Humanity in Birds – B.J. story

The weather has been so gorgeous. Flowers are blooming and birds are around.  Every time when I step out of the door, I saw a dozen birds taking off instantly. We were born with fear, and so are the creatures. Even though we care for them and buy good seeds to feed them, they are still afraid of us. 

Among all the wild birds that come to our yard, Hummingbirds and Nuthatches (see pics from ‘Love for Birds’ post) are my favorite and they are also the two who are difficult to photograph.  Hummingbirds are constantly on the move and Nuthatches do not stand still for more than two seconds. Up to this point, I have not yet captured shots that I am completely thrilled about. But I have enough fun just watching them.
As small as Hummingbirds, they are very aggressive and very territorial. If one spots another one nearby, it will definitely try to chase it away or fight it off.  Even if he (I am using him for easy reference) has taken possession of the feeder, he is still hostile to other buddies. They for sure want to claim their no-fly zone with a Me Only scenario. Does this remind you of your childhood when your youngest sibling was obsessed with complete domination in the family? I think the insecurity of being small does that 🙂
I like Nuthatch because of their distinctive look and also their gracious manner. I have never seen them fighting over the feeder. They come, get a small bit, and leave. They don’t dwell on the feeder like some other birds do.  I also watched how they feed and protect their babies. I had a shot of a mother feeding her baby, but not clear enough. I hope to capture that moment again.
House Finch is slightly larger than Nuthatch. There are two cool things about them, one is their beautiful voice, and the other is the intimate companionship that they demonstrated. The male and female always travel together. Sometimes the male would come and check out the environment before he brings his woman over. They surely love birds.
house finch (an old photo)
Grosbeck is a larger bird with hook-like beak. The Male has a black and orange color body with white spots. The Female has strips on her head that do not enhance the look but complicate it. They also often travel together, but they usually don’t enjoy their meals together on the feeder. I am not sure if husband eats first or the wife, but they seem eating alone. Every once in a while, I would see an abusive husband wanting his woman to get off the feeder.
Sometime last year one male came to our suet feeder and got stuck inside. He may be too hungry and had his big head going in too deep and he could not get out.
Grosbeck, male
I was afraid to touch him, so I called my husband to come home at lunchtime. He knew exactly what to do, but it still took him a good 20-30 to rescue the poor bird. While I was waiting, I saw his woman waiting patiently for hours on a limb not too far away from us.  They are large and shy birds. On regular days, she would not stay as close. She managed to overcome her fever for sake of love.  For this reason, I start to see the beauty in her and like her more.
We have so many Stella Jays in our neighborhood. They are handsome-looking birds, but they are very aggressive and noisy but they are outstanding when comes to team effort and spirit.  When they discover food, they would make calls to notify their buddies. If they spot people coming into their domain, they would also send out urgent calls to their family or friends. From what I read, Stella Jay makes 100 different calls to send out different messages. We have so far heard at least 10-12 different calls.
Grosbeck, female
Three years ago, one baby Jay fell out of the nest. We heard loud and distressed-sounding calls from at least half a dozen Jays.  My husband went out and found a baby bird on the ground. He picked it up and brought it inside our house.  We fed the baby with over-cooked oatmeal and little suet to keep it warm, and we lodged it overnight in our house. Mom and Dad came to look for the baby the next morning. They made desperate calls and flew around the box where we placed the baby on our deck. We helped the baby to jump to a tree behind our house where parents eventually hid the baby there for about a week till it learned to fly. We also filled up our feeders to assure that baby had enough food.
Hungry and scared when it was found (July 2, 2010)
To our pleasant surprise, the baby showed up the next morning by jumping up the stairs of our deck and hanging out on our deck for a while before it went back to its parents.  In that whole week, we heard so many different calls and almost learned to identify the calls. We came to know when the mother was training the baby to fly; We knew the mother was looking for the baby fanatically; We knew the baby was out somewhere nearby for its own adventure while parents were calling each other to look for it.
About the end of the week, we both witnessed the baby flying from one tree to the other, and again and again.  We were so thrilled as you can imagine…..
This is how he was fed.
He came back to see us the next morning.
The baby could fly and it was gone. We felt the loss and sadness. We hoped that it would come back sometimes and B.J. did not disappoint us. We started to call him B.J. because he came back many times to visit us and he had become our baby.
Both my husband and I can tell which one is B. J. (baby jay) because he behaved very differently from other birds. He would come, look into the window and stick around for a while if he saw us. He was obviously not afraid of us. When he was around, he was always quiet and good-mannered and we could tell that he did not come for the seeds in the feeder. He came to see us.  One time I saw him standing on the railing outside the window. There was a chair on the deck blocking half of him from me, so I shifted a little bit to the left in order that I could see him better. Guess what? B.J. also shifted to his right so he could see me better. I won’t never forget that moment.
He is a handsome bird.
I have taken some shots throughout the year and the following picture was taken on July 10, 2011. That was when we last saw him.  He may have moved to other states and started his own family 🙂 He was once our baby and we will remember him forever.
B.J.’s last visit

Deadly Moment – a miracle

I was in a car accident three months ago, a deadly and miraculous accident caused by myself. I am grateful that I am still alive and able to continue my blog.
For the first two months, I was still feeling shaken by what happened. I kept asking myself if it was just a dream or was I really involved in the accident? How can I not get badly injured and perhaps in a wheelchair right now? Is it really me that was stuck inside the car?
On April 10, I was on I-5 driving south late in the evening.  It was dark, but the road was as dry and clean as it could be… I have driven through the same section of the freeway numerous times and have been through the worst freeway condition – pouring rain, a fleet of continuous freight truck traffic, and almost white-out conditions on snowy days.  One night I had a record of passing 23 trucks whose large wheels churned heavy rain and generated large water blinds that almost blocked my sight, and I broke my way through.
rock fiesta
Piece of cake to drive tonight, I thought.  Driving, as usual, I thought about the meeting tonight, the beautiful rocks that we used for the photography subject, and the favorite group of people that I really enjoy hanging out with. Then I fell into a train of thought till I noticed that my left wheel was on double yellow lines. Oh, No. I said to myself.
In a panic, I instantly tried to steer the car to the right. Too much to the right, I wanted to set it back to left a little bit… but my car seemed suddenly to act like a wild horse which ignored my command.  It ran fast forward left and right one more time and swung out of the freeway, down to the grass patch outside the shoulder, all seemed in a split second. I still had my hands hanging on to the steering wheel tight, and the immediate next thing I knew was, that my car rolled over and landed on its side. I was at the bottom of the car and the passenger side was up in the air.
I had an instant space phobia because my car was locked and I felt trapped just like what I saw in the movies. I felt like floating inside the space shuttle and could not hang on to anything to station myself. “Is it really me who is trapped in a car?”  “Am I still alive?” “Is this heaven or earth?” Those thoughts were bombarding me like rain showers. And I realized that I was still intact, my hands and legs were still connected to my body. I turned my head a couple times and it was still attached to my neck. I could feel pain, soreness, and stiffness, but my mind was crystal clear. I finally came to a conclusion: I was in a car accident but I survived.
My first thought is to get out of the car through the window, but the window was locked. I then realized that I had to re-start the engine in order to open the window, but I was shaking so bad that I could not turn my key which was still in the ignition. I thought to call my husband, but I found out that my purse had got thrown to the back and down on the floor, too far to reach and so was my smartphone.  I kept telling myself not to panic and only think about the next step….
A nice young couple Roger and Christina were on the way to the Bay area from Portland. They were behind me and witnessed the accident when I lost control of my car. They were able to change lanes immediately and kept safe. Instead of keeping on their journey, they stopped their car and came back to check on me. Christina was signaling me from outside the car to open the window and get out of the car. I tried it again to start the ignition and finally got it started. I was able to open the window and get out of the car. Just before I was completely out of the car, I thought about an extra cell phone that I stored in my glove box as a backup. Thank God, the phone was working. I called my husband, and started with words such as “I am in a car accident but I am not injured….”
I was not injured in any severe way, but I had minor bruises on my face, I hurt my left shoulder moderately and I have sprung my back to some degree. Nothing serious and I was able to stand up and talk with Roger and Christina.  She said she was so scared when she came close to my car. She was prepared to either see a dead body, a bleeding face, or a crippled someone, so she was happy to see me alive and not seriously wounded. Christina and Roger stayed with me the whole time while I was waiting for the highway patrol to show up. I should have asked for their contact information, but I was too shaky and not thinking.
This is America. Every single life is precious and valued. A fire truck and Ambulance both came to the scene almost immediately. I was handed over a blanket and many came to check on me. Even though I repeatedly told the workers that I was fine, they still wanted to reassure me that I was not hurt and I don’t need any care. State police and towing company could not show up immediately due to traffic. At about the same time, my husband also arrived from his one-hour drive. How lucky I was that there was barely any traffic when the accident occurred?
As of today, we only informed our family and a few close friends about my accident. My meditation period is over and I have decided to open it to the public. I have learned my lesson and I hope others can also be benefited from this lesson.
1.     Undivided Attention
I was not talking on the phone or texting, but my mind wandered for a few seconds. Most of the freeway accidents occurred in a few seconds. The second time can cause a disaster and is too short for us to react properly. I-5 is long and straight. I have been driving for a long time straight forward, suddenly the rhyme is being altered, and I was not in a full alert state of mind to respond.
2.     Think to Brake
I may have my cruise control on and while I was panicking, I did not remember to hit the brake. I just did not think about brake at that critical moment!!! If I did, I may not be talking about it now.
3.     Thank God
The spot where I had my car rolled over is a grass field outside the paved freeway. Further down, there is a nursery. The grass ground is soft and the impact is not as big. It is also not slippery. So as soon as my car hit the grass, rolled over and it stopped.  If the car continues to roll, I may get bruises and broken bones, or worse, lifeless. If I had run off the freeway just 1-2 minutes earlier, I would crash into the row of concrete barriers, and fatal damage to both my car and myself are not unimaginable.
It was late and not a lot of cars on the freeway, and fortunately, no second car was involved in the accident.  It seems to me that all other cars were sucked up into the air by a supreme power and I was prepared a soft spot to land my car, just to give me a warning. I feel so blessed.
4.     Don’t Panic
Particularly if you are a believer, you know that we were created and brought to the earth for a purpose and for a length of time. If we are not pre-ordained to depart yet, we won’t. If we are, we just have to leave.
We have always been educated or trained on these to-do’s and not to-do’s under unusual circumstances, but are we able to respond exactly how we are trained to do? Common sense doesn’t always control our instinct and our reaction does not always follow our instinct. In my case, the word ‘brake’ was simply blocked and I was attempting a useless solution.  It is all because I was in a panic and could not think through.  Emboss No Panic in your heart and mind and make it come natural when disaster suddenly invades.
So, peace comes to me in the wake of my accident. Life is so fragile, so precious, and wonderful.

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