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Thursday, July 29, 2021

Puffin Love

Who doesn't love Atlantic Puffins. This is the time of year they are breeding on rocky islands. We saw these on Machias Seal Island, only accessible by boat,


Saturday, July 10, 2021

American Goldfinch, Cool Finch Stuff


Cool finch stuff - This male American Goldfinch was recently sunbathing with spread feathers, on the head of an antique goose statue in my garden. When he then finished and preened, you can see his spread feathers and that just the tips of the body feathers are yellow. He's not in molt this time of year. The feathers usually overlap and he looks all yellow. The color is the result of the carotenoid pigments (from plant food) in the feather tips reflecting the yellow and ultraviolet light and absorbing light in the blue wavelengths. Memo to male goldfinches – eat your veggies! Female American Goldfinches prefer the brightest yellow males, the bright yellow a sign of the male's nutritional fitness and ability to get food. Knowing the amazing adaptations below the surface of this common finch adds to their mystery and the richness of your experience with them.

Friday, July 02, 2021

Living in a Deeper Current, the Power of Nature

A poet/nature lover friend said to me yesterday, “you’ve always been living in a deeper current.” I reflected on what that might mean for me. For example, I don’t just see goldfinches as pretty yellow feeder birds, I see the males now in full butter plumage doing amazing roller coaster flight displays accompanied by their (sounds like) “potato-chip” flight call over their territory, intent in the genetic survival race of producing more goldfinches. I see a composite flower as a big shopping mall. The petals (ray flowers) are the advertising budget to attract the pollinator shoppers to the hundreds of individual flowers encircled, which bloom from the outside in. I photograph and celebrate each full moon to embrace its energy and place myself outside to know the night creatures (fireflies, bullfrogs, bats, moths, foxes) at a time when our ancestors would have been sound asleep. I see nature as a connecting gateway for health, spirituality, and a bonding opportunity for humans who are now blinded to their destructive effect called climate change. Then there are the Red Crossbills who recruited me, but that’s a story for another day.