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The Story of Nature

Returning to the ongoing story of our old friend, the 2006 Ozzie, last evening I had the door to the balcony open and was working quietly at my desk when suddenly I heard quite a bit of cardinal vocalizing going on out back. I got up, hurried out onto the terrace, and tried to espy our old pal Ozzie amid the tangle of bare branches.

It's hard to do find him by ear alone because his singing echoes off all the hard surfaces of the buildings back there. It's a great help when our old pal Ozzie flits from one branch to another and then continues his song. The movement grabs the eye.

Above: Lens cap being hurriedly removed, captured just as it happened.

Well, immediately I discerned the cause of all the commotion. Our old pal Ozzie had found himself a girlfriend. He and his winged babe were flitting from one branch to another, first one taking the lead, then the other. They would alight within a few inches of each other, share an excited song, then one or the other would hop into the air, swoop down and glide to another branch, or flap frantically to climb into the highest branches. Sometimes the other would hesitate -- never ceasing to sing of course -- as if pretending to play hard to get. But then of course he or she would swiftly drop the facade and follow quickly. They seemed to be having a marvelously fun, if noisy, time of it.

Above: Tension mounts as we nearly trip on the cam's power cord.

Ah, cardinals in love.

Well, I thought, I need to get some pictures of this.

Of course the batteries in my digital cam were dead so I had to scramble to get a power cord arrangement sorted out. Meanwhile I could hear the courting of our old pal Ozzie and his girlfriend climbing toward an amorous crescendo.

Above: Where Ozzie and friend had been just moments before.

I was desperately hurrying by this point, of course. Us Nature Photography types understand that fortune favors the prepared.

Above: Ozzie and friend, having exited frame-right.

We know all too well that if the chance comes, it may never come again. There are some brilliant instances of Nature Photography out there in the Almost-o-sphere.

Above: Ozzie and friend, amid the ivy, making cardinal love .

The trick, as always, is finding a way to tell The Story of Nature, whatever that story may be.


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You've experienced a phenomenon well-known in birding circles: Birds have some yet-unknown-to-science organ that allows them to detect the presence of optics, which they have evolved to avoid at all costs, likely due to being hunted by binocular-wielding predators during the Mesozoic.

Almost forgot: Congratulations to Ozzie. I wish that could have picked up the opposite sex so quickly when I lived in NYC.

...likely due to being hunted by binocular-wielding predators during the Mesozoic.

Possibly. I look forward to modern science unearthing the fossil.

Personally, however, I blame Unintelligent Design. In particular, the built-in incompetence of yours truly.

I wish that could have picked up the opposite sex so quickly when I lived in NYC.

Yes, well, as you know, for many of us it's known as The City That Never Sleeps With Me.

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