Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fine Feathers - Fine Birds

“It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds.” Aesop

feathers in morning sun
“I am a feather for each wind that blows” William Shakespeare
I have small collections of feathers here and there throughout the house. This grouping sits upon a table in my front hall. The morning sunlight was streaming though the front door, highlighting their colours and markings.

gull perched
"Seagulls... slim yachts of the element." Robinson Jeffers
This lovely creature posed nicely for me before taking off to soar overhead, circling the pond.

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." Harper Lee
My friend, the Northern Mockingbird. I don't see him often but he has a way of appearing just when I expect him to. Isn't that accommodating of him?

mourning doves
There is nothing in which the birds differ more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before. ~Robert Lynd
Looking up, as I often do, I saw these mourning doves peering back down at me. They're not the brightest birds in the flock but they sure are lovely.

sparrow egg3
“The present was an egg laid by the past that had the future inside its shell.” Zora Neale Hurston
I came home from my walk around the pond and glanced at a low branch of the pine tree which overpowers my small front yard. Perched ever so delicately was this small, vacated sparrow egg. It seems early for new hatchlings and I wonder if it's a leftover from last year.

sparrow egg5
“When arguing with a stone an egg is always wrong” African Proverb
Turning it over, you can see where the wee sparrow made its exit.

These photos were taken a few days ago when spring was in full swing. If you'd look outside my door today, you'd see a fresh blanket of snow covering the previously thawed earth. It fell all day long. Enough!


Maggie May said...

Those are truly magnificent feathers.... worthy of a place in anyone's home.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

June said...

I'd bet the majority of people worldwide don't know how beautiful feathers are, seen up close and still. It's wonderful that you have object d'arts de feathers around your house. How beautiful!

Tabor said...

Oddly enough I have begun to have feathers scattered around my house as well. I collect them off the water and on hikes. I am thinking of trying to pull them all into some wall basket or some container. I also took a photo just like you did for a post sometime...genius photographers think alike ;-)

Out on the prairie said...

Hopefully it will melt away as fast as it came.I have a hard time not taking certain feathers home.

Unknown said...

I can't even bring myself to take another snow photo!
Incredible that this spring storm is more like a winter is here to stay for a bit one.

John Nicoll said...

I'm smitten with all your images!

Betsy Banks Adams said...

Hi Hilary, Hope your snow melts quickly now. I know it must be frustrating waiting for spring to come to your area.

Love seeing your birds up there.. GREAT pictures... AND--those feathers are gorgeous... Love the lighting in that picture.

Anvilcloud said...

The feather photo is verra gud. Nicely seen.

Anonymous said...

What marvellous shots! I love the magical light streaming through the feathers.

Brian Miller said...

the feathers are very pretty as if the shell...delicate....

abb said...

Aren't feathers - and eggs - the most beautiful and fasicinating objects d'art?

Dan said...

It never occurred to me to collect feathers. Your's look special, and reflects the person you are.

Leah J. Utas said...

Lovely positioning on the egg pics. Love the feathers, too.

She Who Carries Camera said...

Great captures, Hilary. Your shot of the mourning doves is much better than the ones got over the weekend. The pair of them were way up in a tree and I was shooting from the boat. There isn't a seagull portrait on the Tweeter Board yet, though. Could you add it, pretty please! ;-)

Elizabeth Grimes said...

I always love your "feather" posts. Amazing. And I would never have known what morning doves looked like!

DJan said...

I saw two crows yesterday sitting on a telephone wire grooming each other. They were obviously enjoying it, and I quick grabbed my camera but just the movement was enough to make them leave.

I love birds and taking pictures of them, but I never thought about collecting their feathers before. As usual, your pictures inspire me to try harder to capture my world!

Dianne said...

oh my! the exited egg is a marvel
so perfect, so sweet
and I love the light through the feathers
that's just simple beauty

ellen abbott said...

I always love you bird photos but the feathers and egg pics are my favs.

Indrani said...

I have a good collection of peacock feathers and they look so good when sunlight falls on them.

Bossy Betty said...

You undo this girl with these literary quotes and bird pictures. I am packing my bags and moving in with you.

Bossy Betty said...

Oh wait..... did you say SNOW? Maybe I'll wait a few months.

Ruth Hiebert said...

I enjoyed each of these photos.The sunlight through the feathers is beautiful.Did you say more snow?Time for green grass and not snow.

Kristina P. said...

I love the egg picture.

Kittie Howard said...

Thanks, Hillary, for stopping by! And thank you for some gorgeous photos. I gasped when I saw the sun coming through the feathers -- so perfect. Can I please have a slice of your sky? It's soooo blue and high...makes me want to soar!

Daryl said...

looks as if it was a windy day .. and that egg shell is so sweet

Frank Baron said...

Isn't it a treat to see and hear those returnees again? Let's hope that snow is gone in a few days and stays gone for a few months.

Thanks for the visit with some of my favourite beings. :)

Betty Manousos said...

Oh my word, these are breathtakingly beautiful shots!!

You are very, very talented!
I can't stop looking at them!

Have a great day!

Dawn said...

Loving the 2 in the tree!
And YES! ENOUGH! I am so with you....

Liz Mays said...

I actually adore mourning doves precisely because they're so dim. They are just too funny!

Laura said...

Oh these are wondrous photos...the first and last are my just started snowing here again too!

Reb said...

Those are lovely photos. I love the shell, so pretty.

Barbara said...

All beautiful shots, but that shell is just so delicate. Love the design.
You reminded me I have a collection of bluejay feathers somewhere...

ADRIAN said...

I love the empty egg broken side up. a super composition. Odd to find it. odder still if it's one of last years.
The feathers I'm not sure about I like the blown out style but think it could do with a push on the blown out side. Horses for courses.

messymimi said...

Agreed, doves are beautiful but not very bright. We have a pair that routinely build a nest on our property, very poorly, and many a baby has had to be rescued because it fell out.

Love the mockingbirds.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

I'm sayin...where is Spring hiding??? It's cold here today and snow is in the weekend forcast.

Hon, your pictures are simply amazin' especially the feathers!

God bless and have a marvelous day!

Paul C said...

My wife and I returned recently from a trip to southern Florida where we visited several national nature reserves. We read about hunters killing THOUSANDS of egrets, spoonbills, and herons for their few exotic feathers for hats in the late 1800's... You always have a wonderful photo tribute of birds.

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Beautiful, Hilary. A word to the wise, though...looking up when under a bird is not always wise. :)

When I saw the mockingbird, my first thought for a quote was exactly the one you chose. I just reread "To Kill a Mockingbird" recently. It's a favorite.

Wendy said...

Hilary, you have a talent for taking the ordinary and turning it into something extra-ordinary!

I never would have thought to place feathers in a "bouquet". Mine just lie around, get dusty and then get tossed (well not all, I have a huge turkey feather and a tiny hummingbird feather which I keep in a box - time to let them out!)

Country Girl said...

But that's what it does in March. It taunts you with weather made for bare feet, and then snows the next day.

I caught a mockingbird too, over the weekend!

yaya said...

Beautiful pics of our feathered friends and I love the shell too! So sorry about the stinky snow day..we were suppose to get some today, but it passed us by..yesterday we had a tornado warning all day. Crazy! Hope spring comes soon to your yard!

SandyCarlson said...

That African proverb accompanying the last image about captures my meeting today with my daughter's teacher and principal.

The feathers in the first image seem to have a wonderful story written on them.

Thanks for another beautiful post.

Cloudia said...

wow! tour de force!

“I am a feather for each picture you post!"

Aloha to you
from Waikiki!

Comfort Spiral



Hilary said...

• Maggie May, thanks very much. I'm glad you think so. :)

• June, thank you kindly. It's true, many might not take the time to see one up close. They're varied and beautiful. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Tabor, I don't think that's odd at all. I kind of expect it from you. ;) I recognize a genius mind when I meet one. ;)

• Steve, I hope so too. In fact it's happening already. It was very sunny today. I'm also not surprised that you collect some feathers. :)

• Deb, no doubt you got the same dump. At least it's beginning to melt. :)

• Welcome, John and thank you for the kind words. :)

• Thanks, Betsy. It's already beginning to melt so I don't think it will be long before we're seeing grass again. Thanks very much for your always kind words. They're very much appreciated. :)

• AC, tanka much. :)

• Thanks, Lady Fi. You're the queen of beautiful lighting so that means a lot to me. :)

• Thanks, Brian. :)

• TSannie, I believe they are. Birds are a wonder. :)

• Daniel, such a sweet thing to say. Thank you for that, my friend. :)

• Leah, thanks. I had a hard time handling it without it breaking further. It was so delicate. :)

• Thanks, Jillsy. I added the gull to your page but I think I messed it up. Sorry you asked? ;)

• Elizabeth, they're pretty much the same as pigeons - just different colours. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• DJan, that would have been a wonderful shot.. an even better video. Too bad they got spooked. You always say the kindest things. Thank you so much for that. :)

• Thank you, Dianne. It was so tiny too. And incredibly fragile. I don't know how it made it to where I found it. Thanks so kindly, my friend. :)

• Thanks, Ellen. I know that feathers are special to you. :)

• Indrani, I'll bet they looks spectacular. Their colours are amazing. :)

• Betty, I'll clean up the spare room. That snow is melting quickly. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Ruth. I totally agree. I've had enough snow. Thanks for the visit. :)

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Kristina. :)

• Kittie, thank you so much. I'm glad you like the feathers. I kind of gasped when I saw the sun shining through them. I'm glad it evoked the same reaction in you. You wouldn't have wanted my sky yesterday.. it was full of blowing snow! :)

• Daryl, yes it was. Their feathers were all ruffled. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Frank, yep. It's quite the tweet to hear them again. ;) You can't fool me though. I know you'll be complaining about summer's heat before we reach t-shirt weather. :)

• Betty M, thank you so kindly. Such a lovely compliment. :)

• Thanks, Dawn, You've been hit with the white stuff too. I'm ready for true spring. :)

• Blueviolet, I see you know them well. ;)

• Laura, thank you kindly. I hope your snow doesn't last too long. So nice to see you. :)

• Reb, thanks very much. :)

• Barbara, it was incredibly fragile. I was lucky to snap a shot of it. I nearly lost it when turning it over. Time to find those jay feathers. ;)

• Adrian, thanks very kindly. I really can't imagine it surviving the winter, yet at the same time, it was so fragile, that I can't imagine it housing a bird. I think it would be a stronger shell if it was current. I'm not sure what you're referring to about the blown out style. Perhaps you could explain? Thanks for the visit. :)

• MessyMimi, yes. Mourning doves are notorious for building their nests in really dumb, vulnerable places. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Nezzy, thank you so kindly. Always nice to see you drop by. :)

• Paul, that kind of slaughter is so shocking. I can assure you that my feathers were all found. Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

• Good advice, Linda. Of course you're in as much danger whether you look up or not. It's when your mouth is open that you might really be in trouble. ;) I reread TKAM semi-recently too. Such a classic story. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you so kindly, Wendy. That's such a lovely thing to say. Some of those feathers were from a turkey. I think that a hummingbird feather would be such a treasure. I hope you give them a place of honour. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Kate, that's exactly what March does. Luckily, it works the other way around too. Cool about the mockingbird. They're a favourite of mine. :)

• Yaya, thanks kindly. I'm sure it won't be too long before winter is gone for good. It just feels like forever. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Sandy, I hope you were the stone. Thanks for the always kind words. :)

• Cloudia, thank you kindly. I love your quote. :)

Zuzana said...

I always enjoy your bird photography.;)
I love feathers, for a while as a child I collected them. I am also forever enticed by quill pens and feathers always bring these to mind.
I like the two last images and I like that you call it a vacated egg.;))
Have a lovely Friday,

Pauline said...

Love these quote/photo posts - your feather collection is quite beautiful in the sunlight. Here the snowdrops are struggling out from under a fresh snowfall, too, but they are undaunted.

Robin said...

Love the simplicity of the egg shell, and I've always had a soft spot for gulls, even if they can be a bit noisy and pushy sometimes

Land of shimp said...

I'm catching up here, Hilary :-) So I've just read several posts. The feathers are lovely and the light in the first picture is amazing. Of course, my first thought? "She must get up really early." I don't have a lot of poetry in my soul, but evidently I'm great at stating the super obvious.

But it's the moon pictures that just left me astounded. They are gorgeous. Hilary, that one of the moon over water, the sky around it is so bright, it is as if the moon is having an identity crisis. "It's my turn to be the sun, isn't? What do you mean, I'm just reflecting the sun?"

The Moon is Confused but Trying.

I can relate to the moon sometimes ;-)

Cricket said...

Nice. I especially like the feathers and, of course, the first shot of the egg. Your image is far prettier than mine.

I think McCartney's Winter Rose/Love Awake captures the winter-spring transition nicely. From Back To The Egg, no less ;-)

Thinking of McCartney, in a bit of reversal of the usual, should you ever feel the need for inspiration for a post, perhaps you might listen to McCartney's Junk. I bet you'd find something there.

You just might.

Sueann said...

Those feathers look amazing with the sunlight streaming through them Hilary!! Love your photos!!
I can hear the Meadow Lark singing as I type this right now. Ahhh! Spring!!
Even with the snow...we know it is spring and summer is just around the corner!!

Pat - Arkansas said...

Oh! The feathers are gorgeous! I enjoyed seeing your local birds. Two mockingbirds hang out in the crepe myrtle in my front yard, and I love to hear them sing.

I hope your snow is soon gone.

Dawning Inspiration said...

So pretty - I love that egg! The texture in it is fabulous!

Cheryl Kohan said...

Those photographs of the eggshell are wonderful! Actually, they all are but those two really outstanding.

As for collecting feathers...well, that's a wonderful idea!

Joanna Jenkins said...

I'd love to have a scarf the same colors as your feathers. So beautiful.

Have a great weekend, jj

Gail Dixon said...

What a gorgeous gull photo. Saw it on Jillsy's Twitter Board. Really lovely!

Debbie said...

I have a new collection of feathers on my screen porch but unfortunately, they are courteous of one of my cats. Time to put the jingle bell collar on!

Friko said...

Lovely feathered friends, sorry about the return of the snow.

sage said...

Beautiful photos as always. I love how you are so interconnected with nature. Winter came back here, too, but the snow stayed about 50 miles north of us (we only got a light dusting)

ds said...

Glorious feathers, a hopeful egg, and then...snow. Sigh. But today it melted :)

photowannabe said...

I love the feathers highlighted by the sunlight. Really pretty and the birds are delightful. I agress that the doves aren' t the brightest but your picture is.
The egg shell is stunning.
Thanks for your posts. I just love coming here.

CiCi said...

I would so love to go on walks with you, but your photos make it possible for me to go on virtual walks with you. Lovely.

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant photography, they all are truly magnificent, the egg is a stunner!

Shrinky said...

Your photography is always spectacular, but it's that first picture which I find the most breathtaking - you have such a talent, my friend.

Russell said...

Some very nice images. I really like the first one a lot and the last two.

Your moon images with the branches in the foreground were really excellent, too.

Always enjoy stopping by though, to be honest, I have not been on the blogs much these past few months.

Take care.

Anita said...

Wow! There's something striking about all of these photos. The glow of the feathers, the lone white bird whose color and shape shows such emphasis, the two birds sitting high on crip branches against the clear blue sky...the egg...all wonderful examples of how perfect nature is.

Anita said...

Oops, I see a couple typos. :)

Mental P Mama said...

Love! I have had a love-lorn robin banging on my window all day....I may just invite him in;)

Nancy said...

Beautiful pictures. The older I get - the more I love birds.

Scott Law said...

Love the feathers, both off and on the birds.

Hilary said...

• Zuzana, thanks very much. I'm not at all surprised that you're enamoured with feathers. It's very much you. And I figured the egg might stir up wistful thoughts as well. ;) Thanks for your always kind words my friend. :)

• Thank you, Pauline. Those snowdrops are hardy and plucky little flowers, aren't they? Thanks for the visit. :)

• Robin, I think gulls are far worse in the city, where they have all sorts of expectations of where their next meal might come from.. quite often your hand. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Alane, my friend of long, lovely and always enjoyable comments. I'm up earlier than I'd like to be but not quite as early as my cats would like me to be. ;) I hate to tell you this, but that last shot of the moon was photoshopped. I totally understand your skimming while trying to catch up. You wouldn't be so astounded with the photo had you noticed that part. Sorry, my friend. I didn't mean to deceive. :)

• Cricket, thanks. My egg was just a shell of what it once was. Yours was a practical yolk. Are you cracking up yet? ;) A cool choice of musical accompaniment. Thank you. And Junk is a favourite. It would be a good theme for yard sale photos. Where will I find a bicycle for two though? :)

• Thank you, SueAnn. I know you have to be right about spring's approach. I just hope it's soon. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Pat, thank you. I'm quite fond of the mockingbirds. They seem less shy and more curious than the average bird around here. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• SD, thank you kindly. :)

• Cheryl, thanks very much. I can't take credit for the idea of keeping feathers but I do enjoy having them. :)

• So true, Joanna. Those colours would make a lovely scarf. :)

• Welcome, LB and thanks very much for the kind words. They're so appreciated. :)

• Oh oh, Debbie. That's not the way we want to be collecting feathers. Darn cat! Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thank you, Friko. It's already mostly melted. :)

• Sage, thank you so much for such kind words. They're very much appreciated. Our snow is on its way out. The cold is lingering though. It can't be too much longer.. I hope. :)

• DS, I'm glad your snow is gone. It won't be too much longer here either. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Sue, thank you so much. Your kind words always give me a lift. :)

• TB, I would love to have you along with me on a walk or several, and I'm glad you enjoy them through my photos. :)

• Bob, thank you so kindly. Your kind words make my day. :)

• Shrinky, thanks very much. Such kind words mean so much to me. :)

• Russell, good to see you. I've noticed your absence and missed seeing your face around here. Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

• Thank you, Anita. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and how they all connect. Nice to see you visit. And no worries about the typo. Nobody's prefect. ;)

• MPM, thank you. Your robin isn't the first I'm hearing about trying to get in the window... though in the other instance it's a female cardinal. Silly birds! :)

• Nancy, I'm with you there. Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks, Scott. I have to admit that they're prettier on the birds but lovely to have once they're not needed anymore. :)

tattytiara said...

The thing I love most about gulls is that they always seem to me to be the most (facially) expressive of birds, and your photograph captures that perfectly. Also very cool: that dove's feathers look like flower petals!

steviewren said...

So sorry you've got snow again. I love it that you have a jar of feathers. They are beautiful reminders of all the birds you've seen on your walk abouts.

Hilary said...

• Thanks, TattyTiara. You're so right about gulls.. they seem happy, angry or just plain indignant at times. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Steviewren. That snow will fade soon enough. I'm glad you like the feathers. Thanks for the visit. :)

lime said...

i quite like the sparrow egg. something so sparse and poetic about those two shots.

ben said...

I dono come u take these photos .. Mind blowing .. Hats off for your post !!

Suldog said...

Having grown up with a backyard full of city pigeons, but now reduced to a similar yard full of mourning doves in our suburban locale, I have come to the conclusion that the doves would stand no chance whatsoever in a battle of wits with the pigeons. Dumb as rocks, comparitively.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

I so wish I could take closeups like you do.

Sandra said...

LOVE the feather bouquet in sunlight. And the sparrow's egg is beautiful. Who would have thought that such a plain little bird would have such a pretty egg. :)

Hilary said...

• Lime, thank you. It was so incredibly delicate, it almost shattered before I got a couple of shots. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Ben, thank you very much. You kind words are most appreciated. :)

• Suldog, that's so true. The pigeons are at least (mostly) streetwise. I say mostly because I've seen a number of them get run over by bikes of all things. But I think the mourning doves have them beat in looks, despite the comparatively bland colours. Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• MJ, you can! Just try it.. you'll see. :)

• Sandra, birds sure do produce good work.. in the way of eggs and feathers. Thanks for the visit. :)