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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

World Bird Wednesday LXVI

Hunt and Peck

Red bellied woodpecker

   As winter wains this late February I have become struck with the idea of retirement. Firefighters in Detroit are forced out of the fire service at 60 anyway and I am only a meager year away from that. My cities financial troubles are such that after 312 years the state of Michigan is contemplating a bloodless coup d'etat. New laws have been implemented making it possible for our Governor to discharge the elected representatives of our city, the Mayor and City Council, and put into place an Emergency Financial Manager (read: dictator). All contracts with municipal workers would be suspended and the EFM could put into place any measures he deems necessary to reorganise the apocryphal situation that is Detroit. This scenario has already played out in other cities. Pontiac, Michigan's whole police department was disbanded recently never to return.
   The handwriting is on the wall. The once powerful Motor City is intentionally being depopulated and burned to the ground. What is the point of fighting it anymore?
   Is this the logical extension of a consumer society: Like a giant game of Monopoly gone bad, we simply flip the game board over and begin again?

   Soon I will be out with the rest of the turkeys hunting and pecking but it won't be for insects and seeds. I will be searching for relevance. After years of firefighting it was rather easy to define the essential function I served on this planet other than our common Darwinian mission to multiply: I helped to put out a lot of fires. In fire science we learn that fire is a rapid form of oxidation, it's like rust gone mad. The Great Lakes are part of a region affectionately known as the rust belt because of our history of building flashy if some what easily corroded vehicles. No problem, we'd crush up the hulks, melt them down, and sell it back to you every two years.
   I must undertake a similar transformation. An unenviable problem to have, making something new out of this old chassis!

   It is a great privilege to have served with and stood next to so many brave souls in good times and in bad. Now I will be on the outside looking in. Isn't that like bird photography, standing on the edge of the flock peering in, a curious outsider?
   Life is not lived in a vacuum, new activities will fill in the time that was devoted to a career. However; it is foolhardy to expect anything short of a knife fight could replace the adrenalin rush of responding to the alarm.
   Bird photography has sat at the other end of the emotional teeter totter across from big city firefighting bringing me into a kind of balance. I wonder how it will be chasing the flock full time? Stay tuned!

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.

#1Simply 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.

#2Come to The Pine River Review on Tuesday Noon EST North America through Wednesday midnight and submit your blog entry with InLinkz.
#3Check 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 compatriots!

Come on it's your turn!


  1. dave, your link doesn't seem to be working today. i'll check back later on.

    as for the shift your life is about to take, i do hope you will find satisfaction in other things. maybe quieter, less thrilling things, more mundane. but still worth living. i understand - once a smoke breather, always a smoke breather. the adrenalin junkie will always be part of who you are, but hopefully you can channel that somewhere else.

  2. I hate to hear what's happening in Detroit and other places. I'm a native of Grand Ledge, MI just outside Lansing. Things have certainly changed over the years. I hope your possible retirement is a peaceful one, although it's no easy task in the current economy.

    Your photos are fantastic! Love the turkeys (your header, too) and, of course, the bird of prey shot! I never get tired of those. Excellent work!

  3. Once a firefighter, always a firefighter. But, get out of there before finances jeopardize your safety, if you know what I mean.

    My birdie is here:

    But, I'll check back later for the linky.

  4. I am sure it is hard to watch the decline of your once great city. I am dismayed that so many politicians put the blame for our nations problems on public employees rather than on the politicians where it belongs.
    As for retirement, I have confidence that you will be able to find meaningful things to occupy you. Your skill as both photographer and writer should serve you well.

  5. I think many Americans are having to deal with the decline of many cities and, as my daughter lives in Michigan, I have been all too aware of the problems there. You have served your city well and I, like the others, know how difficult this has to be for you! You are indeed a superb photographer and writer and I like to believe that the good things will happen for you in the future and soon!

    Your photos for the day are superb as always! Thank you for sharing the beauty!


  6. Just walk away and never look back. That is what I did from a similar government job 8 years ago. What stands before you is so much better for body and mind. Be forewarned though, you may face a dilema every once in awhile...what shall I do today? Retirement is wonderful.

  7. I retired in 1993. For a week or two it was like a vacation, but since then I have not had time to be retired. With so much to fill my days, I wonder how I ever fitted in any work. Love those bronze turkeys and the Buffleheads-- the balance of the subjects and the pastel shades are fantastic!

  8. thanks, springman! (meant to say i LOVE those turkey shots! gorgeous!)

  9. Try to keep a positive outlook and remember that eventually we all have to slow down and enjoy life outside of work. As usual, your beautiful photos have brought a calming smile to my face.

  10. Hey Gang! Sorry about the linky slip up. Sometimes the app mysteriously disappears when I publish automatically.
    Thank you for your advice. I'm at the firehouse today enjoying one of my final days. We've had one pretty good fire already this morning while the snow is fell in big flakes making everything slippery. Fun. Someone across the street just fired some gunshots. Swell. Never a dull moment.
    I am excited about retirement but my fear is for the younger folk, like my son, still doing the job under dire circumstances. All our rigs are broken down and the hours are long and exhausting. I don't want to extrapulate a negitive sceanario.
    I promise you this: I will hit the road running!

  11. Springman, your images, are again, stunning, brilliant, gorgeous! Well, you get the idea!
    I certainly know what you mean about retiring! But take it from an old siren junkie, it's great! To do what I want, when I want, is a great life. As Ken says here, I don't know how I had time to go to work!

  12. Wonderful images! Love your header shot and the eagle in flight.

  13. My shots of the wild turkeys in my yard never look that good. :)
    Awesome shots all down the post!
    From experience I can tell you that retirement takes getting used to after the initial newness wears off and you find your relevance in other places. My role as a Grandmother has fulfilled me more than I would have thought possible.
    With your photography skills and writing skills I think new adventures are just around the corner for you.

  14. your photos are amazing the turkeys.....wait a minute..forget all the politics will be great for you to will love it...time to do all the things you always wanted to do...thanks for your lovely blog and platform for birders...perhaps you can figure out a way for bird bloggers to find a more social network that actually connects us a forum or something...I am looking and looking for someting like this....This would be a project!

  15. Hi Springman! Nice shots as always, like the woodpecker. Never seen turkeys in the wild, I've only had parts of one on my plate :) Retirement and bird photography sounds like a great plan. But I certainly hope the car industry in US gets going again, and with it Detroit and other cities. Sad to hear about whats happening over there... Anyway, wish you all the best!


  16. Accepting what after all is
    inevitable,is really a gift.You
    will now have time to do the most
    incredable things,and you will!!
    I am in awe of the fantastic
    photos you take,and writing skills
    you clearly have,so be patient with
    yourself,retirement is just the beginning!!
    The eagle shot is magnificent.

  17. Springman, if you go at it with the same vigor and enthusiasm that you do firefighting I am sure you will do well and find it equally fulfilling! I am sorry and a little bit scared to hear of those kinds of changes to your city and your government. I hope they let you finish out your days before they put you out to pasture! I'll bet you have the best of your life before you filled with birds just waiting to be photographed. I always get an Adrenaline rush when I see a new bird or some exciting behavior. I think you do as well.

    Great pics today as always. You never disappoint!

  18. Great bird photos as usual. Good luck with your plans for retirement. What a pity you don't live out here in Australia. Until recently all our rural fire brigades were run by volunteers! And they could never find enough of them!!

  19. I wish I could retire, but with the economy and the hit to what little finances I had, retirement looks like a dream I will never reach. Enjoy your retirement. I'd love to be able to.

  20. "I wonder how it will be chasing the flock full time?" You will pull this one off admirably Springman! Roll on into retirement and open your arms to ... well, you'll be amazed how easily you can fill your days up, and still be looking for more hours.

  21. Woodpecker is my favourite today:)

  22. retirement is great. You will probably not sit in your chamber doing nothing. I hink it will be alright.

    Great shots as usual.

  23. Wonderful image...
    I spent 15 minutes writing a comment and then decided to just say.. If you can afford to retire and just watch your local wildlife (and write because you have a talent for it) go for it..
    Take care Springman..or can I call you Dave.

  24. Take the early retirement!
    I had it forced on me last year by being made redundant from a company I'd worked for for 15 years. They needed to make bigger profits.
    Best thing that has happened to me. I now get to spend all the time I want with nature. Money ain't everything.

    Great shots today; love the woodpecker.

  25. I would think after so many years fighting fires you would be looking forward to retirement. It does sound scary how easily the local governments can go downhill. I am a municipal employee too and I can not wait to leave. I have just a few more years to hang in there. I love your birds and the awesome photos.

  26. I know the very feeling of leaving your loyal job. For months after I retired I still had the feeling that I was on vacation, and still waking up at 4AM ready for the day. To this day every time I hear the scanner on alert I get tensed and wait for that phone call.
    Love your Turkey shots! I haven't seen any in months. So different this winter.
    So glad baseball is getting closer! Can't wait, and so glad too that AJ has moved on! He'll shine in Pittsburgh!
    Stay safe.

  27. Once the decision is made you will jump headlong into it and you will perfect whatever it is you do...I plan to travel and see as much of whats left of the good'ole USA, while its still halfway I WISH I was retired already to go see the Sandhill Crane migration in Kearny Neb end of March...but work and GAS prices is keeping me out of the game right now.
    WELL THOSE are some terrific----I mean Terrific Turkey shots!!!!

  28. Gorgeous photos.

    Just walk away and enjoy your retirement.

  29. Well Dave, only you know when the right time is to retire, but you certainly have many talents to keep you afloat. You should probably write a book on the entire firefighting experience and what's happening to the career today. With your writing skills and your photography I expect big things coming down the pike! I also expect an autographed copy of your first book, whatever it's about.

    Now; the photography of the week is exceptional. The Red-bellied Woodpecker is gorgeous and it looks like it may be perched right next to a nest cavity! The gobblers are beautiful in the header and the post, and the Bald Eagle as well. But, my favorite shot on this post is that magical photo of the Buffleheads taking off. Magnificent!

  30. Dave, I just came across your blog today. I am sorry that this is happening to you. I just turned 60 last week and I have at least 5 more years of teaching, but I REALLY want to get out and spend time in nature. I had melanoma about 8 years ago and I now count every day as precious. I LOVE the weekends when I can grab my camera and head up to the mountains and go exploring! I love birds and I'm submitting my first link today.

  31. I retired early and am really happy I did. I now have time to devote to interests that I had let slide for years. Hope you find the same.
    Your bird pictures are wonderful. Good luck.

  32. Wry resignation.
    Not much we can say to cheer you up.
    Severe regulation breakdown in our British infrastructure as well. Especially as we are throwing this huge party this summer, which we really cannot afford.

    Your header could make me change my mind about wild turkeys :-)

  33. Crazy times. But there is life after our careers. I struggled with finding myself for a year or two after leaving the corporate world. My job defined me. It was who I was. Now I look back and laugh at myself. It was what I DID, not who I was. Once I settled upon other interests (photography, writing) my life made sense again. I've never been happier nor more peaceful than I am now. I'd like to think I am a better person ... at least the backyard birds and squirrels think so. They always have food in their feeders now. ha!

  34. I am a new follower and participant in WBW found through the Pieces of Contentment blog. Just added my first link to WBW showing my Pelican photos from a recen trip to Mexico. Sorry to hear you're going through rough times, I hope when the time comes you'll enjoy your retirement even though the situation is not ideal. Thank you!

  35. All the best to you, Springman, as you contemplate and plan a major change in your life.
    Your photos here are spectacular - I love the woodpecker and the raptor, but that flock of wild turkeys is really a wonderful image.

  36. Great bird shots, Dave!!

    I am sorry to hear of the decline in your city and of your impending forced retirement. Something tells me you won't be bored though and possibly have more time for pursuits you love.
    I know how hard it is to go from working long and hard to nothing... I was forced to "retire" at age 45 due to disability after a car accident. I don't intend to remain that way for too much longer if my medical specialists can find a cure to get me back to the workforce in a part time capacity... I just need some more healing of damaged nerves & joints
    I do treasure re-discovering my love of photography last year and acquiring my DSLR to keep busy so I don't go crazy.
    Good luck & thanks for hosting.

  37. Forgot to say... LOVE the woodpecker! Great raptor shot and of course, another brilliant header.

  38. beautiful blog... my hubby is going through something similar at American Family in Wisconsin... season for all things... hope it goes well for you

  39. It`s hard to leave a job you`ve had for so long.You have a talent for writing & your photography are both truly something I always look forward to on Wed.Love your header & you raptor shot,tke care,phyllis in Pa

  40. Another collection of brilliant photos and lots to ponder. I'm amazed to read of the huge changes taking place within the governance of some of your cities, not good.

    A new season ahead for you, it will be interesting and no doubt rewarding too.

  41. Wonderful photos, I hope you find plenty to do in retirement!

  42. Hi there - firstly, great images as ever - although I think the turkey shot is pretty special.

    I stopped teaching a few years ago and changed job. One on the things that I've noticed is that I am less defined by my paid work - and more comfortable with what I choose to do. Hope you find the same thing. (as I was typing there I wrote 'sane' thing - which really may be even more important!)

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  43. So many big decisions that "big" people make, sure make it a difficult problem on we smaller people. It is not just happening in our country, but seems to be global. Bless you for all of the life changing events that you have helped in, for fires certainly are that. Your bravery, all of the memories of those events shall now carry you forward in a job well done. We each look forward to more of what you share with each of us...geesh, I cannot imagine your images being any better than what they are...for they are awesomeness~

  44. Your writing talent is staring your next career in the face: You are a verbal acrobat: you gauge people's level and respond, be it ever so high or low.
    Your wit, insight and philosophical pen have been a delight to me since I first started reading your posts and the comments you write. And yes, I travel around to read the comments you write on other people's blogs.
    That gift for words expressing compassion and insight, will now have a chance to come into its own if you allow it.

  45. Beautiful picture and nice blog. my favorite is red woodpecker

    JM Natur

  46. Whatever shakes out of the political rug beatings (after all those years of sweeping crap under the carpets, it must really fly when they take them out and start smacking them to shake out the dirt) I sincerely hope you will come out of the mess with just what you need to keep you going, a roof over your head, a working camera and computer, and a good solid writing table, plus whatever staples you need to keep you going, beans and turkey gizzards to warm your innards while the blizzards rage outdoors. (see Greg Brown for music to accompany this comment...

    Terrible how cynical the powers that be have become, most everywhere, governments, corporations, banks, and folks who don't fit in to the molded models get labeled as loony birds... well, we will catch up at the loony bird gatherings, out in the marshes... take care good soul.

  47. Hi Springman, I love your turkey shots - such brilliant color and beautiful composition! Sorry to hear about your impending forced retirement, I retired about a year ago, thought I would work until I dropped, but then suddenly being on call and having to work nights just got to be too much. I haven't regretted it, but still feel guilty doing something useless on a workday for the sheer pleasure of it.. What I am going to say is common sense of course: : finding a purpose, setting a goal, the discipline and perseverance to pursue. You’ve got 25 or more years ahead of you. You are a natural born writer. Your writing and your photography engages people. It opens surprising new vistas… The trouble of course is finding a subject that pays...Free-lance investigative journalism? So, good luck to you!

  48. I am so happy I came across your blog. I adore birds of all kinds and these shots are just spectacular. I cannot wait to participate.

  49. Beautiful Photos and awesome photography..........Thanks for sharing your emotion's!!!
    Day care in Bangalore

  50. Darling Buffles, they are such jolly little birds. I have them every day through the winter in front of our house on the Atlantic. I miss them in the summer and always look forward to them coming back in the winter, though they always mean snow!