The Birdies send greetings for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

First, Cathy and Calvin Cardinal flew in to say they are hoping every one will enjoy taking time out to think about loved ones in this Christmas season. They are grateful to have beautiful feathers to keep them warm and lots of berries and seeds to snack on for the winter. The Cardinals are wishing the same for every one here. May your Christmas be filled with snuggles and snow. May your branches be sturdy and strong to hold you up and give you a nice perch from which to sing. And may the New Year give something to sing about.

Then the Chickadees showed up! Not to be out done by the Cardinals, Cindy and Charley Chickadee came to chatter about all the hopeful blessings they are wishing for every one through Christmas and into New Years. The Chickadees are excited for all the things they have to chatter about and especially loved ones and snow. What could be better than hanging out in the trees with loved ones, watching the snow spread its peaceful white blanket over the forest? The Chickadees are hoping every one will have lots of beautiful things to chatter about in the coming year.

Henry and Harriet Hummingbird send their best from the Florida Keys. They have never understood what all the fuss is about with stockings hanging from the mantle over the fireplace. Henry, Harriet and all the little Hummers hang their stockings from the branches of a poinciana tree. They insist that Santa can easily fly his sleigh right to the top of the tree and slide down the trunk to where the stockings were so carefully hung among the beautiful flowers of bright orange and red. The Hummer family is wishing every one plenty of bright sunshiny days with lots of sweet smelling flowers in the coming year.

Finally, Billy and Betty Bluebird are just happy to see Christmas arrive. They are hoping the same for every one else. Billy and Betty have decided that they will not be singing the blues this Christmas or for the coming New Year. They will be singing a love song to each and every one filled with joy, hope and happiness. In the Bluebird house for 2021, they have decided to start each day in the New Year with a song of happy hearts. Billy and Betty are wishing every one will have days filled with plenty of rain to bring out an abundance of juicy worms to be plucked up and fed to lots of little mouths.

So from the Cardinals, Chickadees, Hummingbirds and Bluebirds, we wish every one a hope-filled Christmas with lots of joy for the coming New Year.

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbills are quite beautiful until you get a close up look at the bald head and long flat bill.

Driving through the St Marks Wildlife Refuge in Florida, my eye was caught by a group of pink birds standing still in the marsh water. I had never seen pink birds before outside of flamingos in the zoo. At first I thought they might be flamingos until I stopped the car and got a good look through the camera lens. A friend had painted a painting of a one with its head turned completely around and resting on its back. That’s where I first heard of Roseate Spoonbills. There were so intriguingly beautiful until you get a good look at the unfortunately ugly spoonbill.

Maybe that ugly snoot is what made this spoonbill bury his head underwater. Can’t blame him. All About Birds says “The flamboyant Roseate Spoonbill looks like it came straight out of a Dr. Seuss book with its bright pink feathers, red eye staring out from a partly bald head, and giant spoon-shaped bill.” Audubon describes the spoonbill as “Gorgeous at a distance and bizarre up close.” Both of these descriptions are very accurate and maybe that explains my immediate fascination with these unusual birds. For a couple of weeks, I drove through St. Marks checking up on the flock of spoonbills. They moved around through out the Refuge for those two weeks. Every time I saw them they were in a new location sometimes with just their flock and sometimes with other wading birds.

The first day I saw the spoonbills, they were standing very quietly in the late afternoon. Not moving, just standing. In a post on her blog, Audrey Oxenhorn describes the spoonbill as a reminder of the “importance of being weary.” In this photo, the spoonbills certainly looked weary as they stood unmoving in the still water. Another blog, Auntyflo, says that spoonbills like silence and they are a reminder of how silence can be the best form of communication. These birds certainly looked like they were enjoying silence but how do you really know? Do Spoonbills talk? They were standing in a marsh with no wind or waves, no trees or grass. not interacting with each other. Some were grooming themselves otherwise they were unmoving. Maybe they do like silence.

Whether Roseate Spoonbills like silence maybe a little hard to prove but they definitely have a Dr. Suess like bizarre look. The spoonbill’s beautiful pink color keeps them fascinating despite the strange bald head and long spoon shaped bill. I looked for them every day for about two weeks. They never failed to fascinate. One day I watched one walking through the waterway swinging the that bill back and forth through the water very methodically. I couldn’t tell what if anything her was catching but it must have been something. He looked quite content as he moved on down through the water.

One day I went looking for the spoonbills and couldn’t find them. They were gone. Moved on to someplace more quiet apparently. I was sad at the loss of my game of spotting the flash of pink lurking in the marsh or behind the tall grass. I wasn’t happy with the first painting, so maybe its time for another go at a spoonbill painting. I’ll try the silence thing while painting to “communicate” with them. That could help the painting process. Worth a try!

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