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Posts Tagged ‘Birds’

In 1992, we got our first pair of birds, two exotic finches we called Hildegard and Alexander, and we got married later that year. I was actively pagan at the time, and as I got to know my companion birds, I started paying attention to wild birds, for urban values of “wild”.

I developed what most people would see as a peculiar habit: If I saw a dead bird on the sidewalk, I would pick it up and move it to the nearest bit of bare earth. This was easily done in the neighborhood where I was living; there were lots of large trees, lots of bushes and plots of flowers. I felt a compulsion to return the bodies to real earth where they could decompose with a little dignity and not be swept away as trash.

I only handled the birds if I had a tissue of some kind with me, so I wasn’t touching the dead body directly. I had a lot of sinus problems and no health insurance at the time, so I always had some tissues or napkins with me. Until this morning, when I found a dead mourning dove in the middle of my path.

Now, Mourning Dove is a particular friend of mine. This one looked like it might have been a juvenile, judging from its shortish tail and spotty feathers; its eyes were closed, one wing slightly open, no sign of blood, no flies. I didn’t have a tissue; the body was intact; I felt I had a duty; I dithered. And then I picked it up and placed it at the foot of the nearest tree.

The body was slightly stiff, but not very, and the feathers were wonderfully soft. I didn’t touch anything with that hand until after I got to work and washed it. My life is strange, but I like it.

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Look at this Baby Bird.

He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call. –Psalm 147: 9

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A mourning dove and a small flock of sparrows are foraging in the bushes just outside my front door. After watching them through the window for a bit, I grabbed the only bird guide I could find (where is my Peterson’s???) and tried to identify the sparrows. They are not the English house sparrow but a true, native sparrow with a distinctive white “eyebrow”. I turned a page in my guide and saw the entry on the dark-eyed junco, a frequent visitor to these parts and one I have no trouble recognizing. When I looked up from the book and out the window, I saw the first junco of the season coming in to forage under my bushes.

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Things I am serious about:

  • religion
  • books
  • music
  • birds
  • writing
  • marriage

Things I am not serious about but I love them:

  • Star Trek in all its forms and variation. My favorite series are the cheesy campy Original and Deep Space Nine, which boldly went into issues of religion where no Trek had gone before.
  • Doctor Who. I was mad about Tom Baker before David Tennant was even born; I’ve seen all of the current series and huge chunks of the original.
  • The BBC’s Merlin. Swords, pretty boys handsome men, and John Hurt as the voice of a snarky, cranky CGI dragon. Oh my.

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 I was getting ready to pop into the shower for my morning ablutions when I heard both my boys, Sandro and Rembrandt, racketing around and squawking.  I hurried down the hall, wondering what was causing all this mad flapping and outcry, and was as shocked as they were to see acrow trying to perch on the windowsill, only a foot or so away from them.  I know a crow is a good-sized bird, but I was amazed to see that it was at least four or five times as big as the tiels.  I’d be scared, too, if something that much bigger than I am tried to settle down right near me.  I yelled at the crow, which had retreated to the pear tree; after a couple of passes by the window, it flew away.  Rembrandt stood on his water dish, crest indignant, making repeated “fffh” noises; Sandro clung to the front of his cage and let me talk softly and make kissies at him for a moment.

On a happier note, as I walked to work under the green and flowering trees of my neighborhood, it occurred to me that my exhalations were contributing to their greenness and their blooming, giving them carbon dioxide, while they were providing me with oxygen.  It’s rather intimate, really, this ongoing mingling of breaths.

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I am a sucker for bird videos

Einstein the talking parrot is not quite up there with Alex the research bird, even though they’re the same species, but she’s an incredible mimic. Three minutes of video represents hours of interaction between human and bird.

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Ah, spring

Behold the mating dance of the American woodcock.

(Thanks to Birdchick for tweeting the link.)

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