Monday, March 24, 2008

SPRING HAS SPRUNG












I LIKE BIRDS.
I am not a birder. I don't go out into the wilds to watch or count birds
or do whatever it it that a true birdwatcher does.
Birds are pretty. Look at the pictures above.
Look at those colours and the design of the feathers.
They are, you must admit, beautiful.
There is something comforting about the sound of a bird's song.
Birds sound cheerful when they are singing.
Listen closely and you'll hear the birds scold any squirrel that raids the feeders.
They will alert the whole bird population and warn of any cat that is stalking the neighbourhood.
They will get very quite, unseen and unheard when a predatory bird is about.
Listen to them bring in the morning with song and
sing quietly in the evening dusk before nesting for the night.
Every bird has a distinct sound and most people will recognize
the birds call and be able to name the type of bird
before they even see the bird itself.
Birds can perform aeronautical feats.
Watch the birds soar above the earth in flight.
Twisting and turning without effort.
See them fly around in the sky up above, soaring in the air currents,
then come zooming down towards the earth, at a breakneck speed,
only to gently land on and not fall off, a branch that doesn't
look it is strong enough to hold a fly let alone a bird.
Birds are one of God's and natures most amazing creatures.

As a young girl I grew up with Baltimore Orioles
nesting in long swaying nests
that they built in the tall ash trees that stood
on the hill at the back of our house.
There were two trees and every year there was a nest in each tree.
We watched each spring for the bright flash of orange on their breast
that announced their arrival for the season.
Dad always warned us not to play too near the trees
so as not to disturb the Orioles.
He wanted to be sure they kept coming
back year after year and they did for as long as I can remember.

Birds can be very entertaining.
Many times John and I have sat out on our back deck
and have enjoyed the antics of baby Sparrows and Wrens
trying desperately to hang onto the overhead wires while learning
how to keep their balance and eventually fly.
Mom and dad bird were always watching near by,
chirping out encouragement,
scolding when the little ones refused to move,
and, when required, bribing the babies
with a gullet of regurgitated bird yummies.

I have had the opportunity to see a Humming Bird hover,
investigating a banana that my mom had just peeled
and was holding in her hand.
I have seen Humming Birds feeding in the wild on a
long mass of flowered bushes that had been planted like hedges.
There were at least 20 of the Humming Birds feeding,
every once in a while one stopping to give chase to another hummer
that was getting to close to their area of the long feeding line.
I also had the pleasure of seeing a Humming Bird nesting
on the tiniest eggs I have ever seen.
The nest was perched on top of a cactus in the
Cuban resort that we were staying at.
That was really neat to see.

One year, I looked out my patio door and was rewarded
with the sight of a very large Hawk
preening, cleaning and sunning itself
on the wall of our deck.
It stayed for almost an hour and I
used my binoculars to watch it up close.
What a beautiful bird that Hawk was.


My very favourite bird of them all is the Robin.
The sight and/or sound of a Robin always,
without fail, makes me smile.
I always wait each year for my first sighting of a Robin
and I always smile when I see one.
They have such a distinct song.
You can tell by the red colour on their breast
how old or young a Robin is.
The babies with their fat belies and
dark brownish red speckled chests.
The young mothers with a bright red breast
and the older Robins, with faded red breasts.
I like them all....and as I said, Robins are my favourite bird of them all.

One year my sister by marriage, Noreen,
had an Owl take refuge in
the big pine tree at the front of her house.
I am not sure what kind of Owl it was.
It was very small and
yes, it did have big eyes and
constantly moved his head around to
keep watch in the neighbourhood.
That was the first, but hopefuly not the last, time I have seen an Owl in the wild.

I also like the squawky, noisy and
bold as brass, Blue Jay.
These are very smart birds.
They can sit at a feeder and pick out the bits that they like
and then they spit the rest on the ground.
I have watched a Blue Jay trying to crack open a
walnut for it's supper.
The jay had held the nut in it's beak and
hit it again and again against the trunk of a tree
in an unsuccessful attempt to crack the walnut open.
When this failed I watched the jay drop the nut on the ground
and then take a small stone in it's beak and
start dropping the stone over and over down on the nut.
After many drops of the stone the jay would again
beat the nut against the trunk of the tree.
Back to the stone dropping and then back to the tree beating.
Eventually the Blue Jay was successful in getting it's meal.
Blue Jays' will figure out how to get something they want
and are willing to work at it till they get the desired result.
Try throwing a Blue Jay peanut after peanut on the deck
and then putting one peanut under a clear plastic glass
and see what happens.
You can train young Blue Jays' to eat out of your hand
if you have the patience and they will remember you
the next time they see you and will squawk until
you produce something for them to eat.
They are highly intelligent and very curious birds.

So there you go. I like birds of all kinds and I think birds are OK. They are amusing to watch and interesting to read and learn about. People can learn a lot from birds.

Song of Solomon 2:12
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land.

Most people think of budding trees, crocus's, tulips and daffodils
as the announcement that SPRING HAS SPRUNG.
I do not.
I always know that spring has sprung by the
sound of the Blue Jays' in our neighbourhood.
Now, I know that jays don't migrate south for the winter season.
They can't help it that they hang around the snow belt area when
lots of other birds go south to soak up a few rays each winter.
Blue Jays' are programmed by genetics to know
that they don't have to go south for the winter.
In the neighbourhood that I live in,
I and many of the other and older neighbours,
have filled bird feeders hung out for about seven months of the year.
So there are Blue Jays in our area for most of the year.
However, when the snow flies these beautiful blue birds tend to look
for easier pickings...aka full bird-feeders, in other areas of the city,
that are closer to the bush and wooded areas of the city parks.
I assume that that is where they spend their time during the snow season.
However the Blue Jays' always come back to our neighbourhood for the spring.
I don't know why but they do.
Perhaps the fact the many seniors in the area
and myself as well,
are able to get get through the melting snow
and into their back yards to put up the feeders again
for the spring and summer season.
My theory is that another free meal is always a
welcome feast for the noisy jays and the more feeders
they can get to the better they like it.
I really think this is why the Blue Jays come
back around to our part of the city
the same time year after year after year.

This morning, as I was brushing the
sneaky snow that fell during the night,
off my car, I heard the call of the Blue Jays'.
I smiled when I heard that
old familiar call
and I thought to myself,
"The jays are back".
For me,
SPRING HAS SPRUNG.



check out the following National Geographic Site For Lots of Bird Info and pictures :http://www.nationalgeographic.com/index.html

1 comment:

Just Jaime said...

I didn't realize you knew so much about birds mom, I suppose I should have realized this considering how much you love them.

You'll be happy to hear I'm gaining a better appreciation of the creepy little things. They ARE awfully pretty... from a distance. So long as they keep their sharp claws and beaks away from me we will get along just fine.

It was pretty cool that I heard my first robin of the year with you standing next to me on the exact same day you posted this!