What an excellent question!
Then, for those of us who have had covid and disagree with the MSM covid messaging: enjoy this animation "Being Selfish".
Keep asking questions~
Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
becomes for a moment fragmented,
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard. I want
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.
“Starlings in Winter” by Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays
Wilding: the return of Nature to a British Farm
I devoured this book in three days and highly recommend it as a source of Earth Day inspiration.
Due to the fact that I need to go play in my garden, I offer you this book review from Amazon :^)
In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope.
Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade.
Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself.
Personal and inspirational, Wilding is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible.
I just finished reading The Salt Path by Raynor Winn and I’m halfway through The Wild Silence which is equally engaging. Raynor and her husband Moth have been whiplashed by circumstances out of their control: betrayed by a friend, they are evicted from their beloved home after a three-year legal comedy of errors--which is catastrophic--but dwarfed by the news that Moth is dying of an incurable degenerative disease.
What to do whilst figuring out what to do? As they are packing up their home they come across Paddy Dillon's guide to The South West Coast Path and they think "why not?" In their youth they were avid hikers and wild campers and the 630-mile Salt Path is calling to them.
Raynor's writing style is reminiscent of Frank McCourt as she recounts their physical and emotional journey along the Salt Path; this includes encounters with the seabirds and meadow animals, people on the path and in the villages, and the odd and unusual occurrences that she and Moth experience as they navigate their grief and plot their future.
Bookends: two years ago I discovered two books by Cheryl Strayed which came into my life at a critical time--Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail and Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Together, these four books have been like good friends supporting me on my own salted path. I am grateful for these women who write of loss, love, betrayal, truth, healing, and the transformative power of nature. "Loss sets you free. In the empty void it leaves anything can happen." R.W.
Note: I listened to the audiobooks which are read by the author(s). I also purchased the books and Raynor Winn's covers are illustrated by Angela Harding.
Is it a goldfinch? no...too tiny, and smaller than a chickadee -- with a bright white eye-ring and was that a flash of red on the head?; oh, there's two of them: it's a pair of ruby-crowned kinglets!
YAY!!! first backyard sighting of this sweet songbird. Welcome to our backyard wildlife sanctuary.
Find out more HERE and here
Excellent video for you all:
When I heard of the Salmonella outbreak in Pine Siskins along the west coast, I wanted to know more before I took any action to remove my suet and seed feeders. Especially since we were heading into a cold snap with snow, it seemed important to continue feeding my neighborhood birds. I was not seeing any evidence of sick finches so after thoroughly cleaning and refilling my feeders, I wrote to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology for guidance and I received this helpful response:
Thanks for getting in touch and for your concern for sick birds. Yes, this is a terrible year of Salmonella especially on the west coast. Although such outbreaks are known to occur and are something that bird populations can recover from as a whole, in the interest of caution, taking down your feeders for awhile and cleaning them is a great thing to do.
Whenever a sick bird of any kind comes to your feeder, we recommend that you remove the feeders the sick bird is using for awhile to assure that disease is not being spread at your feeders. While the feeders are down, clean them thoroughly with a diluted bleach solution or very hot water, rinse them, and let them dry completely. Once you put the feeders back up, be sure to clean them every week or two. If sick birds return, avoid using feeders with ports that birds put their heads into and clean your feeders at least weekly.
The good news is that it's fine to take a break from your FeederWatch counts at any time, so no worries about that. It is also ok to FeederWatch without feeders! We are trying to spread the word about this, but the name of the project makes it a bit counter intuitive. You can modify your site description so it reflects that you don't feed during some months of the year (it is question #9 on the site description form), and then continue counting, if you would like.
Find more information about bird diseases on our website: https://feederwatch.org/learn/sick-birds-and-bird-diseases/
We wish you many healthy birds. Happy FeederWatching!
Emma Greig, Ph.D.
We have windows in our house, lots of windows, and we also have three birdbaths and two bird feeding stations that make our backyard a popular hangout for our avian neighbors. I wanted to make a few of our windows screen-free for better bird viewing so I did a bit of research into how to prevent bird strikes.
A Bird's Eye View window strike films are easy to install and inexpensive, as well as lovely. (I had used bird silhouettes in the past and was not impressed.) I purchased clear designs in both 6 " and 4" and see what happened.
I am delighted to report that we have not witnessed a bird strike since I put these on our windows four months ago-and we have been home the WHOLE time.
If you are looking for a lovely alternative to screens-that works-I highly recommend the ArtScape Bird's Eye View squares.
above: 6" squares in my studio
below: close up of one of the 4" designs
We were ecstatic to see this bird in our backyard yesterday, and doubly thrilled when he showed up again today to scratch and forage underneath our manzanita. This robin-sized thrush sports a blazing orange head stripe and neck plumage, the black "scarf" around it's chest really sets off the colors. We have not yet seen Mrs. Varied Thrush this year, but hope that this lovely guy brings her to visit!
Varied Thrushes breed in dark understories of humid evergreen and mixed forests along the Pacific Coast. In the winter, many move into dense parks, gardens, and backyards. Varied Thrushes are rare but regular winter visitors to the Upper Midwest and Northeast. All About Birds