Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Favourite birds of 2015

Posted by: Heidi

December 31st, 2015 >> Birds, Photos

Common Loon and Chick - Boss Lake
 

These are some of my favourite photos of the birds that I saw and photographed in 2015.

“Each new year is a surprise to us. We find that we had virtually forgotten the note of each bird, and when we hear it again, it is remembered like a dream, reminding us of a previous state of existence. How happens it that the associations it awakens are always pleasing, never saddening, reminiscences of our sanest hours. The voice of nature is always encouraging.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

Purple MartinWood ducks, Reifel Bird Sanctuary

Early Spring in the Garden

Posted by: Heidi

April 2nd, 2014 >> Birds, my garden, Photos

Bushtit 600
Spring has arrived and with it the cycle of life in the garden has begun again with leaf buds opening, perennials sprouting out of the ground, and the first flowers of the season starting to bloom. There is lots of bird activity in the garden too as these little garden visitors search for mates, build nests, and restart their own cycle of life.

“Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

~Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Camelia 600

 

Pasque Flower 600

Winter at the Bird Sanctuary

Posted by: Heidi

February 11th, 2014 >> Birds, Photos

Great Horned Owl 600
In January I visited my favourite bird sanctuary and saw my first new bird of the year, a Great Horned Owl. I had heard that there have been many owl sightings at the sanctuary but they had previously eluded me. This time, I got lucky and came across two of them sitting motionless in a tree. By chance, a shaft of sunlight filtered through the dense branches to light-up the one in the photograph above while the other one stayed almost hidden in the shadows.

Owls practice active patience as they wait long periods of time for their prey and those of us who would like to see owls need to practise patience too. Their use of the power of stillness would have kept them hidden from my sight if it wasn’t for the fortunately low angle of the winter sun that brought them to my attention.

Duck river 600
It was a cold, frosty day and the duck ponds were all partially covered in ice. The ducks were comical to watch as they slipped and slid on the ice. When they tried to climb out of the water onto the ice it would often break, sending them splashing back into the water. The river of ducks between the ice in the photo above all seemed to be doing their best to avoid it.

The stillness of owls and the comical busyness of ducks, it was a perfect winter morning at the bird sanctuary!

Painting Birds

Posted by: Heidi

October 29th, 2013 >> Birds, Playing with paint

Sandhill Crane on the ice
According to Robert Lynd, “in order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”  I have enjoyed watching many birds over the years and recently some of the birds that I have seen have inspired me to try to recreate images of them in their natural environments. While painting these sandhill cranes, I tried to capture the ancient beauty, grace and strength of this bird species which has existed for more than 2.5 million years. This species is much older than most of the other bird species that are alive today. The world has changed dramatically during this species’ lifespan and these birds have continued to adapt to their new world.

Sandhill Cranes 300

“There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before.”
~ Robert Lynd

This summer’s songbirds

Posted by: Heidi

September 18th, 2013 >> Birds, Photos

Song Sparrow 600
As another summer comes to an end I have been thinking back about the many songbirds that I have enjoyed watching and listening to this summer, both in and out of the garden. Some of them visit my garden throughout most of the year while others are only here for a short time as they stop over on their annual migrations. Some of my favourites this year have included Song Sparrows, Wilson’s Warblers and Bushtits.

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance.”

~ E. E. Cummings

Wilson's Warbler 320Bushtit 320

Small pleasures

Posted by: Heidi

March 9th, 2013 >> Birds, my garden, Photos

Spotted Towhee
 

Early spring days bring many small pleasures that I am always so grateful for: longer days and the warmth of sun rays just barely penetrating the still chilly air; sprouts and buds bringing signs of life and colour to the garden; new bird songs and chatter filling the trees.

These seemingly simple pleasures are much more complex than they appear to be. The more that I learn about the natural world, the more I am in awe of the amazing complexity that is involved in even the smallest of details. Every time I discover something new I realize how much more there is to learn.

Pear tree leaf buds

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
~ Carl Sagan

crocus

Songbirds

Posted by: Heidi

October 8th, 2012 >> Birds, Photos

 

Of all the birds that I enjoy watching, the little songbirds are my favourites. When they visit my garden feeders they appear to be so delicate and fragile but they have the strength and perseverance to survive much adversity in the wild.

“Instead of weeping when a tragedy occurs in a songbird’s life, it sings away its grief. I believe we could well follow the pattern of our feathered friends.” ~ William Shakespeare

The birds keep on singing

Posted by: Heidi

May 29th, 2012 >> Birds, my garden, Photos

Sometimes life doesn’t seem to make much sense. Terrible things happen that change your life forever. And yet somehow, all around you things continue to go on the same as always. The sun continues to come up every morning, the garden keeps growing, and the birds keep on singing.

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”
~Chinese proverb

High up above the garden

Posted by: Heidi

January 29th, 2012 >> Birds, Photos


“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

~Albert Camus

Winter Garden Visitors

Posted by: Heidi

December 29th, 2011 >> Birds, my garden, Photos

There is much activity in my garden right now even though the soil is cold and most of the plants are resting dormant, patiently waiting for spring. Staying home from work this week, I have been able to spend more time watching the bird feeders in my backyard and they have been busy from dawn until dusk. The sun rises so late at this time of year that I have been up long before the birds each morning. As the sky starts to lighten, I watch for the first shadowy movements flitting among the branches and then over to the feeders. Throughout the day a multitude of small birds including juncos, chickadees, song sparrows and finches visit the feeders, eat the last of the berries and flower seeds on the plants, and forage below the feeders and between the shrubs for any fallen food.

Not as patient for spring as the plants seem to be, I often miss spending time in the garden at this time of year. But the garden is for the birds too and watching all of their activity from the window I see that they make good use of it all year long.




“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.” ~ Henry David Thoreau