Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Birds and the Bees

WHAT a beautiful day to ring in the New Year! Walking around a local lake, the weather was cold, crisp and sunny. With no leaves on the trees, birds, old nests and other points of interest could easily be spotted against the bright blue sky. We saw a large paper wasp nest suspended from a branch about thirty feet in the air, and watched a vine tendrill swinging in the wind trying to catch a foothold in the tree it was climbing.

We had planned to feed the ducks with an aging tortilla, but Emma was nibbling away at it herself and declined to share, even when the ducks and geese started following her. Once they'd given up hope of a snack, they went back about their business and we sat on the bank and watched them. To Emma's question what a particular pair of ducks were doing, I confidently answered that they were drinking. Then the head bobbing became more rhythmic and it became apparent that this was more than mere drinking. A pattern of intriguing movements followed including a vigorous head pecking and a victory lap by the male, then the lovers bid farewell and went their separate ways.

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