As it turns out, this is a Brown Thrasher (thanks, Dad!). Apparently, thrashers usually stick with dense undergrowth, but it seems that if you have a suet feeder you can lure them out. Interesting fact: thrashers are in the same family as mockingbirds. As such, they can learn over 1,000 different songs and imitate a number of other birds.
A memorable part of many people's lives, I think, is having at some point observed the life history of a robin. Finding a nest, seeing the sky blue eggs, watching the mom feed the babies worms, and then seeing them fledge out into the yard is one of the quintessential American experiences, I think-- a lot like baseball and apple pie.
Because they also like to nest near houses, wrens are another bird many of us are familiar with. I don't remember wrens from my childhood, but they sure are a part of our life here in VA. Cute little birds with a lot of personality.
I'm not sure this one is juvenile. This may be a mom puffing herself up to look as big as possible in order to distract me from her fledgelings perched in a holly bush nearby.
How do we live in creation? Do we relate to it as a place full of “things” we can use for whatever need we want to fulfill and whatever goal we wish to accomplish? Or do we see creation first of all as a sacramental reality, a sacred space where God reveals to us the immense beauty of the Divine?
As long as we only use creation, we cannot recognize its sacredness because we are approaching it as if we are its owners. But when we relate to all that surrounds us as created by the same God who created us and as the place where God appears to us and calls us to worship and adoration, then we are able to recognize the sacred quality of all God’s handiwork.
Want to make the most of your summer with your kids? Here’s a little guidance from Scott Barry Kaufman, a cognitive psychologist specializing in the development of intelligence, creativity, and personality. He lists five indicators widely recognized as key factors in the healthy development of a child:
1. how much the parents talk to the child
2. access to books, magazines, newspapers, and computers
3. how frequently the parents read to the child
4. how many trips are taken with the children to places outside the home (such as museums)
5. degree of warmth and friendliness in the family.
This is one of the great things about summer; it gives us a chance to give our kids a little extra attention. But notice number 5, arguably the most important of them all. It may not be our kids that need the extra attention; it may be our family dynamics.
The slower pace, the time away, and the decreased stress that summer traditionally offers gives us a great opportunity not just to spend time with our kids, but also with our spouse, and with our family as a whole. Being more relaxed also leads us to simply being more… nice.
And personally, I think one of the best indications of the health of a family system is how much we laugh.
The suet feeder, always a hit, continues to grow in popularity. The wood thrush surprised me; they are normally rather reclusive and feed on invertebrates on the ground. They really are gorgeous birds. Actually, when I look at these pics I'm struck by how long the tail is--and a wood thrush has a short tail. So.... what is it?