Monday, December 31, 2012

Counting down to a New Year

As each year goes by, it seems that I am having more and more fun.  I think that is a good thing. But honestly, it doesn't take much to make my day.  

 This little American Kestrel, for example, was one high-light of my Crawford County Bird Count.    Out of the corner of my eye, I caught it flying into this protected corner of a barn.

It was perfection in my mind. The right bird in the right place, with his gorgeous colors in perfect contrast to the stark white building and a snow covered barnyard.  I just had to stop at the edge of the road to take his portrait.

After a few photos of the Kestrel, I wanted to document the whole scene.  Consider the distance of the barn from the road. Now you see why I was thrilled to have noticed that movement, that smallest of falcons, as it found shelter from the winter winds. Simply amazing.

Suddenly, the farmer called out, "Hey! What'chu doing over there?"  I backed up my car and spent a few minutes explaining my joy for these little mouse-eating falcons and our Christmas Bird Counts.  He apologized for being gruff, and asked, "What's that bird's name again?"

Seems there were some break-ins recently, but he held his dog and we talked birds for a spell. I admired his handsome farm and his good fortune to have a kestrel on it, and explained why we citizen scientists keep track of the little guys.

I like birds and I sure enjoy birding.  But it feels especially good when we can help someone else see our joy and feel good about the role they play in the life of an American bird.

What could be a more perfect way to end the year?


  1. You're right, Cheryl, that is the perfect way to end the year. Any time you can help someone to stop and think about the value of nature is time well spent.

  2. Thanks Woods-

    Now we have to get kids to set down their i-phones and i-pads long enough to engage with nature. A farmer can be reasoned with, they make a living outside.

    Our next generation should be a concern to all of us. CBH

  3. Love this the end you enjoyed a beautiful bird (in my personal top 10 of all birds, for sure!), gave the farmer a renewed sparkle of pride in his farm; and don't you think he'll be showing off that gorgeous bird to his neighbors? You *know* he's drug his wife out there for a look at the very least. :)

  4. "Hey Ethel,
    Come see this bird. We got us a Kestrel!"

    Sounds about right to me... 'Picker