Posts Tagged ‘circle of life’

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

One of the pair of Cooper's hawks flying around the apartment complex earlier this year. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the pair of Cooper’s hawks flying around the apartment complex earlier this year. — Photo by Pat Bean

First the Lovers, Then the Juveniles

            Earlier this year, I blogged about seeing a pair of Cooper’s hawks that appeared to be courting. For the past week, the results of that courtship have been entrancing residents. The hawks built a nest in a tall tree visible from my bedroom balcony and raised two young in it

And a quick sketch of one of the less-colorful juveniles now flying around my apartment complex. --  Pat Bean sketch

And a quick sketch of one of the less-colorful juveniles now flying around my apartment complex. — Pat Bean sketch

Those two juveniles have now fledged, and are so much less wary of we humans than their parents that I’ve been seeing them daily for over a week.  A few days ago, I actually saw one of the birds dehead a songbird in the air.

The luckless songbird’s body fell near where Pepper and I were walking. The hawk watched as we passed by.  I hoped that it retrieve its meal, as it would have been a shame for the songbird’s death not to have served a purpose.

As one who is an avid nature watcher, I’ve learned to accept the circle of life, which puts hawks at the top of the bird food chain. While many small birds can produce up to three large broods of chicks annually, hawks rarely raise more than one or two each year.

House wrens, for example, can go from egg to fledging in less than a month. Cooper’s Hawks’ eggs take over twice that time, and larger birds of prey, like the bald eagle, require more than four months to develop from an egg to a fledgling. And the parent will continue to feed it long after that.

I’m thankful that I still view birds, and all the rest of nature, with the wonder of a child, but also with the awe of learning the details of how everything fits into the environment.

Bean’s Pat: Discovering Myself http://tinyurl.com/mfhqdro Yes, yes and yes!

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I found the brown seed pods of the yucca plant as beautiful in their own way as the tall white blossoms that would burst forth when spring finally came to Lathrop State Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Who can not hear the honk of wild geese flying overhead and not yearn to be up there with them. Not I. -- Photo by Alan D. Wilson


 “There must be a positive and negative in everything in the universe in order to complete a circuit or circle, without which there would be no activity, no motion.” John McDonald

Travels With Maggie*

Before leaving Lathrop State Park this morning, Maggie and I took a walk along the park’s Hogback Trail. The path was heavily dotted with juniper trees, some full of berries, and yucca plants full of left-over brown seed pods. The few oaks we passed were still leafless.

That’s because winter still ruled this 6,500-foot elevation Colorado Park, where sparse sprinkles of snow fell during the night. I suspected it would still be awhile before the yucca plants’ tall white blossoms showed themselves to the world.

Maggie and I startled a couple of deer as we came around the corner, although they took their time in scampering away, as if knowing we meant them no harm. Maggie has never shown an interest in deer. Her preferred animal to chase are lizards, to the point that she once followed them into a mass of cactus, with the expected result.

We also passed sandstone boulders, whose pinkish orange and pale brown hued surfaces showed patterns of their life long ago beneath the sea. Lichens added more color to the rocks and would eventually wear them back down to the sand they were before pressure glued the grains together.

It seems Mother Nature is always pointing out to us that life is indeed a circle, just as in Disney’s “The Lion King.”  The more I travel and observe the more I know this is true.

Back at the RV, Maggie and I drove around the park for one last look at this stunning place with twin lakes, Martin and Horseshoe, that sits in the shadow of the Spanish Peaks. If I hadn’t planned on meeting up with a friend at Zion National Park on the 29th, I would definitely have stayed longer.

The park’s parting gift to us was a flock of honking geese flying overhead. Maggie was already snoozing and didn’t hear them, but they sounded to me like the opening prelude to the day’s travel ahead. I was eager to begin the adventure.

Day 7 of the Journey, April 25, 2011

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 “In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.” — Charles A. Lindbergh.

My morning visitor -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Midges and flies, but thankfully not blood-sucking mosquitoes, were an almost a constant human nuisance during my stay at Lake Walcott. A few even found their way into my RV, which was sad. While I’m very respectful of wildlife, even bugs and snakes, once a wild critter intrudes into my home, it usually ends up being a dead critter. A cute little field mouse discovered this when it nibbled on the tasty peanut butter I had spread on a mouse trap after I had spotted it scooting across my narrow floor.

 But bugs and mice are part of the circle of life. And if you’re a birder you have to appreciate them. These fast-breeding creatures make it possible for the existence of the slower breeding feathered flyers that amaze me. I saw this almost daily at Lake Walcott as the midges provided a tasty meal for a dawn and dusk parade of circling nighthawks flying overhead.

And while they didn’t make a personal appearance, I’m sure the great horned owls that hoo-hoo-hooed me awake each morning dined elegantly on some of the field mice I occasionally saw scampering through the sagebrush. During my

Common nighthawk -- Photo by Mark B. Bartosik

 earlier spring visit to the park, I had been honored to spot a great horned owl nest that had a couple of tiny heads poking above its jumbled wall of sticks. The park is full of huge, magnificent cottonwood trees that I knew from past sightings were favorite nesting spots of these silent flying night hunters.

 One morning I woke to find a four-legged critter poking around my campsite, one that has included human handouts as part of its menu plan. It was a raccoon, whose photo I took from my dining room table while drinking my morning coffee. While he didn’t get any tasty tidbits from me, I saw evidence of his dining habits in the wake of trashed tin garbage cans most mornings.

 When Maggie finally noticed our visitor, she barked excitedly. The raccoon appeared familiar with such nonsense. It merely stared for a moment at our RV, then slowly sauntered back into the brush behind the campground. I hoped he found something tasty out of the trash can I later picked up on my morning walk through of the campground.

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