it takes a lot of energy
a feather is a “dead” structure, analogous to hair or nails in humans and made of the same basic ingredient, the protein keratin. this means that when they get damaged, feathers can’t heal themselves—they have to be completely replaced. this replacement of all or some of the feathers is called molt. molting takes incredible energy for birds, and makes them very vulnerable while they are in mid-molt. so many birds wait to do their annual molting at the peak of abundant food and fine weather. blue jays complete one entire molt per year and now is the time of plenty. keep an eye out for blue feathers.
blue jay feather
which way is up?
i have a half dozen of these culver’s root flowers growing wild in my backyard. but this is the one that caught my attention. on all the others, the spike like flowers grow straight up like church steeples on a straight stem. on this one, however, there were so many flowers on a single stem, that the stem had started to lean due to the weight of the flowers. but the flowers all kept trying to grow straight up. so in a field of straights, this flock of cockeyed shorebirds caughts my attention. a little weirdness is a good thing.
culver’s root (Veronicastrum virginicum)
35 shades of green
i sent my husband out into the yard this afternoon on a 5 minute favor/errand to gather 12 leaves so i could make a 3 x 4 grid to demonstrate the various shades of green in high summer in our fertile upper-midwestern bioregion. he came back with 35. he’s an over-achiever.
all hail the queen
please rise for her majesty, queen anne!
queen anne’s lace (wild carrot)
this too, is peony
peonies are soft, open, hanging pastel flowers. they are also faceted dry stems, tightly curled leaves, and crimson dried flowers. it’s all peony.