“A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard...
Why can't we all be like that bird?”
― Edward Hersey Richards




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I'm Feeling a Bit Foxy!! Springtime Rituals in the Animal Kingdom, and More

Some time ago, I posted that I started on another pencil sketch while waiting for Bud to get out of bed. I've been a bit busy on a couple of projects, and those projects, along with birding in the mornings,  have kept me away from my sketch pad.  This most recent one has been lying around; unfinished for quite a while.   In order to get it off my computer desk, I took the time to complete it yesterday!! For this sketch, I used my last sheet from the sketch pad...went to Hobby Lobby on the way home from the islands and bought a new tablet and a new sketch #5 pencil. I'm all set to draw when I get an urge!! For now, tho, this one'll go into my portfolio and be out of the way...



Here is the finished sketch.  Of a Fox...



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This week, I pulled off from our bookshelves an older book that I had read when we lived in Tucson, back in the 90s. I mentioned reading this book on my bird photography blog [published at noon today] because it pertains a bit to what I felt while watching two terns in their mating ritual. I hafta ask you, do you think that animals are 'dumb' when it comes to comparing them to us humans? I've never thought that. In more ways than one, I personally think they're smarter than us!  Reading this book, I remember, often brought tears to my eyes. The animals' emotions. Fear. Surprise. Anger...etc. etc. etc. I also remember reading about birds' antics when mating and choosing a mate. Do they feel love? Do animals feel remorse when a parent or sibling is injured or killed? Do they cry? Well, let me tell you...this book is a tell all of research and lack thereof on wild animal [and domesticated] emotions! For instance, here are a couple of excerpts:
    1- "When I see a pair of parrots tenderly and patiently preening each other, my first thought is not that they are doing this to help the survival of their genes, This is a misleading manner of speaking"....Instead de Waal views the birds expressing love and expectations or...'an exclusive bond'".
    2- "A game warden, doing elephant control work saw three female elephants and a half-grown male in tall grass. Since his job was to keep the population down, he shot the females ---and slightly wounded the young male. To his dismay, he suddenly saw two elephant calves hidden in the grass. The injured calf, instead of fleeing, the orphaned calves pressed themselves against the male and supported him to lead him away from the danger..."

This book is a must for all animal lovers, nature lovers, or those that are curious about animal emotions and behaviors. It may be a bit difficult to find in print at your library since it's over 20 years since it was first published. But, trust me, it's worth the effort to find it and read it. You won't want to put it down, and you won't want to resell it or trade it in.   And I'm sure you'll look at all creatures a lot differently knowing they ache and feel sadness, hunger, pain, happiness, regret, maybe even embarrassment.   It's a keeper. Very poignant and VERY educational.


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Then, moving on & speaking of emotions and feelings....these, for the last couple of weeks, have been EVERYWHERE in town!!  They're harmless, but a nuisance.  They're flying in your face [don't smile or open your mouth to breathe].  They're flying around in vegetation.  They're clinging to fences.  Stop the car, and your hood is soon black!  Not to mention the grill work on the hood...OR your windshield smeared with bug splatter.  Luckily, for us humans anyway, the flying pests only survive a couple of weeks....they die off.  Their main purpose is to breed.  An interesting fact or two:  also known as the honeymoon fly or double-headed bug. During and after mating, adult pairs remain coupled, even in flight, for up to several days.  source: wikipedia


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And, coming back to books...I did NOT LIKE the one book I started to read a week or two ago, Assassin's Accomplice.. I couldn't get past the first few chapters. The author was skipping around so much, it became difficult to decipher just when and where everything was taking place. It would have been much better had she kept her thoughts in chronological order! For instance she was talking about Mary Surratt and her husband, then she'd skip to Lincoln being assainated...only to go back to the times of marriage BEFORE Booth and the killing of the president. Over and over she did that. If only...oh well, it was worth a try. It could've been an excellent history. I can only give it ONE star of 5. Five being a keeper. And for the fact of jumping around different years and going back to a previous time...I just shut the book and said "We can trade this book in!"


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Like something from the cable's SYFY channel, this is what you call a process of an extreme make over! Well, kinda sorta. Soon, after breeding season concludes, all birds molt. This cardinal is definitely molting!! Like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde! Or Beauty and the Beast...From the stunning crimson red and full colors, to molting and growing new pretty feathers each season, this is quite a stark transformation from one phase to another. By winter, the new feathers will have grown out and soon to begin another breeding season in Spring, enticing the opposite sex with its brilliance and mating rituals. My question is - where do the molted feathers go? I never see any cardinal feathers anywhere. I think they'd be great for making a dreamcatcher.


44 comments :

  1. As to not finding bird feathers anywhere, I often see a feather or two in the yard. We also never see dead birds! What happens to them? Cats only like live prey. I think we can Google the question, I will try that. I remember the first time I saw a molting Blue Jay, I thought it was horribly sick. The book looks excellent! YES, elephants are in some ways better creatures than man! These flies are disgusting!! They don't really look like flies, maybe more like lightening bugs. Your fox is GORGEOUS!! You have a way of sketching some creature and bringing it's very best features to the forefront. You are so talented!

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    1. Oh, I've seen feathers, many feathers. But, never a cardinal feather.

      Thanks Ginny.

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  2. Happy weekend, Anni. Congrats on finishing the fox sketch. What a great job you did. We are enjoying seeing a variety of birds at our new to us house this spring. I wish you and Bud a lovely day.

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    1. Thanks Mildred...hope you have a great day too.

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  3. Your fox has a sweet face. I see one Cardinal feather at times.

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  4. I LOVE that fox sketch. As for animals, I've never thought of them as dumb. The things they are able to do and they way they can communicate is amazing. Now those bugs I would say are a different story.

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    1. Ya, Spring and Summer is not good, for bugs!! Thanks Ann

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  5. Love the sketch!
    I have always thought animals feel many of the same emotions we do. Not only do I talk to my dog and cats as if they were human, I talk to birds, frogs, lizards, butterflies, etc. Oh, and I talk to my plants, too!
    Have a great week-end!

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    1. Thanks Lea.

      Ya, talking to plants, I didn't think of that.

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  6. I am sure that elephant book is fascinating, but I don't need to know whether animals feel, I've seen it and recognize it in a variety of animals. A book you would love (if you could find it) is called "Beaversprite" about a couple who made their home into a beaver sanctuary. I am too fond of elephants to be brave enough to read that book. I love your pretty fox, though. :-)

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    1. I'll see if I can find the book....thanks D J

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  7. Hello Anni, you are just so talented. A great sketch of the fox. Interesting reviews on both the books - one read and one not. Have a great weekend. Jo

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    1. Thanks Jo....hope you have a great week ahead after enjoying the weekend.

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  8. Amazing sketch of the fox - what a talent.

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  9. the first time I saw the parrots at Jungle Gardens molting I freaked out and said what happened to the parrots? I have not seen our cardinals molt, will have to pay more attention. I LOVE THAT FOX... if I could draw like you do, I would do it all the time. and no power needed, no battery needed. just you and pencil and paper. wow... it seems like more of the books are like what you described, jumping back and forth and the movies are to. we watched two movies that half the time I said are we in the past of now? I like books and stories and movies in chronological order

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    1. I agree with all you said...the 1st time I saw a molting bird, I wasn't sure I'd want to be close to it for fear of some disease. lol

      Thanks Sandra.

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  10. Lovely work. I too have yet to see a cardinal feather. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks...hope you have a great week.

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  11. Hi Anni, I love your fox sketch - you really captured that 'foxy' expression! Yes - I do believe that all animals and birds have emotions. I have seen it and experienced it with my pets and even the wild things. They definitely grieve when they lose their friends and family members and they are more than capable of expressing love. I have a little cockatiel that expresses his tender feelings for me every day, and knows what I am saying to him and responds to 'come here', 'want this?' and 'No' (he usually nips me when I say, 'no')! That poor little cardinal really looks awful. I hope you find a red feather one of these days! x Karen

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    1. Thanks Karen...yep, the molting really makes an ugly mess, but oh the beauty after it's over.

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  12. your Fox is beautiful. you are so gifted.
    the elephant story made me cry. I wouldn't be able to read the book.
    hope you enjoy your weekend.
    hugs,
    Marie

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  13. Hi Ms. Anni-
    Great to have you visit me.
    I have seen a few Cardinals that have graced our bird feeders, even here in DFW, but I have never seen a molting Cardinal. Quite cool actually.
    Nice snaps.
    Have a Happy Weekend!
    Peace :)

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  14. Your fox sketch is wonderful and you are incredibly talented.

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  15. You did a marvelous job on your sketch, Wish I had just a small portion of your talent. I love and admire anyone with art talent.

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  16. Your drawing is so good! I really enjoy seeing your talent like this.
    The book sounds very good. I think animals are very smart too. For example - our cats certainly control us! :)

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    1. LOL...so true, so true, about the cats.
      Thanks Mari.

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  17. Sorry, I simply cannot read about sad facts regarding wildlife and man's destruction. I am sure critters have emotions and feelings, birds and mammals especially. Your fine fox sketch shows his alert expression very well.

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    1. Whether I cry or read sad facts, it's part of life and for the most part, good to learn.

      Thanks Ms. G

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  18. Your fox sketch is lovely Anni! I agree with you and that book about animals and their emotions sounds like a wonderful read. Oh and we have those bugs here too by the way. We just call them "love bugs". They have just started to show up in the last couple of days. They also show up again for a couple of weeks in the fall.

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    1. Oh oh...I have to look forward to the fall then....no. lol

      Thanks Lois.

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  19. I have always believed that about animals -- and I'm reading that book called "The Genius of Birds" that I blogged a little bit about -- it gives much of the same kind of information about birds -- you'd enjoy it (I got it from our Library here). Love your fox sketch.

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    1. Thanks Sallie. And, thanks for the recommendation of the book.

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  20. Love your sketch! Great job. So many talent folks out here blogging. Those Love Bugs are a pain. All over my shed leaving the droppings, I need to get out there and scrub it down. Thanks for sharing your lovely drawing.

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  21. Great sketch. I have always felt that animals have feelings, maybe some more than others. I bet I would like that book...

    There was a show on TV about elepants...how they grieved for ones they lost. How they would pass the bones years later and still pause and grieve again. How they helped one another.

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    1. I would like to see that program....thanks Rose

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  22. "When Elephants Weep" Oh Anni, I had forgotten long ago about this book and I so enjoyed it back when it first came out. I must think about getting it from the library and reading it again, though I don't read as much in the warmer months as I do in the colder...something just pulls me to the outdoors and the earth right now. Your drawing of the Fox is wonderful and the Owl in your banner, you did that as well I assume...my but you are a talented woman. I am working on too many tiny projects that have exploded into a huge mess and now I am feeling under the weather...needing a nice break. I hope that you have enjoyed your week. Hugs

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  23. Hello, love your sketch of the fox. The flying insects sound awful. The birds look sad when they are molting. Poor things. I was away for two weeks and I am so sorry to be late commenting and visiting your post. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

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