journal and I thought it was worth sharing.


I found a wildlife baby – now what?

Our native wildlife are having their babies. If you find a wildlife baby that might need help, what do you do? The best thing to do is NOT care for them yourself, but call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator like Second Chances Wildlife Center or Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky.

Fawn and baby bunnies do not share a nest with Mom. Mom is only with her babies five to 10 minutes a day. Unless a fawn is crying for more than two consecutive hours, they do not need rescuing.

Fledgling birds flop around on the ground for days before flying. Baby birds can be placed back in nests.

Squirrels have multiple nests at a time. If you disturb one, she’ll move her babies to another one. Find squirrel or raccoon babies on the ground? Place them in a box by where the nest was and wait for Mom to come get them one at a time when there is no disturbance from humans or pets.

Opossum or skunk babies DO need help as Mom is with them at all times.

You can prevent wildlife from becoming orphaned and injured by checking your grass before mowing and watch outdoor pets. If you know there is a nest in your yard, keep your dog on a leash or inside for a week or two, so the babies have time to grow and leave your yard. Trim trees in late fall when there are no babies in nests.

Brigette Brouillard

Mount Washington, Ky. 40047


Photo by Pixabay

Movie Review


If you are an Elton John fan, and I am, you have to like this movie. How much fans like it may vary. It had plenty of John’s music and more than enough of his outrageous costumes, however, I left the two-hour movie feeling a bit unfulfilled.

Part of my disappointment was in the way the music was presented in excerpts rather than full songs. Perhaps I should confess here that I don’t care for musicals and this was a musical. To me, it is just unnatural for people to break out in song while doing the most mundane of activities. OK! I know it was about music, but still.


There was a clear depiction of his early life with a mother and father who either knew little about parenting or just didn’t care for the role. John’s early life was very sad. The actors who played him as a child were very good, especially the younger, adorable boy. Taron David Egerton who played Elton John as an adult was excellent. Surprisingly, he did his own singing and stunts, including one where he sang underwater.

It is not surprising when viewing a biopic of a rock & roll star that there would be problems with drugs and alcohol and this was a major focus of “Rocketman.” Even though the movie was long, it did not include his past twenty-eight years of sobriety, marriage and a family of his own.

Again, any Elton John fan will enjoy this movie. I did, in spite of believing that it could have been even better.

“The great thing about rock and roll is that someone like me can be a star.”      Elton John

Photos by Bing

Rats? On The Other Hand

The last post was about the menace of rats.    https://crookedcreek.live/2019/06/12/rats/   Rats in the city, rats in the house or on the farm can be real pests, but as with most things in life, there is a flip side.

Rats Make Affectionate Pets!

My granddaughter, Kate, and her husband, Tom, live in a flat in Cheltenham in the UK that does not allow cats or dogs. Kate has always had several pets from the time she was born and could not imagine living very long without one or more. So, a couple of months ago they adopted two rats and here they are: 


Meet Sergio and Earic (he’s the one with prominent ears!) These Fancy Rats were purchased from a pet store and are now part of the family in Kate and Tom’s home.  Kate says they are very smart animals and can learn commands such as fetch, spin, jump and come. They are not picky eaters and are easy to care for. Sergio is seen in the picture above in one of his favorite places, riding on Kate’s shoulder. Earic is here with Tom. 

Earic & Sergio


So before we become too opinionated about any subject it probably pays to learn more and to have more experiences. I look forward to meeting Sergio and Earic in person when I return to England!



“I do feel like by buying rats from a pet store, you are saving them because if not, they would get fed to a snake or something.” Nikki Reed


I love all animals and, with the exception of spiders, all living creatures. They all have their places on this planet we share. I realize that some readers feel differently and I do understand, especially when it comes to destructive rodents. My birdfeeders are used by squirrels and chipmunks and I love sharing with them, but some of my neighbors disagree. I sometimes put out lettuce or a carrot for the occasional rabbit that wanders onto my front porch, too. I can’t help myself!

Recently, I was shocked to learn that a pair of rats left to breed without predators such as humans or raptors, will in three years increase to 3.5 million rats. That is not a typo! Three and one-half million rats can descend from one Mommy and Daddy Rat in three years. That is a big extended family!

As a person who started out on a farm on Crooked Creek, I was also surprised by another statistic: One rat will annually cause $28.50 of farm damage per crop acre. After these facts from the Raptor Rehabilitation of KY, Inc. it is hard for me to argue in favor of these little creatures. 

It is important to know though, that there are right and wrong ways to attempt rodent control. Raptors are nature’s way to handle the problem, which means if you poison rodents you are indirectly poisoning hawks, owls and eagles. Quick kill traps are safer as well as more humane than other types of traps.

Urban Escalation

Rats have always been a significant problem in big cities and a recent New York Times article (by Winnie Hu) sounds the alarm for a serious worsening of infestations.  Besides New York City (where “Pizza Rat” was a social media hit last year), other cities cited in the article include Seattle, Chicago (the “rat capital”), Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington (I don’t think they included politicians in their count). The statistics varied, but in some cities, the rat population has grown by over 100%.

cartoon rat


One of the reasons given for such increases includes building booms (called “gentrification”), which one scientist likened to stepping on an ant hill. It could be that rats are simply more visible because they are being released by builders digging into their burrows.

More and more people are coming to cities such as NYC both as residents and as tourists, leading to more and more waste from apartments, hotels, and restaurants. This garbage sits in plastic bags lining the streets overnight and providing a banquet for rats.

The Solution?

It seems there is no one answer to the infestation of rats in cities. Each municipality is approaching this problem with everything from rodent birth control to education of residents and improved reporting systems. It will be interesting to observe the effects of milder winters due to climate change on this situation.

Meanwhile, rodents are not only a destructive nuisance and a scourge on the quality of life, but also a serious health risk. A bacterial infection spread by rat urine, leptospirosis, can be lethal.

cartoon rat

“I live in New York, and the only live animals you see are cockroaches, rats and pigeons, which I admire immensely. When I see an animal that thrives in the garbage, I feel relief; in our urban environment, other animals are dying out.” Isabella Rossellini

Before GPS

Years ago I was invited to my Aunt Jane’s ninetieth birthday. The celebration was taking place in her hometown which I had not visited in many years. When I asked a relative for directions to the venue I received something like this:

“Before you get to Lawrenceburg turn left. There used to be a REA building there. Go a little ways and turn again where the movie used to be. The building will be on your left. It is not very big.” 

Another time when lost in Tennessee I stopped to ask a friendly looking farmer for directions and I was told to “Turn right where the big green barn used to be.” 


“Time moves in one direction, memory in another.” William Gibson


Graphic & Photo by Pixabay


The Bald Eagle 

Did you know these facts about the national symbol of the United States. 

  • It is against the law to possess even one feather of a Bald Eagle.
  • Bald Eagles build the biggest nests of any bird in the world. One nest in the state of Florida was documented as weighing over two tons and measuring 9.5 feet across!

Nest bald-eagles-1761466_1280

  • Bald Eagles do not get their white heads and tails until they reach sexual maturity which is at 5 years. The one below is a juvenile.

Juvenile bald-eagle-940496_1280

  • For every 60 minutes, a Bald Eagle soars it only flaps its wings for about two minutes.

Soaring eagle-3854784_1280

  • Bald Eagles often drown because they grab a fish that is too large and it pulls them under the water.
  • Besides the Bald Eagle, there are over 50 other eagle species and they are found on every continent except Antarctica.

     “The Eagle has landed.” Neil Armstrong


Watch Bald Eagles live on this camera in South Florida: https://dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html

Source: Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, Inc.

Photos by Pixabay





Book Review – The Sunflower

“The Sunflower – On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness”

by Simon Wiesenthal

Mr. Wiesenthal, a Jew, was a prisoner in concentration camps during WWII. He was treated inhumanely and saw this family killed or starved to death. One day a dying SS soldier who had murdered Jewish families asked him for forgiveness.  

It seems that Wiesenthal was haunted by his response. He wrote this story in “The Sunflower” asking “what would you have done?” He searches for answers from people of many faiths and backgrounds. He is answered by over fifty individuals including Desmond Tutu, Harold Kushner, and the Dalai Lama. 

The answers given vary from emotional, heartfelt, to very intellectual.  The discussion is enlightening on many levels. I recommend Wiesenthal’s book and the responses by those he sought out – theologians, jurists, psychiatrists, human rights activists, political leaders, former prisioners of war, writers and others – to answer his unrelenting question on forgiveness. You will never forget it. 


“The Sunflower” was originally written in France in 1969. It has been translated, revised and had the symposium added at later dates. Wiesenthal died in 2005 at the age of 96.


Sunflower photo by Pixabay