Tuesday Tines: The Spring Edition

My friend (Hi Shane!) updated his FB status with two simple words last week.

“Birds. Spring.”

What followed were many comments along the like of “I just saw Bluebirds!” and “The Red-winged Blackbirds are here!”.

As the branches above us begin to sing, we find ourselves looking to the skies to discover Pigeons flying with twigs in their mouth and our hearts soar with them. In the parks there are flocks of Robins, usually solitary but now wanting companionship. We too are twitterpated and notice our own blood moving more quickly through our veins, matching the rhythm of streams and creeks, swollen with rain and the first thaw. Soon will begin the annual visits from dear friends, the wildflowers. I notice myself watching the calendar and matching dates against when I took pictures in years before, to make sure I don’t miss my appointment with Nature in Love.

I like to watch certain movies every year at the same time, seasonally. There is one in particular that I can’t wait to share with Fern when she is old enough to understand. On the surface, Fly Away Home is an empowering, feel good story. Within its depths, it touches on the complicated journey from grief to rebirth and is poignant regarding what we prioritize once we really begin to bond with life itself. I dare you to watch the trailer from 1996 and not tear up just a little. (Also featuring an adorbz Anna Paquin before she was Sukey.)

Teaching birds to migrate using ultralight aircraft is not just the stuff of fiction. For many years now, the Journey North organization has been leading groups of endangered Whooping Cranes to migration points on the east coast. Click on the links to follow their progress, as well to find out what birds and animals are migrating through your area right now.

This sight is on my list of things to witness before I begin the final migration. Monarch butterflies on the move.

Sometimes, returning to a migration rendezvous via the skies isn’t possible. Find out what happened to Ralph the Pelican when a hurricane blew him thousands of miles off course.

Really, the flurry of spring is primarily about one thing…first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. (Unless you’re me, then it’s more like “First comes love, then comes the baby and maybe at some point when we can afford it and we actually have time to plan it we’ll get hitched…). All the heightened activity in the animal world also can mean more encounters with injured or orphaned wildlife. Below I am providing information on what to do if you find an animal, but here’s the short of it:

Baby birds who are almost, but not quite, ready to fly will often fall out of their nest. This does not mean that they are orphaned. Parent birds will hang around and feed it until it gets a little bit bigger. The best you can do is keep your cat indoors and chase off other predators.

If you have determined that the animal is definitely injured and/or definitely orphaned, think warm, dark, quiet, protected place in which to keep it. If it’s a mammal offer it water. If it’s a bird (and unless you really know what you are doing) leave it alone. (NEVER NEVER NEVER give a wild animal cows milk. Just. Don’t.). Make a phone call and immediately transport it to a rescue center. If you can’t transport, call anyway to get instruction and support.

Basic information with links about what to do if you have found an animal in the Bay Area.

Wildlife rehabilitator contact information by state.

Four good rescue centers in the Bay Area (links also contain good info).

Wildcare in Marin.

Marine Mammal Rescue Center for watery critters.

International Bird Rescue Research Center, in Cordelia.

Lindsey Wildlife Museum in the East Bay.

Please don’t try to raise orphaned babies by yourself. If you find yourself unable to get the animal to a rescuer right away, here are some sites with information about what should be done.

What to do if you find orphaned baby bunnies.

What to do if you find orphaned or injured opossums.

What to do and things to consider if you have found orphaned or injured birds.

What to do if you find a baby squirrel.

Please get your monkey hands off of me and get me to a rehabilitator, STAT.

Why I Need the Birds (by Lisell Mueller)

When I hear them call
in the morning, before
I am quite awake,
my bed is already traveling
the daily rainbow,
the arc toward evening;
and the birds, leading
their own discreet lives
of hunger and watchfulness,
are with me all the way,
always a little ahead of me
in the long-practiced manner
of unobtrusive guides.

By the time I arrive at evening,
they have just settled down to rest;
already invisible, they are turning
into the dreamwork of trees;
and all of us together —
myself and the purple finches,
the rusty blackbirds,
the ruby cardinals,
and the white-throated sparrows
with their liquid voices —
ride the dark curve of the earth
toward daylight, which they announce
from their high lookouts
before dawn has quite broken for me.

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6 thoughts on “Tuesday Tines: The Spring Edition

  1. The local Bluejays started their nest building last week. They come pluck out the straw from the hanging planters we’re not using and fly off to build their new nest. Some people question why I let the jays do this but I have to remind them that the straw has to be replaced each year anyway so why not let the jays use it instead of me throwing it away. Brings a new meaning to the word “recycled”.

    1. are they scrub jays? my favorite bird! thank you for letting them take the straw, that is so sweet of you. i throw the dust bunnies of leo’s hair out the window when i sweep, hoping that birds might find it useful.

    1. oh man. i cried just reading the excerpt! and that vid! those little sounds she is making! i def want to read that.

      ha ha. i like how you ask if the yeasts “ever showed up”…it gives me this image of yeasts in bowler hats and suitcases ringing my doorbell, or opening a package to find all these critters inside squealing with glee. :). so i’m using this method i was really hopeful about, because the first 3 days were great…lots of sponge. it starts with rye flour and gradually increases the amount of white flour you feed the starter. since i’ve been adding more white, i don’t get sponge anymore and it’s not rising. it smells fermented and sour, but it doesn’t seem to be very active. it’s been over a week now…i’ve got a lamp on the bowls to provide some warmth, but if nothing happens in the next couple of days, it’s back to the drawing board. let me know what happens with yours….what does david do for his sourdough starter?

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