Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Those Carolina Parakeets

January brings an increased number of birds to my backyard. Last week an infrequent visitor, the Baltimore Oriole, stopped by. I am sorry to report that the Carolina Parakeet never shows up - it became extinct early in the 20th Century. 
"Carolina Parakeets" by John James Audubon
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I feel very blessed that such a variety of avian species choose to spend time here. It hasn't always been that way. Twenty-some years ago when I bought this suburban property, it and neighboring properties had recently lost masses of trees to Hurricane Hugo and the pine bark beetle. Except at the very back of the lot where a few wax myrtles, a red tip, and a couple of palmetto trees grew, my backyard consisted of patches of St. Augustine grass interspersed with weeds. 

Over the years I planted fruit trees, hydrangeas, azaleas, and camellias. In winter I put out suet and sunflower and thistle seeds. Gradually birds began to come seeking food on cold days. 

Here is a list of visitors that came to feed on a chilly Tuesday in this final week of January:

  • Mockingbird (See my December 2013 post for a photograph of this friend.)
  • Yellow-rumped warbler (aka Butter-butt)
  • Brown thrasher
  • Carolina chickadee
  • Tufted titmouse
  • Downy woodpecker
  • Goldfinch
  • Carolina wren
  • Palm warbler (?)
  • Blue jay
  • Mourning dove
  • Cardinal
  • Common yellow throat (New to my garden!)
  • Boat-tailed grackle
  • Red-winged blackbird
  • Bluebird (New to my garden within the past year and still infrequent, but often seen in other local neighborhoods)
  • House finch

What, you might ask, do birds have to do with gardening? For me,  birds are one of the most precious components of a garden - especially those species with brightly colored plumage or sweet songs. The trees and shrubs in my garden provide places for songbirds and others to perch, hide, nest. 

And why did I use the title "Those Carolina Parakeets"for this blog post is spite of the fact that Carolina Parakeets never visit my garden? 

I have exciting news to share. Pre-sales for my poetry chapbook Those Carolina Parakeets Once Far from Extinct began earlier this week. I am grateful to Leah Maines at Finishing Line Press for selecting my manuscript for publication and to accomplished poets Paul Allen and Susan Meyers for graciously reading it and commenting. 

The voice here is sometimes questioning, sometimes asserting, but always clean and precise. In these poems--these jewels--Pearce endears the natural world to us, and us to the natural world.

Paul Allen, author of Ground Forces and American Crawl

These smart, clear-eyed poems teach the reader some of life’s essential lessons: how it feels to be present—place by place, moment by moment—to the notes of one’s own song. Whether at a King Tut exhibit in Munich or a garden in Kyoto, the imaginative joins the analytical in the compelling attempt to decipher the day’s outer and inner weather. “My mission is to locate // the lost, the forgotten, the innovative, / the rare,” says poet Frances Pearce. Lucky reader, to take this wise, enchanting journey with her!

Susan Laughter Meyers, author of My Dear, Dear Stagger Grass and Keep and Give Away

To pre-order Those Carolina Parakeets Once Far from Extinct, please follow this link:

And, as always, I thank you for your support.