This fine looking young lady just happens to be my Mother whose 90th birthday we celebrated this week. A couple of summers ago while she was visiting, my neighbor Chris knocked on the side door and of all things he had a starling perched on his shoulder. The bird was completely sociable and took to my Moms shoulder comfortably for a meet and greet. Our little friend seemed healthy and flew off into the trees to wait for us if we went into the house and was eager to resume our inter-species dialog when we reemerged. He was our constant companion and shared in all manor of human activities from carpentry to gardening showing no fear of the noise or fuss. Why did this bird crave our attention?
That starling beak is a wicked looking weapon viewed from close range and I had the uneasy feeling he might decide to poke my eyeball. I couldn't quite get my mind around being the object of this birds affection. Chris's young twin boys were afraid of the dive bombings we were being subjected to as well. This was a wild animal after all!
I had heard old stories of Michigan's logging camps that told of how the shanty boys would hand train forest birds as personal pets. This young starling came pretrained as a sorcerers apprentice. What to do? On one hand I liked having this connection with a wild creature and the mystery it implied, on the other I felt he needed to resume a more natural routine. My adult instincts ruled the day. I took the starling deep into the Chippewa Nature Centers property about a half mile from the house and released him there. That was it. I felt lost for a few days after that, and a little guilty, like I had taken unfair advantage of a friends trust. The tree tops now cradled only distrustful strangers when I looked up. I still live in hope he will swoop down and take his place on my shoulder again. I think now, I could make a different choice, and let serendipity run it's course.
Oh! What did Mom want for her 90th birthday you ask? An ipad! Intellect marvelously intact, she is ready to make her run at the century mark.
I must have caught this Common grackle in an unusual light because they're usually beyond black. There have been quite a few new comers working the leaf litter this week.
I was able to work in a little gull time this week keeping my eye sharp. Southerly winds are pushing the migrators toward the Great Lakes basin and I have plotted some early field trips starting today. It will be good to submerge myself into the wetlands again. Already the Red-winged blackbirds and American robins are back in town.
Something about this circlcular composition of gulls pleased me. Thanks to the Bagel Lady for her assistence!
Rafts of ducks are everywhere along the Great lakes flyway. Above, a common merganser takes to flight in the freshly thawed marsh. Below, Greater scaups wander in toward shore in range of my 400mm lens.
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#3Check back in during the course of the next day and explore these excellent photoblogs!
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first, happy 90th to your sweet and tech-savvy mom! how great!! second, i love the gull in your header photo. gorgeous! third, i'm shaking my head at your little starling story. released in the forest with nary a breadcrumb to follow back! oh, springman! (kidding!) :)ReplyDelete
Happy 90th to your mom, Springman! What a cool story/shot of the starling on her shoulder too. Really nice job on the grackle -- love to see its iridescence!ReplyDelete
She must be the bird whisperer! Seriously though, it's all fun and games until someone gets pooped on. Someone must have been feeding that starling. I always fight the urge to feed the ducks that come into our backyard.ReplyDelete
You did the right thing releasing out in the park.
Great shots all!
Happy Happy Birthday to your beautiful Mother...You got some fantastic photos..I have read how intelligent starlings and others are but I am surprised it wasn't afraid....MichelleReplyDelete
Great bird pics all! Your mother sounds like one with-it woman. Congratulations on her 90th birthday!ReplyDelete
Belated birthday wishes to your lovely Mom! I'd never have thought she was 90 if you hadn't mentioned the age! Another series of delightful photos! Love that blue on the grackle!ReplyDelete
A belated Happy Birthday to your Mom! She is a very lovely lady!ReplyDelete
What a great story of the starling. Honestly don't know what I would have done.
Great shots as always!
Happy Birthday to your mom!ReplyDelete
Great story of the starling.
Another series of great photos.
Thanks for hosting.
that´s a nice story. :) And your mom so healthy. Only to be congratulated. :)ReplyDelete
Fab shot of your dear mum! Congrats on the birthday. My grandmother will be 102 next week. It's a great time of year to have been born.ReplyDelete
My, mom looks to be 20 years younger at least. Good on her. Another wonderful read accompanied by more inspiring photos. Thanks!ReplyDelete
Happy belated Birthday to your mother! What a great photo! Your grackle and gull shots are outstanding! Very well done.ReplyDelete
The photo of your mother looks lovely! Congratulations on her recent birthday.ReplyDelete
I especially like the photo of the 3 gulls. Nice composition!
A very happy 90 th birthday to your sweet momma. I love the Starling on her shoulder, as well as the story told...ReplyDelete
I can only imagine having to let it go in a more wild environment, and the thoughts that had to have drifted through your thoughts after doing so. I think that I would have had a very difficult time with that decision, and yet, we can think happy thoughts and imagine that it is out there having a marvelous time with other Starlings~
Happy belated birthday to you, Mom. Cute shot of the starling on her shoulder. The colors on the grackle are beautiful. Great shots!ReplyDelete
A wonderful post... and many happy returns to your Mum it was also my Mums birthday at the weekend... 81 years young she still drives but although she has the internet it's a bit of a struggle...ReplyDelete
Great images of your wonderful birds and I hope your new found time will bring many more.
Happy belated b-d to your Mom -- love that she wants an I-Pad -- she's a great role model.ReplyDelete
The birds are wonderful as always! And, as always, thank you for hosting. Happy Spring!
Belated birthday greetings to your Mom ... I'm not sure mine would even know what an I-Pad was .. lol.ReplyDelete
Great series of images again this week ... you are obviously enjoying your leisure time.
First of all, Happy Birthday to your mother! She looks beautiful with the bird. Thanks for hosting this wonderful meme, where one can see beautiful pictures of birds from all over the world.ReplyDelete
Happy belated birthday to your mom! What a great picture that is of her and the Starling.ReplyDelete
Springman, that is the most beautiful Grackle shot I've ever seen. What marvelous color!
Happy Birthday to your Mom!!!!!She is such a beautiful Lady!ReplyDelete
As usually enjoyed your post Springman:)
Today is my first participation in this wonderful meme :)ReplyDelete
Regards and best wishes
Beautiful photos! How lovely with the starling sitting on your mothers shoulder :) and the common grackle looks very exotic with the blue coulor.ReplyDelete
Hi there - I knew that this lady was your mum (or mom!) as soon as I saw the picture. This is not to say that you look like a 90 year old lady or that your mother looks like an ex-fireman!ReplyDelete
I think I may get myself into trouble if I carry on mush further!
Great post and pictures as ever!
Cheers - Stewart M
I am fascinated that the starling was so friendly!ReplyDelete
Yes, the birds are migrating ! This is such a great time of year, don't you think?
This is my first posting here but I've visited this meme several times and enjoyed it each time.ReplyDelete
Indeed a fine lady your Mum; such a lovely photograph…and did she get her Ipad? Will she follow your W.B.B; no doubt! She would get so much enjoyment sharing your wonderful pictorial articles. The startling is an odd one; it seemed to me it has been hand- reared also, and I can imagine how you were driven to try and place it back into the environs where it could behave more like a bird.ReplyDelete
Isn’t that amazing the strong blue evident in the just-right angle of the Common Grackle’s head ; fantastic shot. How much you will enjoy getting out birding with the new season in the making.
That's a great story but in the end I think you probably made the right choice, hard as it undoubtedly was. Once again a fantastic collection of images.ReplyDelete
A lovely photo of your mother. My father just turned 90 too.ReplyDelete
Great collection of photos.
Happy 90th to your Mom Dave! My lovely Mom is going on 96 this year! I would say that Starling was imprinted on humans but I love that photo!ReplyDelete
I'm with you on the photo of the three gulls. What a great shot!
Your mum is a fine looking lady,I hope she got her ipad.The StarlingReplyDelete
on her shoulder must have been used to humans,perhaps trained to
eat from the hand, in any event it made a fantstic picture.
The gorgeous irridescent blue on the grackle is so unusual,could it be a new species!
Well darn, better late than never. Mr. Linky closed before I could participate, but I am still linking to WBW.ReplyDelete
What a beautiful woman your Mother is... Happy Birthday to her! I NEVER would have guessed her age, she definitly looks MANY years younger!
What a great story, thank you for sharing it.
Actually, I spent the longest on your header! The gull looks like he is shrugging in mid-air!!ReplyDelete
A great post. I love it.ReplyDelete
WBW is great and I am sorry that I am not able to participate this week...
This was my choise:
I wish you a great Sunday!
I kinda wandered from one blog to another till I ended here. Love, love, love the story of your mom and the starling. I love also seeing so many different bird photos! WOW!ReplyDelete
What a lovely starling story.ReplyDelete
I once had a homing pigeon adopt me and try to do the Leda and the swan thing with me by circling my feet with one wing dropped and gurgling at me.He would attack anyone who came near me and we finally had a friend take him so far away that he could not find his way back - or did not make it. I felt guilty ever after.