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Posted by: atowhee | August 20, 2018

FINCH LACE AND A FATALITY

August 20, 2018

Nature has designing ways.  From the curves of the nautilus inside and out, to the dandelion seed heads to the fine tweed feather patterns on a male Gadwall, nature is both subtle and dazzling at once. Immensity begets intensity.  Think of the zillion stars strewn across a clear, dark sky.  Think of the uncountable grains of sand along a wave-wracked beach, shuffled and reshuffled with each touch of the ocean. There is even beauty in destruction.  Have you not wondered at the colors of dying leaves on a maple in autumn?  Or picked up the bleached bone from some long lying carcass on a meadow, or a unbroken sand dollar on the beach, or the shriveled scaly shed skin of a snake who’s moved on days before?

A small form of destruction is afoot in our garden right now.  Our lone large sunflower plant is giving up its living leaves to the American Goldfinches. And it is not really destruction, it is nature re-purposing the cellulose and carbohydrates and water into bird nutrition. I have come to think of their work as “finch lace:”FLACEFLACE2FLACE3FLACE4Young House Finch:HF KIDIMG_0362We found this feather at Wennerberg Park. It was about five inches in length, bigger than a Wilson’s Warbler, for example.  I suspect it comes from a Cooper’s Hawk:PLUMERed-tail over our garden:RTH CIRCLESAR WITH HFAbove: robin and House Finch turn their backs to the camera.  Below, first Chestnut-backed Chickadee in our garden this year…a youngster with a still-stub tail:CBCH YNGCBCH2A tragic death, window victim.  We use reflectors and hang wind twisting ribbons, but occasionally a small bird will try to fly into the deadly reflection.  We keep bird baths and feeders more than fifteen feet from windows, but still…DEAD AGHighways, transmitter towers, high-rise buildings, windows, housecats outdoors, pesticides…we make the world even more dangerous for our tiny bird-neighbors.

Interested in birding class this fall in McMinnville?  Click here for information.  Check page 23 of the PDF program for Park & Rec.

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