With a powerful thrust of energy, this red-tailed hawk stretches out her wings to take flight. She sees her mate about a hundred yards away in another grove of trees and goes to join him. Rather romantic, isn’t it! After taking turns guarding their nest, it’s time to hunt for today’s meal. We have an abundance of these hawks throughout the Midwest United States. They can be seen in groups circling high and low in the sky in search of prey or mates (depending on the time of year).
They are a graceful predatory bird and a fierce defender of their nests. These hawks usually mate for life and can live up to thirty years. They have adapted well to human habitat and are often seen sitting atop descriptive road signs only a few yards from the highway’s speeding traffic. One can see why birds have been used as models for airplane designs as they were created to ride the wind most efficiently. I especially like it when they catch thermal uplifts and glide without effort for what seems like hours.
Should you live in or visit Kansas City, a must see venue is The Roasterie, a Kansas City coffee factory with a great retail coffee shop. The company’s symbol is a DC-3 airliner which symbolizes the unique air-roasting of their coffee, the best delivery system possible, and their worldwide supply network. The owner purchased this DC-3 and had it mounted above his coffee facility at 27th & SW Boulevard.
More about the iconic DC-3, though. Douglas Aircraft began design on the transport in 1934 and the first commercial airplane was delivered to American Airlines in 1936. At that time two options were available: a fourteen person sleeper and a twenty-one seat version. Within a few years more than thirty airlines ordered and flew this aircraft. By 1939 more than 90% of airline passengers were flying on DC-2s or DC-3s. Additionally, there were 455 commercial transports built and 10,174 transports were produced for the military during WWII.
The aircraft was tough, flexible, easy to fly and is the stuff of legends. Needless to say, this bird brought a major change to the airline industry and her affect is still felt around the world. She is a graceful bird to view. There are still many flying today…six decades after the first one became commercially available!
Relax outdoors with a fresh cup of coffee, and make sure you look up the next time you hear the sound of a twin engine plane crossing the sky…it may just be a DC-3.
Goslings closely follow mom and pop until they can fend for themselves. They are fun to watch marching in single file. Most birds exhibit a similar behavior when they are young. These geese made their home in a field adjacent to our parking lot. Caution: don’t get too close or the parents will become offensive. They stretch out their necks, charge you, and hiss with beaks wide open. It is actually a bit intimidating! These Canadian geese are found all over our city and have become quite the nuisance when on the ground. They defecate everywhere, block traffic in parking lots and streets alike, and are slow to move out of the way. They have adapted well to urban life. However, when in the air they are a joy to watch as they communicate with loud honking, and take turns blocking the headwinds by changing places at the point of their V-formation. Landings and takeoffs are especially enjoyable to witness because these large birds are so graceful. A flock landing in unison is a beautiful sight to behold….along with all that honking! Here are a few facts: these geese can live up to 24 years in the wild, weigh up to 20 pounds, develop wingspans over 5 feet, have excellent eyesight, mate for life, and can be found in all 48 contiguous states of America, as well as in Alaska. Oh, yes, they can be found in Canada, too. Ha!
I chose to shoot this barn a few weekends ago when the sun was rising in the east and burning off a rather thick drapery of fog. By the time I arrived, the fog was little more than a thin illusion. But no matter, as the brilliance of the sun’s rays began to illuminate the old barn minute-by-minute, it was like watching a video image brought into focus. The closer I walked towards the structure the more I understood that I was treading on hallowed ground (quite literally).This old barn has served her purpose. She sheltered her livestock and hay alike, provided storage for the master’s tools, encouraged folk to sit on her porch after a hard day’s work, and with her proud silo she stored the treasure which was harvested. But now she is in a state of disrepair, but not forgotten or she would have been torn down years ago. No, she has accepted retirement gracefully and awaits her final fate…the same fate that awaits us all. Whether one is seven, twenty-seven, fifty-seven or eighty-seven, all will end up retired. Not in the sense of investment advertisements, for they paint a picture that is foreign to how we were originally wired. Rather, retirement is a matter of accepting what is inevitable and responding in a positive manner-regardless of what difficulties may exist or await us.