Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Zodiac of Birdland

This is something I dreamed up a while ago, after spending a lot of time watching the many birds who visit our backyard. I noticed that they DO have distinctive personalities, so I tried to relate them to the 12 zodiac signs. The photographs included were all taken by my husband, mainly in our backyard.

The Red-bellied Woodpecker - quick and
and decisive in his movements, quite impulsive in his choice
of materials on which to "drum".He will drum on a metal gutter for the sheer enjoyment of hearing the noise sounds -music
to his ears , or perhaps a mating call ? His scarlet head and pinkish tummy
indicate the fiery element of Aries.

The chubby American Robin is typical Taurus. He stays
close to the earth, walking around on the grass or soil, digging
for food, of which he consumes a large amount. This bird is
different from the little English Robin. Early settlers named
him because of his Robin-like habits and his russet-coloured
chest. He is actually a type of Thrush.

The Goldfinch displays many typically Geminian traits. These
tiny birds are very sociable, move around in
flocks, descending upon birdfeeders en-masse. They are
quick, fluttery, twittery, and appear unafraid of other birds
3-times their size. Golden and mercurial!

The Mourning Dove represents the gentle nature of Cancer.
Her rather sad cooing call seems typically Cancerian. She looks dignified and a little old-fashioned when compared with more exuberant cousins. She doesn’t often
mix with other birds, appearing shyly aloof.

Who would argue against the Cardinal being designated Leo ? With his flashy scarlet feathers, almost fluorescent, and his
regal bearing he stands out from the crowd - however big the
crowd. Eyes are irresistibly drawn to him. He is devoted to
his mate (evidence of his fixed Leonine nature), they usually
appear together. Lady Cardinal is more soberly dressed in a variable light brown, but still attractive - her beak is a nice shade of lipstick pink!

The Junco displays many of Virgo’s virtues. Sleek
and neat, no flashy plumage here. The Junco, like the robin,
stays on the ground to feed - evidence of his earthy nature.
These tidy little birds are quiet and industrious, finding all the
food they need for themselves and their young. They never cause squabbles mix quietly with whatever other birds are around. One might at first consider them boring, but with patient observation their admirable traits become clear.

Perhaps the Mocking Bird represents Libra ? This classy bird, quietly but elegantly dressed in subtle shades of grey, white and black, with brilliant white stripe appearing on each wing when in flight. Sings beautiful songs sometimes throughout the night. The song is repeated 4 times, then he/she changes its
mind (typically Libran) and starts a different ditty - repeating 4 times then changing again!

Traditionally the Eagle is one of the two symbols of Scorpio, but eagles do not frequent backyards - something less rare can carry the Scorpio banner. The American Crow is much maligned and misunderstood, like some Scorpio-heavy humans. He is, in fact, quite majestic, highly intelligent and very resilient. Humans have slaughtered many of his kind, but still they flourish. His glossy black feathers are mirror-bright as he strides around in the grass.

The wise old Owl would have been appropriate, but since the
author has yet to see one locally, another side of
Sagittarius is represented - the rover. The Brown-headed Cowbird fits the bill - often looked on as something of a vagabond or prairie tramp. They don't build nests , but deposit eggs in nests built by other birds - having no use for a home of their own! These birds once followed buffalo and cattle through the plains .


The third Earth sign is represented by the lovely Eastern Meadowlark, who is actually not a Lark, but related to the Starling. The Meadowlark has very similar
feeding habits to the American Robin - walking around in fields and open spaces looking for insects, grubs, worms etc. From the back he's a stripey grey and rather uninteresting, but when he turns, the sight of his brilliant yellow breast comes as a surprise, and, like the sense of fun often present in Capricorn humans - it brings a smile to the observer.

Looking now for the oddball of Birdland ! The Blue Jay. Some people love him,
others hate him because he doesn’t conform to their views
of how a bird should act or look. He is stunning in his bright
blue plumage with random markings of black and white, and a
rakish top-knot. His call is either Crow-like (he is cousin to that bird) or a beautiful bell-like sound when he wishes to impress. These birds are curious and intelligent, like their cousin the Crow, not usually inclined to mix. They
can appear at times to be imperious or bossy, and are certainly unique.

I'm nominating this group of juvenile Eastern Bluebirds to represent Pisces, they used to visit our birdbath regularly last summer - they loved the water like good Neptunians!

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