Back to Nature (Published on TBNWeekly.com - Jan. 24, 2008)
As a rain soaked squirrel crept along the cumbersome live-oak limb, the lightning
struck all around him.
|Photo by Rick Tremmel
Sudden flashes of pink and yellow brightened the silver sky momentarily and then
daggered from heaven into the depths of the dry, sandy earth.
The long awaited storm rumbled and banged and I remembered my mother telling me
when I was a young girl that this was a sign that God was rearranging the
Spring cleaning, she said. I smiled to myself thinking out loud, hey,
I do that a lot. I just hadnt realized it might be a blessed activity or
For the past couple of weeks the wildlife, that cohabitates with us in our garden,
has begun to rearrange their nests, burrows and hide-a-ways. Theres red
tinsel again adorning the newly stuffed Carolina wrens nest at the corner of
the front porch. An overflowing squirrels nest is packed so full its
presently drooping haphazardly between two towering leafless oak limbs. The storm
may have some rearranging notions of its own about that mess.
The armadillos ... well lets just say theyve announced war upon our
back yard as if tunneling out of jail from somewhere. Mice! Mice! Mice! I can hear
them. I can see where theyve been, but I dont plan on inviting them
So it is with great joy to observe a gorgeous, plump, healthy red-shouldered hawk
keeping herself busy preparing lunch these days. She and her mate have perused our
property for the past three years eventually making it their home. Although we
havent, as yet, located the hawks nest camouflaged in the thickly woven
treed canopy and woods adjoining our home, dinner is prepared in full view on a
fairly regular basis, to the thrill of mesmerized human audiences.
Wildlife abounds in Florida. Even a novice observer cant avoid becoming
familiar with a few of the most common avian species that frequent our backyards,
parks and balconies. A great opportunity to learn more about these fascinating
birdie creatures that live side by side with us humans is to participate in The
2008 Great Backyard Bird Count, led by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National
Audubon Society, with sponsorship from Wild Birds Unlimited.
Taking part in the GBBC couldnt be easier! You dont even have to know
a lot about birds and you can find helpful identification tips on the Web site at
www.birdcount.org. Participants watch birds for as little as 15
minutes on one or more days of the four day event, counting in their yards, city
parks, nature centers, or wherever they like. They enter the highest number of each
species seen at one time on the GBBC Web site. Thats it!
Participants can explore maps and charts showing what others are reporting in
their area or across the continent. Visitors to the Web site also can see winning
photos from the 2007 photo contest and get inspired to send in their own digital
images during the 2008 GBBC. Every photo submitted is considered for the contest.
In 2007, participants reported a record-breaking 11 million birds of 616 species.
They submitted more than 80,000 checklists, an all-time record for the 10 years of
Perhaps you have an amorous couple of wrens making woo in your clothespin bag or
you take notice of a mockingbird claiming his territory within the hedgerow?
Perhaps you simply enjoy a 15-minute walk in the park? You dont have to be a
bonified birder to participate in the 2008 GBBC, Feb. 1518. This
year everyone counts!
For more information on the annual 2008 The Great Backyard Bird Count go to: www.birdsource.org/gbbc/whycount.
Karen can be reached at MyMuddyPawsStudio@gmail.com.