Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Autumn views

By BonnieBlueFlag

The days are still golden and the squirrels continue to warm themselves in the sun, as they lie about on any handy tree limb or fence rail. But, as you look closer, the sure signs of a change in season are all around you.

The hummingbird feeders are quiet now. Just a few days ago, a constant whirring sound could be heard as each one sought to protect his or her treasure trove of nectar. All summer these wonderful little creatures performed endless aerial ballets from flower, to feeder, to their tiny nests tucked away in a nearby tree.

They are gone now, winging their way to Central America for the winter. The hummingbirds will make another long dangerous journey next spring, when many of them will return to the same feeders they used last summer.

Delicate flowers that have been carefully tended for many months are beginning to look faded and spent. The proverbial last rose of summer is just now blooming.
Wild tom turkeys and hens are coming back together again, now that the chicks are plump and thriving and well on their way.
Turkeys can fly when necessary, but they prefer to run when startled. If they must take flight, they are not as graceful as other birds, and they make a tremendous racket as they land on the branches of the trees.

Next spring the toms will show all the grace of a beautiful sleek swan, when they strut and display all of their gorgeous iridescent feathers. As the toms compete with one another, they will appear to float over the ground as they court the hens.

Then is when you realize why Ben Franklin thought the wild turkey should be our national bird.

The whitetail fawns no longer have their spots. While the does and the bucks have changed their coats from a soft sable tan to a dull gray brown, that will blend in perfectly with the trees in the forest all winter long.

The bucks are still in a bachelor group, but they have almost completely rubbed the velvet from their antlers, and there is an occasional sparring match. They will begin to strike out on their own in a few days for the mating season.

Canada geese will soon fill the sky as they begin to move about now that this year's goslings are big enough to travel. They will frequently stop off here on their way to the open waters of the Mississippi River close by.

Any morning now, we will awaken to an early frost that will be quickly chased away by the first rays of sunlight. That will be the cue for the autumn leaves to begin their brilliant display of red and gold leaves.

All around us there are wonders and beauty waiting for us to take notice. Fleeting moments of nature that can lift our spirits and lighten our burdens.

A simple bird feeder near a window can offer so much joy. The amazement of watching such a small living thing. The excitement of seeing a new bird nibbling away. The feelings that you get by tending to God's little creatures, especially after the snow blankets their other sources of food.

If you are so inclined, one feeder will lead to two as you discover the favorite seeds and berries of the birds that live near you.

From these small beginnings you will begin to feel a part of nature, and before long you will notice that as you watch the antics of the birds, your own heart and soul will be revived.


At 8:11 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Imagine those little hummingbirds commuting such an enormous distance!! It just boggles the mind - and then finding their way back home. Lucky we still have the overwintering birds to keep us company.

At 9:43 PM, Blogger BonnieBlueFlag said...

Black oil sunflower is the favorite of most seed-eating birds. The black oil sunflower shell is easily cracked open, even by birds with small beaks. Because of its high oil and fat content, black oil sunflower seed provides birds almost instant energy. The striped sunflower seeds have a harder hull and are more difficult for the small birds to open. You can use either a platform feeder or a seed tube feeder.

Some of the birds that like the black oil sunflower are Cardinals, Cickadees, Finches, Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Mourning Doves and Carolina Wrens.

In the spring the male and female cardinals will share seeds and it will almost look like they are kissing.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Pindar said...

While reading this beautiful essay on autumn, I felt that BonnieBlueFlag was personally guiding me about, telling me things about squirrels and turkeys and deer that I didn't know or hadn't noticed before (I didn't know that hummingbirds migrate!) Now I know what to put outside my window, a bird feeder that I can watch while pondering on the lessons learned today on our walk together.


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