Sunday Stills: For the #Birds

hummingbird ready to feed

What’s up with the expression “for the birds?” Easy enough to google…it’s an expression that “became army slang for anything that was pointless, ridiculous, or simply without value to any but the most pathetic or least capable.”

Someone who announces, “that idea is for the birds” is saying the idea is useless or meaningless. A very negative connotation indeed.

Last time I looked, the birds I’ve seen are more than capable of surviving, feeding, and flourishing.

All negativity aside, did you know that February is National Bird Feeding Month? Yes, it’s really a thing!

The month was established in 1994 by Illinois Congressman, John Porter .

According to Feed the Birds, February is recognized as one of the most difficult months in much of the U.S. for birds to survive in the wild.

https://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/2019/02/february-is-national-bird-feeding-month.html

I thought we could all enjoy an early spring or at least dream about spring as the birds gather for feeding.

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds, waterfowl, any feathered friends will do.

Your posts, photos, and creative ideas may be all about birds this week, but certainly won’t be “for the birds.” If you are lucky to already be enjoying birds visiting your neighborhoods and backyards this month, share the love and FEED them.

This guy was all over this feeder last year. I have to be careful in my backyard because all the trees attract large birds of prey like the kite below as well as owls and hawks. Apparently, the feeder attracts the pesky squirrels too.

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Bird of Prey Kite
Neighborhood Kite Waiting

Several years ago, while in Baja, Mexico, I took this photo of a falcon that had just captured a fish from the Sea of Cortez. I watched in amazement as the bird wrangled the still flopping fish onto the cactus and prepared to feed! (Taken in 2013 with an older cell phone so photo quality is not great, but you get the idea!)

Falcon feeding on a fish
Falcon feeding on live fish

Our band of suburban turkeys always find something to feed on.

Neighborhood turkeys feeding in front yards

Even in February, Anna’s hummingbirds expect their feeder to be full of juice!

hummingbird ready to feed
Ready to eat!
Hummingbirds' quest for food
Quest for food
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?

If feeding birds brings you joy this week, cheer someone up by sharing photos of our feathered friends by linking with Cee’s On the Hunt for Joy Challenge.

Woman and parrot
My daughter enjoying a bird display at Balboa Park in San Diego

Feel free to dip into your archives or add any new images of birds and waterfowl. Any photos of our feathered friends will do.

I am looking forward to your capturing their feeding antics or perhaps some close-ups of our bird visitors with your talented lenses and other creative ideas.

Have a great week!

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Sunday Stills: #Furry and #Feathered Friends

Sunday Stills Fur and Feathers Graphic

Today’s Sunday Stills theme is “fur and feathers” but feel free to add photos of your scaled and slithering friends as well.

Aero loves going to the delta
Aero loves going to the delta

Boykin Spaniel Brodie loves the water
Boykin Spaniel Brodie loves the water

Did you know today is National Animal Rights Day? Many organizations dedicate themselves to the betterment and loving treatment of ALL animals.

According to Christian author Gary Kurtz, who wrote Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates: A Book of Hope for Those Who have Lost a Pet, he writes that “pets are God’s creatures…merely on loan to us.”

With Biblical support, Kurtz suggests that all animals have eternal spirits. As a Christian myself, I believe this to be true, which gives me great comfort knowing that my past, present and future dogs, cats, birds and even fish have a place in God’s eternity. On some spiritual level, I shall see them all again.

Almost every day, I read online from friends and family who grieve a pet who has died. I often recommend this book and have been surprised at the positive responses from those who have read it.

Regardless of your own beliefs in an eternal afterlife, or not, we must treat all creatures on Planet Earth with care and respect.

Of course, I will swat a mosquito or kill a tick that crawls on my skin. Believe it or not, even pesky bugs have a place on Earth.

To illustrate my point, while camping with family two years ago, I almost fell over as I watched my little nephew stomp on an unsuspecting beetle while hiking in a national park. I asked him why he did that, and he replied, “because he was going to bite me.”

I told him that all critters and animals are protected in a national park and he could go to jail for killing bugs and animals (yes, a teeny white lie, but bear with me here). I then asked him, “What if you were just walking along one day and a giant walked up and stepped on you?” His eyes widened with the realization that his eight-year-old imagination allowed.

A little leisure education hurts no one.

Bewildered swallow looking for its nest
Bewildered swallow looking for its nest

This swallow and her mate decided to build their nest in our neighbor’s windsurf sail shed. One of the other fellows who keeps his sails in the shed noticed the partially built nest and knocked it down with a stick, complaining about bird droppings (my word, not his). Luckily it was still under construction, so no eggs or birds were harmed.

It was an abrupt decision, one that I both disagreed with and supported.

On one hand, these swallows build their nests here on Sherman Island in the delta and there are plenty of safe areas in which to build them. On the other, these skittish birds would not have succeeded trying to hatch eggs in a noisy area with us walking in and out of the shed.

In the long run, I guess there is no right way to move a bird nest. They can quickly rebuild one in a safer location.

But these incidents beg the question, how much have humans encroached on natural habitats in the name of progress, lifestyle and leisure?

To what extent do we continue to banish native animals from their own environments due to urbanization?

It is a little sad to think we need organizations to protect Earth’s creatures from harm and violence, mistreatment and misuse.

So, let’s support our fellow creatures today by posting a favorite photo of yours for Sunday Stills!

Please help me promote Sunday Stills so that we can have more talented bloggers participate in this photo challenge, now that the long-time WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge posted its final theme this week.

Sunday Stills Fur and Feathers Graphic

Link up here:

A hearty shout-out to May Sunday Stills Photo Challenge participants!

A Day In the Life
Adventures in Weseland
CactusCatz
Cee’s Photography
Debbie Scott Photography Digital Art
Field Notes From Over The Hill
Feel Purple
Heaven’s Sunshine
Hugh’s Views and News
Idaho Bluebird
IScribler
Light Words
Living with My Ancestors
Misty Roads Blog
Mucho Spanish
NorCal Zen
Now at Home
Proscenium
Retirementally Challenged
Terry’s Desk
This, That and the Other Thing
YasminKhanBlog
zestnzealblog

Terri_sig_hib1

Triple Satisfaction

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!

Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!
Blue jay contorts to get some yummy treats!

Nothing satisfies a hobby photographer more than capturing great close-ups of birds feeding.

Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life. Linus Pauling, Scientist

Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?
Is a hummingbird really ever satisfied?

 

Nature holds the key to our...satisfaction. Quote

 

“Satisfaction is not always the fulfillment of what you want; it is the realization of how blessed you are for what you have.” Unknown

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A Somewhat Transient Migration

Swallow fly in chaos around their nests.

Swallow fly in chaos around their nests.

Perhaps the famed migration of the Swallows from their winter home in Argentina to San Juan Capistrano isn’t as fleeting as the theme Transient suggests, but try taking photos of them near their nests and transience takes on a whole new meaning.

The nesting swallows flit back and forth so quickly that trying to capture one or several in a photo is a little ridiculous. Especially since I was precariously perched on the levee under the launch near where we windsurf. As soon as I dared step into their realm, they, and I mean hundreds of them, went flying, diving with acrobatic precision only the Flying Wallendas could execute!

In all 40 of my mostly failed images, I managed to highlight the nesting swallow (upper left corner of photo above) in most of the shots. I figured this was a nesting female patiently waiting for daddy bird to bring yummy treats to the nest.

You get the idea of the launch area in this photo.

Swallows flitting back and forth under their nesting home

It’s a good thing no one has bothered with these nests (as if they could)!

According to an article in the Orange County Register, swallows don’t return just to San Juan Capistrano – they also nest in San Clemente and other nearby communities, and local officials warn against messing with any active nests.

In fact, the California Department of Fish and Game considers Feb. 15 to Sept. 1 to be swallows nesting season.

“Completed nests during this breeding season cannot be touched without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” the announcement said.

Birdwatching as a hobby is very rewarding. With a great camera, one can capture wonderful images of birds. In this case however, I only really discovered all these swallows because I took my stand-up paddleboard under the bridge and thoroughly disturbed them a few years ago. Sometimes fishermen will stand near here, causing the swallows to fly around in a ruckus!

The WordPress weekly photo challenge begins every Wednesday. Anyone can participate!

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Celebrate National Pet Day!

What are you doing for National Pet Day?

What are you doing for National Pet Day?

Celebrate National Pet Day, April 11th!

national pet day logo

Of course, you love your pets! And they love you for giving them their forever home.

Leon, my 12 year-old pussycat
Leon, my 12 year-old pussycat

But what about those animals in need of homes, vet care, food and shelter?

Once you have appreciated your own pet, and lavished your love on it, please consider donating your resources to many of the good causes available to helping animals in need, or volunteering at a local animal shelter.

Can you spare some love for a pet?
Free image from Unsplash

Better yet, adopt a pet!

My brother has adopted several dogs over the years. He and his wife used to volunteer by walking dogs at their animal shelter near San Diego.

If you are not a pet owner, consider making a donation. Many pet retail stores have in-store gift-giving options. Petsmart’s “Buy a Bag, Give a Meal” is just one charity program designed to help pets in shelters and in low-income homes.

PetSmart Charities will distribute the meal donations to pet shelters, food banks, animal welfare organizations or other similar organizations based on the needs of these recipients.

kittens wrapped in a towel
free image from Unsplash

Janis of Retirementally Challenged donates old linens to her local humane society.

“I am so grateful for our local Humane Society for the compassionate work they do. They provide vital services by sheltering and adopting animals, providing positive reinforcement training classes, investigating animal cruelty and neglect, and presenting education programs.” Janis Heppel

I think this is a great idea and I am gathering up some old towels to drop off to the Sacramento SPCA this week!

Like Aero asks Brodie in the featured photo, “What are YOU doing for National Pet Day?

paw prints

Defying Gravity

Weightless water

Weight(less)

I am traveling home after a nice long vacation in Baja Sur, Mexico. For my Leisurely Thursday post, I could not resist including another set of photos for the Weekly Photo Challenge.

I took these photos on my last day in La Ventana.  The warm desert air combined with the 72 degree water of the Sea of Cortez creates incredible windy conditions from November through March, making this area south of La Paz thee winter destination for windsurf and kiteboard enthusiasts from all over the world

A variety of birds, including turkey vultures, pelicans and other sea birds glide effortlessly on the warm thermals created by the wind and warm water. Here a turkey vulture enjoys a thermal as the windsock indicates a good north wind.

Weightless Wings

A few miles away on the Bahia de la Ventana, a rocky outcropping called “the Boof” provides a visual delight at high tide as the waves crash against the rocks and holes eroded over time.

Weightless Water

Water briefly defies gravity at over 12 feet high.

Water becomes weightless

What makes you feel weightless?

I am adding this to Jennifer Nicole Wells’ color your world weekly photo challenge blue-green.