Saturday, April 16, 2011

Mamma Bear - Babies Breath

I tucked my goose down comforter under my chin and closed my eyes. A minute had not passed when I heard and felt the vibration of an urgent crash near the front porch.

I knew immediately that a black bear had gotten to my bird feeding station. In fact, at that instant, I realized that I was unconsciously expecting and secretly hoping that it would happen at some point. I know it seems odd to read such a thing, however in a world that has lost its way – where nature is fighting desperately to find balance – I too desire reassurance that I can count on a hungry bear to sniff out the wondrous scent of black oil sunflower seeds and peanut butter suet.

I know from when I lived on Pocket Mountain, that black bears find thistle distasteful. I awoke one morning to a shattered finch feeder and thistle scattered about the deck, while the black oil sunflower seeds were completely gone.

When I investigated the ‘crime scene’ this morning, I was relieved that she – I decided that it was a mother bear – did not break anything. She bent the red, rubber coated, wire feeder somewhat to get to the suet cake, and popped off the top of the plastic tube feeder to get the sunflower seeds. She must have shaken the seeds out of the holes of the larger cylindrical feeder, as the top was still intact. Surprisingly, she left the “A” Frame platform feeder untouched. Perhaps there were more empty shells than seeds, prompting me to replenish.

I gathered the hooks, wires, hangers and feeder parts from the ground and refilled them. I plan on taking them in at night, quickly dismissing the vision of leaving food out separately for the bears. I know that I could easily attract at least one black bear family. In the name of safety, I must not.

I could not stop feeding the birds at this time; I expect the migrating birds to return at any time. There are so many that will be coming through between now and the end of May – indigo buntings, pine grosbeaks (again, they were here in early winter), rose breasted grosbeaks, Baltimore orioles, brown headed cowbirds, which I like despite their stigma of being nest thieves, and of course the hummingbirds arrive when apple trees and lilacs blossom.

The chickadees (that are of age) are calling for their mates and have been visiting the feeders much more so than during the winter when my feeders hung virtually untouched for months. While I was re-hanging my feeders, I heard but did not see a small flock of Canadian geese overhead.

The past two weeks I have found peace in bird sightings at the wildlife sanctuaries that flank each side of the road by my house. They are swampy areas; a favorite environment for birds, deer, moose, beavers, turtles and many others.

One morning in the midst of the fog rising from the waters into the cold air, a pair of Canadian geese swam together and intertwined in an obvious loving manner. And yesterday on my way home, I passed a Great Blue Heron in flight. It is the second time I have seen him in that area; I will always look for him now.

I know that just beyond the Southwestern side of the pond is where a barred owl frequents. It is common for me to hear him any time of day or night. Sometimes I hear a great horned owl at night, but not as often as the barred owl. The Owl is a messenger, which can bring forth tidings of death and / or wisdom. Death does not always mean in the physical sense; it can also mean the death of old ways or of an era. I choose to believe now that this is a time of change and that the messenger is bringing awareness of change. I honor this messenger and this beloved creature of Our Mother, which I love and cherish.

I was comforted by the many sounds of the woods this morning. The trees and creatures therein are my companions. A variety of woodpeckers were busy pecking for bugs in dead trees, while the nuthatches (upside down birds) make a slight, almost honking noise. Two hawks were flying in the treetops on the edge of the clearing; I looked towards them but they were not in sight.

The innocence of the finches' questioning call surrounded me while I searched for pussy willows near a cluster of poplars. I always smile when I hear their persistent song that ascends into a high note, completely opposite of the descending scale of the wood thrush, which I eagerly await.

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