an everyday photo, every day | photography • art • poetry

Posts tagged “backyard birds

Feeding the Kids

Mother house sparrow feeding her two babies.
Mother house sparrow feeding her two babies.

Mother house sparrow feeding her two babies.

I was alerted by the loud and desperate cheeping that there was a feeding event about to happen. This female hosue sparrow was being hounded by her two children and hopped from the feeder to this spot on the branch. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to get this photo without the bird feeder in it–and a little clearer–but I’m glad I got this photo. Then she left to find other food and the two babies, as big as her, stayed exactly where she told them to stay while she was away.

The two baby sparrows wait for their mother to return.

The two baby sparrows wait for their mother to return.

“Will you feed me?”

"Will you feed me?"

“Will you feed me?”

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Date Night for the Goldfinches

Date Night for the Goldfinches

Date Night for the Goldfinches

After a long day of nest building, socializing and flying around just being darned cute, Mr. and Mrs. Goldfinch enjoy an intimate dinner and light conversation at The Thistle Sack. Children will come later in the season and they’ll be much too busy then.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Well Camouflaged

Well Camouflaged
Well Camouflaged

Well Camouflaged

A goldfinch landed just for a moment in the river birch as the sun shone through all the new leaves on everything. The photo is taken through a double pane window at an angle into the sun, I’m shocked I could focus at all and glad I caught this little guy.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song
Sing Your Song

Sing Your Song

The wren may be the size of your thumb but she fills the morning.

I have been trying to get this photo for years, the wren standing up with her head thrown back and her mouth open, especially in the morning light. They flit around so fast and I’m often photographing through my window so I can’t follow their flight. But I heard a sudden burst of wren song and looked out to see this little one on the deck railing. I focused and caught one-two-three photos as she hopped a step or two between each verse and looked to see…that I had forgotten to change the filter on my camera from incandescent to average balance, so the three photos were tinted very blue. I can remove that, but I also noticed that the plastic bag I’d used to line a hanging basket on the edge of the deck railing (the cocoa shell liner is seen at the right edge) had been pulled up by either one of the squirrels or one of the birds, and it just wasn’t something I wanted in this lovely photo. I had one more chance before she hopped behind the post and flew off, and this was that one chance.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Wishful Thinking

Violets in spring grass.
Violets in spring grass.

Violets in spring grass.

“Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.”

~Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada as translated by Eknath Easwaran

I’ve never been one to be dissatisfied with the season at hand. What’s the point? I’ll put my energies to more productive activities, or like Moses napping below, taken in March 2004, I’ll just enjoy what is for what it has to offer and learn from that.

Moses napping on the sun-warmed boards of the deck.

Moses napping on the sun-warmed boards of the deck.

But I will admit near the end of a season I am decidedly looking forward to the change to the next one. I have always enjoyed the changing of the seasons. I am intensely visual and even indoors I become visually bored with colors and patterns so I thank nature for providing me with a reason to wear different clothes, participate in different activities and see things in both a real and virtual different light. I also then have a marker for memories by the season, or the weather, or what I was wearing, and many other details gathered and stored by my senses. And just as I have a way to perceive the past, I have a way to shape the future with the same means.

Contact print from March 2004 photos.

Contact print from March 2004 photos.

I’ve been following the seasons in my ongoing quest to work through three decades of photos on film to determine which ones to add to my collections, and with no small amount of wishful thinking this particular year I am anticipating spring, and in my photo collections I’ve come around to the sudden burst of colors I’ll soon see blooming in my yard. On just about each roll of 36 exposures there is at least one study of one of my cats, maybe just one photo of a special moment that marks it in time for me.

Cookie at the top of the stairs in spring sun.

Cookie at the top of the stairs in spring sun.

No doubt I appreciate now more fully what I see, be it clear or blurry, artsy or simply functional, than I did when first saw the contact prints and sorted through the prints themselves. At that time I was looking for what I saw when I took the photo, and often the image didn’t look at all like what I’d “seen”, what I’d “envisioned” when I set all the settings and hit the shutter. I often met with disappointment but just as often surprise as I discovered something I hadn’t planned that I thought was far better than what I had planned. Sometimes I took field notes on the mechanics of each shot, but usually not and I had to guess how to recreate the effect based on what I remembered, but so I learned through the years, reading, studying, and experimenting with lots of photos.

Native wild columbines, trying to capture their buoyant blooming habit.

Native wild columbines, trying to capture their buoyant blooming habit.

But now I have more years of experience at both taking photos and looking at them. As I would expect, my assessment has changed, evolved, as I have learned, seen, experienced, sharpened my vision and softened my expectations, both in photography and in life. Now when I look at these photos I see more clearly what is actually there, and less what I then thought could, should or would be there.

Namir studying me through the lace curtain; look for the ear.

Namir studying me through the lace curtain; look for the ear.

It’s perfectly fine that I’ve gone through this process, that I saw things as I did when I was younger and less knowledgeable but see things as I do now through a lens more clearly focused by experience. We roll around and squall before we crawl and babble, and there to toddling and talking. Learning and change is part of life. In the same way I have learned more and yet more about caring for my cats, and myself, and my garden, and new skills and preferences that didn’t even exist when I first set out on this journey.

Contact print from April 2004 photos.

Contact print from April 2004 photos.

And as I can look through that lens filtered with my collected experiences and see what is there, I can relive the memories gathered therein, remember the heat of Moses’s fur after she’d been absorbing the sun on the deck and how deeply I loved her in that moment of trust for a formerly feral cat, or exactly what Cookie’s face looked like fearing I might actually forget, and how she always made me smile inside and out, and she knew it too, Namir studying me through the lace curtain metaphorically hiding his feelings, and those spring mornings in my yard with each of them, hearing birds whistle, finding new flowers each day, finding new ways to capture, interpret and express all of it. I can also look through it for what could be there with new ideals and aspirations modifying my view, anticipating changes to make to achieve new effects or conclusions, trying a new technique or further perfecting one I’ve been learning, determining what materials I need to achieve my goal.

Our life is shaped by our mind, for we become what we think.”

Wishful thinking has never been a bad thing. I’m looking forward to a new spring of cats and flowers so that I can perceive and interpret these things with yet one more year of experience to filter my abilities and my creative endeavors.

A cardinal seen between the porch pillar and a tree.

A cardinal seen between the porch pillar and a tree.

I originally posted this essay on The Creative Cat.

For more feline photos, visit The Creative Cat.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

 


Make it Stop

Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

Tufted Titmouse

This is a little tufted titmouse I photographed over the weekend when it was snowing and icy…again. The little guy got his wish! Today was in the 40s, and it’s getting warmer.

Photographed through my window.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Cardinal Fun

"Now I've got to watch the kids!"
"Now I've got to watch the kids!"

“So what do you think of the service at this feeder?”

Female cardinals are truly unique in the avian world. Unlike most other female songbirds, female cardinals sing, and sometimes a longer and more complex song than their mates, and they converse as well while she sits on the nest. Though they may seem drab in comparison to their brilliant scarlet mates, she guards the nest while the males distract predators away from the nest. You’ll often see the male and female perching together, and they engage in mate feeding especially in spring but also through the year. For birds they really seem to be equal in their division of duties.

Among animal symbols cardinals tell us to be individuals, sing our song, be proud of ourselves and graciously accept praise and rewards, something to remember on this International Women’s Day.

They are also characters at the feeder, as this female cardinal inspired some captions to the photos I took of her yesterday morning.

"Okay, who's going to get that peanut?"

“Okay, who’s going to get that peanut?”

"Who invited you?!"

“Who invited you?!”

Having lunch with friends.

Having lunch with friends.

"What's up with her?"

“What’s up with her?”

"Now I've got to watch the kids!"

“Now I’ve got to watch the kids!”

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Breakfast!

Just the three sparrows.
Just the three sparrows.

Just the three sparrows.

sparrows in snowy bush

Breakfast!

The sparrows fill the forsythia, twittering until I fill the feeder on the deck and go back inside, though plenty of times they’ve “jumped the gun” and nearly landed on me in their excitement to eat. I managed to get this shot when I get back in the door and took a group photo of them waiting in the forsythia, and managed to catch three of them taking flight.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


It’s A Bird Bath, Not…

three doves on birdbath
three doves on birdbath

Buttwarmer

…a Buttwarmer! I put hot water in the bird’s winter water bowls each morning, and some birds use it for other purposes than drinking and bathing. The birds were very amusing today, almost as if one more snowfall made them as crazy as the rest of us.

Another dove came up to the three warming their butts and asked to use the facilities.

four doves

Do you suppose I can fit in there?

Guess not!

four doves

Guess not!

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Making Tracks

Making Tracks
Making Tracks

Making Tracks

That’s quite the busy throughway for bunnies and deer and birds and cats and possible even the raccoon I saw just the other night. All animal tracks, not one human track, out in the back yard (with a little more magic in this photo too).

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Valentine’s Day, a Photo and Poem

two cardinals
two cardinals

Two cardinals on Valentine’s Day.

What bird matches the colors of Valentine’s Day more than the Northern Cardinal, especially that bright red male cardinal? The female is a browner shade and it might seem unfair that the male gets to be so showy while she is somewhat drab, but the female sits on the eggs while the male flies around as a distraction to predators, literally risking his life to make sure his lady and the next generation are safe.

On several occasions each spring I see a male cardinal run off to the feeder to get a sunflower seed and bring it back to his lady, offering it with a bow. One of these occasions happened to be Valentine’s Day a few years ago. Honestly, I’m not anthropomorphizing (interpreting animal activity by human traits), because I later read in an article about birds that this is a ritual that cardinal couples undertake during courting.

All birds are pairing off already, as these couples of cardinals demonstrate. This usually begins soon after February 2, that magic day when winter changes over to spring and all the creatures feel the stirring of the cycle, including the groundhog. The young cardinals have been showing off with spectacular aeronautics through the trees and all over the backyard, which is lower than my house so I get to see them flying right past the windows and from the top with the sun shining full on their feathers.

two cardinals

Valentine’s Day Breakfast for the Lovers

On the morning above the male cardinal let the female eat first after what seemed some courteous encouragement on his part, then before I could photograph all birds disappeared as the Cooper’s Hawk landed in the maple tree. So much for the annual Valentine’s Day cardinal photo. The photo above is from 2012; I let PhotoShop combine the two photos I had taken of the cardinals because I couldn’t fit them into one shot. I’m not sure what it did with the missing tree branches, but at least the cardinals are positioned as they were, the male carefully considering which seed he would pull from the seed block in the feeder, his Valentine’s Day date eagerly awaiting above.

Perhaps the two below are on a honeymoon since this was taken in summer.

two cardinals feeding each other

The Kissing Cardinals

I wrote a poem about it after reading the explanation. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day

He doesn’t have to give this gift to her
and she doesn’t have to receive it
as she could easily feed herself
but she perches on a branch
while he flies to the feeder
grasps a sunflower seed
and flies back to perch next to her;
they tilt their heads as if to kiss
as she accepts this seed of his love,
the bright red cardinal’s first act of courtship
to his dark red mate
on Valentine’s Day.

“Valentine’s Day” © 2008 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I read this poem as part of my 2008 annual poetry reading and art exhibit, “Winter Twilight”.

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked, or read about it immediately below.

For more information about these wonderful birds, start here and here, and to read about their habit of “mate feeding” read here.

My Backyard Wildlife Habitat is filled with color in winter and summer and cardinals nest in my 70-foot spruce every summer—to see more photos of Northern Cardinals here on my photo blog Today, click here, and read about the annual Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend.


poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two
poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.

. . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


‘Tis A Puzzlement

female cardinal in tree
female cardinal in tree

‘Tis A Puzzlement

Cardinals can be such intellectuals.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Bright Spot in a Dark Day

male northern cardinal
male northern cardinal

Bright color

It was so dark today that even this male Northern Cardinal’s brilliant feathers were dulled down instead of his typical flaming red. He’s tucked into the bare branches inside the spruce while ice pellets are falling, not a nice weather for anyone out there.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Cardinal Camouflage II

female cardinal on branch
female cardinal on branch

Cardinal Camouflage II

Female cardinals need camouflage too, and this lady has chosen a suitable backdrop of dry river birch leaves and just a few from the burning bush, which is still burning at the moment. The male cardinal modeled his backdrop just the other day.

But just so you can see the photo I really wanted, here is the slightly blurry one of the cardinal in the posture I most associate with cardinals, but the wind gusted just a bit and my camera lost its focus point.

female cardinal on branch

Darn, why did the wind have to gust at just that moment?

I’ll be photographing out this window all day if the cardinals visit this feeder all winter. They actually have several nests in the very tall Norway spruce that’s about ten feet from the window, with the feeder just in front at the foot of it. We may be seeing cardinal photos all winter!

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Cardinal Camouflage

Cardinal Camouflage
Cardinal Camouflage

Cardinal Camouflage

A bright male cardinal is still camouflaged against the fallen leaves, but not for long.

Very little snow here, and none in their favorite feeding space surrounded by the spruce, river birch, azalea and burning bushes.

. . . . . . .

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Camouflage

photo of sparrows on branch
photo of sparrows on branch

Camouflaged

There really is a subject, or subjects, to this photo.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.


Moving On

robin egg on pavement
robin egg on pavement

Moving On

The egg has hatched, last year’s leaves are blowing away, spring has brought a new year.

Found this at the end of my driveway. A pair of robins have always settled in the maple tree at the end the driveway and I’m sure that’s where the egg is from. I photographed it in place knowing that if I tried to move it, it would crumble, and so it did.

. . . . . . .

For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms.

All images in this post are copyright © Bernadette E. Kazmarski and may not be used without prior written permission.


Valentine’s Day, a Photo and Poem

two cardinals
two cardinals

Two cardinals on Valentine’s Day.

What bird matches the colors of Valentine’s Day more than the American Cardinal, especially that bright red male cardinal? The female is a browner shade and it might seem unfair that the male gets to be so showy while she is somewhat drab, but the female sits on the eggs while the male flies around as a distraction to predators, literally risking his life to make sure his lady and the next generation are safe.

This morning the male cardinal let the female eat first after what seemed some courteous encouragement on his part, then before I could photograph all birds disappeared as the Cooper’s Hawk landed in the maple tree. So much for the annual Valentine’s Day cardinal photo. The photo above is from 2012; I let PhotoShop combine the two photos I had taken of the cardinals because I couldn’t fit them into one shot. I’m not sure what it did with the missing tree branches, but at least the cardinals are where they should be!

two cardinals

Valentine’s Day Breakfast for the Lovers

All birds are pairing off already, as this couple of cardinals to the right demonstrate. This usually begins soon after February 2, that magic day when winter changes over to spring and all the creatures feel the stirring of the cycle, including the groundhog. The young cardinals have been showing off with spectacular aeronautics through the trees and all over the backyard, which is lower than my house so I get to see them from the top with the sun shining full on their feathers.

On several different occasions in the spring I had seen a male cardinal run off to the feeder to get a sunflower seed and bring it back to his lady, offering it with a bow. One of these occasions happened to be Valentine’s Day a few years ago. Honestly, I’m not anthropomorphizing (interpreting animal activity by human traits), because I later read in an article about birds that this is a ritual that cardinal couples undertake during courting. Perhaps the two below are on a honeymoon since this was taken in summer.

two cardinals feeding each other

The Kissing Cardinals

I wrote a poem about it after reading the explanation. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day

He doesn’t have to give this gift to her
and she doesn’t have to receive it
as she could easily feed herself
but she perches on a branch
while he flies to the feeder
grasps a sunflower seed
and flies back to perch next to her;
they tilt their heads as if to kiss
as she accepts this seed of his love,
the bright red cardinal’s first act of courtship
to his dark red mate
on Valentine’s Day.

“Valentine’s Day” © 2008 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

I read this poem as part of my 2008 annual poetry reading and art exhibit, “Winter Twilight”.

Read more poetry here on Today or visit my poetry page to see more about my poetry and other writing, and to purchase Paths I Have Walked.


poetry book

Paths I Have Walked, collected poems.

I’m proud to offer a folio of my poetry

Paths I Have Walked: the poetry and art of Bernadette E. Kazmarski

FROM FOUR ANNUAL POETRY READINGS AT ANDREW CARNEGIE FREE LIBRARY & MUSIC HALL IN CARNEGIE, PA

People who attended one or more of my poetry readings encouraged me to publish some of my poetry in a book from the beginning.

Once I completed my 2010 poetry reading, my fourth featuring the final piece of artwork in the “Art of the Watershed” series, I decided it was time to publish something and it should be those four poetry readings.

Poetry books are not best-sellers; it’s difficult to convince a publisher to risk effort on a beginning poet, and while self-publishing is the best option it’s not inexpensive and once you’ve got the book, someone’s got to market it. Plus, I’m a graphic designer and I designed books for years, and I want things my way.

All of this is a recipe for a little bit of trouble, but I decided the book was well worth the effort so I designed the book myself and had a set printed—no ISBN or anything formal, but it’s a start! I’m really excited to offer it.

Books are 4.25″ x 11″, 40 pages of information and poetry, with glossy covers featuring “Dusk in the Woods” and little thumbnails of all four pieces in “Art of the Watershed”.

$8.00 each plus $2.50 shipping (they are oversized for mailing first class).

You can order one on my poetry page, or in my Marketplace.

About the books and the poetry readings

My biggest inspiration for poetry, prose and artwork is the world right around me, and I enjoy the opportunity to share it from the perspective of one who walks and hikes and bikes and carries a camera, art materials and journal everywhere—even around the house—so the inspirations are fresh.

In December, 2006, two of my poems were chosen to be published on a section of the Prairie Home Companion website entitled “Stories From Home/First Person” for submissions of writing about the place we feel most familiar. I’m a long-time listener to PHC and reader of Garrison Keillor’s books as well as a daily listener to The Writer’s Almanac featuring news about writers and writing and of interest to writers as well as a poem, all compiled and read by Keillor himself. I was astonished to find my poems were among the first chosen from apparently thousands, and so happy to be able to share them with a potential audience of so many similarly inclined writers and readers.

My poetry readings and art exhibits were the vision of Maggie Forbes, executive director of the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, after learning of my publishing of those two
poems. I owe her many thanks for encouraging me to present this combination of my visual and literary art, a first for me. I love that building, every inch of it, and the opportunity to bring people in to visit is an honor.


Miss, Could We Have Some Water?

dove on chair
dove on chair

Miss…

The way we used to address “waitresses”…Sometimes that’s what the birds seem like as they flap or chirp or have a sit-in to let me know they are out of something out there. The feeders are fine, but this dove wants something. As it turns out, I forgot to fill their small water bath which I keep on the corner of the deck, visible on the left edge of the photo covered in snow, along with another dove’s tail feathers. I filled, they had a dove party.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Birds in Air

two sparrows
two sparrows

Birds in Air

I was happy for a sunny morning too!

The light was just right to be able to catch the birds with a fast shutter speed, so for once I could capture the details of their activity. Some of them look as if they are suspended in air! I absently took photos hoping for the best. The photo above was cropped out of a larger one because these two look as if they are celebrating—although, knowing sparrows, they are probably bickering.

The two photos below show the sparrows taking over the birdbath from the cardinal, and just the press of birds in and around the feeder. It’s like watching waves as they fly in and out, and they have such energy.

sparrows at bird feeder.

With the cardinal.

sparrows at feeder

Lots of sparrows.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Mockingbird

mockingbird
mockingbird

Mockingbird

A new visitor at the water bowl on the deck today—a Northern Mockingbird.

The temperature fell below zero overnight and this morning when I stepped out to fill the feeders and the water bowl all the birds were very glad to see me. On days when the temperature is below freezing, I heat water to refill this water bowl so that it warms up the bowl itself and the wooden shelf on the deck railing and stays fluid longer before freezing. Often the birds will simply gather around it for warmth as a few doves did earlier. I watched the flutterings of mourning doves, cardinals, blue jays, titmice, sparrows, finches and others, then along came the mockingbird. This bird lives in the maple in the front of the house eating the berries on the English ivy that grows on the tree, and this is the first time I’ve seen it at the watering hole.

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.


Bird Jokes

sparrows in bird bath
sparrows in bird bath

Bird Bath

Harvey waited until the big bad bully house sparrows had surrounded him and then took action.

“Now I have the sauna all to myself,” he says. I add warm water to the bird baths in winter so it takes longer before it freezes, so Harvey the little song sparrow truly had a treat—a hot bath!

sparrow in birdbath

Bird Sauna

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For a print of any photo, visit “purchasing” for availability and terms. For photos of lots of black cats and other cats—and even some birds as I first published this post there—visit The Creative Cat.

 


Full of Sparrows

sparrows in spruce
sparrows in spruce

Full of Sparrows

I lost count at about 24 because they moved so much. The spruce boughs, though they are bare, are a really happening place for sparrows waiting in line for the bird feeder.


Northern Flicker

northern flicker
northern flicker

Northern Flicker

Today was flight training day for a juvenile Northern Flicker as his parents, he father seen here, flew from tree to tree and tried to get him to come to them. You can’t miss flickers when they are around, they are as loud as blue jays and when they really rev up their ki ki ki ki call it sounds sounds as if they are loudly giggling.

But the most notable thing about them is every detail of their appearance—they are large woodpeckers, 10 to 12 inches long, and have tan and black striped wings and tan and black polka-dotted chest with a prominent black crescent like a necklace, yellow or red underside their tail and wings, and males have a red crescent on the back of their neck. They frequently feed on the ground and have long beaks that reach for insects in tree bark and in the soil. I am glad to see them because they eat snails and slugs and other garden pests. I’ve been hoping something would come along to help me control those slimy things, and  guess the flicker family thinks they’ve found heaven.

Here is a photo of him calling his progeny…

northern flicker

Northern flicker talking.

And looking to see if he’d shown up.

norther flicker

Hey kid, what part of “come here” don’t you understand?

But when I went back in the house Giuseppe, one of my cats, led me to the window by my computer and pointedly looked out. I thought there might be a hummingbird, but it was actually the juvenile flicker—a male, as you can see by the nascent red crescent on the back of his neck—was sitting quietly in the grapevine garland around the porch. I went outside to take a closer look and see if he was possibly entangled; birds land on this frequently but with his age and inexperience he might not know quite what to do. I spoke to him and reached up to pull the vines apart and he collected himself and off he went to a branch on the lilac near the ground, then hopped into the ground covers and went rustling away underneath the cover. I’m glad he was okay, I want those flickers to feel welcome.

juvenile northern flicker

The juvenile flicker