Spring Babies

Happening upon this “abandoned” fawn at a small rural cemetery, I wasn’t tempted to call the Division of Wildlife, but I was overcome with sufficient anxiety about its well-being to be able to relate to concerned citizens who do. Or worse, who pick up the baby deer and take it home, or to a rehab center. As we are repeatedly told, it’s the last course of action we should pursue, as does regularly leave their offspring alone for hours, before returning to them.

So I watched what appeared a merely days-old fawn take tentative steps, before it settled in the shade under a bench. It was still peacefully resting there when I left half an hour later, and I have since imagined its happy reunion with its mother many a time.

Most other encounters with spring babies were not tinged with worry but provided joyful glimpses of newborn life. Or even touches, as was the case with the bunny that had to be rescued from a window well—it was completely unscathed and ostensibly nonchalant and unimpressed.

These moments with furry and feathered new animals reminded me that I am a spring baby, too, my birthday being in April. And that I’m the daughter of a summer baby, who celebrates his birthday exactly 3 months after I celebrate mine. So today I send my gratitude, love, and warmest wishes for a happy birthday, dear Pa. I miss you and can’t wait to see you again.

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Zum Vergrößern, das Bild bitte anklicken. Um den Titel zu lesen, mit der Maus darüber schweben.

Als ich diesem „verlassenen“ Rehkitz auf einem kleinen ländlichen Friedhof begegnete, war ich nicht versucht, die Behörden anzurufen, aber ich machte mir genügend Sorgen, um nachzuvollziehen, warum einige besorgte Bürger das tun. Oder noch schlimmer, warum sie das Junge mit nach Hause nehmen, oder zu einem Wildgehege bringen. Aber wie uns immer wieder eingebleut wird, ist das das Letzte, was wir tun sollen, denn Rehe lassen ihren Nachwuchs regelmäßig stundenlang allein, nur um danach wieder zu ihnen zurückzukehren.

Also beobachtete ich, wie das nur wenige Tage junge Kitz einige zaghafte Schritte tat, bevor es sich unter einer Bank im Schatten niederließ. Dort ruhte es auch eine halbe Stunde später noch friedevoll, als ich den Ort verließ, und ich habe mir seitdem wiederholt seine freudevolle Wiedervereinigung mit seiner Mutter ausgemalt.

Die sonstigen Treffen mit Frühlingsbabys waren nicht mit Sorge behaftet, sondern ermöglichten frohe Einblicke in neugeborenes Leben. Oder sogar Berührungen, was der Fall mit diesem Kaninchen war, das aus einem Fensterschacht gerettet werden mußte. Es war unverletzt und schien völlig gelassen und unbeindruckt.

Diese Momente mit gefiederten und gefellten (ist zwar kein Wort, sollte aber eins sein) Tieren erinnerten mich daran, daß auch ich ein Frühlingsbaby bin, denn mein Geburtstag ist im April. Und ebenso, daß ich die Tochter eines Sommerbabys bin, das seinen Geburtstag genau 3 Monate nach meinem feiert. Aus diesem Grunde sende ich meine Dankbarkeit, Liebe und besten Wünsche für einen frohen Geburtstag, lieber Papa. Ich vermisse Dich und kann es nicht abwarten, Dich wiederzusehen.

More Mural Magic-Part 2

I will dedicate an occasional post to murals I have encountered during my forays in Colorado. Each will be introduced by the featured photo above, which also depicts a mural from a local coffee shop in Manitou Springs, our direct neighbor to the west, and which offers an interpretation of the Colorado State flag, shown here:

The two horizontal blue bars represent Colorado’s blue sky, the white bar its many snowcapped mountains. The red “C” stands for our state’s ruddy soil, and the central golden globe for our many days of sunshine, averaging more than 300/year.

In today’s post, I am showing paintings that highlight various facets of our state, ranging from the very practical to the very whimsical.

Colorado without horses is a thing unimaginable. Bingo’s Saddle Shop in Colorado Springs has sold saddles and other equipment for both Western and English riding styles since 1929.

The quintessential Western scene.

Poor Richard’s in downtown Colorado Springs started out as a used book store but has since expanded to include a pizzeria, wine bar, and delightful toy store.

This fisherman’s dream mural graces a wall in the little town of Buena Vista, about 70 miles west of Colorado Springs. I don’t think it adorns a fishing shop, but it should.

Not a fisherman’s dream, but a cow’s. 🙂 Seen on a wall in the little town of La Veta, about 110 miles south of Colorado Springs.

If you have missed my previous posts about murals, or would like to revisit them, please follow the links below:

Mural Magic

More Mural Magic-Part 1

In Harmony With Nature

Here Comes The Sun

Among our migratory birds, one of the more color- and cheerful representatives is the Western Tanager. As the name implies, it does not typically frequent the eastern part of the Americas, but from its winter quarters in Central America or Mexico journeys to US states and Canadian provinces west of the Great Plains, where it raises its brood in coniferous and mixed forests at elevations of up to 10,000 feet.

Even though tanagers are chiefly insectivorous, their diet also includes berries. This partial sweet tooth is responsible for their appearance at feeders supplied with oranges and grape jelly. For the first time this year, these foods have been part of our offerings and have been well received—by more than the species in question. While tanagers and similarly brilliant birds were replenishing their fat stores for a few weeks following their northbound travels, flickers and flashes of color fluttered regularly through our yard.

As is frequently the case in the avian universe, males are more flamboyant. The understated females are outfeathered by their mates with their bright yellow bodies and orange to red heads. Interestingly, in contrast to other species whose orangeness results from dietary carotenoids, Western Tanagers absorb the rarer pigment rhodoxanthin from certain insects. Often described as flame-colored, for me they evoke the shades of the sky during sunrise—as if from the black of night emerge the lemon, peach, and apricot hues of a new dawn.

To enlarge a photo, click on it. To read its caption, hover the cursor over it.

To learn more about Western Tanagers, and to hear their vocalizations, please follow the link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Western_Tanager/overview

Spring Migration

May of 2020 has gone down in my personal record book as the birdiest month ever—186 different avian species enriched and enlivened my spring beyond the wildest expectations. This number included both resident as well as migratory birds, both birds previously known to me, as well as a few new ones—lifers, as we birders like to call them.

Spring migration, this mind-blowing phenomenon in which countless birds leave their wintering grounds and make their way to their summer breeding grounds, is highly awaited and greatly appreciated each year. Simplistically stated, most migratory birds that wing their way to or through Colorado follow a trajectory that begins either in the southern US, Mexico, Central or South America and terminates at destinations north of here. In some instances, at destinations far north. Certain shorebirds, the Semipalmated Sandpiper among them (which happened to be one of my eight life birds), travels all the way from South America to northern Canada or Alaska, a trip that covers 1,900 to 2,500 miles. Incidentally, the longest recorded journey, that of some Arctic Terns, spans an unbelievable 10,000+ miles, from Antarctica to Alaska. And these distances will be traveled not once, but twice a year!

From the tiniest hummingbirds to substantial raptors, from muted sparrows to brilliant orioles, from monosyllabic gnatcatchers to virtuoso grosbeaks, from the expected species to those who were blown off course, all varieties have overcome impossible odds and have accomplished incredible feats by the time they arrive here. Some only make a stopover in the Pikes Peak region, others bless us with their company all summer long. I can’t fathom the multifarious elements that have converged by the time I see them, but I’m humbled by and grateful for their presence.

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Flower Power

Whatever disheartening sadness and unspeakable tragedies May and June might have held, those are not the only realities, thank goodness. The recent months also brought lengthening days with copious sunshine, alongside the reappearance of myriad plants and animals. This new or renewing life in nature’s multiple sphere’s affords gratuitous and gratifying glimpses for those of us fortunate enough to be able to experience them, and an escape from the chaos and cacophony that is the man-made world. I am not ashamed to admit that I am a master escapist.

To immerse myself in my natural surroundings, to observe their mysterious goings-on, to drink deeply of their intricate shapes, shades, and scents equals happiness for this human heart. In the weeks to follow, I will acquaint you with Colorado’s spring arrivals, from flora to fauna. Today’s post shows a selection of the wildflowers which have been gracing the plains and foothills that stretch toward the Rocky Mountains. By harnessing the essence of earth, water, and sun, they fulfill many purposes while also beautifying their realm. Their presence serves as a powerful and encouraging reminder that some natural cycles are—still—intact. And whether you have witnessed vernal exuberance or autumnal maturing, I hope you, too, have found your own precious moments of bliss.

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There will be no German versions of my posts in the foreseeable future.

In absehbarer Zeit wird es keine deutsche Version meiner Blogbeiträge geben. Ich bitte um Verständnis.