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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Birds and spring flowers after stormy weather

By JOHN HALL/MISSOURIAN READER
April 17, 2012 | 12:28 p.m. CDT
A robin sits on a fence during the windy weekend.

John Hall frequently photographs his mid-Missouri surroundings, and he has been sharing his images with the Missourian for several years.

Probably the most descriptive photo of the crummy weekend weather is depicted by the drain spewing forth the residue of the gutters. It appears to be suffering the ill effects of a hangover.

The grackles were out this weekend, fighting over the bird seed and their ritual of always wanting to spire in any tree. They will fight over the top of a pine tree for hours. I believe they think they are Christmas tree ornaments and with their color, they could be. On a dark, rainy day, they still glow. Grackles always appear to be staring at something or looking up. They sometimes get their feathers ruffled and then they stare some more. When they find nesting material it is long strips but given a couple of minutes they can wrap it in a circle. 

Of course, the Cowbirds are hanging around the bird feeder wasting seed and keeping a sharp eye out for the cardinals. They'll sneak into cardinal homes and instead of stealing their eggs, the female will lay hers and leave them for the red birds to raise. And, speaking of the cardinals, the weather played havoc with the St. Louis variety causing some of my family members to sit way too long at a baseball home game opener. The cardinals who stayed here in Columbia had their own problems. In photos you'll see a papa cardinal doing his best to hang on to the limbs in a maple tree. Look at the leaves of the maple to get an idea of the wind velocity. Mom Robin, however, didn't mind the wind too much. She sat on the fence for a facial photograph and then turned to face the wind to feel the "Breeze Beneath Her Wings." Gee, someone ought to write a song with similar lyrics.

Yes, the last photo in the set is the Christmas cactus. You're right, everything is mixed up this year. Also, I noticed at 7:30 p.m. Saturday that the first hummingbird scout showed up. He sampled the nectar and went to tell the family what kind of fare the Halls will be offering this summer. After he left I ran the octane on the nectar up another few percentage points. Therefore, there should be up close photos of hummingbirds coming soon.

I decided to take the viewers around the yard after a recent heavy shower. I suspect you can figure out what iris is along with columbine. The black iris is still the most impressive item in the yard.

The most interesting photo taken was of a male sparrow telling his new bride how things would be this year. In the photo, Sally asks Sam if she has jumped high enough.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how.