This week I saw a Blue Jay sunning on a log in my backyard. It fluffed its feathers, spread its wings, fanned its tail feathers and tilted its head to the side with its beak open, and soaked up the sun.
“Some old fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
In the spring, the sound of the male Red-winged blackbird echoes out across grassy fields and marshy areas as he noisily defends his territory, puffing up and proudly displaying his ornate red and yellow shoulder patches.
The song of the streaky-brown female can also be heard as she moves stealthily through tall grass in search of food and weaving material for her nest. Her dull color helps to provide camouflage as she sits in her nest, located close to the ground.
“In spring more mortal singers than belong To any one place cover us with song. Thrush, bluebird, blackbird, sparrow, and robin throng.” ~Robert Frost
I look forward each spring to visiting the Mississippi levee in hopes of a glimpse of this small bird. As you drive along, you can hear the calls of Dickcissels concealed in the dense, tall grass along the road. Occasionally, one will fly up and perch on a swaying stalk — guarding their territory, plucking seeds from the plant heads, and belting out a loud song.
Below is a short video of a Dickcissel’s song.
“Sing, then. Sing, indeed, with shoulders back, and head up so that song might go to the roof and beyond to the sky.” ~Richard Llewellyn
This young grackle chick was causing quite a commotion in one of the bushes in our yard. Not wanting to be forgotten, you could almost see the desperation on its face as it expectantly awaited its next morsel of food.
No need to worry. It was being tenderly watched over and cared for. Mom kept slipping into the back side of the bush to give it suet from a nearby bird feeder.
Both Greater and Lesser Yellowlegs forage in the shallow water of flooded fields near the Mississippi River at this time of year. These shorebirds spend a few weeks in the area before moving on to their breeding grounds in the north.
“No matter how deeply you come to know a place, you can keep coming back to know it more.” ~Rebecca Solnit
While hiking a wooded trail that runs beside the lake, we found a view through the tree tops of a group of White Pelicans flying high overhead.
Continuing on, we suddenly heard a loud noise, and were surprised to see a flock of White Pelicans mixed with Double-crested Cormorants plummeting onto the lake near where we were hiking. Two birds that you wouldn’t expect to see together, but united in a common purpose.
After the commotion of the landing, the fishing party proceeded quietly along the shore for a short distance and then headed out across the lake toward the opposite shore.
“Teamwork is a powerful advantage when you share a common goal.” ~Phil Geldart