May 27, 2009

first blush of spring

(311) Dogwood
6 x 6, oil
“Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life"...Dalai Lama

May 25, 2009

The Mime

So.. I went out to the farmer's market and when I returned, another chick had flown out of the nest, so here was my last little guy all alone. I watched as he (she?) stretched out for a luxurious nap in the now "roomy" abode. And then he was ready to do a few of his favorite impressions for me--or at least that is how it appeared to me. See for yourself:
First, I was treated to a De Niro impression of "Aye..You Lookin at me?"
...followed by his version of "Vinny the Vulture"

Next he sat on the edge of the nest and tried to see just how tiny he could become...
Then it was time to stretch to his tallest pose...
Followed by his impersonation of Puff Daddy, perhaps? What a comedian he is...
And I'm fairly certain if I could understand what he is trying to communicate to me in this one, he would tell me to GO PAINT and leave him alone.
At one point, I observed one of the other siblings suddenly fly back onto the window sill which resulted in both birds engaging in a frenzy of chirping and wing flapping. Seconds later, the visitor had flown away and all was quiet once again. I suspect that what I had just witnessed was a show of encouragement and excitement, meant to convince our younger chick to fly out and join the family fun...and about an hour later, he did just that, leaving the nest empty once again.

Thank you for all the wonderful comments, questions, and emails about our feathered friends. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to witness this little family's work ethic, courage, discipline, and comedy routines from such a close perspective. Providing a connection that enriches and informs our own lives, I feel their journey illustrates just how much more alike, than different, we all really are. A pretty big role for such tiny hearts.
"Our life together is so precious, together
we have grown, we have grown...
It's time to spread our wings and fly
Don't let another day go by my love
It'll be just like starting over, starting over"...John Lennon

May 24, 2009

Heckle and Jeckle

"Oh gee, there she is with that camera AGAIN. Okay, let's show her what we do for fun...You put your beak in........"
"You take your beak out...."
"You put your beak up"
"and you shake it all do the...."
"...hey wait, that looks like MOM down there. Hey Mom, could you bring us something to eat? We're starving up here- it's already been five whole minutes since you brought us something. Seriously, I think I may pass out from hunger soon....hey look there's a worm right behind you....could you hurry up, please?"

"oh, thanks, Mom. That woman with the camera is still there. Let's turn around and ignore her, maybe she'll go away..."

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken"...James Dent

May 23, 2009

two's company

About an hour after I took the photos of the chick peering over the edge, he/she was no longer in the nest. So now these little fellows are all too anxious to strike a pose for me as we prepare to say our goodbyes. The last one hatched in the late afternoon on Mother's Day, so they are only two weeks old, but in the "bird world" they are adults, ready to embark on a new adventure. However, I think I speak for moms everywhere when I say that all I see are sweet little faces full of curiosity and wonder. Sigh.
"There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
one is roots. The other is wings"... Hodding Carter, Jr.

standing room only

Their chests are beginning to show the red of their parents. And now they dare to stand up in the nest. Notice how the one in the back leans out and peers around the corner (top photo). I can't help but wonder what their thoughts are as they look out into the unknown. Are they timid about that first flight, or fearless?
“When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown,
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly”...Patrick Overton

May 22, 2009

the choir

They appear to be about the size of their parents now, and are very curious about the world around them, especially when they see me staring through the glass.
“Too many people grow up. That's the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don't remember what it's like to be 12 years old"...Walt Disney

May 20, 2009

10 days old

What a difference a day makes. Up until today the young chicks slept most of the time except when they were feeding. But today they have been alert, active and for the first time, they seem to be very interested in observing the world outside their nest.
“The unknown is the province of the student;
it is the field for his life's adventure,
and it is a wide field full of beckonings"...Lincoln Steffens

May 19, 2009

The Five Fam

Because the ever wary and observant mom can see me through the glass, I try not to intrude and do most of my close-up observations while she is away. So, here I am with my nose about 6 inches away from the sleeping babies in the top photo when suddenly they open their mouths as both parents flew in together. I was so startled, I almost fell off the ladder. And once they saw me grasping for the windowsill, they were so taken aback they almost fell out of the nest. Then we all took a moment to just STARE at each other before going on our way.

Today's thoughtful quote comes from a fellow artist/St.Croix-nicity blogger, Bonnie Luria who pointed out that this series of photos is "a microcosm of the wonder that is life and motherhood. It’s almost a familial loss when they take off."
Yes, it certainly feels that way to me. My youngest son often referred to us as "the five fambiwy" when he was young.

caramel macciatti,please!

It was 42 degrees this morning so MomRobin fluffed out her feathers to keep her babies warm. This is the first time I have seen her shut her eyes-never more than a millisecond at a time, but clearly, she is dreaming of a Starbucks fix. And just when she got all settled in, Dad (top photo) arrived with breakfast and, siesta over, out she flew back to work.
"A fig for partridges and quails,
ye dainties I know nothing of ye;
But on the highest mount in Wales
Would choose in peace to drink my coffee"...Jonathon Swift

May 18, 2009


The bottom photo is what the chicks looked like at 6 days. And only 48 hours later (top photo), they are getting feathers and have grown so rapidly; they are almost spilling out over the edge of the nest!
“You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things”...Henry David Thoreau

May 16, 2009

5 days old

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best"...Henry Van Dyke

May 14, 2009

the team

Okay, first of all I apologize to anyone who is not as smitten with this little family as I am, but I'm positively obsessed at this point. From what I have read the daddy's main job is to keep an eye on the nest and protect it from predators. Well not this daddy. He flies up and scoops out the waste products (which are conveniently located in a tidy little sac) and supplies food, and mostly just lovingly stares at his sleeping brood (top photo). Then Mom flies in (bottom photo), and he flies out... a seamless and well orchestrated transition... so sweet... sigh.
"To me, the garden is a doorway to other worlds; one of them,
of course, is the world of birds. The garden is their dinner table,
bursting with bugs and worms and succulent berries"... Anne Raver

May 12, 2009


"Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
and never stops at all"...Emily Dickenson

May 10, 2009

Mother's Day!

They are here! I got to watch them hatch today! The mother carefully carries out the eggshell pieces and drops them well away from the nest. This prevents would-be predators from knowing where the nest is located. She is a very attentive and hard-working mom. I feel so honored to share this tiny miracle on my window sill on this very special day for moms.
"That little bird has chosen his shelter. Above it are the stars and the deep heaven of worlds. Yet he is rocking himself to sleep without caring for tomorrow's lodging, calmly clinging to his little twig, and leaving God to think for him"... Martin Luther

Patiently Waiting

"Becoming a mother makes you the mother of all children.
From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours.
You live in the suffering of mothers in every race and creed and weep with them.
You long to comfort all who are desolate"... Charlotte Gray

May 8, 2009


"I looked on child rearing not only as a work of love and duty,
but as a profession that was fully as interesting and challenging
as any honorable profession in the world,
and one that demanded the best I could bring to it."

Rose Kennedy

May 6, 2009

and now there are three!

And what a work of art her nest has become in such a short time!

What is joy?

It is a bird
That we all want to catch.
It is the same bird
That we all love to see flying
- Sri Chinmoy

May 5, 2009

the color of...

robin's egg blue
"Blues that lean toward greys are the most sophisticated and ethereal. Warming and cooling, greying and tinting, as well as neutralizing your blues by adding incremental amounts of the complementary orange, are all worthwhile exercises... Blue is an education"...Robert Genn

May 3, 2009

Mother to be

"Sweet bird! thy bow'r is ever green,
Thy sky is ever clear;
thou has't no sorrow in thy song,
No winter in thy year"... John Logan

May 2, 2009

outside my window...

"There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way
in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before"... Robert Lynd