Flight of Fancy

Writing Is for the Birds

A lovely crow cousin

While trying to avoid getting immersed in work when I needed to head out early, I found a cool blog about the family Corvidae (crows and their cousins) because of this post about some of those more flamboyant cousins…  the magpies and how impressively colorful they can get.  The magpie-jays (which weren’t pictured in the post, so I posted one here) are stunning creatures.  I have three crows that spend their time in our back yard these days except when the grackles chase them away.

Crows and their cousins are delightful birds for a couple of reasons.  They are intelligent birds in general, gregarious and attractive too.  They also help us keep our world clean whether we want to or not.  And I learned something else about them today…  actually, about birds in general.  It’s about how chicks are raised.  There are two types or processes involved in chick development while in the egg.  One type we’re pretty familiar with from grade-school science experiments with an incubator and some eggs via a local farm.  The other development type we see in the stereotypical cartoon of a nest with pink featherless creatures raising their gaping beaks in the air for the first worm or bug the parent birds can offer.

The first type (called precocial) results in a mostly capable little down-covered fluff-balls that look so cute on Easter mornings, chicks who can peck away at cracked corn and seeds on their own, cheep cheep and scurry away in a panic.

Feed us… FEED US!

The second type of development results in a baby that desperately needs its parents.  If an altricial chick falls out of the nest, its mostly featherless body could suffer from hypothermia and the chick could die without the warmth of the nest and its siblings.  It can barely move, expending most of its energy to raise its head for eagerly awaited offerings of regurgitated insects, seeds or meat made by its parents.  (Not only birds are considered altricial—many mammals, including humans, are too.  The term is related to parental investment in the raising of young.)

Crows fall into the second category.  Another cool fact about crows?  Their eye color changes.  North American crows have blue eyes when they are young…  I never would have imagined that, but it is very cool.  And pretty, pretty too!

Yep!  I totally fell down the internet rabbit hole this morning.  But it’s O.K.  I have some good news for…

My ROW80 Check-In

ROW80LogocopyMaybe I got tired of the lack of progress in gradually increasing my goals the way I had planned.  Maybe I missed the old crew.  Or maybe I got fed up with all the dancing through hoops I’ve done for others at the expense of a few simple (nearly free) pleasures…

Either way, I just did it!  I not only managed to meet my one added goal of doing something artistic (a fifteen minute tea break at Panera this morning), but I also got up this morning and posted a non-ROW80 post–a WIPpet no less.  Yes, I participated in the WIPpet Wednesday bloghop again.

Asking for Inspiration

Asking for Inspiration

I suspect my participation will be inconsistent as June moves in fully, since JuNoWriMo (50K before the Summer doldrums hit).  I’m going to try for every other week now and see what happens.

I am nearly back on track with all my other goals as well.  I missed my Five Sentences on Monday, but made huge headway on an inspirational post I’ve been asked to write for one of the JuNo pep-talks Sunday and Monday, so hopefully my characters will forgive me that (they seem to have done so with great consideration—today Valichii, Lan and Acarii spent a few hours with me, filling me in on history and social details I’d never guessed at; I really understand their points of view a lot better now).

It’s been a happy morning.  I still have a lot more to get done before the day is over, and I am tired.  But even if I only get a bit more handled, I’ll count it as a win.  And I learned something in trying to draw those hands today…  I had so much trouble seeing them in the lines I drew—the picture only came real once I added the shadows.

Not quite sure what lesson to take from that yet, but I know there is something to ponder there.

12 responses to “Flight of Fancy

  1. The Yellowstone magpies, ravens, and Stellar jays were all amazing. I miss them.

    Strangely, I was just watching documentaries this week or last about owls and macaws, and a lot of the focus was on their early vulnerabilities.

    Hooray for the progress, and the lightening. May iy continue!

    Lise has been exploring shading in her own art, of late. Me, I’ve always been of the opinion that shadows are a vital part of celebrating the light. =)


    • Someday I’ll have the pleasure of seeing Yellowstone, maybe. But even if I don’t I can remember the magpies of England with pleasure..,

      I think discoveries happen that way. Have you noticed how a whole bunch of posts about a solitary topic seem to all come up at once in writing groups, politics, mommy blogs, you name it… It’s like there’s this thread through humanity that thinks about about similar things


  2. I loved reading about baby birds and I am forcing myself to not start searching the world wide web myself for more baby bird facts.
    Best wishes with JuNoWriMo.


    • Those internet rabbit holes ARE deep, aren’t they. Glad you enjoyed reading about the babies.

      Thanks for the encouragement. It’s not a hard challenge, just… June is so busy for me as it is this year. Well, that’s life.


  3. Great work on the hands. I am impressed, I have limited drawing abilities. I do make lovely stick figures though. I did not know crows were related to Magpies. Cool, I don’t think the latter live around here. We have tons of crows. I can’t help think of the movie, The Birds. Just keep chipping away. Some days are harder than others.


    • This wasn’t an “original” art piece, I based it off a picture. My original pictures all tend to look like horses, cats or mice… Oh, and flowers. I can drawn flowers too.

      Crows during roosting season do tend to swarm like that. It’s a natural behavior, and usually they are just noisy and messy. But they can be ‘tamed’ to a degree. And they figure out some of the coolest things… like how to use vending machines and how to use cars to crack nuts for them.


  4. very interesting about the birds. And yay for making progress and having your characters talk to you.


    • I love crows. They are fascinating birds. I have a family of three I’m feeding here at the house, much to my neighbor’s dismay (fair trade though, since her Jack Russell terriers like to come in our yard and attack our son, and she refuses to keep them kenneled when she’s not home).

      Thanks! I love my characters. And good talking time with them is the best!


  5. I started doing something artistic without really thinking about it… I had to get away from the computer, so I picked up a coloring book (one of the fancy kind) and some markers. Very relaxing! Just being a little creative helps SO much.


    • I’ve done a few of those coloring books (I have several in the house these days). Sometimes they work for me, but other times, I feel like I’m not really doing anything “real”. And I always wonder about supplies… yeah, don’t want to go there.

      That said, like you not, even the smallest creative endeavor can help a lot. I think that’s the reason writing by hand helps so much

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the hands! I like that idea, that the shadows made the picture clearer…
    Crows are fascinating. One of my favourite Twitter accounts is of the Ravenmaster at the Tower of London!


    • It’s so true. As I was trying to draw these (I confess they weren’t raw imagination, I was using a picture as a model), they just looked… BLEH! until I added in the shading. Suddenly everything just made sense.

      Ooh… I think I may have a new Twitter acct to follow.