If you follow TLLG here on Blogger or Facebook, dear reader, then you know that recently much of my content has dealt with the escapades of Cam (the cardinal pictured in the image above), as well as the tales of her unnamed (as of this posting) beau, pictured in the image below,
and of their romantic interlude (indicated in the following image).
I'm thrilled with the aforementioned couple, and could continue to write about them for some time to come, but I am dedicating today's post (through the "escapades" of the array of all the birds which visit my garden) to Starr Saphir, a dearly departed birder, who you may read about by clicking here.
Ms. Saphir was known to many for the bird walks that she led in Central Park. Even though I live very near to this park, I've never been on one of her bird walks; or any other bird "event," for that matter, as my interest in birds as well as their antics, is fairly new: I have the feathered creatures to thank for it because they showed up in my garden without an invitation or lure of food other than the vegetation in my garden!
And, prior to birds spending time at my place — even though I had always enjoyed hearing them — it never occurred to me to join a group of birders. I suppose one of the reasons for this is that I'm legally blind and my observation of birds comes through following their sound with my camera serving as my eyesight. My legal blindness, as you might know, has caused me to pursue other methods re photography; and you may click here if you'd like to read my "story." Moreover, aspects of it have been heard on two radio stations (1010 WINS and WBAI).
And I suppose the other reason I never joined a group of birders is that I'm not, as "they" say, a "morning person;" even though having a garden has caused me to get up extremely early, I am like Tom (in Tennessee Williams' Glass Menagerie), who, upon hearing his mother's "morning call" (which was "Rise and shine") said, "I'll rise but I won't shine."
I too rise in the morning, but I don't shine for hours to come, and thankfully I am able to still observe my birds because I can have my cup of black coffee in one hand, and a camera in the other, whilst wearing pajamas or a nightie!
That being said, I never (as of this posting) had the inclination to join a birder group, which barred me from the blessing of knowing of the existence of Starr Saphir and hence meeting her in person! However, I did ultimately "meet her" via the telephone and I had two meaningful phone conversations with her about birds.
So, you might be asking, if I didn't "bird" with the "birders" in Central Park, how is it that I happened to talk with Starr Saphir? The answers is this: I initially contacted Ms. Saphir in the fall of 2012 after learning about her from an article which had been published in the summer (July 16, 2012) in The New York Daily News. The article was a promotion for the HBO movie, Birders.
Around that time is when Cam made her first (and brief) appearance in my garden, prompting me to get a bird feeder. This feeder "lured" visits of a number of male and female house finches (although at the time I did not know what type of bird they were) and they continued to be regular visitors!
A number of "stories" about the house finches were posted here on TLLG's Blogger Pages as well as in tumblr posts, and many of their photo-ops are on TLLG's Pinterest Boards.
In any event, when the male variety of the house finch first appeared, I took the following photo-ops, having no idea that the bird was a house finch! All I knew was that I thought the bird was adorable and that he apparently loved to sing!
A few days after this sweet red bird had become a steady visitor to my garden, my dearest friend, Victor, saw the aforementioned Daily News article.
The article included a photo of a bird's head (which was red) and identified the bird as a Scarlet Tanager. However, since the article was not about birds per se, but focused on the people who were watching them, as well as the Birders movie, the image of the red colored bird featured only a partial view. Based on the article's image, Victor insisted that I had a Scarlet Tanager visiting me.
At the time, I was so thrilled about having birds that I did not focus my attention on their identities; rather I "followed" Eric Berne's philosophy which was this: "The moment a little boy is concerned with which is a jay and which is a sparrow, he can no longer see the birds or hear them sing."
However, as time went on and more birds came, I wanted to know who they were, and it was to that end I reread the Daily News article and after some googling contacted Starr Saphir, who unbeknownst to me was visiting her daughter in Arizona (which she told me when I reached her by phone). I believe it was late summer or early fall when we had this phone conversation, and Ms. Saphir told me that I could not possibly have Scarlet Tanagers at the time of year that I had first discovered birds with red heads visiting my garden. She informed me that I probably had house finches.
As it turned out Ms. Saphir was correct: that, indeed, the birds I had been told were Scarlet Tanagers were House Finches; and as time went on, and they continued to nosh at my garden, I discovered that the eyes of some of the house finches were either crusted over or missing altogether (this is something that you may recall from my previous entries in my cyber-venues including a post on tumblr). Meanwhile, the situation with the finches' eye problem can be seen in the images posted below.
These pictures were taken at that time and subsequently posted here on Blogger in my year-end review series. The "story" (Blogger post) for the first three of these images can be found by clicking here and the "story" (post) for the fourth image may be accessed by clicking here.
Meanwhile, I had always been grateful to Starr Saphir for identifying these birds for me, and I phoned her in November of 2012 to tell her about my appreciation and about my concern for the eye issues that the house finches had at the time. It was near Thanksgiving when we spoke and she said that she was spending the holiday with her daughter and indicated that she was glad that I was taking care of my entourage of visiting birds (whom I invited her to see).
That was the last time I spoke to Ms. Saphir and I did not realize (until the other day) that she had passed away this past February! I hope to attend (if my r.s.v.p. is accepted) "a memorial breakfast and birding walk for Starr."
In the meantime, I will always remember Ms. Saphir's willingness to share info in the two phone conversations that we had; and I often attribute the pleasure I have in my house finches to her! These sweet birds still come here to nosh, as seen in the images below.
And as you can surmise, they enjoy noshing and having a convo. (BTW, the last image in the series above is one you might recognize from a previous post here on Blogger.)
I'm not the only one in my garden who derives pleasure from the little house finches; the Mourning Doves seem to appreciate them too, as evidenced by the image below.
Or is it that the mourning doves appreciate the finches for their special orange colored feeders, which is a conclusion you might come to upon seeing the following image.
|Story on TLLG's Blogger Pages 1-5-13|
|Story on TLLG's tumblr Pages 10-7-12|
|Story on TLLG's Blogger Pages 1-19-13|
|Story on TLLG's Blogger Pages 1-18-13|
|Story on TLLG's Blogger Pages 1.19.13|
|Story on TLLG's tumblr Pages 11-14-12|
|Story on TLLG's Blogger Pages 1-17-13|
|Featured on TLLg's Facebook Page (November 2012)|
|Featured on TLLG's Pinterest Boards November 2012|
|Story on TLLG's tumblr Pages (November 2012)|
|Featured on TLLG's Pinterest Boards|
|Featured (11-20-12) on TLLG's Facebook Page|
|Featured (11-16-12) on TLLG's Facebook Page|
|Story on TLLG's Blogger Pages (11-19-12)|
Their expressions bring to mind a quote by Rose Kennedy, which is, "Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains in them?"
Rose Kennedy's quotation seems an apropos way to conclude today's dedication to Starr Saphir, for it reminds me of what I read was Ms. Saphir's philosophy, which is this: "Looking at birds really takes away sadness in a lot of us," she reportedly said, and was evidently alluding to her illness. "Looking at birds takes you out of yourself and into the real world."
It seems that birds also know how to get out of themselves as evidenced by the image below (which I posted on TLLG's Facebook Page today).