Lessons learned from watching our bird families

As I sit here in my son’s home in Thunder Bay looking at the backyard I can revel in a flock of sparrows cleaning the yard. I have always been delighted by birds so maybe it’s something I need to spend more time on as retirement looms. On the hummingbird front I have been to one home that had about 5 feeders across a 40ft deck and had literally dozens of hummingbirds swiftly flying around all the time and of course some engaged in their territorial disputes. It was magnificent!

Robby Robin's Journey

We have been blessed the past few summers. Bird parents of nearly every persuasion have selected our backyard for their nurseries and our feeders as their restaurant of choice. The result has been a “bird’s eye” view of bird parenting techniques and the endearing if short-lived tolerance of adolescent birds towards other birds.

We have been beyond fortunate to be able to watch bird mothers and fathers (and I love how they share their parenting responsibilities) feeding their adolescent offspring, including an enormous crow parent feeding its equally enormous crow young’un on a tree branch outside our back window. We’ve watched Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers feeding their young from the luxury of our living room as well, and, let me tell you, those young’uns are demanding. If you think your kids are whiny, just ask bird parents what they think!

Greedy Hairy Woodpecker

We have watched as mourning doves, cardinals…

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Dear Prince George….

Wow, very neat article about an antiquated practice reserved for the very wealthy not just in England but around the world. Time to stop these so called “sports”.

Eyes in the back of my Head


I understand that Mummy took you along to a grouse shoot in Scotland a few days, so that you could watch Daddy killing lots of birds which were flying up into the sky.

He was shooting them dead, along with lots of other people. These people say that shooting birds in this way is sport, so I took a look in my dictionary (it’s a bit like the first dictionary you will have at school, but without the pictures) to find the definition of “sport”.

It says Sport: A game or competitive activity, esp. an outdoor one involving physical exertion, e.g. cricket, football, racing, hunting. (Concise Oxford Dictionary).

Two words jump out when I think of the grouse shooting you went to see Daddy taking part in. One of them is competitive, the other, hunting.

If something is competitive it usually means there is a contest between two people…

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Looking for a Lesson

Succinct article about learning from life.

Aperture of Brahma

Our greatest opportunity to feel good and maintain happiness is to constantly seek to uncover a lesson in every condition we encounter in life.

If you’re not learning something, life will teach you a lesson.

Looking for a lesson is the equivalent of instigating change. Just as it feels better to resign than be fired, or to break up rather than be dumped, the one who finds a lesson finds a reason, which removes the sense of helpless that often accompanies unanticipated conditions.

We will not be able to control everything that we encounter, so we must take responsibility for what freewill we do have.

Mindfulness is a tool for helping us recognize our relationship with time. If you are reading and it takes 30 minutes to get through one page, it becomes obvious that your mind is wandering. This is mindfulness.

(1.25) Thought is transmuted into character and character…

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Acts and Consequences

Excellent article on Morality, the lack thereof and the Golden Rule, enjoy.


The unfolding of the cosmos does not appear to have any moral direction. Natural events seem to occur in arbitrary ways, unconcerned with human implications, or any other life forms for that matter. For example, in a period of drought, a timely rainfall can save vital crops and prevent hunger or even starvation in some parts of the world. Hence, the suffering of thousands or even millions of people will be averted. On other occasions the rain does not come, crops fail, and widespread suffering ensues. Sometimes the rain is so relentless that flooding causes as much suffering as a drought would. Where and how much precipitation falls is just one example of the indifference of nature.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason to natural events. Some events are relatively harmless as their effects on the population are minimal. In other cases, these events can be devastating to…

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Competition and Co-operation

Excellent short history of the US psyche.

I can't believe it!

Having watched Rich Hall’s recent excellent BBC4 programme, ‘Working for the American Dream’ on the development of the USA, and coming across the United Nations focus on sustainable development, led me to this reflection.

The USA was built on conquering supposed virgin lands, and people making loads of money by exploiting those lands, their resources, indigenous peoples, and the people who actually did the work. The system was essentially competitive, and at the top the US system still is. It appears to be still dominated by those with money and power, and there is an apparent aversion to co-operative ideals – hence the bizarre denigration of ‘socialism’ as in some way bad, and the refusal to countenance universal health care.

Due to the size of the USA and its economy, this system has to some degree been exported across the world, but significantly resisted by more co-operative or…

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Save your receipts, you just might need to use that warranty!

Ah the joys of living in smaller towns even when it comes to warranties!

Robby Robin's Journey

This may be my first Public Service Announcement post. Shows you’re never too old to learn. It so happens that two major items in our house came to early ends in ways that we never would have anticipated. It also so happens that both items were replaceable because their warranties were still valid. First time for us, and very welcome. So our story has a happy ending. But it may not have worked out that way for everyone.

We happen to live in a small place where people are pretty darn trusting. We hadn’t kept our receipts for either of these items, but the stores volunteered to look up when we had made our purchases and, lo and behold, they proclaimed that we were still under warranty. For those of you who live in bigger places or who move regularly, keeping your receipts is a small price to pay for the…

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