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(wc 596)

I recently acquired a remote shutter release and timer for my beloved camera.  After reading all the material and becoming familiar with this new accessory, I set about my project of trying to capture some good photos of visiting birds.  I set up my equipment on our front porch, under the climbing-rose pergola.  The greenery of the rose did an adequate job of camouflaging the camera and tripod, which I had set up to photograph the birds as they visited our bird feeder.

I’ve noticed that morning and evening are the best times to find a variety of birds at our feeder, and I was really excited about being able to use this new device as an aid.  The remote/timer comes with only a three-foot cord, which doesn’t make for much remoteness when you are trying not to scare the birds away.  So I had also purchased a 30-foot extension cord to go with it.  I got the camera focused on a central spot at the feeder, hooked up the remote, and attached it to the cord that I had dropped down from our second floor window.  From that window I had a good view of the bird feeder, and I was now able to snap photos at will without the birds being frightened away by my presence.  So far so good.

I was getting a bit restless, waiting for about an hour for any birds to show up – at a time when they are usually there.  At last, I noticed some movement toward the feeder.  Mourning doves.  Mourning doves, mourning doves, mourning doves.  I  am not complaining, because they are quite pretty, (and greedy too – can they ever eat!) but it seems that for the last few days they are the only birds who will consent to come to either one of our feeders – at least when I am around to watch them.  I am going to have to be patient, and hope that such patience will be rewarded.  The photo of the juvenile blue jay that I posted the other day was not taken with my new outfit!  I was on our front porch when I noticed a rustle in the tree across the street.  I had the telephoto lens on the camera and was able to get just close enough to be able to get some photos – sans tripod, however.

I won’t go so far as to say “familiarity breeds contempt,” but I have the feeling that if they weren’t so common around here, the mourning doves would be appreciated for their beauty and gentle cooing a lot more than they are.  I’ll share again with you a poem I wrote in memory of the author Robert B. Parker. (The entire post of which this was a part can be found here.)

The Mourning Doves
©2011 Paula Tohline Calhoun

The first call of birds I hear
Each morning as I awake
Is the soft, gentle sound of the
Mourning doves, cooing at day-break.
On looking out my window
I see them, on the roof
Some, like sentries, pacing,
Others perching still, aloof.
Their feathers shimmer, pink and gray,
Reflecting dawn’s first light,
Then suddenly, in unison
Wings whistling, they take flight.
And, following some distant call
That they alone can hear
They take their leave, to feed and play
By a distant stream or weir.
Then at the appointed hour,
In the gloaming of the day
Singing softly of contentment
In their ancient, lilting way,
They make their way back home to rest,
And gently fold their wings.
In hushed antiphonal echo,
My heart responds and sings.


At least for now, the doves’ call is enough. . .