Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring chickens: little things to save the earth

Rhode Island Red chick sleeping in the spring Phox
Americans have taken to chickens with a earnest vengeance. With the seriousness of intention -- "I want to make a difference" -- a difference in the environment, the food chain, or our relationship to nature -- and the pleasure experienced when that something is chickens. More of us every day are adding these funny productive birds to our homes. For those of us first-timers our chicks are arriving this month. Lots of crazy peeping coming from new homes and more of us falling under their spell.

Here is a chicky slide show to celebrate.... Enjoy!
Spring Chicks - Images by Sharon McDonnell

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dressing for spring: Goldfinch breeding colors

Photographers journal

On goldfinch turning yellow.....
I'm sorry I do not have a way to salute the coming of spring-- like the goldfinches sudden brilliant yellow patches that turn it into a canary yellow bird.
Instead spring urges me to plant and dig dirt --
I think turning into a different color would be easier in the long run.
I could pick a different color each spring!
Spring is high hopes".   
                  ----Gay McDonnell Bumgarner,  Photographer 
                       March 1980

I remember in the spring we used to wear bonnets, new dresses with big crinkly slips. Or, perhaps little suits and ties.  Was it our goldfinch-ness perhaps, that same urge to show our colors, to look bright, maybe act like a tulip?  Blooming.
Check out more goldfinches to see their winter and spring outfits.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The first chorus of spring: Peepers

Frog show - Images by Sharon McDonnell

On March 20-- exactly the spring equinox
the amphibian universe activated in Maine
The biological chorus switched on.

The air is wet and cool, sweet with spring and as our car travels
through the tunnel of light down Sligo road
Cued by rising temperature and enough hours of light
the earths' quickening comes as harmony

The Spring Peepers aka "pinkletinks" or tinkletoes
sing A hue and cry,
Hallaluah! the love songs of frogs and toads
sweet enough to break your heart

Here in Maine they hibernate until spring and
when they emerge the nights are capricious
but the frogs can freeze and recover.

It is magic and even if it is not
it is

When the conditions are right they move
to the edges of lakes and wetlands
Males call to the females who listen very carefully to their songs and then decide which to join.

If you click on the "Play Button" you can hear
Songs of the army or the knot (the official name of a group!)

In the audio files below they can give the song for each type of frog and toad.
Interesting....Did you know that what a frog says and
how it says it depends on what it is trying to communicate!
Imagine what we are missing because we do not speak any frog!

If you want to see more frogs and toads search the website
or check previous posts on one of our favorite animals.