Harmony in Nature

Swans and Brevard Zoo - Viera - April 2014 058 - Copy

By Judy Berman

The harsh caw caw of one bird
The sweet song of another
As they take flight, swim, rest, or
Waddle thru my neighborhood.

Sandhill Cranes - Ichabod and Abby - photo by Craig Bailey - May 2014

The swans gliding gracefully
across the pond’s calm surface,
The mockingbird thrilling us
on moonlit nights with his song.

Mourning Dove

There’s the low mournful coo coo
of a mourning dove at dawn,
The great blue heron’s patience
stalking dinner in the lake.

Great Blue Heron - Viera - April 2014 (1) - Copy

The hummingbirds hovering
over a fragrant flower,
The robin, spring’s welcome sign,
protecting her blue green eggs.


They share the same living space
In search of food and water,
a safe haven for their young
and a place to stretch their wings.

Sandhill Cranes - Florida Today - 6-26-14 039 - Copy

How different they all seem
Yet have so much in common. **

Mallard Duck and ducklings - Viera - April 2014 (3) - Copy

** My poem was inspired by Maya Angelou’s “Human Family.” http://allpoetry.com/poem/8511441-Human-Family-by-Maya-Angelou   This link also includes a link to Maya Angelou reading her poem.


COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Video: Mockingbird singing – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMpe34Aign4  

1. Main Photo: Swans and cygnets, photo taken April 2014 by Judy Berman.

2. Photo: Sandhill crane – Ichabod and Abbie – taken May 2014 by Craig Bailey, photographer at Florida Today newspaper

3. Photo: Mourning dove – taken May 13, 2011. Author: Tony Alter of Newport News, USA http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/2a/Mourning_Dove_%285717426794%29.jpg/640px-Mourning_Dove_%285717426794%29.jpg

4. Photo: Great blue heron – taken April 2014 by Dave Berman.

5. Photo: Hummingbird – Attribution – Mdf  http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Featured_Pictures_of_Trochilidae#mediaviewer/File:Colibri-thalassinus-001.jpg

6. Photo: Sandhill crane chick, Frasier Crane, and parents, Ichabod and Abbie – taken June 26, 2014 by Judy Berman. (Frasier was born 6-21-14)

7. Photo: Mallard duck and ducklings – taken April 2014 by Judy Berman

  1. I love your poem Judy, certainly conveys that beautiful variety of wildlife you have living around you! Sounds like you live in the Garden of Eden, or at least, our fantasy idea of what it would be like, and I think where you’re living would have been my Dad’s dream place to live, he loved wildlife so much! 🙂 And that’s a gorgeous picture of a hummingbird – perfect, so pretty!!

    It’s amazing how so many different kinds of animals and birds can live around each other in relative harmony. I wonder if they suffer prejudice like humans do? Interesting to hear a Mockingbird, I’ve not heard one sing before, although I think they are called that because they mimic other birds, so I’ve heard anyway, maybe they don’t have their own tune to sing? I’m not sure we have Mockingbirds in the UK, I shall have to look that up.

    And the Maya Angelou poem is very interesting, and one I’ve not heard before. There’s a good link to a recording of her reading it on that poetry website page. She read her poetry exceedingly well, so much confidence in what she was saying, she will be greatly missed!

    1. Thank you, Suzy. I’m glad you loved my poem … and that the link worked so you could hear Maya Angelou read hers. I was concerned about that as it didn’t work the first time I tried it. 😉 She does a beautiful job reading her poem and the line “we’re more alike than different” was my mantra long before I realized the origin of it. A beautiful and true thought.

      I don’t know that that hummingbird is in our area – it’s not my photo. But we do have hummingbirds. I recall seeing quite a few in Costa Rica, so I’m sure they can survive the heat in Florida.

      We’ve heard the mockingbirds on our walks thru the neighborhood and seen many of the other birds as well. While we have sandhill cranes where we live, the ones photographed were taken at “Florida Today.”

      About prejudice among the birds, we’ve seen them network against predator birds. My daughter, Danielle, told me that her family watched a gathering of birds and it appears they made their case to a great blue heron to have the swans move on. The swans did. But, here, the great blue heron and the swans were within yards of each other and it appears the heron was looking out for the swans and their cygnets to protect them from predators.

  2. Lovely, Judy, just lovely. I’m relistening to the mockingbird as I type this. As you can probably imagine, living here in the country the bird life is abundant and varied…and sometimes riotously loud. Chickadees, cardinals, woodpeckers, and so many more. I’ve learned to recognize various calls including the panicked calls of the nesting birds when the snake comes around. Also an owl hoots in the evening which is probably my favorite. My hummingsbirds are not nice, btw, they aggressively dive bomb each other for access to the plants. Amusing little guys, they are.

    1. Barbara, you neighborhood sounds like a lively nature center. Sorry to hear that those charming little hummingbirds are so aggressive. I loved watching them when we were in Costa Rica, but I haven’t seen any here in Florida.

      The only time I witnessed a bird’s panic attack was in Downtown Disney in Orlando a few years ago. A mama duck was alarmed to see a raptor-type bird nearby. She quacked furiously and quickly gathered her young ‘uns. I clapped my hands real loud and the bird flew away, but I wouldn’t be surprised if s/he returned.

  3. The marriage of mood and message is mesmerizing. (Okay, I need to cut out all this alliteration, but your poetry inspired me, Judy.) Thanks for the invitation to explore outside the walls of my writing space, where I’m trying to catch up after 10 days away from home.

    1. As my daughter, Danielle, pointed out, I can take my laptop outdoors any time and type there. She’s right, of course. But it was good to just go out and about with my camera. Glad to hear my poetry inspired you, Marian, and I love the alliteration. (Hope you enjoyed your vacation.)

  4. I’m always astonished to hear that hummingbirds are almost a common sight in the USA – to us Brits they seem so exotic. Enjoyed your poem.

    1. Jenny, I remember trying to attract hummingbirds with certain types of flowers when we lived in Central New York. A former co-worker here in Florida has taken photos of them. I don’t think we’ve seen any here. They were plentiful when we visited Costa Rica. Glad you enjoyed my poem. 😉

  5. What a beautiful blend of poetry with visual representation! I think the first photo was my favorite, but I loved all the shots of the birds in family units. 🙂

    1. The first photo is my favorite as well, Traci. Thank you. I’m delighted you like my poetry coupled with the photos. They were fun to do. 😉

      I took about 45 photos of the two sandhill cranes and their chick before I found one I really loved. (The photo of the sandhill cranes and the eggs was taken by Craig Bailey, a photographer at “Florida Today.”) The swans and cygnets, duck and ducklings were on the “lakes” (retention ponds) in our neighborhood.

  6. Lovely poem and beautiful photos! How fortunate you are to live around such beautiful natural wonder–and that you see and cherish them.
    Thank you for the link to Maya Angelou’s poem, as well. Listening to her read it really brings it to life.

    1. Thank you for your comments, Merril. We do feel lucky to be surrounded by nature. Except when it’s real hot, like it is now. 😉

      Maya Angelou’s poem is powerful and I love how she reads it. She does it in a way that we can see it. 😉

    1. I haven’t written many poems, Madhu. I’ve posted one or two a while back – one was about a walk in the woods with photos of autumn leaves, etc. I’m pleased that you liked my poem. 😉

  7. They do, like us look different still have so much in common. The difference, they share their space respecting each other. Maybe one day we will all learn from them.
    Lovely poem Judy. I miss you.

    1. We can only hope to learn from their good examples.

      I’m so glad you wrote to tell me you liked my poem. I miss you as well, my friend. Please call and we’ll get together this summer. 😉

  8. Judy, these are truly wonderful examples of harmony in nature. My granddaughter is doing a project for Girl Scouts that she’s titled “Fine Feathered Love,” and I’ve forwarded this on to her. She’s only 10, and her mother said she ooohed and aaahed at all the pictures, and now is begging to get baby ducks… oh boy.

    1. On our morning stroll, I saw sandhill cranes, a roseate spoonbill, an ibis, and ducks all in the same small area by a pond. They seemed to get along. But I noticed the ibis didn’t stay long after the sandhill crane gave him the evil eye. Not all birds are so chummy.

      From what I’ve read, the cute little ducklings have a high mortality rate. There are 10 in the photo. Few will make it to adulthood. I don’t blame your granddaughter for ogling our fine, feathered friends and wish her the very best on her project. I’m glad she loved the pictures. 😉

      By the way, the cygnets (baby swans) who were weeks old in the photo in April, are now nearly as big as their parents. 😉 Be glad she’s not clamoring for a swan. 😉

  9. My wife and I recently sat in a park in Portland, Maine, and watched a mama duck and her little ones as they swam in the lake. It was relaxing and exhilarating all at once, in a way that I don’t think I could have explained. Thanks for doing it for me.

    1. They are a calming presence. It does appear that the swan or duck floats effortlessly across the water. Underneath, though, s/he is paddling furiously. A model for the rest of us. 😉 Thank you for your comments, Charles.

  10. Alas! Comments are closed on that wonderful post about your dad– so I must be naughty and sneak a comment about it in here:

    Absolutely fan-tabulous, my dear Judy!! Best thing I’ve read all week, and those photos take the cake. That first one with you in the dress and wearing sunglasses is shout-for-joy terrific. Somehow there’s more emotional honesty in those old photos than anything one sees published nowadays.

    I just lost my own dad on June 18th. He was almost 90, and had had dementia for quite a few years. But he was well and happy almost to the very end, and he was in an especially joyful mood when we took him out for a ride and ice cream on Mother’s Day Weekend.

    So many stories and good times. My sadness is lightened with profound gratitude. Like yourself, I feel blessed. A good dad makes all the difference in life.

    1. My condolences on your loss, Mark. You are so right. Having a good dad in your life is the best gift ever. I’m glad you enjoyed my story about my Dad. We lost him in July 2011. He was 91. I struggled to find just the right words to describe him so that people could see what my brother and I saw.

      I loved those photos. Wish we had more candid shots like that. 😉

      Your Dad sounds like a delightful guy and I know he will be missed.

  11. I think Maya Angelou stole her poem from you, that’s what I think… : )

    How very delightful, dear Judy– better than a trip to the nature preserve! Put me in a good mood, it did. I was tempted to climb out the window, sit on a branch, and sing like a bird– but the last time I did that, the neighbors complained… : )

    Wonderful photos, lovely reflections. We, your grateful readers, doth give thanks for your poetic nature– and that’s the truth.

    1. You are too kind, Mark. You make me laugh just thinking of you out there perched on a branch singing your heart out. No wonder your neighbors were up in arms. 😉

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