Nature Walks – The Life of Birds
One of my favorite local wetlands, Wakodahatchee Wetlands Preserve, offers an unparalleled opportunity for photographers, bird watchers and the local public to observe the secret life of birds… at least to a certain degree. In the months that I’ve been visiting the wetlands, I’ve seen baby birds grow up into adults or near adults. I’ve heard their squawking complaints when hungry, the flapping of wings, the irritated croaks from adults at their over-active youngsters. I’ve observed the patient fortitude of parents off diligently seeking food for their feathered families. I have seen the dangers that lurk for unaware youngsters in the presence of silent, patient alligators. I’ve seen the marsh turn green with the onslaught of the seasonal rains, seemingly turning overnight into a lush green paradise of sparkling waters and bright blooms. It is a privilege to visit this place, which still manages to be somewhat unknown in the midst of a county landscape filled with gated communities, bustling shopping centers and busy thoroughfares.
There is an unusual density of birds who successfully nest in this area, along with many who drift through on their way elsewhere in the midst of annual migrations. The types of birds can vary, but most seen are various species of herons, mud hens, some ducks, egrets, wood storks, Anhinga, osprey, finches and wrens, as well as black vultures who linger overhead flying in lazy circles in the thermals. Other animals live and thrive in this artificial environment that created by man has been fully embraced by animal kind, including marsh rabbits, iguana, other lizards. assorted turtles, fish, squirrels and the occasional alligator. It is wonderful to see how a little kindness and thought by humans is so appreciated and utilized by the very animals whose original environments were greatly disturbed and disrupted by human development and construction in the area. Yet this kind of watery oasis is uncommon, at least outside the ponds and canals that are utilized for storm and water control, serving to drain the naturally marshy landscape of South Florida.
I will say that the warm sub-tropical climate of South Florida is thoroughly enticing especially to Northerners and many wealthy and/or retired individuals have found a full-time or part-time home in these lush surroundings. It is sad that there was not more planning to preserve larger natural settings within the city limits. Still, we deal with what is before us and work within the demands of the climate, the population present and the busy roadways. It is wonderful to spend a few moments or hours in the presence of the simplicity of the life of birds and beasts, a little oasis of the heart found in the midst of a busy coastal community.
I would hope that other individuals who read and view these pages and journal entries will open to the diversity of life forms that can be found upon this small and precious blue-green sphere. Work to preserve what open lands still remain so that your children’s children can enjoy and experience what we are able to see today.
From wet and stormy sub-tropical South Florida I send my blessings to all,
All Rights Reserved, 2012-17, Eliza Ayres, http://www.bluedragonjournal.com
P.S. Yesterday when these photos were shot was the fifth anniversary of this blog. Thanks for the continuing support and interest of my readers, new and old.