Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Room with a View

Being confined to my bed day in and out, I end up spending a lot of time (more than I would like) looking out the window and wishing I could break free. My room unfortunately does not face the beautiful mountains that are viewable from much of the rest of the house, but it is not without interesting things to see from time to time.

There is a mesquite tree in the small courtyard outside my window, and it is quite the hot spot for little desert dwellers. My dad put some feeders on a few of the tree's branches and it is amazing the amount of birds that flock to them. Woodpeckers, cardinals, hummingbirds, mourning doves, quails, wrens, road runners and lots of other birds I would have no clue how to label. I even once saw a beautiful, large hawk perched on one of the mesquite's branches, keeping guard and watching for prey. It took my breath away.

Here are a couple photos I took of some of these bird visitors (please excuse the poor quality of most of these pictures, as many were taken with an old flip cell phone):

Hawk (much more impressive in person)


(that's a natural red spot on his head, not an acute injury...)


Quail (check out his funny hat)

Of course, the mesquite tree and bird feeders attract lots of other creatures as well. I've often been somewhat amused (and equally sympathetic) watching a gopher or chipmunk trying to reach the feeder, only to slip and fall to the ground each and every time. They look so funny as they plummet through the air with all their limbs outstretched, as if in apparent panic... I can almost hear them cursing on the way down. Yet, back up they go to try again. I admire and can relate to their persistence, despite never quite having success.

Anyhow, I have seen quite a few wild rabbits living out in the courtyard around my tree as well. Here's a photo of one of those bunnies who lived a happy little life outside my window for several weeks:

Unfortunately, though, this poor little bunny did not meet a happy fate. A couple days before Easter last year (of all days), a coyote happened on his territory, found his little bunny hole, and... well.. let's just say it was not a pretty sight.  Survival of the biggest (not necessarily the fittest) in action.
May he now rest in peace....

Bunny hole is discovered

Not that long ago, I also woke to a bit of a surprise when I saw a giant lizard attached to my window screen. I'm flattered he made such an effort to say hello, but I have to admit, I was glad when he decided to be on his way.

I've had deer in my courtyard as well, though they are a less frequent event. Here's a picture I managed to snap awhile ago with my cell phone. Be grateful it is such a bad photo, and partially blocked by my bed post. Right as I snapped it, the deer squatted down and started to... erm.. relieve itself.

Isn't nature beautiful?

Twice last year I also saw an absolutely gorgeous bobcat perched on the courtyard wall. It was stunning to see such a beautiful animal in the wild so close up like that. And of course, a bit disturbing as well, as he was facing our entry way and looked ready to pounce if anyone happened to walk out the door at that moment. It was one of the very rare times I was somewhat grateful to be stuck indoors.

Speaking of, I feel I should not leave out some of the indoor critters I've come across, too. I've had several not so pleasant encounters with scorpions of various sizes, and more huge and disgusting spiders than I care to think about. AZ has some of the freakiest looking bugs you will ever see. And I am not a bug person. :) The tiniest of spiders turns me into a girly-girl and I tend to freak out. So when (what I think was) a furry-legged, giant crab spider as big as my palm showed up on my wall... well, let's say I was not too happy about it. I'll spare you the gory evidence (yes, I took photos), but I admit that I squished and killed sent each one of those freaky creatures to creepy bug heaven and only felt a tad bit of guilt about it. :)

On very, very rare occasions, I even sometimes get to see snow. Usually only on the mountains, but it still always a treat.

Look real close... that white stuff is snow!

The tree outside my window keeps me from seeing many stars at night, but whenever there is a full moon, this is my view:

Last but not least, when I am having a relatively "decent" day, my parents will sometimes wheel me to lie in bed on the other side of the house, where I get to see this magnificent view:

These days, it's the short but sweet moments of grace that make all the difference.


  1. Hi Laurel. I love these pictures. You have such a variety of birds at your feeder. We did the same thing -- hung a feeder outside my bedroom window so I could watch from the bed. I'm in the Central Valley of California. I see mostly finches, sparrows, and scrub jays. The rare sighting of a rufus-sided towhee or a hermit thrush is cause for much excitement.

    Like your feeder, mine attracts other critters, most disturbingly, rats. Davis is overrun right now by squirrels and roof rats (also known, I think, as Norwegian rats). How I wish it were wild bunnies instead.

    Thanks for posting these remarkable pictures. They've started me out well on this Sunday.

  2. Wow, those are some amazing animals you saw from your window. How cool! It blows me away how you are able to see and appreciate some of the beauty, despite the situation (being bed bound). I am an advid nature lover and the region I live in is night and day (Northern Ontario) from the desert so I loved seeing the type of wildlife where you live. Are you outside the city?

  3. interesting to see the wildlife on your side of the world. it looks like you live in a beautiful place,i'm wondering which state?

  4. Laurel, the pictures are great! The falcon was amazing and the lizard, freaky, and the coyote catching the rabbit - poor little rabbit. Glad you didn't post a picture of the squished spider. Also, your view is quite lovely. I really enjoyed your post and am glad to see you back.

  5. I wish we had those sorts of views.

  6. Such a great post. You have much more wildlife than I do walking past my window. I'm lucky to be living in woodland here in the UK and we've just put up a nestbox opposite 'my' window. It's attracting interest from the bluetits already.

    Our squirrels are canny enough to unhook the feeders and walk off with them! Mostly they hang upside down from their hind feet and use their front paws to empty out the seeds. Grrrr.

    Thanks for this view of your home.

  7. Thanks, all. The bird feeders do provide for a nice distraction. :) I moved out here from the east coast, and though I've been here over 12 years now, I still wonder at all the amazing desert wildlife. And the freaky bugs, too. :)

    Upnorth and Cheryl -- I'm in AZ. I live in my parents small but beautiful home. We are just outside city limits, but still technically considered part of the city -- if that makes sense. :)

  8. I love these pictures too!!

    So many creatures are coming up to your window (especially the lizard!).

    You are in my thoughts Laurel, I hope you break free soon.

  9. Wow! You could almost write a story with all those animals! That is so incredible.

    I lived in Phoenix for almost a year and you are right. The bugs are horrible! And I hate bugs.

    I cannot imagine watching the wolves eat the bunny! Awwww.

    It's almost like you have your own Wild!

    Truly amazing! Thanks for sharing the photos as well as the stories that went with them. :-)

  10. Laurel
    What wonderful pictures ~ so fun to see your wildlife and views. Beautiful! We have coyotes and deer where we live near the edge of town along with rabbits that live under our deck plus many birds and a few duck couples that nest around here too. I long to see more than our neighbors houses behind us, but know I am blessed to have the view I have! So glad you have a great view. Thank you for letting us be more a part of your corner of the world.

  11. Hi Laurel, I am so sorry you're bedridden. The photos are great, but what would be really great would be for you to be able to enjoy life out there. I hope you get to do that soon!

    I've created a site called Wellbook ( It's designed to be a place where people with illnesses can reach out to one another for support and track their health. I hope you'll be kind enough to take a look if and when you can (if so, I'd love to hear any thoughts you may have about it) and perhaps link to it on your blog.

  12. Hi Laurel,

    thank you for sharing all these wonderful pictures!

    When I look out my window all I see is another house.

    But I have to say, I really enjoy a spider-free flat too :)

    Sorry about the bunny but I guess the coyotes need food, too, that's the way it goes.

    Sending lots of love and strength your way!


  13. Wonderful photographs! I'm amazed at all the wildlife you see. I too am not a bug person (putting it mildly) and have a phobia of scorpions and big spiders.

    I also love the last line in your post about the "short, sweet moments of grace that makes all the difference." So true...

    Thank you...

  14. Laurel - I just nominated you for the Happiness Award!

  15. "A Room with a View", to most people it's just a phrase, or a Merchant Ivory film, or a book by E.M. Forster, but how many people hear it and think of the wonderful Noel Coward song with the same name, that is now in my head?

    Good job with all the pictures! I don't think I could live where you live and battle hairy tarantulas. Here in LA all I see out my window are squirrels. (I'm on the second floor and surrounded by trees.)

  16. Great pics(except for the lizard!)

    The bunny was killed just before Easter?! That makes it seem even sadder.

  17. I love the animals. i love nature. I feel what you are feeling. I have had a very complex case of Gulf war illness for 19 years. I have chronic fatigue and i have lupus which is out of remission. I have had inflammatory bowel for 19 years. I started a blog but it's been tough to get it going. I am the VA hospital or Aventura hospital 4 out of 5 days. Yes, we are survivors and i like your writing.
    My blog is thanks take care Mary

  18. great pictures! I can't believe the amount of wildlife you can see there (the deer squatting made me laugh). I'm amazed by how happily they'll approach your house! If I were taking these pictures outside of my house, aside from birds, all the pictures would be of snails. LOL

    What amazing views you have, too, of the mountains and the sunset!