Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In Search of the Bald Eagle and Other Ornithology Adventures.

I have come to the art of birding as a side journey as I began documenting the natural world.  What started as curiosity has grown into a rich love affair with birds of all kinds. 
The hummingbirds have pulled me into their mercurial realm, one that is fast, colorful and curious. 
I have also fallen in love with feathers. Their symbolism, how they shine, colors, what they represent and how they catch the light. While I have looked tirelessly for a hummingbird feather, I have yet to find one left behind. 
This heron was photographed this past winter at Fresh Pond while looking for the Bald Eagles. It was resting on the edge of the pond with so much grace that it reminded me of a beautiful Asian watercolor. It took me by surprise.  The bill and the dead leaves made a beautiful color way. 
Birding is healing because it asks that we step out of ours lives and consider another way of looking at the world and the possibilities of another dimensions. 
It primarily takes us out of the cognitive and into the sensory. 
We watch the light change, a small flicker, a rustling of the leaves, soft sounds and changes in the environment. We focus our ears to listen to the subtle changes around us. 
There are mornings that I hear the owls in the woods from where I am sleeping. I use the stilling of my own system to better hear their sounds. Recently, I was able to hear the owls breath in before making a sorting cooing sound. I knew that it must have been just outside the window. This was a very magical experience for me.

Birding has taught me to be more kind with myself and the natural world. It has taught me to wait, and try to not respond from an excited or overstimulated place. It has asked of me that I stay present to my breath and stay rooted and grounded in my feet so that I may steady the camera and not frighten the animals. 
It has introduced me to environments that I might not normally visit and aspects of nature that I might not have previously noticed. For example tide pools, light on water and soft waves on harbor shores filled with small bait fish. 
As I was looking through my grandmother Isabelle's ornithology and Audubon books, I came across countless articles from the 1930's and 1940's that pertain to birding. She had clipped these small treasures from the papers over the years. They are small time capsules. 
Below is the image from the first pages of the book Birds of America, printed by the Garden City Publishing Company, Inc. 1936. 

There are countless treasures tucked in the book including an old Audubon membership form and statement. It is so very sweet that I have decided to share it in this post because the illustrations and statement are so wonderful. 

This past week I went in search of the bald eagles again and this is one of the images gifted to me. As we are in the midst of celebrations of new life, Spring, rebirth, new beginnings, ascension and the welcoming of a new creations, my heart is filled with gratitude. 

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