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FROM READERS: Birds affected by 'global colding'

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 | 1:04 p.m. CDT
Missourian reader and frequent contributor John Hall photographed this bird in his yard.

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

Colding was not a word in the English language until I came up with it to describe what the spring of 2013 has been, is and may continue to be.

I noticed the arrival of the Hummingbird scouts on May 1 and they didn't like what they saw and took off. The first couple of photos in this set are of a confused Wren who was scouting out the Sparrows house that fell down in a storm recently, eggs and all. I picked it up and secured it and the Sparrows thanked me and they are hoping to hatch out their four eggs.

So, in my quest to be a friend of "bird-kind" I keep an eye on whatever is nesting and the three most prevalent nesters, in the yard other than the Sparrows, are the Robins, Cardinals and Chickadees. The Chickadees took over the Bluebird home since pop had to raise the kids last year with my help. It appears he was unable to find a new wife at the Bluebird lonely hearts club.

Thus, most of the photos this time around concern the Robin family and their valiant attempt to (1) keep warm (2) put worms in the mouths of their offspring and (3) dodge the ever pesky Sparrows and a couple of Barn Owls who whooped it up in my back yard one recent morning around 4:00. My wife made me go out and check on mom Robin at dawns early light.

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When I got out there to check on her you could see a couple of the babies looking out from beneath mom's sheltering arms. It was cold and they told her to stay right there and let dad bring home the bacon (worms). Many of the photos feature dad Robin doing just that. If you examine the contents in his beak you'll notice that he has many kinds and colors of worms. I heard one of the baby Robins exclaim "I hate broccoli." Dad told the kid it was peppermint ice cream.

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The above photo represents the lack of fear the Robin has of me. That was as close as I could get to that bird with a 16mm lens and still be able to focus. She knows I represent no danger to her or her offspring. I was within 1.5 feet of her when I took numerous photos.

So, the beat goes on. It's still too cold and too wet to plant tomatoes. But, next week they'll go in the ground if I have to mud them in. But, in doing so they still won't develop until the nights start to warm. I may wind up buying tomatoes this coming summer which is a great embarrassment to any gardener. I may have to swallow my pride in order to be able to swallow a fresh tomato.

 

Can't see the slideshow above? Try viewing it directly on Flickr.

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. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.


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