Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mourning Dove Couple

This pair of Mourning Doves frequent our feeders almost daily, always together. They tend to stay close to each other when feeding, within 3 to 4 feet at least.  I've watched them countless minutes as they peck at seeds on the ground, pushing aside any ground litter with their beaks. Mourning Doves tend to feed busily on the ground, swallowing seeds and storing them in an enlargement of the esophagus called the crop. Once they've filled it, they can fly to a safe perch to digest the meal.

Members of a pair preen each other with gentle nibbles around the neck as a pair-bonding ritual. Eventually, the pair will progress to grasping beaks and bobbing their heads up and down in unison. During the breeding season, you might see three Mourning Doves flying in tight formation, one after another. This is a form of social display. Typically the bird in the lead is the male of a mated pair. The second bird is an unmated male chasing his rival from the area where he hopes to nest. The third is the female of the mated pair, which seems to go along for the ride.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Mourning Doves are the most widespread and abundant game birds in North America. Every year hunters harvest more than 20 million, but the Mourning Dove remains one of our most abundant birds with a U.S. population estimated at 350 million.   

I've heard some people say that dove meat is very good, but I doubt if I'll ever second their opinion.  I realize the birds are heavily populated in the states, but I would have to be starving to kill one and I pray it never comes to that.  I'm going to be in big trouble if it does!

After the Rain...

The early morning sky released a downpour of chilling rain yesterday...
what started out as the promise of a warm day turned into a chilly one instead.

The rain lasted only minutes, but it was heavy enough to
create puddles in our front yard
and saturate the flowers and plants on our front porch.

But, I didn't complain...
because things were more beautiful, after the rain.

Sometimes I forget the benefits of a drenching rain...
today I was reminded of them.

Monday, March 24, 2014

My Little Corner of the World

A place tucked away in the corner of our front porch-
an old homemade wooden cabinet, once abandoned, 
now holds upon it a trove of beauty...
colorful spring blooms, green plants and bright garden ornamentals.
I feel blessed when I look out of my bedroom window to see this...

Sometimes I stand there, watching life flutter by in shades of red, yellow, black, blue, brown, and more. Flashes of color as birds skip from one branch to another or tango in mid-flight. Bees buzz by and sometimes hover above the spring blooms or feeders filled with sweet nectar.  Often there are a few dozen feathered beauties gathered in this area of our front yard. I've taken numerous photos while standing behind the glass of my bedroom window...

This little corner is my spring sanctuary-
on my days off, I'm often found here...sitting in my brown lawn chair.
A small, inexpensive wooden table holds a cup of fresh coffee, 
my eyeglasses and my camera.

Pots and ornamentals frequently get moved around...
forward, back some, a little to the left or more to the right.  
The same routine stands for the bird feeders as well.

I can spend hours upon hours in this space on a beautiful spring day...
sitting in silence, except for the sound of birds singing or bees buzzing.

"Ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being."  Job 12:8-10, NRS

I appreciate God's creations, silent moments and tranquil days :))))

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Goldfinches in a Tulip Planter

A small tulip-shaped planter with an offering of nuts and seeds 
provided a beautiful prop for spring photos...

It rained part of the day so I captured all of these photos from my bedroom window.

I posted a status comment on my Facebook page which reflects
my thoughts on the behavior of birds...
"During my observations, I've realized that birds act a lot like us humans- 
fighting one minute and loving the next..."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Northern Mockingbird: Sweet Musical Birds of Night

Since writing my first post on Northern Mockingbirds on February 7th, I've taken opportunities to watch them more closely and I've grown quite fond of these feathered creatures.   Mockingbirds frequent our feeders daily now, but they come and go quickly. While sitting outdoors, I usually spot them in the upper tree branches near the forest edges.  These birds are bold and seriously territorial.  Several days ago, I watched as a Mockingbird constantly harassed some Cedar Waxwings while they fed on berries.  He squawked and boldly spread his flight feathers in an aggressive stance.  The Waxwings didn't give him the time of day...they continued with their feast despite the Mockingbird's objection.  This went on until the Waxwings decided to move elsewhere.  It will be interesting to see how much more they react to visitors when their nests are full of babies.  

I love to hear the songs of a Mockingbird...absolutely beautiful!  I heard one singing about 2:00 the other morning...a continuous melody of various tunes.  I could have sat outdoors for hours listening to him ;)  

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” 
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Friday, March 14, 2014

Spring Will Follow

No matter how long the Winter...
Spring is sure to follow

As I walked down the gravel lane leading to our mailbox and back, I surveyed my surroundings, purposefully scanning for further signs of Spring.  Though Spring doesn't officially begin until March 20th this year, there are definitive clues of its approach everywhere...

Tulip trees are showing off their beautiful pink-purple hues

Rose bushes are preparing to display new buds

Vines and tree limbs are coming to life with tiny blooms and leaves

Nights are still chilly, reminding us that winter hasn't waved its final goodbye...
but soon winter will be forgotten- until the end of July!

(I'll be praying for cooler weather then!)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First Signs of Spring

The first signs of Spring are appearing...
colorful flower buds are popping out on limbs and vines,
 birds are singing louder and some are seeking mates.

Now that the days are longer,
we can enjoy the beauty around us a little more each day.

With my ears and eyes wide open...
I will bask in the moments of Spring,
before the season has passed, 
surrendering its glory to the discontented days of summer.

Think Spring!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sunday Morning on the Beach

It had been a while since Charlie and I visited the coast so we decided on Saturday night that we would rise early Sunday morning and take a short trip there.  Gulfport is a mere 45 minute drive from our house so there's no excuse why we couldn't go more often.   

When we arrived, the early morning sun was hugging the shoreline, reflecting brilliant yellows, oranges and pink through the clouds.  It was truly beautiful.  

While Charlie mostly sat on a bench with his cell phone, I walked along the shoreline and took in all the beauty of the sandy beach.  (He did join me intermittently for a few minutes).  I was thankful we decided to come early- the sunrise alone was breathtaking.  

I felt a sense of peace within my spirit...surrounded by silence except for a few noisy seagulls and the occasional hum of a car passing by.

I was wishing the morning could last all day...

As I continued to amble slowly through the sand, I visualized a summer crowd- kids romping in the sand and building castles, splashing in the water,young sun seekers stretched out on colorful beach towels, couples seated together in lounge chairs shaded by big, bright umbrellas, families seated at picnic tables with their plates of junk food, dogs chasing seagulls or playing fetch...

I'm no longer part of the "beach" crowd...I never was much of a beach babe anyway,
but I enjoyed spending time with my family at swimming places we frequented while they were young. Nowadays I'm happy with the quiet side of the beach...

I was wishing I had brought some bird food so I could feed the seagulls...
I know from experience that they love corn chips ;).
Actually, I believe they'll eat nearly anything.

I followed this Rock Pigeon closely to get a few good snapshots...
he probably thought I was one of the craziest humans he'd ever seen ;)))

I wonder if he's ever encountered a bird-watching, photo-fanatic like me...
What a gorgeous few hours on the beach! 
 I'll have to do this again before the summer heat sets in.