“Paying attention to birds, being mindful of them, is being mindful of Life itself. We seldom think of it this clearly, but sometimes, unexpectedly, we are overtaken by a sense of wonder and gratitude. Surely it is the encounter with a force much larger than ourselves that moves us.”
(G. Gibson, The Bedside book of Birds: an Avian Miscellany)
I recently celebrated a milestone birthday. Numbers have never concerned me; quite the opposite actually, I’m grateful for every one I’m given. This one though, ending with that oh-so-BIG ‘0’, offered the opportunity to pause and take stock of things. So in recent weeks I’ve accepted that opportunity. During this time I’ve thought often of my Dad, who was given only one more big ‘0’ birthday after the milestone I just marked. Naturally, this has left me considering all that really matters in life, and those things I hope to not leave undone.
And this has repeatedly brought me back to what we inspire in our children, what we have prepared them for, and all that we pass on to the next generations — the good and the bad. So to not stray too far off course, for now I’ll stick to the birds and one of the highlights of my birding experiences this year.
One of the best parts of my August/September Cape May trip was the opportunity to see my cousin’s son’s discovery of his great interest birds – raptors in particular. And of course, there are few better places to discover raptors than Cape May. I’m grateful for the privilege of witnessing his discovery.
In honor of Joey, I’ve pulled together this year’s pictures of hawks, falcons, and vultures. May your interest and enthusiasm for birds continue…
One of Joey’s favorites, the Osprey
And much to my surprise, a new favorite of mine – the Red-shouldered Hawk
A Cooper’s Hawk in the front yard. I’ve come to think of this one as saying grace before a meal 😦
A Sharp-shinned Hawk in the back yard
Another Sharp-shinned in nearby Montgomery County
A Sharp-shinned and an American Kestrel during that same trip
and more Kestrels…
And the Merlins
And Bald Eagles
There actually is a Northern Harrier in the picture below. Can you find him? This was my very first glimpse of one
And then the vultures, who I have also grown to appreciate this year. Here are the Turkey Vultures
And the (I find beautiful in their own way) Black Vultures
And since I seem to be ending recent posts with public service announcements, I thought I’d share some family experience with www.birdsavers.com. Earlier this year my Aunt Priscilla (Joey’s grandmother) sent the picture below with a hawk who had again found its way into her screened porch. After replacing the screen, twice, she began looking for solutions…
Mid-summer we discussed BirdSavers. She decided (quite wisely, I think) to go the BirdSavers route. She reports the installation was simple and straightforward, and the ‘curtains’ have worked at preventing bird strikes to her screens.
Birdsavers.com also includes a ‘make your own’ tab, which I trust could be equally successful at preventing bird strikes. This is the route I decided on. Ordering a 250′ spool of paracord was simple and economical. Finding time to make/install the curtains has been another story. With a bit of embarrassment, I’m sharing a picture of my progress to date. Definitely a project for 2018.
With gratitude for the support, encouragement, and companionship I’ve received throughout the year on this wonderful birding journey, and wishing you many blessings as we enter into this holiday season.
Dad, Deb, and Darcy, 2009