17 Comments




  1. Elizabeth, this is gorgeous! I love every one of the photos. Am struck by your line, “It’s not about cuteness.” The same exact words I wrote in the chapter I’m slogging through at the moment. My dilemma was a red fox kit that was euthanized at a rehab center I worked at because he could not be released back into the California wild to threaten the habitat of native gray foxes. It wasn’t about cuteness–and yet the law seemed peremptory, somehow off. Am trying to write my way toward understanding. Not sure I’m succeeding…. I love your post title too.

  2. Elizabeth Enslin

    Thanks Priscilla. I’ve never put much effort into photography but am trying a bit harder these days. Im especially pleased with these.

    I love that you used the cuteness line in your chapter. I struggle with those issues a lot too. There’s a poem by Mary Oliver that comes to mind. Can’t remember the title or details but something about having compassion for prey and predator. I look forward to reading your book some day. I also hope we get a chance to meet at some point. I’d love to have a good chat about all this.


  3. Love the post! Great shots. Did you stick around to see whether the snake succeeded?

    I got a very similar shot of a nuthatch peering out of their tree nest this week!

  4. Elizabeth Enslin

    I didn’t stick around for that, Mike. For all I know the snake might have already eaten and was busy digesting. The nuthatches are gone now. I assume they fledged. The baby woodpeckers are still there and, judging by the deafening loudness and frequency of their cheeping doing well.


  5. love the title and the pictures! must have been a fascinating afternoon :)

  6. Elizabeth Enslin

    Thanks, Arati. It was a wonderful afternoon. The snake was an unexpected treat.


  7. A thoughtful post, illustrated with nice photos. It’s hard to resist cuteness, as we all know. But I am partial to red-heads, and snakes. :-)


  8. Wonderful photos. You are lucky to be able to find the nests. Our woods are so large, we don’t stand much chance of finding them unless we’re really lucky. The snake is a reminder that life in the wild isn’t so wonderful at times.

  9. Elizabeth Enslin

    Thanks, Deb. I’m a sucker for cuteness in many forms — snakes as well as birds. A red-headed snake would be adorable.

  10. Elizabeth Enslin

    Thanks, Joan. We have extensive forests too but they’re ponderosa pines with open canopies so wildlife is easier to see. And these apple trees have so many holes in them that they’re a favorite for species that often nest in nearby pines too.



  11. JA JA JA JA, now I also think that I should look around to see if a cougar (or a jaguar… I live in Panamá) is stalking me while birding!


  12. Great post – I usually don’t hear about bull snakes/gopher snakes climbing trees, but I guess the nests were just that tempting.

  13. Elizabeth Enslin

    Jan – I tell myself that cougars would probably rather eat elk and deer, but I figure they know where I am more often than I know where they are.

  14. Elizabeth Enslin

    Thanks, Bernard. I was surprised too but did find some online references to occasional tree climbing.

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