This photo is my definition of motherhood; five goslings closely following mom (and dad), learning to eat and swim. And survive.
For me, that’s part of what makes a good mom; unconditional and protective love combined with teaching essential life skills.
In my case, I was often referred to as the “smother mother“, but it’s a label I wear with pride. I’m not a helicopter mom, but even better…I’m (still) a DRONE mom. I’m the same with the grandkids; laser-focused on them at all times.
Every seven years, my birthday falls on Mother’s Day. As my mom often said, I was the perfect Mother’s Day gift for her, and as my son tells me, I wouldn’t have anything to celebrate without HIM, so he’s the one who actually deserves the gifts and accolades. He’s a funny guy.
In my opinion, tomorrow’s the perfect enchanted day to double my joy and celebrate ME. .
My crow cousins have been leaving gifts for me all around the garden and deck.
Shiny and sparkly!
So far I’ve discovered these four baubles. I always look up to see if I can catch the gift giver; so far I haven’t, but I say thank you out loud as I pocket my treasures.
Crows are known to give small gifts to people who pay attention to them or feed them. The phenomenon is actually called “gifting”. I don’t feed my local crow family as there is plenty to eat without my intervention, but I do talk to them and generally love their presence, so maybe they feel that emotion and return the affection. I’ve read that crows (and other corvids) remember the faces of those who are mean to them and those who are especially kind.
Some of my neighbors don’t appreciate our community of crows as much as I do, and I’m positive they aren’t receiving the same kinds of gifts like I am.
I’m full of gratitude to my bird family Thank you, cousins!
I share my world with coyotes, bobcats, raccoons, skunks, possums, lots of bunnies, even more rats, and an assortment of birds including scrub jays, mockingbirds, hummingbirds, hawks, egrets, and herons.
Late at night I’m lucky to hear the hoots of a mating pair of Great Horned Owls in the tallest eucalyptus trees. It’s a soothing sound as I fall asleep, the hooting of owls in the distance.
Last night was different. I was awakened at 2:30 a.m. with the sound of that distinctive hoo-hoo-hoo only MUCH closer. Even through a closed window, it was LOUD, and so was the answering call.
This back and forth conversation didn’t stop for an hour and it was impossible to get back to sleep.
I learned that owls lay eggs in March, so maybe that’s what the chat was all about. My around the corner neighbor has an owl box, so that’s a logical thought.
Hopefully, they took turns hunting all the rats and mice around here, too.
Symbolically, hearing owls at night provides protective energy. The spiritual meaning of hearing an owl could be that it’s important to establish energetic boundaries.
Owls use their excellent hearing, keen eyesight, and silent wings to hunt and keep safe. So when our vision fails us in life, the owl’s call at night symbolizes protection and guidance. Hearing an owl at night can represent gaining a new direction in life.
Owls use their calls to claim their territory, to signal that there’s a predator nearby or to communicate with their partner.
The meaning of hearing two owls is related to spiritual enlightenment. An owl is the ultimate symbol of wisdom and maturity.
Two owls hooting is a sign that you’re in the middle of strong spiritual energies and you need to let them lead you into the changes your soul is going through.
It’s a reminder to open your heart and embrace the changes.
Higher forces have recognized it, so they’re sending you owls, as a dose of additional energy to move forward.
Owls are always carriers of important messages. If you’re wondering what it means to hear two owls late at night, the answer lies in the way you observe things around yourself.
Owls want you to change your perspective about recent events and try to discover why they really happened. There’s a hidden message behind it and you need to discover it.
If you hear an owl hooting near your house and wonder: “What does it mean when an owl hoots outside your house?”, the answer will cheer you up: an owl outside your house is considered to be a signal of good luck.
Owls are observed as highly spiritual animals and their hooting can only bring positive vibes to you.
Although different cultures have different interpretations of owl symbolism, almost every culture treats owls as a symbol of good luck and prosperity. joyceelliot.com
I’m tired today, but always find joy and gratitude in my wild friends.
It’s almost time for the March full moon and the night sky is clear and bright.
Thanks to the wonderful Marilyn from https://teepee12.com/, I learned that what I thought were House Finches were really American Robins.
I didn’t even know they called Southern California home, but I saw a note from our local Audubon Society that confirms it: “Have you read about the abundance of Robins in San Diego County this year?”
I was standing at the kitchen sink washing dishes and looked out at an amazing sight. There were literally dozens of chirpy birds invading my garden, SO MANY I couldn’t even count them all.
At first I thought they were finches, which are plentiful here, but as I learned, was incorrect. All those birds were American Robins!!
I no longer have feeders because of my arch nemeses, RATS, so what they’re feasting on here is actually an invasive species, a Brazilian Pepper tree that somehow sprouted into the neighbor’s yard and they didn’t get rid of it like we did.
There’s no way I could capture as many as there are, but I’d say definitely more than fifty of these lovely red breasted birds are visiting Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
This makes sense because they’re eating red berries from the pepper tree.
They stayed for about an hour, saturating my world with their most delightful song and chirpy calls to friends and family. Every tree in the garden is full of these guys as well the rosemary and lavender bushes.
I’ve never seen anything like this. For me, It’s as exciting as spotting a pod of whales or dolphin. I’m grateful they chose my garden to visit. Pure joy!
Kids really do listen to everything we say, that’s absolutely true.
One time I looked up as a crow flew by and said, “Hello, cousin!”
Angel Girl asked me why I said that, and I told her that crows are very smart and that I feel they’re like family to me.
The next time we saw crows fly by, she pointed and said, “There goes one of your cousins, Grandma!”
Mom asked her why she said that, and Angel Girl told her all the crows in the whole world are Grandma’s cousins, which is a great thing to her because she loves her own cousins.
The best part of the story is that it makes perfect sense to her that animals are family. I like that a lot.
Besides a murder of crows, there are other collective nouns for crows: a horde, a hover, a mob, a parcel, a parliament, and a storytelling.
As for a storytelling of crows? This is a bit of an unknown but crows do tend to gather in large flocks and are known for their loud ‘caw’. Perhaps someone observed this and decided that they weren’t so much plotting a murder but were telling stories to each other, https://www.birdspot.co.uk/
This photo from late yesterday afternoon must tell quite the story; I’ve never seen so many crows on the school field.
Seeing crows at sundown is a common occurrence around here, but not on this grand scale. Everyone driving by slowed down to gawk and neighbors came out to record it like I did.
On the roof, on the fence, on the fields — all my cousins!
Update: I sent the photo to my original Angel Boy and received a video text from his almost seven-year-old clone, AB 2.0 — “Hey Grandma, that’s a lot of cousins!”
My kitchen window is an ever-changing movie screen.
Throughout the years, it’s been the best location to view all kinds of memorable events; observing the original Angel Boy in his sandbox, throwing balls for his Border Collie, skating with his friends on the half pipe while they ate the cookies and drank the smoothies I’d bring out to them, to the fresher 2.0 versions enjoying mango-black cherry ice cream cones and playing baseball in the garden or chasing butterflies, to birds and bunnies and coyotes and bobcats, (never forgetting the rats).
Today I saw a beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk perched on a low branch in the ash tree surveying the lawn for a late lunch.
Now I know where the feathery treasures come from. I’ve been finding them where I had first seen the rodents and I had a hunch they might be silent gifts–messages to communicate that my vermin problem is being taken care of, and I think I’m right!
Red Shouldered Hawks are about 17-24 inches tall and can live 15-20 years. So regal, so lovely, so important to the balance of nature. We need to protect them and their habitats, too.
I saw him fly away but wasn’t quick enough to focus the camera to capture the incredible wingspan.
When it cooled off slightly in late afternoon, I went out to the garden to water plants because it’s been SO HOT and everything is parched. We haven’t had rain in a long, long time.
I heard chirpy calls that sounded a bit distressful. How could I tell? I like to think that I can communicate with animals–whether or not that’s true, it does make me listen to them, and I feel that I can distinguish one sound from another, sort of like when you know why your baby is crying, whether it’s hungry or tired or frustrated…
At that precise moment that I heard those chirps, I was walking on my stone pathway and I looked down. There, camouflaged on a rock, I spied a tiny bird. If I hadn’t paid attention, I would have stepped on him/her!
I ran back on the deck to grab my phone, and he had hopped up on an exposed tree root.
I began to have a chat with this darling creature who appeared to be lost and a bit scared. I can understand why, because he’s definitely NOT supposed to be sitting on a gray rock exposed to all sorts of danger.
I brought over a small pan of fresh water and watched him hop around a little and flex his wings, so I surmised he had fallen out of a nest and wasn’t actually injured.
Again I became aware of lots of birds circling the area, yellow chirpy finches calling out to this little guy, so I knew it was a Lesser Goldfinch fledgling, a common bird in Southern California and one I often am lucky enough to see around here.
From the tree root he hopped onto a hanging succulent and finally made it all the way into a basin shaped planter on top of the tree stump. With his family encouraging him to join them and fly to safety, I thought it was best to give them all space and went in the house.
Later, just before dark, I checked and he was gone. As soon as I woke up this morning, I checked again and there’s no sign of him.
Fingers crossed, I’m hopeful that this was another happy ending at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
I discovered a lovely poem by Mary Oliver:
In the fields we let them have- in the fields we don’t want yet-
where thistles rise out of the marshlands of spring, and spring open- each bud a settlement of riches-
a coin of reddish fire- the finches wait for midsummer, for the long days,
for the brass heat, for the seeds to begin to form in the hardening thistles, dazzling as the teeth of mice, but black,
filling the face of every flower. Then they drop from the sky. A buttery gold, they swing on the thistles, they gather
the silvery down, they carry it in their finchy beaks to the edges of the fields, to the trees,
as though their minds were on fire with the flower of one perfect idea- and there they build their nests and lay their pale-blue eggs,
every year, and every year the hatchlings wake in the swaying branches, in the silver baskets,
and love the world. Is it necessary to say any more? Have you heard them singing in the wind, above the final fields? Have you ever been so happy in your life?
Intently absorbed in my dishwashing chore, I heard a scuffling sort of sound from the backyard and looked out the kitchen window.
Perched on top of the canvas awning shading a garden bench was a giant hawk. I followed his eyes and saw a dove rush for safety under a lavender bush.
I watched him fly a few feet away to the fence and grabbed my camera. It’s not as sharp a photo as I wished, but it’s better than nothing!
I hoped the dove had escaped even though I know doves are a favorite meal of birds of prey. Honestly, with all the rats and mice and bunnies running rampant in my garden, I think those creatures are much better options than a poor little bird.
I heard a familiar “coocoocoo” — take a look at what I found on my deck, none other than the dove. She wasn’t alone; there was a baby dove, too! They weren’t at all scared of me as I crept closer and closer to see if anyone was injured by the hawk.
I’ve never before seen them on the deck. As usual, I didn’t want to interfere unless it was necessary. They sat close together for a couple of hours, then mom flew up to the roof.
She spent a long time calling to the baby to encourage him to fly to her, to no avail. Just as I was prepping a box with a soft towel to scoop up the baby for a visit to Project Wildlife, the mom came back.
This time, they flew away together.
It was a happy ending for the doves and I was once again impressed but not surprised by the obvious caring and affectionate behavior of animals to their children that often far surpasses human maternal actions.
Mom’s devotion to her child was inspiring. Who can claim animals aren’t sentient beings?
Animal moms are some of the best moms on this planet.