This pretty little dove makes me think of a ballerina–it’s the lovely arch in the neck. Mourning doves are present throughout the United States and in summer months they even migrate into Canada. It’s a wonder they survive at all. They build nests that are impossibly flimsy and often in very public places. I recall a retirement home in Florida where a dove had built her nest directly above the door leading to the patio area. She would sit there all day, not moving a muscle as people by the dozens came and went. The residents of the home were delighted to have the nest so visible and I have no doubt their collective karma guaranteed the successful fledge. ❧
The flock of Northern Cardinals continues to populate my feeders and they are a joy to see. I am accustomed to seeing Cardinals as couples and I was surprised to learn that flocks are common in the winter months. With four males and three (maybe four) females they certainly bring some lovely color to an increasingly bleak landscape.
This female has beautiful color in her wings. At first I wasn’t sure if she was a juvenile or an adult. It is the crest that tells the difference and she obligingly shook her head revealing a crest of a delightfully punkish orange. On a juvenile there would be no color and a brownish crown as opposed to a crest. So, I would say she is a young adult. ❧
A few posts back I wrote about squirrels being a pain when it comes to keeping bird feeders full and the truly effective way that some North Carolinians take care of such a problem — they shoot them. My friend Mary took exception with such extreme measures and described how she feeds the squirrels around her house. Her comments resonated with me, especially when I considered that my sister and brother-in-law are currently fostering two orphaned flying squirrels. There is, after all, a yin and a yang in life. We must honor that. So I set up a small squirrel feeding area on my deck using pieces of lumber from our recent tree removal.
As the picture demonstrates, the squirrels have found this solution very much to their liking. They have, for the most part, stopped raiding my feeders. I seem to have 3 squirrels that regularly visit my deck. If they get too obnoxious I set Tango loose on them and they scatter in every direction. He enjoys the romp and its best to keep the squirrels on their toes. My neighbor had some horror stories about squirrels chewing their way through screening to get food from inside the house. I sure don’t want that. ❧
I’ll be heading down to Florida soon where I plan to spend a few weeks. Looking forward to getting back out to Myakka River State Park and taking more gator pictures, like this one. Unless there is a severe drought the odds are very good that you will see a gator at Myakka. They are all over the place out there. Best of all they love to congregate by the Park Drive bridge which makes getting photos like this one quite easy and safe. ❧
This picture of wild turkeys was taken last year at Myakka River State Park. There was a time at Myakka when wild turkeys were nearly extinct. They were aggressively hunted in Myakka Park and a part of me can understand why. The meat of these turkeys would not be anything like the Butterball that some of you cooked last week for Thanksgiving. But I feel certain it was satisfying never the less. And wild turkeys have beautiful feathers that no doubt pulled down a nice chunk of change in the early decades of the 20th century when women’s hats were elaborately adorned with feathers. Living here in North Carolina, where poverty is a very real thing, I find myself thinking about all of this in a different way. It takes me back to my very early days in New England when I recall many classmates who were malnourished and poorly clothed, but once we moved to the gleaming Gulf coast of Florida it seemed poverty went into my rearview mirror. I suppose that was the goal. Still, these “pockets” of poverty are with us and extend to our urban areas as well. Any one who has watched the news in recent days has probably heard about the battle for a higher minimum wage. The current requirement of $7.25 an hour is a pittance and can barely sustain a single individual much less a family. If you want a concise essay on that battle I suggest the article by Richard Trumka and Christine Owens on CNN.
We’ve managed to protect the turkeys in Myakka and they are flourishing. Can we find a way to help our fellow human beings? ❧
Anyone who has ever played “Angry Birds” knows that look! Northern Cardinals are endlessly enchanting. I seem to be over-run with them these days. I counted seven at the feeder today– 3 males and 4 females. So stay tuned for more Cardinal pictures. ❧
House finches are so common that we sometimes forget how beautiful they are. ❧