I met my old friends today..... or so it seems. A few years back when I was more of a 'western' man, true to my calling, ...a bit settled with dust and age and at that time...resided in eastern Washington state. Open and wild and inviting .....I would venture to one of my favorite areas; just to sit, no more than that; just to sit. For here I had 'old friends'....
It was here in my 'sitting locale' akin to a park bench but a mere set of boulders that created this bookend nestled near a mudflat, that I learned to appreciate my old friend; the killdeer. They would flitter about like sections of a crumpled newspaper blowing around the tall grass on one side.....they would offer courtship to each as the male would strut around with his tail up high....showing off of course. For what else does a good male do?
''There on the mud flats during certain times in which they occurred', we became companions to a degree....the killdeers would go and court, for yes, they were members of the court at that time. ....lost in their overcoats with a black ascot around their neck, in proper attire no less yet with eyes that shown of bloodshot red as if coming home from a hard night. Their behavior was caught by whom might venture just to stop and do no more than just watch. They were not shy, nor hidden from sight....but open and inviting, just like the country.
These were my friends. I would take my camera with me and capture a shot or two, or just let my eyes wander over the full scope of the mudflats, soft and oozing as footprints left a record of their travels. These friends of mine never cared much for me, as I said before....but matter not, no need.... for I knew of them as part of nature, as sure as the mudflats themselves or the algae that grew in little pools around. Yet strange enough I knew, we might possibly sit later on in other days, perhaps sharing an apartment and resting just quietly.
My friends would so casually turn to me.....as if to care..... at other times I felt like offering myself a glass of wine, so I could toast to their act. It was an act, but not for me of course. Killdeer..... my friends. Times like today as I walked around the grounds of a quiet high school nestled in the pines of south Jersey, my friends and I met up once more. Oh, it must be a few thousand miles away from my other encounters but strange enough, they still turned their attention to me, and I towards them. There they were in a parking lot this time.....flirting around. I love to watch them fly so directly to a spot, just to fly. They land and speak, and act.....they play tag with my eyes and with their partners. They then just 'up and go'....without much thought and not without any recognition to me, nor I to them. As I walk I know I will encounter them again in a different part of the parking lot.....over there, beyond.... A time it was then...and is now. Sweet innocence borrowed from my mind and yet confident I am that yes, we will play the game with eyes and sound and flirts be it tomorrow or the next, or here in Jersey or in Washington for I want you to know that my old friends don't escape me it seems, for I have a photograph where I preserve my memories of my friends.
Welcome to the ZEISS Digital Nature Hub!
Over the last few months, we’ve seen the world changing dramatically and we've learnt to connect with each other in a different way. With this in mind, we wanted to bring ZEISS Nature & Birding to you in a different way. Introducing, the ZEISS Digital Nature Hub!
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Never say never..... I should learn that. But 'never' in this case is something I have noticed as of recent. Summer is a pretty slow time of the year for birding and while I spent a portion of my COVID summer getting a new pair of binoculars, I also spent the same COVID summer viewing backyard birds.
One thing I noticed was how birds simply refuse to gorge themselves. Just the other day as I was sitting out on the patio and I noticed we have one of those huge Tent caterpillar nests on one of the pines. Living around here, you know what I am talking about.
Sprinkled throughout this mess....always cobwebby in design.....are insects who have found themselves permanently fastened 'by death no less' to this cobweb design. I can't tell you when they entered and lost the ability to escape, but I can tell you that many #'s of them were there.
Along came a finch....... This little guy would cherry pick his way thru the nest, pecking away at insects that looked tasty. Now, either some were not to his culinary standards or the bird just became full and not wanting to gorge, it left.
Do birds do that? Chances are that bird flew over to another tree or branch and an insect came their way and 'gulp'....down it went. So if that surely (can't be sure) OR might (a better word as not as definitive) be the case, why not just sit in the nest that was pocked full of insects and nibble away? If you are hungry, you are hungry....take the easy meals.
Or....does a bird's appetite naturally stop at a certain point and no more gorging needed. But does a cat gorge if food is around? Does a cow ever quit eating green grass on the other side of the fence?.... Is 'stopping' and knowing not to gorge just a 'bird thing'? Not sure...I am just guessing that birds just know when to stop. Otherwise a caged canary (a bird) would be a lot larger than needed as food is available to them 24 hours a day. So that natural inclination to 'stop'...is evident in birds.
In my case...was the bird pecking away until full? Probably.... Did the bird then take off and fly to another tree and by hap-chance eat an insect or two along the way? Perhaps.... perhaps not.