The Hooded One

021 Hooded one

The Hooded Guard: Male Northern Cardinal

“Grand, I am !”

009 Who you lookin at

“Who you lookin’ at?”

013 I got my own six

“Ah, I love my back view. How about you?”

011 All right, bug, out

“Okay, bug, out !”

010 Ah, I love my back look

“Yeah, I got my own six. Eat your camera heart out !”

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Credit:
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

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Spring Nesting

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House Sparrows will create a house just about anywhere, even on the side of a house ! Some of them cleverly use sticks and straws to wedge open a vent cap so they may slide inside.

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They work tirelessly to get things looking like a home.

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Father’s asking: “How do you like our house so far?”

Notice how the Sparrows use their tail feathers to help balance themselves on the side of this brick building. They easily can spike their claws into the rough surface of the bricks, then they spread their rear feathers to enable them to hold fast.

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In the beginning of the nest building, pairs may take turns hauling up material and opening the hatch by pecking under its edge with their sturdy beaks.

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 Father’s about to deliver a bunch of bedding,

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while Mother waits her turn to do the same.

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Mother (left) tells Father: “No lunch breaks, dear. Open the cap and then go for more grass. We need lots of soft bedding material.”

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 Father replies: “Yes, dear. Got it !!”

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Mother brings branches to hold the bedding together.

Sometimes it gets crowded (BELOW) as the work is nearly completed and Father’s lunch is long anticipated and overdue!

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But in the end, the nest is finished, and Mother is pleased when she checks inside, then peeks out to see all is safe (BELOW):

The nest is ready for offspring.

Nature’s wondrous cycles continue every Spring, free for humankind to observe… and, perhaps, learn a trick, or two !

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Credit:
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Sticky Squirrel

Roland is a hyper-active young Squirrel. Like all youngsters, he likes to investigate his new world. Let’s pick up the action with Roland:

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ROLAND: “Hmmm… Wonder what this thing is… ”

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ROLAND: “I can pick it up, but what does it do? Can I eat it?”

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ROLAND: “Okay, cool. I can roll with it!”

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ROLAND: “Weeeee… !”

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ROLAND: “Hahaha! I’m all over you, Thing!”

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ROLAND: “Oh! Ah! Thing poked me in the eye!”

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ROLAND: “Ah! Get away, Thing! You’re dangerous!”

STICK “THING”: “You know it, Bushy Tail! Go find a nut, like a normal Squirrel… ”

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ROLAND: “Okay. Yeah. Scary Thing was right. This nut is better!”

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Credit:
Story and Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Rock and Wind Fishing

Hopping from rock to rock to follow and catch fish is a favorite game of the Great Blue Heron.

Read Harvey’s story (BELOW):

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Harvey: “Sorry, Teddy and Eddy White Egret; move back. This is my fishing rock.”

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Harvey: “And I see ya, fish…

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and I gotcha!

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Yum! But, it is a bit windy…

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today…Ooooop! A little help from my wings…

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should…Oooops!…do…!…Where’s the — (oooohhhhh…that’s cold!) — rock?”

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Credit:
Story and Ph0tos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Fishing Lessons

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Baby Heron (ABOVE): Hmmm… Mom said I could catch fish here.

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Baby Heron (ABOVE): That can’t be a fish. Too big. Mom said I’d have to look under water.

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Baby Heron (ABOVE): And these darn big, floppy wings are so awkward.

Baby Heron (ABOVE): Think I’ll take a walk. Mom-Mom. Mom!

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Baby Heron (ABOVE): She must be kidding. The fish will jump into my mouth?

*****Credit:
Story and Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Goslings in the Spring

Since I wasn’t able to add positive proof of babies resulting from my fictional duck tale in “Oh, My Sher-ee” (posted December 24, 2014), I will share some positive proof of other baby water birds being born in May ’15 and raised in the Spring and Summer by giving you a look at the goslings I photographed and by relating the fascinating parental ritual of their growth.

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Pairing up in the sparkle of an early evening.

 

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The new little tykes are introduced to the water almost immediately.

This particular family seemed to have “an aunt” in attendance at the beginning, but as the goslings grew, she supposedly sought company elsewhere and wasn’t seen with the group again.

In the water, one parent takes the lead as the goslings trail in single file behind her, and the other parent follows at the rear of the procession. In the photo above, the goslings are having a little free swim time as the adults keep them closely guarded.

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Three of the downy-feathered goslings and their devoted parents.

On land, the growing goslings are shown how to peck the grass for insects and other delights. While Mother demonstrates insect extraction, Father keeps a close watch on the camera and the human behind it! (That’s a Robin in the background who just happened to fly by when I clicked!)

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An ever watchful parent with two of his goslings.

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After Summer flood waters reached half way up to houses on the Maumee River bank near the bridge, the entire seven-member family took a swim in someone’s back yard, passing the neighbor’s dog in the process. The goslings nearly have gained their full maturity. It won’t be long before they are on their own.

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Letting go…

In early Fall, I watched as the goslings’ parents took them for a swim under the bridge to the East side  and along the shoreline. Walking along the tree-lined river bank myself, I followed them to their destination, a near-shore area of ripe water plant growth not too much farther eastward. I knew the place and was able to get more photographs of the geese family from an undetected spot.

The parents patiently began nudging their offspring to leave them by circle-swimming. Three of the youngsters flew off, while the four in the picture above were a bit more reluctant to go. The parents, however, encouraged them by simply turning away and beginning to swim together back to the bridge. The goslings didn’t follow.

In the two photos above, amazingly, the parents returned to the bridge in the evening sunlight, passed under the structure to the West side, where the goslings had been birthed, and literally swam off together into the sunset, apparently to breed again another day.

It was a thrill to gain this personal perspective on the life of geese, and the poignant raising and releasing of a new family.

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Images Credit:
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg

Kissing Cardinals

A pair of Cardinals have been nesting and playing in our backyard, generously displaying pecks of affection:

The Spiderman Kiss…

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“Lionel, never mind that Spiderman stuff — there’s still work to do!”

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The “Okay-Let’s-Get-Back-to-Work” Post Kiss work positions…

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“Okay, Honey; will this gem of a blade of grass help?”

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“Really, Lionel? I’m working off my tail feathers in here and you bring me that! Oh, well, bring it in. Hubby, what I really want is plastic in here for water-proofing…”

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“All right, dear. We’ll find some after a snack. The lunch break “Here-Honey-Have-A-Seed” Kiss…

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“Ohhh…! This plastic is so hard to hang onto!”

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“Ohhh, LI-o-Nel!!!”  Plasticized!

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“Are you playing hide and seek, Honey?” asks the Last Kiss of the Day Seeker. “Come out! It’s enough work for one day…”

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A Rescue-and-Thank-You Kiss…

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“It looks solid, Honey.”

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“It feels comfortable, Lionel. I think our egglets will lie safely.”

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Before parting, pillow talk following an After-Glow Kiss…

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Settling in… “Goodnight, Lionel.”

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“Goodnight, Honey…” Time to leave her alone, now (Lionel knows), and to wait in the Tree Corridor, and to keep watch…

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Fledglings to follow soon!

(Also see http://www.myspecialphotos.wordpress.com — (“Our Cardinal Pair”)

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