Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bird Memories of 2007

Still feeling beat up with a bad cold tonight, I relied on a post I cooked up in my mind during the past week, ant style. It's the best I can do while hacking away and reaching for the next box of Kleenex!

Delia at Beginning to Bird wanted to know everyone’s best bird-related memory in her recent post entitled “What’s Your Best 2007 Birding Memory?” I could not think of just one.


I always had interest in nature but spent most of my life dashing around to beat the clock and allowing myself to be dictated by the deadlines associated with the many hats I wore. Wife, mother, swim team parent and volunteer, board member, carpool organizer, full-time officer worker… Those were exhausting, fulfilling, and wonderful years but I didn’t have a favorite pastime or hobby. I guess you would say I’m making up for a lot of lost time. The following six events took place when I least expected them, during ordinary days in 2007. With each memory I share below, I still feel the surprise, grief, love, joy, and sadness.

The SWEETEST memory I have is the day I met a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, up close and personal.


I went as far as naming them Millie and Johnny and continued to watch them on campus for a few months while their house grew to family size.

The memory that caused me the most GRIEF was the day I found Johnny trapped inside our campus building.


Although a few of us were able to lead him outdoors, I remember being very angry at that bird because he entered the building twice within one week!

The most SURPRISING memory I have is discovering over a hundred Cedar Waxwings on the way to my hair salon.


I didn’t even know what bird I was photographing until I checked my field guides later at home. The Cedar Waxwing was a stunning, picture-perfect lifer on an otherwise boring day.

The most JOYFUL memory is the day I was able to rescue a Northern Mockingbird fledgling from a storm drain.


Yes, this is the one!

It was particularly gratifying when several people on the campus cared enough to pitch in and help me out. No one would have noticed that baby in trouble without my alert.

My most LOVING memory…


A five-month love affair I had with Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. Nuff said.

My SADDEST memory…


We had a trusting relationship in the spring and early summer of 2006. They sat on the front porch with me and raised five little Barn Swallows. She came back last April at the very moment I held her nest in my hands to give it a good cleaning after a brood of house finches left. In my mind’s eye, I can still recall the sight of her swooping back and forth, perhaps wanting to shoot darts at me, as she saw a step ladder in her corner and me, with her nest in my hands. She was ready to lay and I blew it. Bad timing and bad luck. After her nest broke into a few pieces in my hands, I made her a new one a week later. She never came back last spring and I’m still heartbroken about it. This tearful event made me wonder if my hormones started a raging fight with me. Oh, I wailed.

Oddly enough, my best memories aren’t noteworthy discoveries or stories of lifers. They are all best memories of having a connection or a brief relationship with a bird.

Do you have a favorite bird-related memory in 2007?


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Lovely memories except for the swallow story. :( Hopefully they willl return this year.

entoto said...

I love this post, swallow memory and all. It says so much about you!

smilnsigh said...

I'm so sorry the rotten cold has gotten you. My husband has had one for a week now. But it's a lot better, by now.

Best wishes for a quick recovery.


Ruth said...

Your bird adventures are among my favourite bird memories of 2007. All told with such good humour and accompanied by great photos. Get lots of rest!

JeanMac said...

One of my favorites is watching hummers feed at the zinnias in the garden - maybe 4' from me. No camera in hand!

dmmgmfm said...

We are trying to catch the cold too...I keep taking massive doses of airborne in hopes of keeping at bay. My favorite bird memory was of the bald eagle that i nearly hit with my car driving down I-94 between Hysham, MT and Custer, MT. He was feasting on some road kill and only took off in the nick of time. His wingspan was huge and filled up my entire windshield. Fortunately he was very quick on take-off and I missed him. I had no idea how truly huge a full grown bald eagle was until that day.

Alyssa said...

Those are all such nice memories - each in their own special way. I think animals bring out the best in us and how we react to and with them says a lot about us.

My best bird moment was coming around the house and seeing a turkey not far from me. He just stood there and watched me, got bored and walked away up the path.

Stay home tomorrow and take good care of yourself.

Jayne said...

Mine had to be the week in April when I seemed to have every beautiful bird imaginable at my feeders at the same time. I had photos which included a blue grosbeak (never seen but one day), 4 or 5 indigo buntings, 2-3 rose-breasted grosbeaks, bluebirds, and then the summer tanager came. It was magical. It only lasted around two weeks, but I'll never forget it!

Sending you some virtual chicken soup and Posh Puffs Mary. ;c)

Kerri Farley said...

Wow Mary! Fantastic post....and awesome pictures of the birds!
Wow again!

Hope you are feeling better soon!

dguzman said...

Awwwww, Mary--I remember all these great moments. I hope your barn swallows come back.

TR Ryan said...

I felt your pain reading the part about cleaning the nest. You have a big heart and a beautiful post here.

And from your first paragraph - the lessons of integration are hard ones for me to learn. I want to be able to do it all and time conspires against me.

Chrissie said...

Lovely memories, Mary. I remember the nest you made and placed in your porch, it was one of the first posts I read and I remember thinking what a kind person you must be to take so much trouble. Here's to a good bird year! Hope you feel better today :-)

Marvin said...

Such beautiful memories, Mary -- and enhanced by your great photos. Thanks for sharing.

RuthieJ said...

Oh Mary, I hope you're feeling better soon.

My favorite bird memory from 2007 involves a chickadee and a worm....but you probably already knew that one!

Carol Michel said...

Mary, I didn't think I had a favorite bird memory and so should try harder in 2008, but I remembered one.

I had a robin's nest in a crabapple tree right by my front porch, where I could watch it and I blogged about it some, too. I hope another robin nests their this spring. I cleaned up the old nest, which I think was the right thing to do.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

nannykim said...

nice stories and awesome pictures!!unbelievable in beauty.

Anonymous said...

I so remember your bluebirds inside your campus! That's when I first started visiting your site and I have been hooked ever since! All such wonderful photos and great memories for sure!

NatureWoman said...

I love your bewd memories, and feel for you re: the swallow memory. Wah!

kate said...

Your photographs always make me smile, no matter what. And you did rebuild the nest. I remember how cool it looked.

I hope you are starting to feel better - colds seem to be going around everywhere these days. Please get better ... Happy New Year!!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

My best memory...the wood thrush I searched to see in the dense woods, never able to find more than her song...then holding her in my hand a couple months later, after a window strike...and releasing her to eat wild grapes in our woods.

I, like you, Mary, did not make room in my hectic life for the things that give me such joy.
This last year has been wonderful.

Now, take as tender care of yourself as you do of your charges.
Honey and lemon?

KGMom said...

My favorite bird memory of 2007--reading all the wonderful bloggers who do so well spotting, attracting, feeding, photographing or counting birds.
My hat's off to you all.

Susie said...

I remember reading many of these stories. You take the most wonderful pictures of the birds you love. I was so sorry to hear you've been feeling so bad.
Hope your cold goes away soon. You sound like you feel just rotten.
Stay warm and cozy...

Unknown said...

Beautiful memories Mary and I am looking forward to a whole year with you now that we have gotten to know each other. yea!

Susan Gets Native said...

There are so many great moments to choose from....
My favorite "bird" moment may have to be the time Lucy got onto my shoe and tried to climb up my pants.

Are you better? Want some soup?

Annie in Austin said...

Even though you'd already told us the individual stories, when combined into one post it was overwhelming to realize what birds have meant in your life. Very cool, Mary!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Mary, I'm sorry you've been under the weather.

I just love your bird pictures, especially the one of the bluebird. What a beauty it is!

I have many bird memories this year too. I love being at a stage in my life where I have the luxury of extra time to sit quietly and watch the birds or smell the roses.

I hope you feel better quickly.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
These are the memories of a loving heart. My best bird memory is reading the post of you making the new nest for the Barn Swallows. I fell in love with you that day.
The birds know you are a kindred spirit.
Be well my friend.

Mark said...

Hi Mary,
Some cracking bird photos and stories to go with them.I do enjoy visiting here to see the many birds you have around you.

TR Ryan said...

Hi Mary, hope you are feeling better by now. You got some good tips. Get well soon! Tim

Naturegirl said...

Mary I enjoyed these bird memories thank you.
My bitter sweet bird memory was that of a robin I found in distress and after several attempts to save her..all within 20 minutes..she took her last breath in my hand and I wept.I posted that one and to read it
again I cry.Amazing the connection we make with out winged visitors!hugs NG

Mary said...

Hi Everyone,

In case you stop by again, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I've had three days of needing to be sick in bed but went to work anyway, until today. 11 hours of sleep made a difference as I feel a little better now. I'll try to get back to the blog thing soon but not until I quit yawning, coughing and feeling FLAT.

Larry said...

I remember reading all of those posts!-Waxwings are stunning birds to see for the first time!-and 100! -What a treat that must have been for you.

Kathie Brown said...

Love the photos of the bluebirds. Sorry about the swallows. My favorite birding memory? Moving to Sycamore Canyon and seeing so many new species, but the Crested Caracara at Whitewater Draw has to be one of the tops!

Kathi said...

My favorite birding memories:

Anything involving my resident bluebirds, including last year's "6-pack" (6 eggs in one nest; they all fledged) and this year as being the first year I had 3 clutches in one season from the same pair.

Finally establishing a viable Purple Martin colony, 11 pairs in all, and holding the babies as I changed their dirty nests for clean ones, especially the 17 day old chick that perched on my finger and gave me the most quizzical look.

6 Life Birds at New River Gorge, W.Va., most seen while birding with Bill or Julie.

The day several years ago when a juv. Red-tailed Hawk crash-landed in my yard on his maiden flight. He had a heck of a time getting back in the air from the ground, especially as he was being dive-bombed by Tree Swallows, an Eastern Kingbird, and a bunch of other birds.

Birding "the pits" with Susan. We saw practically no birds at all, but had a lot of laughs.

And so many more - you get the idea ...