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Archive for the ‘Migration’ Category

It is March and already it is crystal clear that something is very much out-of-order.  Last week brought hundreds of tornadoes racing through the heart of the United States, leaving devastation in their wake and entire towns whipped from the face of the mid-west.  All the while I see Sandhill cranes winging their way up the Mississippi and Blue birds already in the orchard – all of them early in their migration north – early by almost a month.

But why should that matter to us? Why worry about such things, when there are daily matters to be concerned about?  Paul Gilding tells us why we should pay attention to the changes at hand.

And James Hansen explains how our elected officials have kept a lid on climate truth.  Jim has tried to get our ear about the truth of climate change for over 30 years, however, without much success.  But now, that his predictions are knocking down our doors we may finally stop and listen.

So, the next time you hear a politician talk about the need to open up oil reserves, about strip mining, and about the need for a Tar Sands pipeline, think about how this puts all of us into harm’s way.

Don’t be mislead by slick commercials about the “save” extraction of oil and  gas and learn about the true cost of fossil fuels made from fraking, from tar sands and shale.

Garth Lenz: The true cost of oil | Video

Think about yourself, your kids and grand kids.  And better yet, think about calling your elected officials and demand that they do what is right for us and our planet.  Solutions are already here, what is missing is not the technical know how, but rather the political will to put them into action.

Hold your elected officials accountable and force them to change course now, while we still have a change to make a difference.

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After a slow start, Orioles have returned to Sontheim in such large numbers that it feels like an invasion of hooligans at a soccer game.  There must be thirty of them, primarily males, who seem to enjoy making quite a racket as they compete at the feeding stations.  It is such a boisterous group that even the large woodpeckers are afraid of them.

On the other hand, our returning hummingbirds can be counted on one hand.  To date only three boys and two girls have been identified, and even though we are at the end of the migratory season, we are still hoping that more of them will find their way back to our little patch of paradise.

This year our orchard has been slow to bloom and I have watched with interest that the native pollinators are out in force.  There are many more of the mostly tiny insects buzzing from blossom to blossom then I have ever noticed before; but alas, not one honeybee has been spotted this spring. 

Such changes and more are happening all across our planet and it seems inevitable that human activity will continue to degrade our natural word.   It would be wise for every one of us to remember that mother nature can easily thrive without the presence of the human race, but that human beings cannot survive without a functioning natural world. 

With that in mind let me share the work of two extraordinary people whose love of our beautiful world inspires and informs.  Enjoy!!!

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The last of the migrating Hummingbirds has come and gone!  This little one arrived last week and spent only a few days at Sontheim.  I’ve watched it visit our two remaining feeders primarily at sunrise and sunset. 

It did not surprise me that it arrived with its weight well below flight readiness.  What intrigued me was the fact that it did not take full advantage of the fresh sugar-water provided here, and it worried me that it left before it had bulked up sufficiently for its long migration. 

I saw the little Hummer last after a very cold and stormy night, drinking deeply from the feeder in front of the kitchen window.   As far as I can tell, it has not returned since and I can only assume that it continued its journey along the Mississippi in an attempt to stay ahead of the encroaching cold.

I don’t know, which is more worrisome:  a tiny Hummer leaving before it is ready, or a fat little Hummer reluctant to leave its refuge as the temperature dips toward freezing every night.

Now that the last of the Hummingbirds has left for the South, I think about the long and dangerous journey they embark upon every year.  How many will be snared by the multifold dangers they encounter along the way?  How many will lose their lives by being trapped in the fog and residue of agricultural pesticides that are so liberally sprayed to produce cheap food.   And how many will arrive to find their winter habitat destroyed by an ever-expanding human population, by its insatiable appetite, its ignorance and greed?

Weather I worry or not, I have done my share to give these tiny birds a chance to survive.  The rest is out of my hands and so I send my prayers along for the journey.   Bon voyage my little ones, may you thrive along the way and return to Sontheim in the Spring.

Let me conclude with the words of Emily Dickinson and share with you this somber yet beautiful poem:

Death is a dialogue between

the spirit and the dust.

“Dissolve,” says Death.  The Spirit, “Sir

I have another trust.”

Death doubts it, argues from the ground. 

The Spirit turns away,

Just laying off,  for evidence. 

Another coat of Clay.

Emily Dickinson

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