Tag Archive for: wildlife

Good Morning, Blue Jays (Part 2)

About the same time the “Vs” of geese could be seen heading south, the blue jay who had become my friend disappeared. For a few days I continued to leave peanuts then, assuming the blue jays had followed the geese, gave up and stood the canning jar that held the few remaining nuts on the floor inside the door. By the time the snow melted the following spring, I had all but forgotten about the jar and its contents.

one of the blue jays sitting on a branch over snowBy May, mornings include a cacophony of all the returning species. It was during an early morning interlude that I heard the familiar caw of a blue jay. I jumped out of bed, donned my bathrobe, and dug the canning jar out from under the snow boots piled by the back door. I left a peanut on the rail and called out, “Good morning, blue jay. Welcome back!”

The peanut was gone the next morning when I brought another peanut from my now refreshed supply and called out my greeting. After only a few days, the blue jay was sitting in the tree before I opened the back door. We enjoyed another summer of our brief daily encounters before the fall sent him away again.

The following spring he returned, but not alone. I heard the pair of blue jays calling to each other from tree to tree, and occasionally caught sight of the two following each other across the sky. I upped the daily peanut ration to there was enough for both. By the end of that summer I counted four blue jays perching in the trees and it appeared their family had grown.

Fall came, but the blue jay pair did not leave. Their fledges seemed to have moved on, but the two were still visiting the tree overhanging the deck once or twice a week. Now, a few years later, even the youngsters stay. I am blessed to see them daily and to say, “Good morning, blue jays!”

Good Morning, Blue Jay (Part 1)

When I am asked for suggestions for connecting with nature, I tell folks to feed the birds. Nothing breaks down the myth of separation from nature like hearing insistent tweets outside your window when the feeder is empty.

This is never truer than with blue jays. I once left a peanut on the rail of our back deck, hoping to attract a crow, the living manifestation of one of my helping spirits. The peanut disappeared, but I did not see who took it. For a few weeks I left a peanut daily and, for a few minutes, watched.

blue jay sitting on rock looking at nuts

Apparently not satisfied with peanuts, the blue jay eyed up a walnut I had put out for the squirrels.

One day I caught sight of a blue jay swooping in and grabbing the peanut. I was excited! While not a crow, a blue jay is also a member of the corvid family. I continued putting peanuts out every day and watching from just inside the door. For the first week or so, the blue jay would sit on a branch in the tree that overhangs the deck and watch me watching him until I gave up and went about my day. Once I stopped looking, the peanut would disappear. Over time, the jay became less concerned about my presence and I would often see him fly to the deck rail and grab the peanut before he disappeared into a tree.

Eventually, the blue jay would come to the rail to watch me through the door. While I was trying to be consistent with the timing of my peanut offerings, there were days when I was distracted from my morning ritual by household goings on. The jay must have stayed close enough to keep an eye on the deck rail, because he never missed his treat. One morning, he was on the rail before I was back through the door. I said, “Good morning, blue jay.” He picked up his peanut and flew off.

After that, each time I left a peanut, I would look into the trees and say, in my best “yoga teacher projecting to the back of the room” voice, “Good morning, blue jay. Here’s your peanut.” He must have heard me, because he would arrive in an instant. My morning ritual expanded to include a greeting to my friend.

One of those distracted mornings, I became aware of the short, sharp “caw” of the blue jay and looked out to see him sitting in the tree watching the back door. I brought him his peanut. The next morning I was again reminded by the caw, and every morning after that he would be in the tree demanding his breakfast peanut. I felt as though me and the blue jay were friends.

This story will continue in tomorrow’s post.

Garden for Life

While I had always been ecologically conscious, Shamanic Reiki training drew me into a deeper connection with the land and the Earth’s beings. When I added wildlife rehabilitation into the mix, I became aware of the needs of those beings and how best to help them. With both a spiritual and ecological imperative, I committed to garden for life.

dark eyed juncos enjoying the garden for life in winter

Dark-eyed juncos enjoy the garden for life in winter.

I do not consider myself a gardener in the usual sense. Each spring I put some annuals into containers and seedlings into my two raised vegetable beds. Anything that needs special care or weeding to thrive is out of luck, because by late spring turtle care takes precedence. I gave up long ago on things like foundation plantings or landscaping. Instead, I let the land go wild.

I learned how the introduction of non-native landscape plants and trees has reduced the food and shelter available for wildlife. Most imported cultivars lack fruit or nuts and repel rather than attract bugs. Typically, the dried stalks of perennials are cut back in the fall, shrubs are trimmed, and leaves are raked. I chose to do none of that.

Instead, after researching which are best for the animals here, I add only native trees and shrubs to my land. Nothing gets cut back or shaped. To give our dogs a safe place to run, we fenced in part of our yard, which gets mowed, but infrequently. We only rake leaves that are covering the driveway, as they are slippery when we get light snow. We do very little “yard work” here.

Compared to the manicured lawns and gardens that have become idealized in America, our yard looks messy. The land, however, is teeming with life. Everyone from squirrels to snakes hangs around in the summer. I am seeing a increase in the variety of birds as well.

A couple of days ago we got our first significant snowfall for this winter. When I went outside, I was rewarded for not “cleaning up the yard” last fall with a flock of dark-eyed juncos nibbling on the remains of a clump of native evening primrose. That sight was a blessing and a reminder of why I garden for life.

Podcast Ep 100: Meditation to Cool Fire Ant Energy

Fire Ant energy can be difficult to deal with. These swarming, stinging ants have invaded the southern part of the United States and are dangerous to humans and wildlife alike. When we take on Fire Ant’s energy, we bond over our anger and aggressively “gang up” on those we see as other. This episode’s meditative practice helps you cool your Fire Ant energy by honoring the different aspects of yourself and the planetary ecosystem of which you are a part.

If you like this podcast and would like me to keep recording new episodes, please visit my Patreon page and become a patron for as little as one dollar a month. When you do, you will have access to patron-only guided shamanic journeys to meet animal helping spirits and read posts about the animals’ symbolism and archetypal energy as well as the natural history and conservation challenges those animal face in their living incarnation. As you work with different animals, you connect more deeply with the natural world and may be inspired to advocate for one of the wild beings you resonate with.

If you would like to chat about this episode and connect with others who share your love for the wild beings, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook and get the free Guide to Getting Real when you sign up for the email newsletter, which is full of moon magic and upcoming virtual events.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

The Pilgrimage of Turtles

A recent study conducted in my state found that turtles in wetlands surrounded by busy roads were more likely to be males. This finding only confirmed what I and other turtle rehabilitators already knew – during the late spring, many female turtles are hit by cars during their annual pilgrimage to lay their eggs.

A pilgrimage is a journey, usually a long one, to a place that is sacred. Often the journey itself results in transformation of the traveler. People have been making pilgrimages since ancient times, such as on The Sacred Way from Athens to Eleusina, Greece. The famous Camino de Santiago, which leads to the tomb of St. James in northwest Spain, is walked by hundreds of thousands of people every year.

empty turtle eggs next to a hole in grass are the result of a turtle pilgimage

An old turtle nest with empty egg shells found on a recent hike in a protected wetland gives me hope there are some babies out there.

The turtle’s pilgrimage is shorter, by Camino de Santiago standards, but no less sacred. The destination is an ideal nesting spot, where she will bury her eggs, the hope for another generation of turtles.

As female turtles disappear, that hope is diminished.

For humans, travel has become easy. Most will hop in a car and drive more miles to pick up a pizza than a turtle will walk to her nest site. Roads crisscross the habitats of almost every species. Cars are faster than ever and filled with distractions. Relatively few of us will make a long journey to a sacred place, especially not by foot. Perhaps our lack of experience with sacred journeys is why we cannot see the turtle’s trip as an act of devotion.

If you asked me to explain divinity, I would tell you that what is divine is the impulse that keeps life “life-ing.” The turtles, and all other non-human beings, are devoted to life. It is innate, and probably is in humans too, and available if we can drop the religious constructs that squash our animal selves.

Most humans fail to see the turtle’s journey as sacred and, as a result, value pizza over her pilgrimage. That can cost the turtle her life.

There are things that can be done to make road crossings safer for turtles and other wildlife, such as green bridges and tunnels. Humans seem to lack an appetite, however, for spending money on those who will never be able to reciprocate.

When I recognized the turtle’s nesting walk as an act of sacred devotion, I made a pledge to help them. I even started a nonprofit organization to save turtles and their wetland habitats. But the needed work is really helping others to connect with what is sacred, so they will want to help too.

On July 19, 2021, Lori Ferry’, my HEARTH project co-director, and I will be guiding an online HEARTH Circle shamanic experience with the theme “The Sacred Way.” The online HEARTHs benefit the Olympic Mountain EarthWisdom Circle, an educational 501(c)(3) that promotes a sacred and responsible relationship with the Earth. For a small donation you can oin us live or listen to the replay afterwards. The HEARTH Circle is an opportunity to connect with the sacred and experience a shamanic pilgrimage.

Podcast Ep. 81: See Past the BS to Your Truth

You are being called to see past your ego to your truth, and to find the beauty in this world that is worth fighting for. In this episode’s yoga practice, you will move through some balance asanas to ground, build core strength, and fire up your third eye. I’ll also share what I intend to manifest in 2021 and an upcoming opportunity for you to learn Shamanic Reiki virtually. Get ready to see past the BS in the new year!

Income from my yoga studio used to fund my wildlife rehabilitation work. My yoga studio is now permanently closed, a victim of the COVID pandemic. The turtles and I need your support more than ever. Your monthly sponsorship on Patreon contributes towards needed equipment and supplies for Dancing Turtle Rescue and Rehab, the wildlife rehabilitation clinic in a bus. Thank you for being awesome!

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways you can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook and get the free Guide to Getting Real when you sign up for the newsletter.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Podcast Ep. 78: Yoga for Your Activist Muscle

After a brief break to get my post-COVID life somewhat figured out, I am recommitting to weekly episodes for you and all the emerging advocates, activists, inspirational leaders, and co-creating changemakers out there. These podcast episodes are always inspirited by an Animal Spirit, and the appearance of Owl Spirit today was aligned with that commitment, which became especially clear when I linked Owl to the solar plexus energy center. The core-focused practice is yoga for your physical and energetic activist muscle.

Wildlife rehabilitation season is in full swing, and I am still without most of my income. The turtles and I need your support to make it through the rest of this year. Your monthly sponsorship on Patreon contribute towards needed equipment and supplies for Dancing Turtle Rescue and Rehab, the wildlife rehabilitation clinic in a bus. Thank you for being awesome!

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways you can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook and get the free Guide to Getting Real when you sign up for the newsletter.

Much love and gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music. Blair is also an outstanding webmaster and makes sure I can share these episodes with you. Thank you, Blair!

While the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.

Podcast Ep 38: Where the Wild Things Were

I ditched the yoga practice this episode so I could bring your attention to some of the wildlife that has been affected by the Amazon wildfires, Hurricane Dorian, and the roll back of the endangered species regulations in the United States. I end with a meditation on the power inherent in the web of life. I needed to write and guide this meditation as a step in the process of healing my frustration and powerlessness, and I hope my words bring you peace.

If you would like to chat about this episode or learn more about yoga, Shamanic Reiki, wildlife conservation, or other ways we can bring healing to all of the beings on our beautiful planet Earth, join us in the Shamanic Flow Circle group on Facebook or sign up for the newsletter. Please consider becoming a Patreon sponsor and help me purchase needed equipment and supplies for my wild turtle rehabilitation clinic.

Much gratitude to Blair Sutherland for the beautiful intro and background music, and thank you to Free-Photos from Pixabay for this episode’s image.

Sloth in the rainforestWhile the yoga and other practices presented are intended to be accessible to most, please be open to practicing in an appropriate and safe way for you. It is recommended that you consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program and that at any time during a practice you feel nausea, dizziness, or pain you stop and seek medical advice. I accept no liability whatsoever for any damages arising from the use of my podcasts and, while I make all reasonable efforts to share accurate instruction, the podcast may contain unintended errors. Before all else, listen to your body and trust your inner knowing.