Some Days Are For The Birds

Recently the warm weather allowed me to get out for a few minutes and visit the bird feeder at my dad’s house. Dad goes all out for his little feathered friends. The TV is on but he has his binoculars pressed to his face looking out the window at all the activity in the chestnut trees on the edge of the yard. The term “yard” is kinda used loosely at dad’s place. In general it’s any place where you mow plus just under the trees where the woods begin. As we observe the feeding dad recounts the events at the feeder over the past few days. He hasn’t actually named these birds out loud but he knows all of the species and individuals who frequently visit his yard. He tells me that the Common Flicker in tonight’s feature image is the boss of the yard and how he even challenges and keeps at bay the murder of crows that are larger and outnumber him. He talks about the covey of mourning doves and how one always lands on the feeder and tosses food down to the ground for the rest of them. A Pileated Woodpecker swoops in as dad talks and lands on a dead limb of a hickory tree. He hits the dead wood like a jackhammer and sends wood chips flying everywhere in his search for insects living in the wood. ( I tried to get a nice shot of the Pileated Woodpecker but he’s far too camera shy and took flight as soon as I stepped outside.) Dad has one mortal enemy at his bird feeder and surprisingly it’s not the squirrels. It’s a mob of Common Grackles that have run the bluebirds out of his yard and have even overwhelmed the Flicker on occasion. The former Marine came out in dad’s eyes when he postulated on how to defend his songbirds from the Grackles. A few minutes later he softened a little and said that God had a place for the Grackles too. Most of shots from the window didn’t really turn out well and so I put my wilderness stalking skills to work and began to ease myself closer to the feeder. Most of the birds scattered at first but soon the chickadees returned. Small and agile the chickadees figure they can be gone with a mouthful of food before the human can react. I remained as motionless as a stone until they began to ignore me. As soon as the others saw that I wasn’t chasing after the chickadees they also returned. Then finally the Flicker decided that it was time to let me know that this was his feeder. The others gave way to him as he came in for a landing. He dug into the seed mix and found the one he wanted. Then he flew directly at the camera so fast that I couldn’t adjust the focus. He pulled up at the last moment and landed on the branch above me. Few a few minutes he seemed to play peekaboo by popping out from the tree with the nut in his beak. Finally he tucked it into his hiding spot on an upper branch.

Common Flicker hiding a nut in a tree branch

I watched him repeat this stunt a few times before I went back inside to visit with dad some more and share the photos with him. I’ve been told that some days are for the birds but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I want to encourage you to spend some time birding. The songbirds not only bring much needed beauty to the dull winter climate but also share their beautiful songs and impart a little peace to your morning.

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King Of The Crows

The crow sits on his usual perch above the crowd in defiance of cold wind. This is his kingdom even if the humans below don’t know it. As a wise king he hasn’t chosen the highest branch for his throne. That honor goes to his bodyguards. They are situated in the very top of the canopy where they can provide protection against the hawk clan. The crow king calls out with two short caws and listens to his sentry reply with two short caws and a long one. There’s actually a syntax to the conversation. Two short caws is asking if there’s danger. A long caw means safety. And three short caws in a row means immediate danger. So the reply of the two short caws signifies who the sentry is replying to and the one long caw is the reply of safety. As I continue to observe the king crow he takes wing and glides down to the ground. He hops around a little and discovers an open bag of chips left behind by one of the humans. Cautiously he inspects the bag and with a single thrust of his powerful beak he opens it up completely revealing the bounty within. He purrs a few times and one by one the rest of his clan joins him for the feast. All except for the bodyguards who maintain their watch in treetops above. As his clan finishes the meal the king crow pulls a portion aside and with a few purrs he announces the end of the feast and returns to his perch along with the others. A few of the clan members land on branches near the bodyguards and allow them to have the portion set aside for them by the king.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “The Crow King” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sell contact information. EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

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Solitude And Focus

There are times when a person just needs a little solitude. When the world around you is full of flashing signs and blaring music and distractions of every kind. We all have those moments when the mental clutter just needs to be pushed back and space needs to be given for focusing on one thing at a time. We need to just let our minds drift for a little while like a bird on the lake. He’s not trapped in the water. He can leave at time of his choosing. He can paddle around and go to any part of the water or land that he wants. He’s not overtaken by winds or currents but instead he rides them. He works in harmony with creation and achieves what is needed. And he rests when it’s time. He is at peace with his environment as God intended. Solitude isn’t really about being antisocial or introverted. It’s about focus. It’s intended to be a limited time for mental and emotional recharge. We exercise our bodies to grow stronger and have more endurance but any successful athletes will tell you that it’s during the resting cycle that the strength manifests. Our minds and spirits are the same way. We need a resting state to fully benefit from the stimulation we experience in daily life.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook

Ring this bell for Facebook

Recently, I’ve been made aware that many of my posts on Facebook are being buried in the feed. So, if you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of theWelcome Page

Visit My Website

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Quiet Contemplation” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sale contact information.EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.

The Dirty Birdie

For whatever reason Kanawha Falls is popular with one of the most under appreciated birds in North America. The Turkey Vulture. Also known as the Buzzard they can be seen soaring high over the mountains just minding their own business or patrolling the highways and railways looking for road kill. They’re generally non-aggressive and will quickly fly off when approached. Perhaps they’re aware of their reputation. I wonder how many times he’s been called a “Dirty Bird” to his face and shooed away. That’s bound to take a toll on one’s self image no matter how high you can fly.

Science says that he holds out his wings like this so he can get warmed by the morning sun but after thinking about what his life must be like I think he just wants a hug.

It’s a lonely world out there for someone who doesn’t seem to fit in. While on one hand it’s necessary to be on guard and protect yourself it’s just as important to not judge a person by their circumstances or their looks. Be kind to those who cross your path.

The Sacrifice Of A Friend

I have a fondness for the Corvus family. Today the crow and raven are associated with darkness and death but I want to share a different perspective.

The Leni Lenape tell the story of the Rainbow Crow. I have not been told the story from any tribal elders etc. In fact, I only learned the legend with the invention of the internet. So with no further ado here is story as I understand it…

The sun seem to sleep a lot over the past few years. The days were dim and short and the night was long, cold and dark. As the chieftain walked through the village the sadness of his people rested on his spirit like a heavy stone. He had tried everything. All of wisdom of his grandfathers, all of the prayers in his lodge and long lonely nights in forest seeking a vision that would tell him what to do. He couldn’t even sit at the council for the crying of the hungry children. He paused for a moment beneath a large spruce tree and began to sob. Then, he heard a rustling is the branches above. It was his friend the crow of many colors that had come to check on him. The crow was magnificent with feathers that shimmered with every hue in the rainbow. He loved the people and he loved the chieftain. The crow tried his best to cheer up his friend by singing in his most beautiful voice. It had always worked in past. The chieftain would smile and forget his troubles for little while. But tonight’s sadness the worst it had ever been. Moving down to a lower branch the crow opened his mouth and once more that beautiful melodic voice came out. “I have never not been able to make you smile my friend. What troubles your soul and how can I be a friend for you?” The chieftain took a breath and began to unload his burdens. He told the rainbow crow of the hungry children and the sickness of the old ones. “If the cold does not end soon my people will fade away forever. ” spoke the chieftain.

The rainbow crow knew in his heart what must be done. He would undertake a journey to the council of the creator and plead on behalf of the people. The journey was long and dangerous. The rainbow crow flew nonstop for many days and nights. When he found the creator he begged for him to end the winter and save the people he loved. The creator agreed and as a token gesture he gave a burning branch to the crow and instructed him to give fire to the people so that they could be warm again. The rainbow crow took the fire in his beak and made the long trip back to the chieftain and his people. He found the chieftain still sulking under the large tree. As he landed, the rainbow crow laid the fire at the chieftain’s feet. In his excitement at finding a way to save the people he tried to speak but the smoke from the fire had destroyed the crow’s beautiful voice and his magnificent feathers were singed black forever.

The chieftain was able to save the people he served as a result of rainbow crow and his sacrifice. So, always after the people would leave food out for the crow and he was always welcomed in the village.

The Sacrifice Of A Friend

I have a fondness for the Corvus family. Today the crow and raven are associated with darkness and death but I want to share a different perspective.

The Leni Lenape tell the story of the Rainbow Crow. I have not been told the story from any tribal elders etc. In fact, I only learned the legend with the invention of the internet. So with no further ado here is story as I understand it…

The sun seem to sleep a lot over the past few years. The days were dim and short and the night was long, cold and dark. As the chieftain walked through the village the sadness of his people rested on his spirit like a heavy stone. He had tried everything. All of wisdom of his grandfathers, all of the prayers in his lodge and long lonely nights in forest seeking a vision that would tell him what to do. He couldn’t even sit at the council for the crying of the hungry children. He paused for a moment beneath a large spruce tree and began to sob. Then, he heard a rustling is the branches above. It was his friend the crow of many colors that had come to check on him. The crow was magnificent with feathers that shimmered with every hue in the rainbow. He loved the people and he loved the chieftain. The crow tried his best to cheer up his friend by singing in his most beautiful voice. It had always worked in past. The chieftain would smile and forget his troubles for little while. But tonight’s sadness the worst it had ever been. Moving down to a lower branch the crow opened his mouth and once more that beautiful melodic voice came out. “I have never not been able to make you smile my friend. What troubles your soul and how can I be a friend for you?” The chieftain took a breath and began to unload his burdens. He told the rainbow crow of the hungry children and the sickness of the old ones. “If the cold does not end soon my people will fade away forever. ” spoke the chieftain.

The rainbow crow knew in his heart what must be done. He would undertake a journey to the council of the creator and plead on behalf of the people. The journey was long and dangerous. The rainbow crow flew nonstop for many days and nights. When he found the creator he begged for him to end the winter and save the people he loved. The creator agreed and as a token gesture he gave a burning branch to the crow and instructed him to give fire to the people so that they could be warm again. The rainbow crow took the fire in his beak and made the long trip back to the chieftain and his people. He found the chieftain still sulking under the large tree. As he landed, the rainbow crow laid the fire at the chieftain’s feet. In his excitement at finding a way to save the people he tried to speak but the smoke from the fire had destroyed the crow’s beautiful voice and his magnificent feathers were singed black forever.

The chieftain was able to save the people he served as a result of rainbow crow and his sacrifice. So, always after the people would leave food out for the crow and he was always welcomed in the village.

The Sacrifice Of A Friend

I have a fondness for the Corvus family. Today the crow and raven are associated with darkness and death but I want to share a different perspective.

The Leni Lenape tell the story of the Rainbow Crow. I have not been told the story from any tribal elders etc. In fact, I only learned the legend with the invention of the internet. So with no further ado here is story as I understand it…

The sun seem to sleep a lot over the past few years. The days were dim and short and the night was long, cold and dark. As the chieftain walked through the village the sadness of his people rested on his spirit like a heavy stone. He had tried everything. All of wisdom of his grandfathers, all of the prayers in his lodge and long lonely nights in forest seeking a vision that would tell him what to do. He couldn’t even sit at the council for the crying of the hungry children. He paused for a moment beneath a large spruce tree and began to sob. Then, he heard a rustling is the branches above. It was his friend the crow of many colors that had come to check on him. The crow was magnificent with feathers that shimmered with every hue in the rainbow. He loved the people and he loved the chieftain. The crow tried his best to cheer up his friend by singing in his most beautiful voice. It had always worked in past. The chieftain would smile and forget his troubles for little while. But tonight’s sadness the worst it had ever been. Moving down to a lower branch the crow opened his mouth and once more that beautiful melodic voice came out. “I have never not been able to make you smile my friend. What troubles your soul and how can I be a friend for you?” The chieftain took a breath and began to unload his burdens. He told the rainbow crow of the hungry children and the sickness of the old ones. “If the cold does not end soon my people will fade away forever. ” spoke the chieftain.

The rainbow crow knew in his heart what must be done. He would undertake a journey to the council of the creator and plead on behalf of the people. The journey was long and dangerous. The rainbow crow flew nonstop for many days and nights. When he found the creator he begged for him to end the winter and save the people he loved. The creator agreed and as a token gesture he gave a burning branch to the crow and instructed him to give fire to the people so that they could be warm again. The rainbow crow took the fire in his beak and made the long trip back to the chieftain and his people. He found the chieftain still sulking under the large tree. As he landed, the rainbow crow laid the fire at the chieftain’s feet. In his excitement at finding a way to save the people he tried to speak but the smoke from the fire had destroyed the crow’s beautiful voice and his magnificent feathers were singed black forever.

The chieftain was able to save the people he served as a result of rainbow crow and his sacrifice. So, always after the people would leave food out for the crow and he was always welcomed in the village.