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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday's Wisdom: Inern'tl Women's Day (Cam, my cardinal can relate.)

Today, March 8th, is one of my sister's birthdays. She can be seen in photo atop this entry, where she is on the lefthand side of the image, busily eating a drumstick, during a Thanksgiving dinner held in our home during bygone years. Because we grew up in the midwest, and because her birthday is in March, there were occasions that heavy snowfall prevailed on her birthday. We all recall that one year, when we were very young children, a major snowstorm occurred on her day, and she turned to my mother, and asked, "Doesn't God know it's my birthday?" My sister's day of March the 8th, coincides with an observance known as International Women’s Day

Regarding the aforementioned event, there is a web-page which states, "For a lot of people in the U.S., International Women's Day just isn't that big of a deal. Before this year (1977) one could argue that few Americans knew this "holiday" existed. Others who did know about it likely shrugged it off as yet another hashtag holiday (see: National Peanut Butter Day) social media marketers created to get consumers' attention. While the organizers of the Women's March on Washington have helped bring greater attention to IWD, the first time it was observed was back in Feb. 28, 1908." 

In 1908, my maternal grandmother would've been eight years old, the age that I believe she is in the following photograph (which has been featured in at least one of my prior posts here on Blogger.)

My grandmother is in the back row on the right. She died many years ago (1987); and, her parting words to me were ones that urged me to get back to my writing.

Thankfully I have done this by helping Cam, (the cardinal pictured directly below, in a picture I took of her in my rooftop garden)...

... write and publish her book, Words In Our Beak Volume One.

In fact, Cam is named for both of my maternal grandparents! Her name, Cam, is short for  Clara Albert Melahn (Clara is my dearly departed maternal grandmother; Albert is my dearly departed maternal grandfather).

In any event, Cam is quite a forthright spokes-bird; and in her narrative, she aspires to raise awareness of all members of the avian community, but especially those who  are cardinals. Cam's need to raise awareness stems from the fact that she understands what it is to be marginalized.

This is explained in the note to the reader at the onset of her book,“folks often dismiss (her) due to (her) — what some ornithologists have called — ‘dull coloring,’ and focus on the bright red males (cardinals).”

Within her book, Cam also states that a number of people choose the likeness of the male cardinal to create figurines...

... and stuffed animals...

... as she proclaims, "I've never seen either of these things rendered in the likeness of a female cardinal’s image, which I think is discriminatory!"

Cam admits that the female cardinal’s images are used atop a holiday coasters...

... but, she has a good insight re this matter, when she confesses that seeing her "bird type’s image rendered into an item that a person rests a beverage on to protect it from another item, is not too good for (her) self esteem!" 

However, in spite of her opinions re this matter, Cam concedes that she can understand why folks might want to render images of male cardinal into artifacts (by saying), "For I admit that I am — as are my female cardinal comrades — attracted to those handsome red guys too!" (This is certainly evidenced in the images directly below.)



The latter of the aforementioned photographs is one that is included in my fauna-flora-insect-themed postcard collection.

And indeed female cardinals are attracted to the brightly colored males, "the  redder, the better," (in terms of choosing a mate) Cam writes, and explains that one reason for "that because the colors of our gender’s bird type are muted giving us a protective camouflage, deep red coloring in the males of our bird type indicates they are healthy and might make good partners and fathers to our children.

The color preference of a brightly colored male by a "dull-colored" (ahem) female bird holds true for a number of avian types, including house finches. An image of a female house finch alighting on the branches of my crabapple tree, can be seen directly below,


and the following pictures features her with her more brightly colored mate.



The first photograph above is one that is also included in my fauna-flora-insect-themed postcard collection, while the second image is included in one of my movies on Vimeo which can be viewed by clicking here. In any event, a number of cool facts, as well as a number of awesome images of house finches, can be found within Words In Our Beak Volume One.

A "dull" coloration versus "red" coloring, is not the only color assesment used to determine a bird's gender — as you may know.

The gender of a duck, for example, is very easy to determine by a quick glance of their coloring; as seen in the following pictures (which show — respectively — a female, a male, as well a female and male together).

In fact, any extreme color differences, are not the only way to identify the gender of a given bird. For example, it is a bit harder for folks to quickly determine the gender of a mourning dove as you might surmise from the photos that are directly below.



Both of these mourning dove themed photographs are included in Words In Our Beak Volume One; and the latter of them is also included in my fauna-flora-insect-themed postcard collection.

Be that as it may, as Cam has stated in her book (re determining this bird types gender), "in terms of mourning doves, males are a little larger and more colorful than females, with bluish iridescence on the crown and pink on the breast. The mourning dove's tail has long inner feathers, white on the edges, and tapers to a point. Their feet are dull red. Their beaks are thin and black. They have large dark spots on the upper surface of their wings. The wings make a whistling sound when the bird flies and they sometimes clap their wings together noisily above and below the body when they take off suddenly. Males and females have a small dark comma-shaped mark on both sides of the head below and behind the eyes. Their eyes are dark brown and ringed about with pastel blue skin. Their eyelids are blue too!"

And, with this info about mourning doves, I'll close this post re International Women's Day; and follow up within the coming days. After all, while, today may be International Women's Day, the ENTIRE month of March (in addition to being National Peanut Month [as mentioned yesterday]; as well as being Irish American Month [as discussed last year here on Blogger] is also labeled as National Women's History Month; please stay tuned!

Meanwhile, please join me in wishing my sister a blessed birthday!


I no longer actively produce event program covers, invitations and the types of greeting cards described here or on my website but arrangements might be able to be made under certain circumstances. My focus is on the Words In Our Beak book series, pictured below...


...whose stories are told from the point of view of Cam, a female cardinal, whose photo is on the cover of each book. Words In Our Beak’s goal is to open readers to a simple understanding of the winged world and their environment. Set in my rooftop urban garden in New York City. Words In Our Beak is directed to children and adults who are curious about birds, and want to learn about them from a unique perspective. The books include hundreds of images of flora and fauna, links to movies, as well as to informative narratives that have been created by the author.

Please click here to go to my blog post that provides details as to where you can get these books. Additionally, I have rendered some images from these books into other formats and they are available via Fine Art America (FAA). Some of my other photographs (Black & White CollectionKaleidoscopic Images and the famous Mandarin duck who visited NYC) can also be found on my FAA pages.

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