We were in the garden preparing the evergreens for winter the day before Thanksgiving, when we heard this flock of birds in the Black Walnut trees along the back of the property. It’s hard to see here, but the treetops were filled with birds, like black foliage. Their sounds, their communication, were loud and intense.
All at once, they rose from the branches where they were perched, apparently as planned,
and flew into the sky with a big swoop to the east, and a swoop to the west (a strategic move to make them less vulnerable to attacks),
pulling their flock closer as they flew higher, until they grouped tightly together and flew away; like a whirling cloud of black pepper.
Avian behavior is fascinating. Studies have shown that though it seems as if their communication and interaction is quite complex, it is actually simple and intuitive. Swifts and swallows can be very organized, with the intention of looking out for all the flock members. Flocks scout for food and take turns navigating; and predators favor a lone bird over a flock. Hard to believe that the phrase “Birds of a feather flock together” was first seen in writing in the 1500′s! The first known citation in print of the currently used English version of the phrase appeared in 1599, in “The Dictionarie in Spanish and English“. You know that a Mom came up with that one ; )
We don’t eat Tofurky
December 1, 2011
Winter. Good thing I love it, because it’s baaack! I didn’t realize, until I got out yesterday, that we got more snow than Plymouth and Canton last Tuesday night. Just 5 miles down the road and there wasn’t any snow on the ground! Looks like we may be getting another inch late tonight. Snow is good insulation from the bitter Winter winds for plants, and melting snow helps keep plants moist. We watered the evergreens throughout the fall, right up until the day before Thanksgiving, and treated them with “Wilt-Pruf” to reduce moisture loss. The Butterfly Garden plants (the tall, brown scrubby stuff in the background above) are left standing for the Winter so the birds can enjoy the seed heads. Not the prettiest look, but I love seeing the birds that it attracts.
Birds, although unintended, seemed to be the theme of my photos this past week.
I’m enjoying these last days of Fall, not at all minding the fast-approaching arrival of Winter (December 22 at 5:30am), and planning a very simple, pleasant and peaceful Christmas weekend. I hope your holiday is a peaceful one, too!