Saturday, December 27, 2008

Happy New Year!

Male Pine Grosbeak
Female Pine Grosbeak
Male and Female Pine Grosbeak

Happy New Year! I hope that 2009 will be one of joy, peace, and happy painting for each of you!

It has taken just over a year of blogging until the inevitable happened: I have been comment-spammed. It really bothers me that the people who visit and read my blog could be affected by the spamming, so I have changed my comment section slightly to protect all of you. From now on, when you make a comment, you will be told that it will be posted after my approval. Please know that this is only to prevent comment-spammers from making comments and leaving behind a link which will take you to a site where their product is being touted. I for one do not have time to be linking to advertising or worse, to sites which may have content I find offensive. So, with the screening of comments before they are posted, I can eliminate those spamming people... Arrrrgggggg....

Now - to the photos you see above - these are the most brilliantly colored birds we get in the winter. They are Pine Grosbeaks, and the beautiful red one is the male. They are fairly large birds - about the size of an American Robin. They have a song which is like a dove in many ways, and when they all get in a tree (30 - 50 in a tree at one time) and they are all cooing it sounds quite amazing! 

We have a deck off the back of our house which has clear tempered glass between uprights of white aluminum. We put this kind of deck in so that we could see the view down to the valley below us without any interruption to our line of sight. It is great - but not always for the birds who come to the feeder which is outside our kitchen window. If the glass panels do not have frost or snow on them in the winter, or water droplets on them in the summer, the birds who swoop down to get the spilled seeds on the deck can try to fly away through the glass, which means injuries.

A female Grosbeak bonked her head on the glass a few days ago, and was sitting in the snow a bit stunned. I was able to go out and pick her up and hold her to keep her warm. She laid her head on my finger and just rested, closing her eyes and relaxing in my hands. It was so fantastic to be able to examine her feathers and colors up close, to stroke her incredibly soft body and talk to her. I kept her warm, feeling her strong heartbeat under my fingers. After a few minutes, I placed her up in the feeder, and came inside to wash dishes while she sat in the feeder. As I was doing the dishes, I kept looking out to see if she was okay. I was not sure if I should go back out and hold her again to get her warmed up, or to see if she had died where I placed her.  The next time I looked up, she was gone! Yeah!!!

We have strung rope in front of the glass to show the birds there is something there - it hits the glass in the wind, but on occasion we have bird accidents. I have held a couple of different kinds of birds now, and actually brought them inside the studio to recover. One time one of them recovered so quickly that it got loose in the studio and flew around until finally it landed on the screen in front of a window and we were able to capture and release it outside. That was several moments of pandemonium, believe me!

Living in the country has many advantages, and seeing different kinds of birds up close is certainly one of the joys of being here. I would say that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages of icy roads in the winter and the distance of 60 kms. round trip per day to travel to work. 

I hope each of you experiences many joys throughout this year, in spite of the difficulties and hardships which the economy may present. Isn't it true that when times are tough, the things of true value and importance are much easier to identify?  Family, friends, simplicity, home, and certainly, painting. :-)

Happy New Year!


Michelle said...

Hee hee - I'm giggling at the image of you trying to catch a loose bird!

These photographs are stunning - I'm always amazed at the brilliantly coloured gems tucked away during a prairie winter.

I wish you the absolute best this coming year - good health, peace and relaxation, plus many paintings and photos - all of which please you! (that was a run on sentence, wasn't it?)

Alvin Richard said...

Heartwarming story.....beautiful photography. All the best to you and your family Joanne for a 2009 full of potential and fulfilment.

Joanne said...

Hi Michelle,
Thank you for all of your support throughout this year. Because of you I have experienced and risked more than I ever dreamed was possible! You rock, girl!!!

Joanne said...

Hi Alvin,
I wish you and yours the VERY best in 2009! May you have a fantastic time of painting over the next 6 months. I really look forward to seeing all that you challenge yourself with in that time!

Jean Victory said...

Beautiful photos, so delicate! Have you been doing any new paintings lately? I'm finally getting back at it after having a bout with Bronchitis that turned into Pneumonia for a greater portion of the month. It's strange how illness can really throw a person's pace off. At any rate, I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and thank you for being so supportive of me and my work.