Tuesday, May 3, 2011

For Purple Martins Majesty

About four years ago, I found a blogger by the name of Julie Zickefoose who was writing about birding and her life in southeast Ohio. Her blog (which was once daily, but due to life, kids and her writing has become three times a week) became the first thing that I read each morning.

Mostly I wanted to live her type of life; walking down dirt roads in Appalachian Ohio and writing about the plants, animals and birds that she saw along the way. It would have made a terrific change from working as a project coordinator for a national real estate developer (which is what I was doing four years ago).

And then the light bulb came on. I could do the exact same thing, although it would be after work or on the weekends when I had free time. There was tons of nature and fascinating sights all around; I just had to look a little more closely.

Down at Lake Brandt Marina, where I go to take pictures of sunsets or interesting cloud formations, are two poles hung with Purple Martin houses. These birds wouldn't be the type that would show up in my small garden as they require a large open area and nesting gourds on a 20-foot tall pole which I can't provide. They are quite used to humans and swirled overhead as I was taking pictures, singing what is called the "croak song".

Purple Martins are the largest of the North American swallows and nest only in human-supplied housing. In fact, scientists believe that if we stopped supplying their nests that they would soon disappear as a species.

The solid colored birds are the males and the ones with the gray bellies are, of course, the females. I need to go back early in the morning when the light is a little better to get snapshots that show the purple iridescence of the male.

(For my friends overseas, the title is a take-off on the stanza in America the Beautiful - "For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plain.")

Also, yesterday's blog was eaten by Blogger again, so I had to reconstitute it for today.


Anyes said...

I love those "Aha moments" when we discover that with a bit of preparation we can be following our dream and still live our every day life.
I hope your blogger situation improves :-)

Karen said...

Anyes: I think so, but Blogger is adding new options, so I'm just going to cross my fingers while they go through beta testing.