Birds of Quarantine

 I sit on my patio in my courtyard sipping on Ginger Mushroom tea anticipating the sunrise to peek over the concrete wall before me. I live downtown and my porch faces the back of a feed and seed store so my sunrise is delayed by a few minutes. The building is old, but solid, with various cracks, crevices, and abandoned infrastructure existing in its walls. During this health crisis, I’ve sat here and watched the birds turn this small downtown courtyard into a Quarantine sanctuary. 

A Blackbird has claimed an old laundry exhaust pipe. The mother sitting on eggs inside, the male continuously hunting and singing on the power line. Another pair are nested up in the old wooden window frames that have been compromised by weathering over the years. They used sticks and discarded plastic bags to construct a water-resistant nest. My neighbor has bird feeders so various species visit us throughout the day. Night hawks are zooming in the sky, while the pigeons fly in formation doing their daily configurations around town. A mockingbird toots its horn. The Sun is just showing above the building and birds are everywhere.

 During this health crisis, I’ve sat here and watched the birds turn this small downtown courtyard into a Quarantine sanctuary. 

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird in Flight / Photo Credit Curt Hart

I see the silhouette of a hummingbird visiting the trumpet flowers checking on their bloom. Small sparrows and finches sing and eat out of the feeders, while others spill seeds to the ground. Many plum their wings in the dusty gravel beds while swallowing small pebbles to help them digest the seed. All this is happening within fifteen minutes.

 

 

Thanks to long time Iowa river citizen Mike Schwenker for the amazing photo.

I take my pre-workout morning walk towards the Sunflower River as a Great Blue Heron flies over headed to the river-bank. The sky is filled with Mississippi kites showing up from Mexico, Central, and South America. They make this journey to mate and to feed on their favorite foods, Cicadas and Delta dragonflies.

By the River, a family of Cardinals whistle amongst each other in the cottonwood tree, while Killdeer and Sandpipers forage on the mud-flats. A family of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks takes refuge along the Sunflower River in a small natural inlet behind our shop, while a  Green Heron feeds along a downed Hackberry along the muddy banks.

    I love it when I’m able to witness an event in nature that connects all the dots […] This morning I was aware of the importance of the birds spreading seed and controlling our important sacred food chain.

I take a seat on a deck underneath a large Sycamore tree. An Oriole lands on the branch above me. I marvel at the striking colors that only nature creates. It goes from seed pod to pod jamming its beak into each one, setting the seedlings afloat in the wind. I love it when I’m able to witness an event in nature that connects all the dots.

My Quarantine Quapaw brothers and I have been spending our time reconnecting and bonding by gardening and finishing a project that was halted by the Sunflower River Flood of 2016. The “Dragonfly Dawn” canoe has been woken. The energy is amazing that comes from the sacred construction of a canoe. It has given us the strength and intestinal fortitude to continue on in this time of crisis. It makes you look at yourself and realize what’s important in this life. This morning I was aware of the importance of the birds spreading seed and controlling our important sacred food chain.

Photo credit: John Ruskey

  With the health and social injustice crisis the world is facing, the Creator is trying to get our attention.  The message is that all living creatures are important to the health of the world: and we are put here to sustain and protect for future generations. We have the intelligent minds and science to pursue this, so let’s not be afraid to ask the serious questions, create dialogue, and not be afraid to be the country we say we are.

-Mark River Peoples,

MS/AR Regional Outreach Coordinator

 

Can the River count on you?

BECOME A RIVER CITIZEN TODAY!

 

 

Become a

River Citizen

Yes! The River can count on me!

I am committed to protecting the Mississippi River and will take at least three actions to care for this valuable resource. Please keep me informed about actions I can take to protect the Mississippi River as a River Citizen:

Step 1

Become a River Citizen

Yes! The river can count on me!

I am committed to protecting the Mississippi River and will take at least three actions to care for this valuable resource. Please keep me informed about actions I can take to protect the Mississippi River as a River Citizen:

 

Step 2

Educate Yourself

One goal for 1 Mississippi is to educate the public on the urgent problems facing the River. We are supported by the Mississippi River Network, a group of organizations that are experts in various areas concerning the River. Each section below is intended to provide some basic knowledge about these important issues and links to experts who can provide more detailed information. 

Nutrient pollution

Importance of floodplains and wetlands

Farm bill conservation programs

 

Step 3

Take Action

There are many ways you can take action. We have a list of 10 actions you can take now, You can volunteer and you can check our action center in order to see what bigger projects we are working on. Here we give you the information you need to call your congressman or sign onto proposals. You can also check out our events calendar to see what events are happening in your area.

10 actions you can take now!

The Action Center

Events Calendar

River Citizens are people who want to clean up and protect America's greatest River. 

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