Thursday, February 21, 2008

Nature Notes (and Language Notes)

Richard noted today that Dark-eyed Juncos are greater in number. Seemingly, early migration is underway. They have been wintering farther south from us and will nest into Canada.

Backyard trees are full of Goldfinches, Blue Jays, Purple Finches and Cardinals, plus a few others: Black-capped Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Tree Sparrows, and an occasional Sharp-shinned Hawk also looking for lunch. We have not seen a decrease in Goldfinches yet. Few other migrants seem to be around, although Richard did see 2 Red-winged Blackbirds this morning. One was an young adult male just growing in adult colors.They looked out of place in the cold and snow.

Northern Harriers continue to grace us with their butterfly flight as they search the fields for something to munch on. A Krider's Red-tailed Hawk (which was very light in color) has been replaced by a melanistic Red-tailed Hawk (which is dark).

Considering the flurry of birds in our backyard and occasional events which spook them, we sometimes have a bird which hits the back window. Whenever we hear that thump at the window (very often associated with the Sharp-shinned Hawk), we head immediately out. This morning, Richard saved a Tree Sparrow, giving the little feathered-one a gentle heart massage and body massage, at which point s/he took off. Other times, we put the bird into a large brown grocery bag which we close to take away the light. In those cases, the bird, which is often just stunned, will wake up and be ready to head back outside. At that point, we release them back to their home in the wild.

Deer are seemingly very hungry right now. They also are in small herds, grouping up wherever they find food. As the spring goes on, the pregnant females will be giving birth to Fawns and seeking greater isolation.


Afterward: We have been spending some time musing over the term "dropping Fawns" or "dropping Calves", which has been Richard and my first choice in words. Until now. Melanie stopped us in our tracks. She said it somehow sounded like the Deer or Cow was dropping a piece of paper.

So where does this language come from? Richard thinks it may be a patriarchal term. It is a term without pain, feeling, or mess. Let's disconnect (or dismiss) from those things. Melanie could not imagine the Deer or the Cow turning around and saying: "Oops, I dropped a kid." But rather, it's giving life. It's a miracle. It's beautiful. That is not the same things as dropping a quarter on the street.

Isn't language fun?

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