A Summer Sunrise and Owl

The magic of mornings! 

The first light of Dawn warmed a tree trunk with a soft orange hue.

tree trunks get the light

A brilliant burst shines on one branch!

watching the morning sun shine on the woods

sunlit branch

No sooner than I could adjust my digital companion, the woods lit up like fire!

first morning light

I always feel lucky to be awake at sunrise, but after a long sleepless night, the beauty I saw in all that color was a blessing from nature; a true Green Healing!  I knew I was going to get some good sleep.

As I headed inside to bed, I looked in the other direction, toward the creek, and perched on a tall dead tree trunk was my friend, the Owl!

I couldn’t believe my eyes at first, even though I often see our two resident Barred owls.  Usually, I’ll hear or sense them before I see one, but not on this early summer morning.

The mystical bird hadn’t made a sound and when our eyes literally met, I felt instinctively that it had watched me all along. 

I had an odd feeling that this owl was not one of our residents.  There was an unfamiliar look in its eyes and each time I tried to get a little closer, the bird flew five or six feet away, which is most unlike the owls who live in my corner of woods. 

Perhaps it was one of the resident owls that was merely hungry and not too happy that I was interrupting breakfast.

After my long sleepless night, and then my  having seen the woods slowly come alive in a great orange light, I suspected the owl was a spirit animal.

Whoa!  As I was writing this post,  shortly after midnight, an Owl hooted as loud as I’ve ever heard one from my window!  It was no ordinary hoot either.  It sounded like a happy celebration, and as if the Owl was telling the whole woods about it! 

Barred Owl hissing and hunting

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American Robin Listening for Worms

“Sounds like A Worm to Me!” 

American Robin

new camera 2835Robins are a fun bird to watch! 

I mentioned in an earlier post that a neighbor and I were birdwatching together one day, when he told me the American Robin hops, and then stops, so that it may hear a worm. 

So, you can imagine my delight when I captured a few images of this Robin listening for what I feel safe in assuming, worms! 

I can’t think of a better springtime song for a Robin, as the sound of a worm in the cool dirt.

robin march listeningThanks for visiting Green Healing Notes!

The Red-Breasted Winter Flock

My son was first to see the flock of Robins, alerting me with an excitement I hadn’t heard in a great long time.  That was a blessing in itself.

“Mom! You gotta come see!” he exclaimed.  “Just for a minute,” he added.

I knew I had to go see what he saw.  I made it to the door in time to see the flock of American Robins gracefully landing on the moist and cold grassy lawn.  The slight sound of their wings in flight, I can still recall.  I like that.

I am grateful to be alive in these moments. Life is not easy, at least not for me, so when nature shows her awe, I do take notice.  I catch a trillionth second wind moving me to carry on.

The red-breasted beauties hopped, stopped, and hopped again.  My neighbor said they they hear worms, so they stop briefly to listen for them.  I don’t doubt this, because bird brains are pretty darn smart!   I do however wonder if wintertime lawns have worms to offer.

A fully grown man, my son, stood with me watching the birds, both of us glad to be there, together, without words and absolutely taken by the moment.

(Originally posted on Flickr.  Edited on January 28th, 2014).

Thanks for visiting Green Healing Notes.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in a comment.

Tree and Bird ~ Natural Beauty

Winged in Flight

Backyard Delights!

The cool air drew me outside today.  I’ve been under the weather lately, but this mid-November morning brought me healing energy, for which I am most grateful.

I’m also grateful for my friend, Ruthie Mae.  She’s my pretty dog who recently turned eight years old.  She’s one of a kind and I sure do love her.  She helps me in lots of ways. 

Ruthie helps to get me outside and whether we sit on the deck for a view and breath of fresh air or take a walk, being outdoors is healing.

Since the arrival of fall, my backyard birds have changed.  The Cardinals stayed until a couple of weeks ago, so I’m not sure where they are now, but many of the birds that spent the summer here went on to warmer places. 

The Mourning Doves stuck around and lately, they come in large flocks to forage amongst leaves, grass and fallen seeds.

The temperatures have dropped.  I decided to add sunflower seeds to the bird station after having changed over to a simple offering of smaller seeds, along with fresh water in the bird baths. 

Within ten minutes, my yard once again became a little haven, very much like I would imagine Heaven. 

Sometimes, I’ll be standing at the door looking out from my window, and just like in a fairytale movie, all sorts of pretty birds fly into the yard at once.  Often times, a larger bird will slowly glide over us too.  I usually see a shadow first and then a wonderful view as it circles above. 

I am always captured by a magical sense of awe when my yard comes alive with color and sounds and movement.

Thank you for visiting Green Healing Notes.  I hope you enjoy a view of these beautiful moments I’ve tried to capture. 

Backyard Beauty ~ Mourning Doves

“By virtue of their melancholy call, Mourning Doves have been fittingly named as such. Their distinctive “wooo-oo-oo-oo” sounds may evoke a feeling of grief over the loss of a dearly beloved.

A pair of Mourning Doves (Zenaidura macroura) perched on tree branch.

The Mourning Dove (Zenaidura macroura)

But far from representing death, the symbolism of Mourning Doves is actually more optimistic and spiritual. Beyond their sorrowful song is a message of life, hope, renewal and peace.”

(www.brighthubeducation.com) The Eloquent Symbolism of Mourning Doves

The pair of Mourning Doves were, in the beginning of our meeting, weary of me and my little Canon.  The slightest movement or noise always prompted their swift flight into the woods.

Through the passing seasons, I’ve become familiar to the doves and they’ve grown comfortable with me.  I like watching them walk the way they do, with obvious intention, bobbing their soft pretty heads in the grass.

The birds first appeared in my backyard during Winter.  Our dog had very recently passed  and my heart was full of grief. 

I heard the ‘cooing’ sound one day and to my surprise, when I opened the door, two Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura), were perched about ten feet away on a line that had once been a dog-run.  Our new bird-feeder was hanging from it, which I guess attracted the birds.

The birds presence struck my heart-strings.

Sadness had the biggest part of my heart when my new backyard flyers arrived.  I missed our dog in a terrible way.   I felt flooded with loss and pain.

“The Blackfoot tribe associated the dove with protection and safe return from battle, and dove feathers were often carried by war leaders as talismans to help them bring their men back safely.  In some Eastern Algonquian tribes, turtledoves (an old-time name for Mourning Doves) were associated with the spirit world, and heard at certain times, their cries could be omens of death.” 

SOURCE: www.native-languages.org, Native American Indian Dove and Pigeon Mythology.

I did wonder if the birds appearance was an omen.  I wondered about my death.  I was not well, and hadn’t been in some time.  In fact, my health was at an all time low. 

The thought that my life might soon end had passed through my mind more than once during Winter and when the Mourning Doves appeared, I was acutely aware of the doom I felt.

I decided to allow my intuition to guide me in my understanding of the birds timely arrival to our little home.

Doves (Columbidae) have strong maternal instincts and both parents go to great lengths to protect their nests and hatchlings.  Perhaps this is the meaning of their visit, I thought to myself. 

Part of the sadness I often feel, apart from being physically ill, which is depressing, is that I just can’t seem to get things right in my life, particularly regarding family and home.  I have devoted most of my time to being available in this arena, but sometimes it seems like I haven’t made much progress.

Surviving our most recent winter was especially difficult.  I was truly worn out!  I spent a lot of time in my bedroom watching movies, crying over the loss of our dog, and trying to be more available to my sweet Ruthie. 

She had been the greatest nurse in the world to her pack mate.  She never left his side and did amazing things to help him feel better before his time was up on this earth.  Now, she needed me.

A Robin had come to stay for the season, living off the Holly berries on the little tree near my bedroom window.  Every day I watched the bird fly from his high resting place in the Sweet Gum tree, down to my porch railing, where he feasted and occasionally, warded off other interested birds.

Watching the Robin made my days of hibernation more interesting and gave me a direct connection with nature.

The doves spent the rest of the cold weather perched on high branches, just past my backyard tree line.

Spring started what has been an incredible bountiful time in my yard for the many birds that decided to call this place home.

Carolina Wrens nested by my window.  I listened and watched them from the first days the mother started gathering materials (some of which came from my LL Bean sleeping bag), until the last little hatchling literally fell from the nest. 

The Cardinals like my yard too!  I’ve been especially humbled watching both the female and male feed their young.  All the birds I’ve seen in my yard are incredibly attentive and committed parents. 

My backyard birdwatching has touched me in a primal way.  

Strangely, I have wanted to be more like the birds.  Watching them care for their families was humbling.  I wished for whatever it is they have that makes them so incredibly focused on their task at hand.  I told a friend my thoughts on the matter.

“They are animals,” my friend said.  “You are human,” he added.  “We (humans) have such greater ability to think and ponder on things than birds do.  All they have to do is gather food.” 

I understood what my friend was saying, but the longing in me remained.

Spring has passed and Summer is whispering an inevitable departure.  My backyard has been more quiet during these last days of August. 

I’m happy to report that the beautiful winged doves are still around.  They’re foraging in the grass as I write, along with a couple of Cardinals and a Rufus-sided Towhee.  I think I’ll take a walk outside, quietly, so that I can get a more intimate view.

Below is a gallery of Mourning Doves in my yard.  You may click on each photo for a larger view.  I hope you enjoy!

Thanks for your visit to Green Healing Notes!

Birdwatching with Ruthie Mae

I watch birds and Ruthie Mae watches squirrels. 

Summer Tanager for Green Healing Notes, a blog


I like the morning time, before the world and my obligations begin.  I like the quiet, so that I may hear Mother Nature’s winged symphony!

My very sweet and smart dog, Ruthie Mae, was my suet-guard this morning.  (Suet is for the birds).  The squirrels act like I put it out there for them, until Ruthie shows up and amazingly, I can watch my backyard birds for hours without one squirrel coming close.

Ruthie is largely a Black Mouth Cur, with the Spirit of a great hunter, but she’s also an Egyptian Beetlehound Princess, the latter title of which she earned shortly after she rescued me. 

Ruthie has two black beauty marks on each side of her little face and natural eyeliner that makes her look like Cleopatra.  She hunts insects like she was born for that purpose, but Ruthie is also a truly amazing medical companion animal.  I am proud and grateful to be friends with such an awesome being as Ruthie Mae!

Lately, the Summer Tanager is a regular visitor.  The male is red and the female a beautiful golden color.

Golden Bird, Female Summer Tanager


I like the way Summer Tanager fly.  They swoop in great long colorful strides across the yard.   They’re also challenging to capture in photos.  I’m always reminded when the Tanager stops by, that some things are meant to be experienced in the moment.

Ruthie Mae knows I like the birds.  She barked at one once, but she immediately looked at me to see if I approved.  I only had to say no one time.  She’s a smart dog.



The Resident Robin Leaves Home

Robin spends Winter in North Carolina

My fat little Friend

Dear Robin,

I’m writing to say thank you for being my Winter guest.  I must say, your sudden departure was a surprise, but what a glorious day it was when out of the blue, Robins surrounded my home! 

I didn’t know much about Robins before you spent the Winter here.  I thought you were going to use my yard for mating in Spring, but I realize now, you were here for the berries.  I felt sad when I first realized that you had left.

I so enjoyed your company, especially during a long and rather lonely Winter.  I even reported my sightings of you here!  Your photo is available to the entire world.  You are as good as famous, my fat little friend!

I’m very happy you found respite from Winter in the green covered branches of the tall Pine and a great aerial view of the Holly from the big Sweet Gum tree.  I noticed your friends liked the view from up there as well.

One Robin Waiting

One Robin Waiting

I was outside today looking at those trees, remembering you perched on the branches in the snow.  They have blooms now.  Things changed in such a short time dear Robin.

You were strong to endure those cold days.  I was proud to have you as a guest and honored as well.  Watching you was a true Winter blessing!

Even as I miss seeing you on the porch rail, guarding the red berries with an intensely continuous keen watch, I am glad you have since joined a flock.  They were certainly a beautiful and energetic group! 

I tried to get a photo of several together, but that didn’t happen.  I couldn’t believe how powerful they each flew when I slowly peeked around the corner of the house. 

The sound of Robin’s wings in flight is a sweetness to the ear!

Robin on Holly berry!

Yummy Holly Berries for Robins!

The enthusiasm you and your feathered friends exuded over the little red berry-filled treasure made me wonder how in the world the other Robins heard about that relatively small tree. 

Did you sing them a message through the wind? 

In less than two days of light, they ate every single berry! 

I bet you are leading them to a special place where your babies will be born. 

Robin, I hope to move before next Winter, so I doubt if we will meet again, but I sure wish you and your feathered brothers and sisters a bountiful Spring! 

Thank you for being my guest.  You brought beauty to my life and graced me with a lesson in acceptance. 

Each time I saw you, which was every day for more than two full moons, there was a Green Healing in my Spirit.

With love, gratitude and admiration, 

Your amateur bird-watching friend,


Green Healing Note:

My friend, the Robin, and the flock it left with, invited me to accept the way of Mother Nature.  Much like my personal life, I cannot expect one thing to happen when something different is in the making.

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