In my next post I will show you why whooping cranes are not backyard birds.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In my next post I will show you why whooping cranes are not backyard birds.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Whooping cranes do not migrate in large flocks of family groups as do sandhill cranes, but rather, they travel in single family units, as solitary individuals or in small bachelor groups.
Subadults that have been driven away by their parents to make room for the next generation of offspring join up in small groups of males and females called bachelor groups. Whooping cranes require 4-5 years to reach breeding maturity. These subadult groupings provide companionship, potential mates and more safety as the young cranes gain survival experience.
Click these links for more about whooping cranes, the whooping crane family, whooping crane chick video and whooping crane ultralight migration.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Progress is created one person at a time, and the collective voice of individuals creates a momentum of awareness that is more powerful than the wind and the ocean combined.
I am reading Natalie Goldberg’s book, Wild Mind, Living the Writer’s Life. I’m reading it for several reasons, one of which is to stay connected to what I learned and felt at Rose Mountain. But I also read it to go deep. It settles my mind from the day, from whatever is bothersome and troubling on the surface, and from whatever seems insurmountable. Not that reading solves any of these problems. I’m borrowing another deep thinking mind for a while to encourage my own. These are the mentors and the teachers we find in good literature.
In her chapter, “The Dead Year” which is about hard beginnings, Natalie Goldberg writes:
I often say to myself now when writing is hard, “There is no such thing as failure.” The only failure in writing is when you stop doing it. Then you fail yourself. You affirm your resistance. Don’t do that. Let the outside world scream at you. Create an inner world of determination. When someone complained about getting up at five a.m. for sitting meditation, Katagori Roshi said, “Make positive effort for the good.” I repeat that often to myself when pushing the pen across the page feels like I, alone, have the responsibility to make the earth turn around the sun. Well, it’s true. Each of us does create the world. We’d better get to work.
She is writing about her love, writing. I read about writing and I see and hear everything that matters. I hear whales and orcas, and the gentle pandas, and I hear the whooping crane purring to its young. Despite decades of efforts to save the wild migrating population of whooping cranes that winter on the gulf coast of Texas, they are currently being threatened again by the potential development of key marshlands on their wintering grounds and by a new push for cleaner energy that seeks to erect wind turbines in the migration corridor of the most endangered crane in the world without responsibility to confer with wildlife experts on safe co-existence.
There are so many challenges ahead of us. Enough challenges for every single person to make a contribution. Every one of us “better get to work.”
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Whooping crane parents bring their chick a variety of foods to teach him what to eat and provide the nourishment he needs for rapid growth.At ICF's Amoco Whooping Crane Exhibit, I watched as the male presented the chick with a food item, such as this whole crayfish, then dropped it to the ground and broke it into smaller pieces before offering it to him to eat.
A tadpole?The offering below appears to be a minnow. (You have to look closely.)
And below, you see the chick at eight weeks. Photo by Sara Zimorski, aviculturists at ICF.
A young whooping crane chick may grow an average of one inch per day and be ready to fledge sometime between 78-90 days of age. Migration begins mid to late October for most whooping cranes. The juveniles below were photographed in late September and each practice flight increases their strength, endurance and skill at coordinating their seven-foot wing span.
And just three months ago, they looked like this...
Click here to watch the whooping crane chick video. To see all my Whooping Crane Family posts, click here. A special thanks to the International Crane Foundation (ICF) for the opportunity to view this family and to Sarah and Richard for sharing their photos.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The party began when I pulled off the road and took a quiet walk in the woods. I happened upon an area with several dead upright trunks fairly peppered with every size hole imaginable. It felt as though I had just entered a woodpecker dining hall.Within minutes a yellow-bellied sapsucker joined me. He didn't stay long, but I got to see his tail brace in action. The sapsucker is a resident of the park but is described as "seldom seen" until the northern migrants start coming through after the end of September. Then they are more easily seen in the lower elevations. Wouldn't you just love to know what's happening on the other side of that trunk? The next visitor practically landed on my head--a male red-bellied woodpecker. I was standing inches from the tree he selected which made photography a challenge. But woodpeckers are flighty characters and I enjoyed the few minutes he did stay. You don't get this angle very often and I must say, its the closest I've ever been to a woodpecker. I love his white petticoat-style tail that drapes over the black bracing feathers. You just can't get the full effect of this from field guides.
The white-breasted nuthatch isn't a woodpecker at all, but he fit right into this parade. I heard his 'yank, yank' calls and saw him at a distance before he landed on the other side of this trunk about six feet away. I focused the camera on the trunk, knowing he would pop around to my side at any second. And he did! He gave me these two shots. Don't you just love them? What a treat.
I love this sort of experience. All we have to do is find a quiet place and keep still for a short while and nature will show us her amazing creatures.
The trees are about two weeks away from peak color in the mountains but the forests and meadows are overflowing with a bounty of nuts, cherries, berries and seeds. A rich harvest is spread for busy wildlife, and for us, a beautiful and peaceful place is waiting any time of the year.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Like the Carolina chickadee.
Yesterday I heard a flicker, the shouldn't-be elusive ground feeding woodpecker that I hear daily but has eluded my camera and most of the time even a look all summer. He was close, by the sound of his call. So close, that when I opened the door, I had a glimpse of him flying from the edge of my patio to a far away tree.
You see why I'm celebrating?
Saturday, October 11, 2008
like these tiny little feet!
Never mind that the images are fuzzy. Just look at those precious little feet!
This titmouse is holding its dogwood berry like a squirrel or a mouse might except with straighter toes and unlike the furry critters, he has to perch on these same little feet. Is that not amazing?
Well, maybe you knew that. But I guess I've never thought about how they hold a berry. I just knew they did. And when I saw these photos all I could do was stare at them and say “look at those little feet!”
I expected something more like the position below, when the berry's almost gone.
But then there's a lot less to hold by now. And he's not planning to leave any behind.
Ocean Trail at Palos Verdes Nature Preserve, California--2015
Bird-banding at Seven Islands State Birding Park--2014
Bird-banding at Seven Islands
Enjoying Gray Jays in Churchill!--2014
Smithsonian National Zoo with one of my Whooping Crane banners and son, John--2014
The Incredible Muir Woods near Stinson Beach, CA--2014
Me and Denali--2012
For the Love of It...