Predatory Songbird

“I never dreamed about success.  I worked for it.”

~Estee Lauder (1908-2004) American businesswoman and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom

(Quote via Goodreads.com)

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The Northern Shrike summers in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska.  It only appears in Minnesota when it returns to the lower 48 during winter.  The size of a medium songbird, this carnivorous creature feeds on rodents, small birds, and large insects. (Source: allaboutbirds.org)

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Listen to the Ice

“Spring has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.”

~W. Earl Hall (1897-1969) Editor and publisher of the Mason City Globe Gazette

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This is a photo of the ice going out on a river in Minnesota.  If you quietly stand and watch such a site you will actually hear the ice cracking!

Dancing with Light and the Weather

“Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy – your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself.”

~Annie Leibovitz (1949- ) American portrait photographer

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A juvenile Cooper’s hawk that visited my garden on a snowy day.

Interconnection

“In nature we never see anything isolated, but everything in connection with something else which is before it, beside it, under it and over it.”

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German writer and statesman

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This Hairy Woodpecker on a deer carcass confused me.  What would a woodpecker be doing on a carcass?  The cold winter weather would no doubt prevent insect activity, right?

Internet research revealed to me that the fat found on a carcass such as this one helps to satisfy the woodpecker’s nutritional needs for survival in frigid weather.  The interconnectedness of nature continues to amaze me!

That Cycle of Life

“I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.”

~Andrew Wyeth, (1917-2009) American artist

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This place currently covered by a blanket of snow looks so still and quiet.  Once spring arrives, however, the ice will melt to free the water in the pond.  The trees will blossom, the birds will arrive to nest, and color will return.  Life will begin anew.

My Austrian Pine

“People in suburbia see trees differently than foresters do.  They church every one.  It is useless to speak of the probability that a certain tree will die when the tree is in someone’s backyard.  You are talking about a personal asset, a friend, a monument — not about board feet of lumber.”

~Roger Swain, former television host of The Victory Garden on PBS

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I completely agree with Roger Swain’s statement. This hawk took shelter from a recent snowstorm by landing in an Austrian Pine that grows in my backyard.  Over the years this particular tree has played host to countless birds and squirrels in all sorts of weather.  It has provided me with shade in the summer and been a joy to observe after a fresh snowfall.

I’m guessing it is close to 50 years old now and its age is beginning to show.  The last couple years there has been less new growth and fewer pine cones, but I continue to do what I can to keep it alive.  I know that I will not see another tree of this size in my backyard during my lifetime again.