Recognise this guy? Yep. It is the little White-throated Sparrow that has become the iconic face of World Bird Wednesday. It was October 30th, 2010. Joe "the bird whistler" Paquette and I had left the Motor City that morning for a weekend of guitar playing and photography with my brand spanking new Canon T2i Dslr Camera. Joe's talent, among others, is his ability to call in birds with weird whistles and clattering noises. The strange and unusual forest creatures I seldom see show up unaccountably when he is around. There is that aura about him.
I was still lugging in my fire gear from the car when Joe called for me to hurry up and come to the back yard. I was kind of tired and did not wished to be hustled after a night of firefighting and the two hour drive back home. "Wait!"
When I gathered myself and got out there to see what was troubling him, he pointed to this feathery confection, an ounce of wild life that would change the course of my Wednesdays forever.
I bolted for the camera, a million thoughts tumbling through my mind. The Dslr was still foreign to me as I had barely a thousand blurry shots under my belt. I didn't trust the damn thing to take a good picture with me operating it. What lens should I use? What setting? Was the battery charged? Would the sparrow still be there?
The bird had not moved much and was busy gobbling down a hornet. It began to occur to us that something was wrong. No bird, even a juvenile, would tolerate the close, ponderous presence of a couple of large men. Our bird could not fly.
I trusted the camera and began to take pictures in the Program mode, the inboard electronics making the important decisions concerning shutter speed, and f-stop. A wise choice in those days. The object of our attention began to hop around, agitated at it's predicament, and fell into a four foot deep, wood framed ditch that was dug out to accommodate the large egress windows my basement is fitted with. We couldn't let him stay trapped there so Joe went into rescue mode and fished him out. It was time to leave the bird alone, all this photography was not helping his prospects. The next morning Joe happened upon our little sparrow laying underneath a blue spruce, it's spirit having passed from this world and so it's body rests, buried there 'till this day.Matthew10:29 goes something like this:"Not even a sparrow, worth only half a penny, can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it."
This verse has stuck to me with some essential truth that I could not quite grasp. It struck me one day that in order for this to be true, everything; rocks, clouds, air, and even the very soil we tread upon, must be conscious and enlivened in some way. Thus, when the insignificant sparrow falls, the Earth receives it knowingly. I felt the tingle that accompanies true epiphanies.
Frank Zappa asked the musical question to the lilting Philosopher,"Who you jiving with that cosmic debris?"
It is a good thing philosophy and religion can not be fact checked, it would ruin their usefulness!
Just a couple weeks after this encounter I took the plunge and started World Bird Wednesday as an extension of my four month old blog, The Pine River Review. How could a year have passed already?
Back in those lonely days I took inspiration from and patterned my own unremarkable efforts after three exceptional blogs.
Me, Boomer, and the Vermilon River was a model of steadfastness. Gary never wavers in his efforts to chronicle the natural world in his niche of Northern Ontario and shows that if you make the effort to get out, nature will reveal herself endlessly.
Hilke's One Jackdaw Birding set a level for insight and native knowledge of bird life that is welcoming and enthusiastic. To me, her seal of approval meant my efforts were gaining credibility.
Lastly, Owen's Magic Lantern Show illuminated a path of possibilities for me, that a combination of brilliant photography along with personal, eclectic, and amusing writing like his, could raise the level of simple journal blogging into a powerful art form. Heady stuff!
World Bird Wednesday, such as it is, owes much to these influences. Today, a year later, this list has grown immensely as I have learned, laughed and been jaw dropped by a hundred different approaches to this pastime we share. It is wonderful to behold the light of so many kindred spirits!
To this date WBW has been shared in 122 countries, that amazes me. It is a tribute to the fine bloggers who participate with their blissful posts for our enjoyment and especially to those who leave their comments of encouragement to further those efforts. The currency of praise can not be inflated to highly!
Light a candle, lift a toast, because...
This is the home of World Bird Wednesday. A place for bird photographers from around the world to gather and share their photographs and experiences as they pursue Natures most beautiful treasurers, the birds.
You don't have to be a Bird Watcher or expert photographer to join in--just enjoy sharing what you bring back from your explorations and adventures into nature!
World Bird Wednesday will be open for posting at 12 noon Tuesday EST North America through midnight on Wednesday.
#1. Simply copy the above picture onto your W.B.W. blog entry, it contains a link for your readers to share in the fun. Or, you can copy this link on to your blog page to share WBW. http://pineriverreview.blogspot.com/
#2. Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with Linky.
#3. Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!
The idea of a meme is that you will visit each others blogs and perhaps leave a comment to encourage your compadres!
Come on it's your turn!
happy anniversary, WBW!!! thanks for sharing the story of this sweet little sparrow. i've always found the rich colors in its feathers and the surrounding leaves so beautiful. thanks, springman, for your wonderful posts, your gorgeous photography, your stirring prose, and for hosting WBW!!!ReplyDelete
Happy Anniversary and many years to continue this great story!ReplyDelete
Only coincidentally I also post a Sparrow!
Great photos and story of the sweet little sparrow. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks a lot for hosting WBW.
Love to see all the beautiful birds around the world.
Thank you for the historical review of the origin behind WBW. Now I know and am even more impressed. That little sparrow photo means much more now. Congatulations on your anniversary in hosting the best blog meme there is.ReplyDelete
Happy anniversary! I can't remember who invited me to WBW, but I'm glad that I found it. So many gorgeous birds I would have never seen without it.ReplyDelete
Beautiful detailed photos of that little sparrow! Very nice!ReplyDelete
Happy Anniversary, too!
I was pleased to learn of the history or this meme. Your story reminded me of the Simon And Garfunkel "Sparrow" song.ReplyDelete
I appreciate having a place to share birding stories and images.
Happy 1 year Anniversary WBW.Thanks for the adventures Springman !ReplyDelete
Springman, Happy Anniversary! AND a big thanks for World Bird Wed! I have enjoyed it immensely. I look forward to it each week and save my best shots to share with everyone!ReplyDelete
Talking about best shots, this weeks are extraordinary! The gulls all lined up with their feet all in a row, is wonderful, and this sparrow shots are breathtaking! It seems that this little birds last task in it's life was to lead you on this path. I glad it did!
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY..I too look forward to this meme as I love to see the birds from different areas and love that people love the birds..ReplyDelete
The Sparrow left one hell of a legacy.... well done to that little fella.ReplyDelete
Well done to you Springman for continuing that legacy on a week by week basis.
You have gained a small but cult like following that is hitting all corners of the globe..... you should be rightly pleased and proud
By another coincedence I have posted a somewhat Sparrow like post
Happy Anniversary Springman it's been fun seeing all the wonderful birds week after week from all over the planet..ReplyDelete
A big thank you from the UK.
A great anniversary tribute. And thanks for the story behind the picture.ReplyDelete
I've enjoyed every WBW I've been part of, and let's hope there are many more to come.
A big thank you.
Happy anniversary! Loved reading your story behind WBW. Your photos, despite trying to figure out a new camera, are fantastic. Glad you found the sparrow...I'm proud to be a part of WBW.ReplyDelete
Congratulations on your blog anniversary. Long may it continue!ReplyDelete
another delightful little yarn. Shame though that the dear little sparrow didn't make it through the night. It still head its head up high for your photo shoot. I might well imagine the thoughts racing through your head as you raced in for your new to you camera. You got superb shots; what a great start! I can't imagine a better weekend you might've had; your music and photo opportunities like this.ReplyDelete
a sad story about this little beauty.ReplyDelete
Congrats to the anniversary. And keep up the good work. WBW is a treat. :)
These Sparrow photos are so eyeReplyDelete
catchingly beautiful.Shame about this little birds fate,but it was the beginning of something really wonderful.
Congratulations on the anniversary
Happy one year anniversary, Springman! I eagerly look forward to WBW every week - so many wonderful posts to see and read. What a legacy the little Sparrow has left behind.ReplyDelete
Happy anniversary! Looking forward to next year:)ReplyDelete
Beautiful post as usually!
So true. We are surrounded by consciousness. I believe it to be a property a matter, like radiation, often manifested so weakly that it cannot be detected.ReplyDelete
I am reminded of this sobering experience:
Several years ago, while leading a group of 8 to 10 year old kids on a nature walk at Rio Grande Nature Center in Albuquerque, I casually stepped on an ant– I must admit it was an intentional act.
One of the kids immediately asked, “Why did you do that?”
“Step on that ant.”
I could only reply, “It was wrong for me to do that– the ant was minding its own business and wasn’t doing anything to hurt me.”
Why did I do that? It was a simple but profound lesson for me. I had extinguished a tiny spark of consciousness, and my universe had been diminished, be it ever so slightly.
happy anniversary springman, what a wonderful story. i held a female cardinal once, perhaps i can dig up the photo and share it next week!!ReplyDelete
i really love wbw, a wonderful group of very kind bloggers!!
Happy Anniversary, Springman! It is a lovely story even with the sad ending. Your WT Sparrow photos are beautiful. Thanks for hosting this fun bird meme.ReplyDelete
Another of your insightful post and what a gentle sparrow story. In an odd way we are all inter-connnected with our other siblings, the birds and beasts, the trees and rocks, all things great and small for are we not all made of the same matter?ReplyDelete
Rocks have memory like trees and people, only their memory is much longer than ours.
Your little sparrow looks so contented among the oak leaves. My mother used to say that she would prefer to die on a full stomach rather than an empty one. I am glad your sparrow had a good feed at least.
Congratulations on a year of World Bird Wednesday, it certainly has been a profitable ride for the participants to learn so much more about birds of different corners of the world.
Thank you for creating and persevering with this instructive and also visually enjoyable meme.
I hadn't known the touching story of this dear little bird. Happy Anniversary, and I so enjoy this meme. Your photographs are amazing!ReplyDelete
Truly love your shots. Makes me want to hug the sparrow.ReplyDelete
Happy Anniversary Dave! Thanks for sharing the story of how your wonderful bird photography meme began and sharing more photos of the beautiful little White-throated Sparrow.ReplyDelete
I can't imagine how much time you put into World Bird Wednesday but I know that some weeks I'm so busy that I can't get around to everyone's blogs to comment and it really bothers me.
You have a wonderful group of people participating in WBW not only because of the wonderful photographs but because of your hard work and excellent pros! I love reading your posts every week and I want you to know how much I appreciate your hosting this most excellent venue!
Cheers to you my friend! May we enjoy this pleasure for many years to come!
Hay hey ! and many fine returns to you, good sir...ReplyDelete
Am deeply honored, beyond words, and only wish I had more birds to respond with and participate in WBW more often... but regardless, it is a rare and fine pleasure to come here when I can, and see what you've been up to. Your latest header photo there is another gem, a gull gem. Deepest thanks for the kind nod there, and may the rarest of birds come in droves to roost upon your hedgerows, and in the very near future, may one big fat bird soon grace your table even. But just don't become what you eat, in that case...
Happy blogaversary,Springman. I'm sure glad I found this link. The story about the sparrow is profound. I often think on the Scripture in Matthew and take heart that not even one sparrow falls without the Father knowing about it. Thanks for sharing. Greetings, Jo (Kenya)ReplyDelete
Hi there - thanks for a year’s good work! I was surprised when I found out I had posted 42 posts for WBW - it’s just a normal part of my week now - which makes your efforts all the more valuable!ReplyDelete
Stewart M - Australia
These are all amazing shots; speechless! This is my first time linking up and I cannot wait for more opportunities to show my photos and learn from you!ReplyDelete
I've been waxing philosophical these past couple of days, and your writing really brings it home for me. Thanks for keeping the blogosphere real.ReplyDelete
Regarding the wood ducks. You may have more luck if you aren't more suburban like I am. Watching little woodies is different than watching mallards and the woodies live longer meaning you might get the same hen back year after year. The woodduck society has instructions and you need the predator cone to protect from raccoon which kill many nesting woodies....Let me know if you do it...MichelleReplyDelete
Boom and I can't believe that it's a year since we fooled around with you and the linky upload. Thanks for the kind words, and here's to many more years. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.ReplyDelete
Welcome to the party!ReplyDelete
Thank you for your kind comments, I'll get around to making a few observation here tomorrow on some of your thoughts when I'm at the firehouse. It is taking me a long time to wade through the blogs this week. They are all unbelievible. Just finished Andrews epic 12 minute video of English wildlife and I need a little break to soak it in.
What a week!
Now, back to the blogs...
Happy Anniversary, David! Scrolling through your blog archive, what a rich year it has been! Gary first called my attention to your blog and I happily signed up as a follower. Your blog never fails to be supremely intelligent and articulate. It's been an inspiration to me. I admire your breadth of insight and knowledge and the way you pull it all together. Thank you for being there, for allowing us into your world, and for inviting us to take part in the wide world of WBW.ReplyDelete
I`ve had so much fun this past year here at your site.Everyone is so nice & their stories refreshing.Thank-you for asking me to join.I`ve learned alot here & look forward to the coming years of birding with you,phyllisReplyDelete
Holy Smokes..a whole year! Where does the time go?ReplyDelete
I've been trainin' the Blue Jays with peanuts, lately, what a hoot! Almost have them in the palm of my hand. ;>)
Stood next to (10') a very mature Red Tail over at Hines Park yesterday. He didn't seem to mind, as I was very quiet. THAT was wild!
Last Sunday I had the pleasure of being in the company of two very Large owls, out at Island Lake....
Gonna be puttin' out the suet for the woodpeckers soon, they might have to share with a couple of Fox squirrels, though.
So it goes...keep up the good work!
Pure Michigan!! ;>)
thanks for the great comments in my blogs. :) I always appreciate them.ReplyDelete
Wow!!! I have goosebumps, just looking at all your wonderful captures in this post! The night herons in your header, the way you got so very close to the little sparrow, and the the eagle!!! Just wow!!!ReplyDelete
Love these pictures. Gorgeous, simply gorgeous!ReplyDelete
Hi. I had a post ready last week but we didn't have Internet wherever we were. (We are on the road). I will post it tomorrow morning and hope I can link .ReplyDelete
I am so humbled by the fact that you are so nice to me as a very amateur photographer and birder (and as well I appreciate the other bloggers you cite). Your essays and photos are actually a highlight of my week. Thanks for all that you do. (And anytime you want to send your friend our way, we could always use a good bird whisperer ;?)