A Little Wren

Last year, a little wren built a nest in the eaves of my back patio to raise her young.  This year, she decided to relocate to a patio table and tuck the nest between a bale of straw and two wicker flower baskets which are sitting against a wall.

One afternoon I was sitting out on a bench a short distance from the patio, unaware that she had relocated, when she decided that it would be a good time to work on the new nest. My presence, however, was intruding upon her plans.

Despite my proximity, she proceeded to bring pine needles, dried leaves and bits of moss to form her new home. 

I have to say that I admired her courage and tenacity.

“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”  ~Nelson Mandela

A Sunning Blue Jay

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

Picking out the Seeds

A male Indigo Bunting busily picking seeds from the heads of tall vegetation along the roadside.

I’ve learned to keep things simple. Look at your choices, pick the best one, then go to work with all your heart.”  ~Pat Riley

Red-winged Blackbird

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

Dickcissels

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

Feed Me!

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.

Yellowlegs

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   

Early March along the Levee

It’s that time of the year when the eagles are taking turns sitting on the newly-laid eggs in their nest.  This lucky pair has a perfect view overlooking life along the Mississippi River.

On flooded land near the levee we also spotted a Pied-billed Grebe, some American Coots, and a Great Blue Heron.

“I sat there and forgot and forgot, until what remained was the river that went by and I who watched …”  ~Norman Mcclean