Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Raven Trilogy

Ravens are pretty smart. Their intelligence is likened to that of a dog. We see lots of cousin crows in the city, but not many ravens. Crows tend to be very social and travel in groups; ravens are loners.

Three personal connections come to mind when I think of the Raven.

Raven Number 1: A favorite author, Edgar Allan Poe.
Tell-Tale Heart, Murders in the Rue Morgue, Cask of Amontillado, and Pit and the Pendulum were my favorite scary-fun reads in school. The Raven symbolizes Poe:
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling...

Raven Number 2: An April camping weekend at Joshua Tree National Park twenty-five years ago. Magazine Publishers are ‘different ducks’ and I’ve worked for a number of them as a Production Manager. One Publisher in particular was an absolute crazy woman. The editorial staff and I often noted that she had at least seventeen different personalities and could display them all within a span of five minutes.

After working long hours and meeting April’s issue deadline, I was looking forward to a camping weekend at Joshua Tree. Springtime in the desert...abundant wildflowers, critters, hiking, and relaxation. Our primitive campsite was comprised of tent, table, and fire-ring with a pit toilet nearby. Friday night’s dinner was chicken, veggies, and spices wrapped in foil and cooked on the campfire. A little star-gazing, then off to bed for an early start the next day.

I was startled awake by noises at the sun’s first light. My groggy ears heard: Work! Work! Work! Still half asleep, I remember telling my husband that Carole (the Publisher) was HERE! She had followed me HERE to take me back to the office! As I peeked outside I saw her too. She had morphed into a Raven! Work! Work! Work!

Raven Number 3: Mystery Lodge at Knotts Berry Farm.
Amusement Park seeds were planted in Southern California during the 1950’s. Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm were among the resulting sprouts, each evolving and expanding to this day. One of my favorite attractions is the Mystery Lodge at Knotts. Indian lore is told in a very fascinating way and yes, the Raven does do tears. Bring your tissues....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

An Ornate Hawk-Eagle

While visiting The World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, I snapped this photo of an Ornate Hawk-Eagle. He was on educational display the day we visited and is a magnificent animal. His normal geographic range is Central and South America, but we were able (and fortunate) to admire him from only a few feet away. During our visit, we signed the computerized guest-book with a request to receive their newsletter by email. It's very informative with lots of good info and photos. Sign up at the Peregrine Fund website. It's free.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A 'Soft' Place to Land

Little 'Allen' is our resident guard-bird. He's ever vigilant. Always watching...and both feeders too! Front AND back. He warns, scolds, and regulates which birds can visit or drink. It's stressful being a guard-bird, so sometimes respite in a loving place is just what the doctor ordered.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Night-blooming Cactus Flower....Cereus-ly!

Cactus flowers are often night-blooming as protection from the extreme heat of the desert. Pollinators of cacti include bats and hummingbirds! This is an old Peruvian Apple Cactus (cereus repandus) growing in our backyard. These flower buds will continue to develop, open for one night only, then drop to the ground. A smooth-skinned, edible, red fruit (pitaya) will result containing white flesh and many tiny seeds that sparrows and garnets enjoy. This particular cactus is over 30-feet tall.