FROM READERS: Bird watching with John Hall

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 | 4:02 p.m. CDT
John Hall shares photos of birds in the spring.

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

Cool spring weather has a grip on things and the birds seem to enjoy it. Some of the birds showing up today aren't usually those birds that watchers break their necks to find but each bird in its own way is interesting.

The cowbirds comprise eleven photos with the male of the species being the more spectacular. I had an order from Kansas City to find and photograph a blue jay. In most places I've ever lived, they are abundant but they stay clear of my yard since the robins run them off as soon as they show up. One jay was ready to pose on the picket fence and two robins formed a neighborhood watch and ran it off. The next seven photos are of a blue jay that I photographed from a long distance and through a lot of pine tree clutter and a picket fence. Maybe some day he'll come back to the yard when the robins are busy feeding their young.  Until then, Jim Jay, these photos will have to suffice.

Sparrows are pests but the photos of them show how their species behave. The robins have the run of the place and they bathe and then do all manner of things to dry. They sit on picket fences with their heads toward the wind in order to dry their feathers. When you see a robin depicted in these photos with its tail up in the air, it means they were caught by a gust of wind. Robin one-leg is still doing that stupid routine of imitating a flamingo. After the 13 robin photos is a female cardinal rummaging in a nearby yard for some protein. It appears that mom redbird found a good one to take home for the evening meal.

The six sparrow photos wind up the photos for today. They aren't the most desirable bird in the world but the Good Book says, in effect, "His eye is on the sparrow," and the song takes it further and concludes with "And I know He watches me." Boy, do I ever need a bunch of observations.

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.

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