Wisdom

Tutfted Titmouse and Chickadee

From one day to the next, I never know who will present themself as a photographic subject. I always complain that birds flee from me, but once in a while they take pity…or they are extra hungry..

The Titmouse is a favourite. He’s just so cute and this winter there have been many of them at the feeders.

This morning when I looked out I saw our newer visitors. They seem to be deciding whether or not to stay…

Pigeons, I know, are not the most popular of birds.

But they seem to have been a part of my life for a very long time.

As a little girl in London, I was taken to feed them at Trafalgar Square, just as so many people did. Then there were complaints about the mess, but it was hardly the bird’s fault. They went where food was.

Feeding pigeons in Venice made me smile. Today it seems you can hardly move in St. Mark’s Square for pigeons.

Pigeons are pretty well ubiquitous, but as I will not say “just sparrows”, I also will not say “just pigeons”.

When these guys first showed up, I thought they were so fine, they must belong to someone, but they are not banded.

They are just very handsome. Perhaps living in the country is good for them. No breadcrumbs or fast food here.

Since we’re on the subject of birds, perhaps you’ve heard about Wisdom:

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Wisdom is a Laysan Albatross that lives on Midway Atoll in the Pacific. That is when she isn’t flying.

Wisdom is the oldest known wild bird, having been banded in 1951.

Her bands have been changed 6 times. She is estimated to have flown some 3,000,000 miles in her lifetime and has laid 30 to 40 eggs.

Since 2006, Wisdom has hatched and raised a chick every year.

She just turned 70 and here’s her latest:

Welcome to the World baby Albatross! Picture from The BBC

Albatrosses are such exquisite birds. I was fascinated to watch them from ships and in the Falklands, they had not learned to fear human beings, so we walked among them, their only stipulation being that we not step on their nest. I shall never forget sitting there in the hummocks, above the cliff, the South Atlantic stretching away to the horizon, watching Rockhopper Penguins making their arduous way up from the sea and admiring the Black-browed Albatrosses interacting with each other or just sitting on their egg.

Zoom lens not required. Picture by Tim Gibson

Rockhoppers making their way up from the beach.

The weather was cool and sunny, a gusty breeze blew. Seabirds surfed the air currents. It was the most peaceful place, the most wonderful place.

A year later, unimaginably, Harrier jets were roaring overhead, to the great disturbance of the birds and the coastline was being shelled. I thought my heart would break.

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