Monday Musings 13 May: This one’s for the birds…

The south-easter wind blows strongly in the Western Cape. When it does, I know the seagulls will take full advantage, flying as if for the first time, while other birds seem to take a break. I can only imagine this flight was what inspired Richard Bach when he wrote Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

I, like many, have a fondness for birds, their beauty, their song, and their incredible will to survive in our urban world. On my morning walk, I had some awesome bird encounters. An egret flew overhead, its wings reflecting the golden sunrise. I saw two pied crows scavenging on a small bird, and some geese honking on their journey. The sacred ibis flew towards the beach, where they often forage. Then, my resident Cape wagtails harassed me for a treat – all before the day even started! Oh, and I must mention the melodic nightjar calling just before sunrise. It’s the best alarm clock ever.

Did you know that birds sing in their dreams? Researchers from the University of Buenos Aires have discovered that a bird’s voice box moves when it sleeps, like how your dog’s paws move when dreaming, and they have translated this movement into song. You can read more in this recently published work.

These musings coincide with World Migratory Bird Day and there is no denying the wow factor of the distances that some birds can cover. Storm petrels weigh only 18 to 20g, less than a pen, yet they navigate stormy seas with gale force winds and high swells literally crossing an ocean to reach our shores.

Like many travellers, birds too are following the sun, and the summer migrants are a good reminder of the warmer days about to arrive. The woodland kingfisher is an intra-African migrant heralding summer’s arrival in the Lowveld.  I marvel at the yellow billed kites that travel from Egypt to South Africa hunting alongside our more resident jackal buzzards. And of course, the arrival of the swallows is a sure sign that the days will soon be longer. Nowhere is team work more prominent that in the V shape flight that we see birds take, as each takes a turn to lead and others rest.

It’s no coincidence that birds are used to highlight the DISC personality profiles. Do you identify as the confident parrot or peacock, the peace-keeping dove, the insightful owl with impeccable attention to detail, or the eagle soaring above who always sees the bigger picture? We all have elements of these within us and within the Big Ambitions team we have a healthy flock.

Birds remind us to connect with nature, to stay grounded when needed and to soar when strong winds blow. They even remind us to laugh. Just the other day this Cape weaver call reminded me of a late aunt’s unique giggle, and I could not help but laugh along. Listen for yourself here.  

So, I hope you notice the birds around you, and then fluff up your ‘feathers’ my friends, and have a wonderful week!

Mindful Musings

Monday Musings 13 May: This one’s for the birds… 1

What the world was musing over this past week

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All a twitter

Besides the southern and northern lights that lit up our weekend and had us looking to the skies, twitchers (those who travel miles to tick off sightings) can relate to the recent buzz in the US. A blue rock thrush was spotted on the beach in Oregon, far from home.

Photo credit: Michael Sanchez

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Badgering on

The tenacity of this animal, even in an urban world, is not to be underestimated. Great sighting near University of Cape Town of a honey badger.

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Circle in the Sand

Belinda Carlisle’s Circle in the Sand popped into my head on reading a story about interesting circles at De Hoop Nature Reserve. Are they an artwork of our early ancestors? Read the article to find out more.

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Small Butt. Big Problem.

Love this campaign in Cape Town that draws attention to the environmental hazards posed by irresponsible littering of cigarette butts! Bin your butt.