Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gone to the Birds

by Leann

When Hurricane Ike ripped through southeast Texas a few years back while we were living there, my beautiful giant elm tree was one of many felled by that storm. It was torn away from the earth by its roots and if it had fallen toward our house instead of toward the garage, it would have destroyed our home. We were lucky, for sure, but how I missed the birds that once lived in that tree. I would spend every morning saying hello to a woodpecker or a chickadee or a house finch and I never realized I would miss the birds so much.

Now that we are finally in our new home, we have a big white oak right on the shoreline and a front yard that's a virtual forest. I have been getting acquainted with new birds, some that I have never seen before. An osprey comes by at least
once a day and perches high up on an oak limb. He stares down at the water intently, sometimes only for a minute, sometimes for as long as five. Then he dives head first into the lake and comes up with a fish. Every time. I love to watch that graceful, daring dive.

Mr. Blue Heron roams the shore morning and night, patient, regal and beautiful. At first
when I would come outside, he would fly away immediately. Now he stays. He's wary, but he doesn't interrupt his hunt. Often it's a fish and sometimes it's a snake, but he gets his breakfast and dinner regardless.

Away from the water, wandering along the side of the road are the wild turkeys. They are so different looking that your "Thanksgiving" type turkey--unique and fast. I
had the chance this year to see a mother herding her young across the road. Such a good momma.

The birds that I find creepy are the turkey vultures. Like all carrion, when they're circling,
something has died. I don't want to know what. Or a load of garbage has been lost. Or they're just waiting around for death. Yes. Creepy and ugly. But they have a job to do.

We have the usual water fowl--ducks and geese and loons--but oddly enough my favorite birds are still the little ones. They stay all year, they fight with each other constantly like a dysfunctional family of tiny, feathered siblings, but they are amazing creatures with limitless energy. Maybe its their energy that makes me appreciate them so much.
One thing is for certain, these flying friends bring me a peace I haven't felt in a very long time.