Love, Weekend Wonder

The True Story of a Common Grackle

Weekend Wonder

My daughter and I were spending the afternoon together, a little bit of me time and a little bit of her time. Our day included coffee and doughnut treats, antique shops and thrift stores, and volunteering together at the cat rescue (this one in particular for my little animal lover’s soul).

We were just walking back to the car when we both saw the little black bird in the median. It was pecking at a wrapper on the ground next to my car door.

“Mom, is the bird trying to open that?”

I unlocked the car and we walked closer. The little black bird hopped back a bit to wait for us to go about our day so he could go about trying to open the little cellophane wrapper on the ground. I looked down and saw it was fortune cookie.

“Mom, we should help! Can we open it for him?”

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I bent down and picked up the fortune cookie, opened the little bag, crushed up the cookie and spread it on the ground for our new little friend. And then I saw the thin slip of paper lying there. Of course, it’s a fortune cookie. I reached down to read the little bird’s fortune,

“God looks after you in a special way.”

Amazing isn’t it?

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I’m writing a bird book and this little fortune is a gift from God. A gift to me and my beautiful girl. One I just had to share!

On the back of the book I’m writing I’ve included a verse;

Look at the birds of the air. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns. But your heavenly father feeds the birds. And you know that you are worth much more than birds.  ~Matthew 6:26

Whenever I read this verse it reminds me of my Grandma Annie in Michigan. She has always cared for the birds around her home. When I was young and would come for a visit, she would fill up the bird feeders with seed and the bird bath with fresh water. We would go inside and watch from her dining room window.

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After I was married I visited her with my own children. She drove her great-grandson down to the market with her to get more seed for the feeders and even some corn cobs for the squirrels. We filled the feeders together and watched the colorful birds enjoy their meal.

God cares for the birds by bringing the worms up from the ground after a rain, or through a grandma who puts out fresh seeds and water, even in a winter-frozen Michigan backyard, or through the heart of a little girl who notices a common grackle trying open the wrapper of a fortune cookie.

Yes, God looks after the birds in a special way. Even little birds who are called common.

Always remember, God cares for you even more than that!

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Birds

Waiting For Cardinal

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I’m working on a project. It’s the beginning of what I hope will become a new book with a little cardinal friend.

Last May the kids and I bought a bird feeder for Grandma’s house. To our surprise the first guests to her feeder were cardinals (and of course squirrels).

I bring my camera when ever we visit, but I haven’t been able to get a shot.

This week I tried again. My sweet boy built me an impromptu bird blind. I love his creativity. The cardinals and I both knew I wasn’t very camouflaged, but they seemed to not mind me and my camera as much with palm branches over head.

I sat patiently, hunched up by the palm and up against the Bougainvillea while avoiding the thorny branches. I sat with the ants and lizards, between the clouds that threatened rain all day, and the ground crew that came by with riding lawn mowers and deafening weed-whackers just as the birds appeared and then quickly disappeared.

I made friends with a kitten and talked to the mourning doves.

And waited…

and then I finally got my photo!

This is the first time I’ve tried to camouflage myself. I’m used to the more social pelicans and seagulls who don’t mind an audience. I’m pretty happy with the results.

With the cardinals moving about so quickly in between the thick brush I decided to hand hold my camera instead of my using my bulky tripod.

What tricks do you have for getting tough nature photos?

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Birds

The Burrowing Owls

I have a book in my mind and in that book is an owl. I don’t know a lot about owls, so I’ve started reading a little about them. One thing I learned that surprised me is that many owls don’t make the “Hoo-Hoo” sound that I’ve always imagined and read aloud in books with my kids. I’ve wondered which type of owl I would photograph for my own book and where I would find one? Like many photographs I see in my mind, I imagine traveling to remote and stunning places to get the shots.

But there they were at the park. They were camouflaged in plain sight. Two beautiful burrowing owls sitting guard by their nest in a little drainage ditch. Right beside the basketball court and across from the playground. We were ready to go and I didn’t see them until I started to back my car up. I pulled back into my spot and grabbed my camera. I was quiet and careful as I approached, thankful I had my long lens. The owls watched me cautiously, but I made sure not to get too close. I don’t know if those little burrowing owls with those beautiful yellow eyes will make it into my book or not, but I love that we found them there in that least expected spot. I’ll have to take the kids back on a quiet morning when we can sit at a distance and watch together, me with my camera and my kids with their binoculars.