Feeding the mysterious

Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom.
We feed them and tame them and think we know them.
And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious.
                                                                              ~ David Attenborough

House Finch. November 1, 2019.

Sunday Confessional: crow envy

Lots of birds visit our yard. We have multiple feeders, a bird bath, native shrubs, and mature trees. Our cats are indoor-only. We’re a bird-friendly destination, yo. Which is why it’s so baffling that crows don’t come around very often. I love crows’ black shininess and their sass. I love their raucous cries and intelligence. I just love crows.

Today I got to love them from afar. We were walking around the neighborhood and were two blocks from our house when we saw a couple crows on a roof, one in a tree, another hopping in the street and another few hopping on the lawn. What did that house and yard have that we don’t have? I stood below this light and asked these two why they didn’t come around my place.

They didn’t give me an answer. Color me envious.

Thankful Thursday: Goldfinch edition

This morning I woke to about 10 inches of snow on the rail. The finches, especially the goldfinches, were very busy in the sunflowers. I brought my camera to the basement and sat next to Marcel at the sliding glass door where he was intently monitoring the birds’ movements. I snapped a total of 124 photos of those active little birds, confident I was getting many good shots. Wrong. Between their near-constant movement, the swaying of the sunflower stalks, and Marcel rubbing himself against me, I ended up with a whole lot of soft images. But I couldn’t delete them all and am including a sample here to document the lovely start to my day.

           

           

                       

Who am I?

I’ve been working on my bird-book project and decided to take a break to post here. As I searched my photos for a Northern Flicker (the bird I’ll be profiling next), I happened upon this photo. I like it very much.

Cypress Point Park, Florida. January 12, 2019.

However, I don’t know what kind of bird it is. It reminds me of an oystercatcher, but I don’t think it is (due to the white eye ring). So, if you can identify this bird, please enlighten me. (Believe me, I’m feeling like an imposter right now. Darn you, shorebirds!)

Flight or fisticuffs

Flight without feathers is not easy. ~Plautus

Great Egret (May 5, 2019) Clearwater, Florida.

I’m nowhere near ready for Monday, in large part because I’m dreading tomorrow morning’s dentist appointment. But it doesn’t seem likely I can sprout wings between then and now, so I guess flight is out. Which leaves fight.

There’s my answer!

I’m still alive, really

Turkey Vulture in Cave Creek Canyon.     5.15.19. Photo by Zippy.

 

Ever have one of those days when it feels as if vultures are circling? Yeah, me too.

I’ve been at my standing desk all afternoon and I think I’d best get moving so I’m not mistaken for carrion.

Magpie Monday

Just one of the many dashing Black-billed Magpies that came around for the peanuts and suet we put out over the weekend. I cleaned and refilled the bath multiple times as birds splashed to keep clean and stay cool in this horrid heat wave. High-90 degree temperatures are much too high, especially for September.

Hope it was cooler in your neck of the woods!

Thankful Thursday: BIRDS assignment!

Northern Cardinal (female). Columbus, OH. August 23, 2019

I’m so damned happy happy happy right now! I just accepted a work-for-hire assignment centered on birds. I get to research and write about birds!

Birds, people!

It’s going to be SO MUCH FUN. Not to mention, I’ll learn a lot which can only make me a better birder.

It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?

Taking back the color red

The other day I saw a neighbor walking up the street ahead of me. In 2016,  that white woman displayed a political sign in support of Agent Orange (something I don’t think I’ll ever forgive or forget), and when I saw her walking along in her red T-shirt I experienced a surge of anger. That red shirt triggered a stream of expletives about how she supported a white supremacist. (Poor Zippy had to endure that volcanic eruption.) Stupid mean people. Stupid red shirt.

But you know what? All the horrible racist people in this country don’t own the color red. Red is a beautiful color. Red belongs to all of us.

Cave Creek Canyon Ranch. May 16, 2019.

And no one wears it better than this dapper Northern Cardinal.

Resting in the grace of the world

Green Heron, Kapok Park. January 11, 2019

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. ~ Wendell Berry

Sunday Confessional: I created a zombie bird!

I realize not everyone shares my love of all things bird, but I’m in awe of those feathered creatures and spend lots and lots of time gazing upon them.

However, my current gaze is not one of admiration. Moments ago when I finally looked closely at this photo I took in May, I was taken aback at how utterly freakish and zombie-like this white ibis appears.  And now I’m gazing at this picture in horror. I can’t look away.

What kind of camera settings were in place to create that dead eye and white-plastic body? Is this the first sign of an ibis-led zombie apocalypse?

Looking at you, Monday

Limpkin. Kapok Park, May 6, 2019.

Monday, Monday.
Can’t trust that day.

However, it does feel good knowing what day of the week it is, even if it’s the dreaded Monday, after being disoriented for much of last week when every day felt like a weekend day.

It’s good to know where I stand. Hello, Monday. Let’s do this.

The Jay formerly known as Gray

I took this photo at our campsite last month and just now when I went to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology site to verify my identification (Gray Jay), learned  that Gray Jays are a thing of the past. In 2018, the American Ornithological Society voted to change the name from Gray Jay to Canada Jay.

What else did I learn?

“The Canada Jay stores large quantities of food for later use. It uses sticky saliva to glue small food items to tree branches above the height of the eventual snow line.”

Now that’s thinking ahead!