Hungry?

Just a hungry scrub jay hanging out on the deck. They LOVE raw peanuts. I still find a few empty shells hidden in the garden nine years later..

One of my favorite photos from September 2011.

First there was one, then another, and for a while, there were about four jays who hung out and let me hand feed them.

Did you know that scrub jays are very intelligent?

From Wiki: Recent research has suggested that western scrub jays, along with several other corvids, are among the most intelligent of animals. The brain-to-body mass ratio of adult scrub jays rivals that of chimpanzees and cetaceans, and is dwarfed only by that of humans. Scrub jays are also the only non-primate or non-dolphin shown to plan ahead for the future (known as metacognition), which was previously thought of as a uniquely human trait Other studies have shown that they can remember locations of over 200 food caches, as well as the food item in each cache and its rate of decay. To protect their caches from pilfering conspecifics, scrub jays will choose locations out of sight of their competitors, or re-cache caches once they are alone, suggesting that they can take into account the perspective of others. According to new research from the University of California @ Davis, scrub jays also summon others to screech over the body of a dead jay. The birds’ cacophonous “funerals” can last for up to half an hour.

#ThrowbackThursday 

One Tree: Two Hawks

From 2017 for #throwbackthursday

It was a great day to spend time in my garden with these two hawks. Do you know what they were looking at? Me, taking photos of them.

“The Sparrow” by Paul Laurence Dunbar

I love this little bird. It really seems like he likes to follow me around so I started to follow him and snap pics everywhere he hopped.  A special little friend for sure.

The Sparrow

A little bird, with plumage brown,
Beside my window flutters down,
A moment chirps its little strain,
Ten taps upon my window–pane,
And chirps again, and hops along,
To call my notice to its song;
But I work on, nor heed its lay,
Till, in neglect, it flies away.
So birds of peace and hope and love
Come fluttering earthward from above,
To settle on life’s window–sills,
And ease our load of earthly ills;
But we, in traffic’s rush and din
Too deep engaged to let them in,
With deadened heart and sense plod on,
Nor know our loss till they are gone.
Paul Laurence Dunbar – 1872-1906

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Home Sweet Home

In quarantine? Isolation? Distancing?

Happy to have a home to go home to, no matter what it looks like, that’s the message I’m getting from this little bird, being grateful for what we have.

Every spring, for years and years, this dedicated vireo mom builds and rebuilds her home in my garden. If I count them all up, I’ve been grandma to approximately one hundred babies.

As you can see, her home looks a bit shabby. It really needs to be repainted and I attempted to fix the bottom with string because it was starting to fall apart. I’m not much of a handyman (woman) but it’s OK for now.

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Going home

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Checking out the view

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Breakfast is ready!

Three Little Birds

This is one of my absolute favorite Bob Marley tunes, check out the video below.

“Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cos every little thing’s gonna be all right.”

You know how sometimes you hear a song that’s the perfect song for how you’re feeling, and whether it’s a coincidence or a sign or a message, you feel its uplifting energy? That’s this one.

This is my mantra for today: “Don’t worry about a thing, ‘cos every little thing’s gonna be all right.”

And then I took my camera outside to see what beauty nature could inspire me to feel gratitude and peace and this lovely little brown bird followed me around for a while.

“This is my message to you.”

Got it. Message received loud and clear. Breathe.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

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Update: Yummy Hummy Mummy; an egg appears!

April 26, 2020

Hummingbirds typically lay two eggs; jellybean ovals of white porcelain perfection, and so far I see the first one!

To give you a size comparison, most hummingbird nests are 1.5 – 2 inches in diameter, roughly the size of a ping pong ball.

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Stars, Meteors, Mockingbirds, and Mozart

It’s so quiet at night.

I love silence.

I love not hearing cars, sirens, air compressors, grinders, belt sanders, and the cacophony of other human discord.

What I love hearing at night is the song of a coyote, the hoot of a Great-Horned Owl, and listening to my thoughts.

Since there’s been less human activity since the GREAT PANDEMIC OF 2020, I’ve come to enjoy the sounds of silence in my neighborhood.

Before I go to bed, I sit outside in total darkness on the deck. I look up at the sky and think about a poem I wrote in college about Orion; I guess I’ve always been drawn to the night.

This week, there were Lyrid meteor showers and even fireballs, but I missed them all. Still, it’s comforting knowing that they happened, even if I didn’t get to personally witness any.

Lately, there’s a new and beautiful addition to the songdogs and the owls.

It’s one of the only birds that sings at night in my area, the Northern Mockingbird.

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This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
IzzyMPhotography

The northern mockingbird is a world-famous singer, considered finer even than the famous nightingale of Europe.

The male sings a medley of songs belonging to other birds, repeating each phrase several times before moving on to the next. 

Most songbirds learn all the songs they’ll ever sing before they’re a year old. 

He learns the songs of other birds and incorporates them into his own songs. Mockingbirds also sometimes “sing” the sounds of people whistling, frogs croaking, and doorbells ringing.

Although all adult male mockingbirds sing during the day, only a bachelor sings at night.

Their night music is a beautiful love song. As soon as the mockingbird finds a mate, he stops singing at night. And that’s how we’ll know. 

FYI: the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 makes it illegal to kill, harm, or harass the mockingbird (and other migratory birds).
From:http://www.birdwatching.com/stories/mockingbird.html

And then I started thinking about other types of beautiful music, like A little Night Music  by Mozart (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik), Eine kleine Nachtmusik (Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major), K. 525, is a 1787 composition for a chamber ensemble by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The German title means “a little serenade,” though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as “a little night music.” The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras.

 

And finally, some Rumi:

Close the door of words
that the window of your heart may open.
To see what cannot be seen
turn your eyes inward
and listen, in silence.

No more empty nest for me…mommy hummingbird is hard at work!

It’s been five long years since I’ve been lucky enough to be chosen by a hummingbird as a sanctuary site to build her nest on one of my windchimes.

The last time it was built on hummingbird chimes (very witty, mama hummy, very witty) and this time it’s butterfly chimes, but in the same exact location right outside the kitchen window.

Mama works pretty much around the clock bringing feathers and spider webs and other soft little bits and pieces glued together with her own birdy poop.

I’ll update as the nest grows and mom lays her two precious eggs:

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Hummingbird posts from 2015:

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/05/02/yummy-hummy-mummy/

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/05/08/its-raining-in-southern-california/

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/05/20/a-mothers-love-wordlesswednesday/

https://enchantedseashells.com/2015/06/01/empty-nest-disaster/

 

Celebrate the life and death of a gentle mourning dove

What does it mean to see a dove?

“The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. … The dove’s roles as spirit messenger, maternal symbol and liaison impart an inner peace that helps us to go about our lives calmly and with purpose.” (http://www.pure-spirit.com/more-animal-symbolism/602-dove-symbolism)

Walking up the steps to the third level in my garden, I came upon this sad sight, a pile of dove feathers. It was obviously the work of one of our resident hawks.

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As I mourned the loss of the mourning dove and pondered on the circle of life, I thought I should gather the feathers and create something to honor this little bird’s life.

It’s been quite a while since I felt crafty, but I found my beads and shells along with a perfectly delicate piece of latticed wood that I had brought back home from my last camping trip. I plugged in my trusty glue gun and got to work.

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Almost finished. Now I need to figure out how to hang it up. Delicate and sweet, just like the sad, plaintive song of the dove.

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The completed project.  I LOVE the way the feathers create their own shadow on the wall.

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Sleep softly in the breeze, little one.

 

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Birds of North America online

Gangsta Butterfly

Rain of any kind in SoCal is something to be grateful for because for a brief moment, we can enjoy green and lush hills and gardens.

Now that we’re back to sunshiny blue skies again, I took pics of the lawn ‘cos it’ll never look this velvety smooth again.

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Even though I have the flu or some version of it in spite of a flu shot, no way would I miss spending an entire day working in the garden. Dirty hands, twigs in my hair, muddy shoes. HEAVENLY.

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But I wasn’t alone.

This happy gangsta butterfly not only followed me everywhere I was, but sat on my head for a few marvelous seconds, too! It’s too bad I couldn’t snap a pic but it was impossible, so you’ll have to trust me. Fluttering and flapping wings all around my face and head. And listen to the birds! So much joy.

Was there a message or a lesson the butterfly was attempting to convey? Or maybe just a shared joie de vivre?

We can coexist in peace, my friendly Mourning Cloak butterfly.

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Yes, s/he was upside down or maybe I was upside down? It’s all in your perspective. Totally LOVING the apple blossoms.

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Knowing that our rains are brief, all the plants put their best foot forward. The rosemary is a riot of blue flowers and bees.

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Bees, so many bees!

 

Happy all planets direct and Super Blood Wolf Moon eclipse tonight!