Sunday, February 1, 2009

Consider The Birds Of The Air...

I live in what is basically a tree house, and from my vantage point I am able to watch the animals outside, racoons, skunks (yes) squirrels, crows, Steller's jays, and all sorts of other birds. It's amazing how they react with each other. I watch them playing, fighting, making love, and doing all the things that we humans take for granted in the human world. Some of the animals have distinct traits and personalities. My daughter recently told me she watched a crow put a walnut in the middle of the road so the cars would run over it and he could eat the nut inside. I have watched crows scoop a clam from the sand, fly up into the sky and drop the clam on the pavement so it will break open.

Today I received an e-mail from my cousin, with some photographs attached, and I wanted to share them with you, if you have not already seen them (which you probably have ... I am always the last to see these things).

Here in the first picture, a female barn swallow is injured and the condition is fatal. She was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road.


Her mate brought her food and attended to her with love and compassion.

He brought her food again but was shocked to find her dead. He tried to move her ... a rarely-seen effort for swallows.

Aware that his sweetheart is dead and will never come back to him again, he cries with adoring love. Barn swallows mate for life, as do many other species of birds, including swans.

He stood beside her, saddened of her death. Finally aware that she would never return to him, he stood beside her body with sadness and sorrow.

He stands vigil to his lost companion.

Apparently these photographs were taken in the Ukraine, and the photographer sold the pictures for a nominal fee to a newspaper in France. All copies of that newspaper were sold out on the day these pictures were published.

Human beings, with our ethnocentricity, believe we are superior to the animals with whom we share this earth, but I believe we are not. Most animals don't foul their own nests or their habitats, but consider what a mess we humans have made of them. Animals have much to teach us, if only we would open our eyes and hearts to learn.

43 comments:

PinkPanthress said...

Animals are way superior to us mere humans. The pictures once again show this!
I am sad to say it, but imo we humans do not even have half the right to exist the way we behave.

It hurts me very much to see this animal saddened and distraught by the loss of their mate. :(

Other than that, I saw something like that too what you and your described. And Squirrels do that too with cars and nuts. Very bright they are.

Country Girl said...

I have not seen these photos unitl just now. And am crying. Oh, Jo.

chook said...

Hi Jo, we have magpies here in NZ. Well they are not the real European ones but the first settlers assumed they were because they were black and white.
Anyway a family of them were on our front driveway and one of the children was driving mum nuts squawking for food. So mum looks around and finds a rubber band amongst the stones and gives it to her noisy baby. Twenty minutes of silence ensues while he learns a valuable lesson. Smart bird!
I know some pretty good humans.

Leah Fry said...

All my animals help me be a better person, but none more so than my horses.

Poutalicious said...

If I could choose to be anything, other than human, it would be a bird.

Lover of Life said...

That was so sad. I love birds. When we lived in Minneapolis, our neighbors did everything they could to not allow the barn swallows to use their homes for nests. Including big nets that went completely over the home! They all complained about them. I'm sure they thought us crazy "tree huggers" because we allowed them to nest under our deck, and just washed they "waste" off the house when they were finished. We also asked people to use our side door when the robins were nesting in the two big bush/trees at our entry. They deserve a little compassion as we continue to take up their habitat.

jay dee said...

Hi Jo:Those pictures were very moving and they prove that we humans don't have a monopoly on emotions.Animals are without malice they don't murder or start wars,we could learn from the animal kingdom if we would just stop and observe their behaviour.

SweetPeaSurry said...

That's such a sad story.

My grandparents have always taken care of the squirrels that live in their backyard.

One day, my grandparents were watching as the male squirrel finally caught up with the female squirrel and they mated right on the picnic table. (needless to say it was washed thoroughly after that)

Apparently after the male squirrel was done, he lay sprawled flat on his back for over 30 minutes, then rolled over and layed sprawled on his belly for several more minutes.

Must have taken a lot out of the poor little guy.

Lorna said...

Well now you've gone and done it. Brought tears to my eyes.
~Lorna

Russell said...

Incredible images...

And you know what? I'll bet any amount of money that these birds could care less if their mate had a little extra weight or didn't look like the airbrushed "bird of the month" or whether their mate was tall or short or (fill in the blank with whatever)!

And to think humans think THEY are superior in intelligence to animals?!?!? Hmmm.... time to rethink that.

Take care and amazing photos.

Arley said...

OMG, that was so sad. That brought tears to my eyes. Animals can be so precious. In a lot of ways, they are like humans. They have feelings and some intelligence. Its sad to see them mistreated. I worked at an animal shelter back in Newport, RI a few years ago. Some of the animals that were brought in were in such bad shape. I just wanted to take them all home!

Donnetta Lee said...

I know my babies LOVE their mommy. That's my Percy and Princess. You can tell! I've heard that humans simply "give" animals emotions that aren't really there. But, I SWEAR, my babies show love and sadness, too. Maybe not exactly the same as humans but there none the less! D

B said...

Those photos are so beautiful and poignant. Thank you for sharing!

Hilary said...

Josie, you're killing me with those photos. You got me right in the heart... sigh!

nomore said...

At last, I knew the fact that with your.."I live in my tree house..n so on...."....
Emotion!

Deedee said...

Heart rending! Thank you, Jo!

flowrgirl1 said...

What a tragic event to witness. The sense of compassion that animals possess which most people dont know exists.

On a limb with Claudia said...

What a great story - wonderful photos. Thank your cousin for us. My heart is truly warmed by such love.

introspection said...

Very rare pictures indeed. Unbelievable expressions of love and sadness. Touched my heart...!

Firefly said...

How often one sees footage or photos like this of animals showing emotion over the death of a mate or offspring. One good example is elephants. It is know for a mother elephant to try and carry her dead baby for a while (sometimes days) before leaving it. Also when elephants stumble accross elephant bones they smell it and pick it up before moving on.
Thanks for a wonderful post.

Ann said...

Gosh, I really didn't want to cry tonight! I've always believed animals have emotions like this, and I wish more people would be understanding of that. My cat has actually been quite out of sorts now that my husband is working out of state... he really misses him, and it shows.

jeannette stgermain said...

thanks for sharing - even though it's heart wrenching to see these photos, some lessons can be learned from this.

Butler and Bagman said...

Honest, heart-rending, life, death. I, too, love animals...watched a NOVA television show yesterday on Monarch butterflies that fly 2,500 miles from Canada to Mexico against all odds. Gorgeous. My wife loved watching as well except when she made me turn off the TV for 20 seconds when one of them got caught in a spiders web. She has a hard time with food chain issues. I won't share these moving pictures with her.

KathyB. said...

What a beautiful and poignant post. To see the depth of distress the mate displays is definitely heart wrenching.

momcat said...

That's so sad and absolutely poignant. I have had a few different varieties of animals as pets and recognise the individualism and characters of each animal. When you cease being self-absorbed (if that is possible) you recognise the spirit in others.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

So sad. It shows that all the world suffers the pain of death and decay. Thanks for sharing this poignant post.

Ruth D~ said...

I wish I didn't see this. It breaks my heart.

Carla said...

Awwww...those photos are so touching! And as an over-the-top animal lover, I love this post.

Mary Ellen said...

Beautiful, thank you for those pictures and the story that went along with it. It reminds me of the quote from the Bible (I'm sorry, don't mean to offend those who don't believe),

"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it" and "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the Earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."

I think we (as a whole) could do a better job of it than we have,eh?

Starlene said...

I have read the story of the swallows but I didn't see the photos that went along with the story. I had tears spilling down my face the first time I read it, just as I do now. As one who also spends as much time as I can observing our natural world, I have long considered humans to be the least balanced species of all (except for maybe the panda). Humanity puts a lot of emphasis on some things whilst completely ignoring many of the other more immaterial aspects of this earthly existence. I could spend all my days watching the birds and the squirrels and foxes. In the natural world...the real world...everything is always renewing itself, always changing.

Jo said...

Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful, thoughtful comments. Yes, we have done a rather poor job, in many cases, of looking after our fellow creatures and their habitat. Case in point, that beautiful little swallow was hit by a car. I loathe cars, but they are a necessary evil, unfortunately.

Humans have gotten out of touch with how to live with nature. Every year millons of birds are killed by slamming into highrise windows.

Oh, goodness, don't get me started ... *heh*

Cheers!
Jo

Charles Gramlich said...

That's very very sad. One might almost wish they were spared the agony that humans so often know too well.

TheChicGeek said...

Such a beautiful post, Jo. If only we humans could be more like the animals our world might be a bette place. You are so lucky to live in such a beautiful place surrounded by so much nature :)
Have a Happy Day!

Edward Yablonsky said...

Human beings, with our ethnocentricity, believe we are superior to the animals with whom we share this earth, but I believe we are not. Most animals don't foul their own nests or their habitats, but consider what a mess we humans have made of them. Animals have much to teach us, if only we would open our eyes and hearts to learn.

I quote you and what you say is so true of our bloated and ha ha "grandiose ethnocentricity".

Mona said...

oh my god, that's so beautiful and sad at the same time...i'm crying inside...i will share this on my blog, thanks jo

Lidia said...

So beautiful...I felt exactly that way when I watched Mum pass away...my adorable love cried out for her so tenderly and it hurt so much...

Mean Mama said...

Thank you for sharing this Jo. I really appreciate what Russel said too. I used to work for an Indian Tribe and there were swallows nesting in the eves above the entrance to the Casino. The customers were complaining about the mess and some of them were suffering from little droppings, but the Tribe refused to move them because they were sacred little birds to them. It made me very happy.

Mona said...

jo, i just found out something interesting, i think that it is the male that is injured and died and the female feeding and mourning his death.

according to wikipedia, the male and female barn swallows have the similar coloring but the difference is in their tail length, the female is shorter while the male is longer and from these pictures, it sure looks like the one that died is a male and the other is a female.

so this points out an interesting thing about humans...we tend to assume that females are weaker and perhaps more stupid while the males are stronger (;

white crow said...

wow!!!
just wow.....

chessaleeinlondon said...

And...I've received them today in my email! Sad...beautiful images.

ed said...

情趣商品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣用品,情趣商品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣用品,情趣商品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣用品,,情趣,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品.情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,視訊聊天室,情趣,情趣用品,情趣,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣麻將,台灣彩卷,六合彩開獎號碼,運動彩卷,六合彩,遊戲,線上遊戲,cs online,搓麻將,矽谷麻將,明星三缺一, 橘子町,麻將大悶鍋,台客麻將,公博,game,,中華職棒,麗的線上小遊戲,國士無雙麻將,麻將館,賭博遊戲,威力彩,威力彩開獎號碼,龍龍運動網,史萊姆,史萊姆好玩遊戲,史萊姆第一個家,史萊姆好玩遊戲區,樂透彩開獎號碼,遊戲天堂,天堂,好玩遊戲,遊戲基地,無料遊戲王,好玩遊戲區,麻將遊戲,好玩遊戲區,小遊戲,電玩快打情趣用品,情趣,A片,AIO,AV,AV女優,A漫,免費A片,情色,情色貼圖,色情小說,情色文學,色情,寄情竹園小遊戲,色情遊戲,AIO交友愛情館,色情影片,情趣內衣,情趣睡衣,性感睡衣,情趣商品,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人,18成人,成人影城,成人圖片,成人貼圖,成人圖片區,UT聊天室,聊天室,豆豆聊天室 ,哈啦聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080苗栗人聊天室,080聊天室,視訊交友網,視訊借錢,黃金,黃金回收,黃金價格,黃金買賣,當舖A片,A片,成人網站,成人影片,色情,情色網,情色,AV,AV女優,成人影城,成人,色情A片,日本AV,免費成人影片,成人影片,SEX,免費A片,A片下載,免費A片下載,做愛,情色A片,色情影片,H漫,A漫,18成人a片,色情影片,情色電影,a片,色情,情色網,情色,av,av女優,成人影城,成人,色情a片,日本av,免費成人影片,成人影片,情色a片,sex,免費a片,a片下載,免費a片下載,成人網站,做愛,自拍

NicoleB said...

Gosh, this made me cry :(
I didn't know they mate for Life :(
Thanks for sharing!

Anna said...

Beautiful pictures, Proving yet again that animals and birds have feelings - We know that this is true because some mate for life and obviously mourn death! But consider this...
The dead bird is clearly moulting. Still growing plumage. This is therefore not a husband wife story, but a mother child story!!