Monday, October 5, 2009

Big Sit Meat Pile

Monday, October 5, 2009
Every year, in anticipation of the Big Sit, I get all jiggy with my preparations. This involves spreading mixed seed around the weedy edges of the yard, cleaning and filling the feeders, and hauling chairs, coolers, coats, cushions, Cheetos, chips, checklists, and things beginning with other letters, up to the tower where we conduct this annual exercise in birding/loafing.

And then there's the meat pile.

There are many, many packages of meat and meat-like products that go into our various freezers, never to be seen again. They live there in the frosty darkness, ignored by us, meal after meal and I believe these meats begin to grow resentful. This resentment makes them bitter and dried out. Before the seasons all recycle, these bits of food are good for nothing else but the meat pile.

The meat pile is in the middle of our meadow. It is, yes, you guessed it—a pile of freezer-burned and spoiled meat. I place it there hoping to attract our local resident red-shouldered and red-tailed hawks, and perhaps some passing, sniffing turkey vultures. The side benefit is that lots of other animals visit the meat pile. How do I know this? Check out the photos below.
As I set up the meat pile, removing the packaging, Chet Baker is always there in case I needed a hand/paw. Or a taste tester.

I set up a game camera, one equipped with flash and motion detecting lasers. It also works during the day, as the picture of my backside (below) shows.

The turkey vultures found the meat pile last year after just three days of full, hot, meat-rotting sun. Awesome! Yes, we keep Chet Baker away from the meat pile.

While doing the Big Sit last year, I was alone in the tower when a huge pack of coyotes began arguing in the meadow over the rights to dine at the meat pile. I took a photo of my face as the howling and growling was splitting the night air. It was so chilling hearing these sounds that it gave me goose flesh.
Here are a couple of images captured of the coy-dogs. I love how the camera gives the date, time, phase of the moon, and the temperature and barometric pressure, too!
Nice! Look how big this coyote is. Another reason to keep Chet inside!


On October 5, 2009 at 8:00 PM Susan Ellis said...

Very very cool -now I know what to do with all the freezer burnt meat too, thanks! and best of luck for a great count!

On October 5, 2009 at 9:03 PM Julie Zickefoose said...

Love this post! It gives me the shivers. We are lucky to have a dog who wouldn't even think of eating nasty stuff like that. Why should he, when he gets real roast and gravy over his Royal Canin each night?

On October 5, 2009 at 10:43 PM Robert Mortensen said...

I'm whimping out and just doing a six hour sit here in Idaho. I did spend some time this afternoon putting out various kinds of quality seed and chunks of fruit spiked onto tree branches. I started thinking about doing some kind of meat, but I never thought to raid the freezer of old stuff. Thanks for the tip. We have lots of coyotes too, so the meat may disappear quickly.

Do you use some ground patrol help for ID'ing stuff you see from the tower but can't ID from high above?

I've gotta get me one of those wildlife cameras.

On October 6, 2009 at 6:38 AM Dave Lewis said...

I'll have to remember the meat pile next time I get hungry and need a fine piece of aged beef!

On October 6, 2009 at 8:06 AM kevbosnafu said...

I am SO having Shepherd's pie for lunch today. Looking forward to seeing you at Plum Island on Friday, Bill! Great post.

On October 6, 2009 at 11:56 AM OpposableChums said...

My next band: Big Sit Meat Pile

On October 6, 2009 at 3:04 PM Alan said...

I like to put out meat piles to attract Pterodactyls. Seems to work well.

On October 6, 2009 at 5:39 PM Bill of the Birds said...

Robert: Yes we allow ground-truthing in the Big Sit.

Kev: Looking fwd to it!

Chummy: Can I play bass?

On October 7, 2009 at 4:09 PM Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

Sounds delicious! We are not quite as prepared for the Big Sit, but we did consider doing some chumming last summer on the Bay to entice Northern Gannets. Nasty business!

Good Count this weekend!

On October 8, 2009 at 1:18 PM littleorangeguy said...

No offense, BOTB, but there is something wrong when we have to count on you for our Chetfix.

On October 11, 2009 at 4:04 AM kanishk said...

very cool -now I know what to do with all the freezer burnt meat too, thanks! and best of luck for a great count! Work From Home