I awoke yesterday morning to the sound of hundreds of snow geese in the farmer’s fields behind our home. They show up every year to rest and to glean the leftover corn to fill their bellies before moving further north. Ultimately, they will arrive at their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra. I look forward to their annual visit because they’re the only Arctic animal I get so see living here in Pennsylvania and because I’m amazed at the length of the journey they take every year, flying from the Arctic to the southern United States to winter in warm marshes, and then back to the far north every spring. They arrived a month early this year. Most years they show up in the middle of March, but spring arrived early here in Pennsylvania, and I knew that the geese, true harbingers of spring, would not be far behind. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Birds
The Racing Pigeon
I was heading into the house on a summer day in 1999 when I found a pigeon sitting on the stoop in front of the back door. As I approached the back door, the pigeon did not fly off and even when I stood in front of it, it did not move. I sat down on the stoop next to it and was able to pet its head and as I did, I noticed a band on its leg. It was a racing pigeon. Up close, its colors were gorgeous. Not just gray feathers, but emerald green and purple and black adorned its head and chest. I had no idea a pigeon could be so pretty. Continue reading
Hello. Pretty Boy.
A few years after we bought the house we currently live in we dug flower beds. And so it was that I found myself one hot July evening planting 104 day lilies that my friend Bob had given me. He bred the day lilies himself and although I thought them all beautiful, they did not meet his standards. So I was the fortunate recipient of his lovely “mistakes”. It was hot dirty work in ground that was not the best; full of rocks and clay. But I was determined to get all of the flowers Bob had given me planted over the course of the next two days. Continue reading
Whooo goes there?
I had been sound asleep because it was the middle of the night – just after two a.m. – when suddenly, I was wide awake and very confused. I thought I had heard a noise; a very loud noise. But as I lay there with my eyes open, listening, all I heard was the sound of the crickets through the open sliding glass door of my bedroom. But suddenly it came again, WHOOO-WHOOO-WHOOO. It was the loudest owl I have ever heard in my life. Then, way off in the distance, I heard another owl answer it, whooo- whooo- whooo, which caused the loudest owl to grace the planet to respond WHOO-WHOO-WHOO. Seriously, I had never in my life heard an owl that was so loud. At first, I thought it was fascinating, even funny, lying there listening to the two owls converse. But after an hour I didn’t think it was so funny; I couldn’t fall back asleep. Every time I’d start to drift off, I’d be awakened again by the loud WHOOO-WHOOO-WHOOOing of the owl. To try to drown out the noise, I closed the sliding glass door. But I could still hear it so I put the television on and when that didn’t drown out the noise, I put a pillow over my head. Eventually, all got quiet and I fell back asleep. Continue reading
My grandfather, Bop, had several ponds behind his house. As kids, my brother, cousins and I played and fished in the ponds in the summer and ice skated on them in the winter. A variety of wildlife would come and go from the ponds, including deer, beavers and the occasional bear. Continue reading
Listen to the Mockingbird
Every evening, just before dusk, the mockingbird would land on the roof outside of our bedroom window and sing. When he first began showing up, he only sang bird calls. He sang a variety of them, repeating each a few times, always in the same order. After visiting our roof, he would fly to the neighbor’s barn roof and do the same bird songs in the same order before flying off again. Continue reading
When your children are finally old enough to stay home alone after school is both a liberating and terrifying time for parents. Like most parents, my husband and I made sure that both of our children, Kinsey and Aaron, knew what to do in an emergency. Continue reading
I saw a Bald Eagle today
Driving to work this morning I saw a Bald Eagle sitting on a log jam in the Little Swatara Creek a few miles from my home. Continue reading