I visited Ruthven Park the past two years on Mothers' Day to help with spring migration bird banding because I prefer this activity to dinners and gifts. Mist nets cannot be used in rain and wind so that outing was impossible today. We drove out to a marshy lake in the afternoon to do a little birding. Just as we arrived a heavy snow shower rolled in on strong winds. The Osprey's nest was destroyed by the wind and futile efforts at rebuilding were underway.
I stepped out of the car for these photos but the wind made it hard to hold my camera steady. I haven't seen snow on Mothers' Day for at least 25 years. This area is one of few in our area where Bobolinks can be found. They sit on the fence posts and belt out their crazy metallic songs throughout the day. Five large communication towers stand on the land here so the meadow is untouched by pesticides and herbicides. Thousands upon thousands of acres of corn have destroyed the habitat for meadow dwelling birds like Meadowlarks, Bluebirds, Savannah Sparrows, Killdeer and Bobolinks to name a few. (And that corn is grown to raise cattle but that is a subject for another day)
The winds kept the Bobolinks in the grass more than on the fence wires but they sang in spite of the weather. This marsh is also home to a few nesting Sandhill Cranes and we were fortunate to see two of them grazing in the shallow water.
My family bought me a brand new pair of Nikon binoculars for Mothers' Day and they were useful in watching this drama. A Sandhill Crane was approaching the nesting area of a pair of Red-winged Blackbirds. The male performed aerial attacks on the crane repeatedly, and as it came closer to the nest, the female joined in as well.
Here is the full frontal and rear attack on the Sandhill Crane and it is not even flinching. We couldn't tell if it ravaged the Red-winged Blackbird nest or not.
Fresh air and birding make me happy even in unpleasant weather. As a true introvert, I recharge best wandering about on my own or with a quiet companion. Life can be tough and you might lose your nest or someone special. The wind may batter you about today but there is a tomorrow when the sun will shine and all will be well in your world.
This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres...
This is my Father's world. O let me ne'er forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father's world: why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King; let the heavens ring! God reigns; let the earth be glad!
Maltbie Davenport Babcock