Saturday, August 24, 2013

Bird Brain

This week I've had birds on the brain; in my work, on my deck, in the field and even on the road with a sign paying homage to the local sea gulls and their fondness for fast food. My yard is vibrating with hummingbirds searching out the last of the trumpet vine blooms while a Great Horned Owl hoots nearby. I have six cardinals that visit the feeder, one bringing along an "adopted" cowbird, trailing her tail feathers and begging for food. She dutifully feeds it not realizing she has an ugly duckling on her wings. And each morning as I step outside, I am greeting by a crow, rasping out a jagged hello before flying off, laughing to himself.

I've noticed this week that like us humans, my winged visitors don't all have their feathers in a row. Birdland sports a bald headed Blue Jay and partially blind House Finch. I get up close to her, whispering sweet nothings in her ear. She tolerates me until she looks around, and the sudden shock of the largeness of me sends her flying off. Even field sketching at Sandy Run Park I spot the resident Osprey, still screaming for who knows what and the geometric-headed Pileated Woodpecker. I was also treated to a glimpse of a Baltimore Oriole, a real surprise since I haven't seen one in years. And hidden in the Loblolly pines and Cypress trees, bird songs erupted that I didn't recognize.

Of course nature never fails to show me something new even when I think I've seen it all, at least in my own yard. But when my Brown Thrasher began visiting the pergola to partake of my offerings, I realized he had turned into quite a bully. He would hiss loudly like an angry feline, charging any other bird who got near him, puffing up his feathers as if they were fur, looking like Erb when he gets startled.

I have always believed that what comes into my life is a sign, offering hints and clues that I need to pay attention to. I know one thing that birds stand for is flexibility and extending one's vision into a wider area. So I have begun a series of bird images, in clothing of course since they enjoy fashion as much as I do. I'll be giving them their "wings" this fall, sending them off in new directions, hoping they'll find homes away from The Crooked Little House. And for those of you interested in birds, please give this book a read: The Life of the Skies, birding at the end of nature by Jonathan Rosen. It reads like a novel with a dash of poetry.

"If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?"
        Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz


  1. Yes, Dorothy had it correct all along.
    Our hearts' desires are in "our own backyards"...some of just need to put our glasses on to find them!
    Absolutely LOVE the DIVA humming bird! BRILLIANT

  2. Thank you Patricia. Many bird portraits to follow!

  3. insightful and interesting, as
    always !

    1. Thanks Maggie. I appreciate the comment and the fact that you are reading this!