Mourning Dove on Nest

moon phase Week of 05/07/2006 Barren period. Favorable time for taking short vacation.

The wet green landscape is beginning to look lush as a rainforest, and this morning's light rain put me in a laidback mood. I rested my elbows on the windowsill and gazed through my binoculars at the birdfeeder in the backyard. I couldn't take my eyes off the 6 brilliant red Cardinals eating sunflower seeds. The new green foliage in the background made them seem even brighter than usual. The moment was even more special when the Cardinals were joined by three male Rose-breasted grosbeaks. These birds are among the showiest when it comes to spring plumage—a black coat, beautiful rose-colored vest and bright white underside. The grosbeaks just returned this morning and appear to be enjoying the sunflower seeds as much as I am enjoying watching them.

Mourning Dove on Nest

I always find myself in a relaxed mood on rainy spring days, and it's a good time to take up my pen for a virtual walk down nature's trail. There's so much to write about this time of year, and sometimes I have to give a lot of thought about where to start! I remember the white frost a few mornings ago, and how mama Mourning dove was fluffed up over her small, white eggs. Her flimsy nest of sticks doesn't look like it could even hold her weight, but I'm sure that she knew what she was doing when she built it. I remember stopping along the roadside on a sunny day to assist a large Blanding's turtle across the road. He was just big enough to be called a "two-handed turtle," and I turned him over to see his yellow bottomside and throat. An indentation on the underside shell indicated the turtle was a male; the indent helps the shell balance for mating. These Blanding's turtles have become a rare sight in the past ten years, and it's always nice to see one.

Spring seems to be ahead of itself by nearly two weeks, and leaf-out has already started. Right on time, though, are the little gray Morel mushrooms. There isn't a dead elm in the Kickapoo Valley that someone doesn't walk around searching for these little delicacies from nature. I can never decide which is more fun—finding them, or eating them.

My reveries of frying Morels in a pan of sweet, fresh Organic Valley butter are suddenly interrupted by a loud thud at a window. I knew what that sound meant, and I rushed outside to find a lovely female Cardinal laying on her back on the ground under the window. She was stunned from the impact, and in this cool and rainy weather, she may go into shock if she gets a chill. She was breathing hard but didn't move when I scooped her up in my hand and placed her inside my shirt to keep her warm and still. I went back to my desk to write with the stunned bird under my shirt, hoping to eventually feel her fluttering against me to let me know she's ok. It took about ten minutes for this to happen, and when it did I quickly took her outside to let her go on her merry way. I have done the same thing over the years with many birds who have met a window head-on. Nine out of ten times, they survive with a little T.L.C.

Naturally yours,

Dan Hazlett

All art ©2013 Organic Valley

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