Image and copyright by Rodney Campbell: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acrylicartist/13215247265/
… that elusive partridge in a pear tree. Even if you can’t remember the rest of the gifts in order in that Christmas song, it seems like the last four are easy enough to recall.
I guess I could have just as easily entitled this post “Today is for the birds” but since Christmas has so recently passed, it is worth keeping the Christmas theme just a short time longer, don’t you think?
After all, we are only at day #4 of the twelve days of Christmas.
It was foggy and misting slightly when I left for my walk early this morning. I was determined to get another 6 miles under my belt and got 6 ½ … well, I’ll sleep good tonight and might even end up face down on the keyboard having a petite snooze before the evening is over.
As I made my way down to the Park, the neighborhoods were oh so quiet. It was peaceful at the Park as well and I only saw one jogger on the perimeter path.
Something new was added on the trail since I was there on Friday. Some kindly soul had created heaped-up piles of wild bird seed every so many paces on the Park path. I suspect the good Samaritan who was dispensing those coarse seeds, which also consisted of black oilers and pieces of dried corn, was fellow-walker Diane. She told me a while ago she had bought bags and bags of wild bird seed when ACO went out of business this past Summer. Diane planned to store it in her car and scoop out a container of it to spread on the path daily for the birds at the Park.
At each pile of seeds on the pathway, several birds were gathered there feasting. There were many sparrows and chickadees but they were crowded out by the larger cardinals and blue jays, much bigger birds with bigger appetites. Even a squirrel or two was present at that “dinner table” … of course, where there is food to be found, usually at homeowners’ backyard feeders, the squirrels always make their presence known and feel entitled to help themselves to the goodies.
Well, those cardinals and jays were a sight for sore eyes. They were brilliant bursts of color in an otherwise drab and boring beige and ochre-colored canvas. They were immersed in their eating so much so that they didn’t even scatter as I approached them.
I didn’t bring along my camera since it was such a gloomy-looking morning, and besides, I usually can’t get those birds to stay in one place long enough to get a picture … except for that heron, who perched in the old dead tree and didn’t move for ages.
We used to get alot of cardinals and blue jays at the house then the West Nile Virus in the 80s caused their population to decline. I remember we spent a long weekend in Toronto at my grandmother’s house and returned Sunday night to find nine dead jays in the yard. I was horrified.
A few years ago I was able to coax a female cardinal out of her nest by using safflower seeds. They are considered a delicacy for cardinals. She thought I couldn’t see her nest with its young ones in my barberry bush. I could see it and her and the babies very well, but didn’t let on as my mom and I would watch them from inside the house with binoculars sometimes.
Every night when I got home from work she’d see me coming up the sidewalk and I’d hear that unmistakable tweet of that beautiful bird. I went into the house and got the canister of safflower seeds and poured out a small amount – just for her. It was almost like having a cardinal for a pet bird.
My mother collected cardinal Christmas ornaments and back when I put out all the decorations she’d display them in a corner devoted just to these beautiful birds.
I couldn’t hope to capture the image of a beautiful cardinal with my camera – it would be a small speck or just a blur. I have been looking to find a wildlife photographer whose pictures I might be able to use in my nature blog posts. The stock photos are nice, of course, but to have a picture showing the striking beauty of a feathered or furry friend in its natural environment cannot be beat.
I have found such a photographer in Rodney Campbell. His picture of the beautiful cardinal sitting on the evergreen bough is seen above. He has many more beautiful images just like this one and I am going to try to include some of them in future posts, where applicable. Rodney captures up close and personal what I see with my eyes, yet I fail to capture with my lens. I know he is a much more skilled and talented photographer than I could ever hope to be.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein