Living in a magical canyon in Wyoming is an education in and of itself. Wildlife and birds live out their lives literally right in my backyard. If I want to learn something new about the way nature really works, all I need do is walk over to a window and maybe see something that will make a cool journal entry----better yet, get your butt up and go outside!
Nearly twenty years have already gone by since I took up residence in the Wind River Canyon, and the title of this weeks' Wind River Canyon Blog is an interesting one for me, as I have always had a keen interest in the psychology of all things: Do Birds Kiss?
Up until my college years I would have probably laughed at the title of this blog; maybe your smiling right now. But the implications of animals having emotions and even sharing those feelings with another seems alien; think about your favorite pet. People read all sorts of emotions into their cats and dogs, but are they real?
We had a big sled-dog named Elvis that was smarter than some people I know, and he knew what he wanted, but was he really showing emotion when this 122 pound sled-dog wanted to "snuggle" or when he would bring his leash over to me? Does that big hairy cat really truly love you? My grandma swore that her little dog was trying to tell her something----"Get me out of this damn dryer!" I contend the dog wanted to be bitten by that rattlesnake!
Over 115 species of birds spend some of their lives here in the canyon, and I've observed instances of feelings and emotions in some of these birds. Some show a crazy-keen interest in their young (i.e. Bullock's Orioles come to mind), others seem to care little for their offspring; any of this sound like someone you know? But, kissing.....?
If they weren't sharing a sunflower seed, then what were they doing? I've witnessed this behavior in finches here in the Wind River Canyon many, many times. Sometimes the behavior seems aggressive, but most of the time, not. A lot like the kids in the backseat at the prom, it's hard to tell what's going to happen next. But what are these birds doing anyway!! None of this conjecture really explains what these two finches are actually experiencing at this moment. It's springtime and mating season is here in the Wind River Canyon again, which could easily explain this kissing behavior, if you can believe in that sort of thing. It seems to be tender enough, considering that those beaks can crack open a seed.
This old man now feels the rhythm of nature in ways I could never have imagined before I sat down by the creek and let time slip away. Untold thousands of hours have been spent observing and photographing the behavior of the wildlife and rhythms of the Wind River Canyon. The canyon is showing green again, after a very mild winter here.
I had the Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 on a tripod, and was using our cabin as a blind last week, when I finally photographed a pair of Cassin's Finches in the act of bird-kissing. A lot of patience and a fast finger really are a big help.
Find a wild green-place near where you live and sit down and try not to think; hard to do? Now, just observe and keep quiet as the field mouse. What do you see, now? What do you hear? Listen closer and you will hear and see impossible things; beautiful things. This is how I first found a place where Mountain Bluebirds come to nest. An unexpected thrill each and every spring. I'd like to think some birds kiss....and you? All photographs and wildlife stories on HogbatsPhotography.com are protected under galactic copyright agreements and can only be used by permission of Michael John Balog.
Thank you for reading my Wind River Canyon Blog.