Words to live by

Subj: Fw: Words to live by. REALLY!
Kindness is in our power even when fondness is not.
~Henry James~
Compassion is language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~Mark Twain~
DA884F1F7F874D90B9AE5945A04BFEFC_JounPC.    Carry a heart that never hates , a smile that never fades   and a touch that never hurts.
Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret,
for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.
~Robert Brault~
Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you ,
not because they are nice but because you are.
Never look down on anyone unless you are helping them up.
A good character is the best tombstone.
Those who loved you will remember.
Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice.
Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.
It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.
~Rudyard Kipling~
Don’t be yourself — be someone nicer.
Never miss an opportunity to make others happy,
even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it.
(Wow! Good one. – nj)
Love your enemies – it will confuse them greatly.
There is one word which may serve as a rule for all one’s life — reciprocity.
Grownups know that little things matter   and that relationships are based on respect.
Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how.
~Henry James~
The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.
~Henry Boyle~
When I was young, I admired clever people.
Now that I am old, I admire kind people.
~Abraham Heschel~
If we should deal out justice only in this world, who would escape?
No, it is better to be generous for it gains us gratitude.
~Mark Twain~
  B e tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, tolerant of the weak,
because someday in your life you will be all of these.
~George Washington Carver~
You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone
who will never be able to repay you.
~John Wooden~
If those who owe us nothing gave us nothing, how poor we would be.
~Antonio Porchia~
You cannot do a kindness too soon for you never know how soon it will be too late.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
By swallowing evil words unsaid, no one has ever harmed his stomach.
~Winston Churchill
Real generosity is doing something nice for someone who will never find out.
~Frank A. Clark~
We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
Don’t let those who take advantage of your generosity
stop you from being generous.
~Author Unknown ~
Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.
~Maya Angelou~
In a world full of people who couldn’t care less, be someone who cares more.
~Author Unknown ~
Love thy neighbor and if that requires that you bend the truth, the truth will understand.
~Robert Brault


Peacocks of Florida

Peacocks of Florida


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The male peacock is more colorful than female peahens.
Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

We use the word peacock to refer to the entire species, but the correct name for the pheasant is peafowl. Peafowl are native to India, Southeast Asia and Central Africa — not the U.S., although there is a large, growing population in Florida. All it takes is for a few birds to escape captivity, and they will quickly breed and multiply.
Peacocks are the colorful male peafowl. They have iridescent blue and green tail feathers, with blue, green, red and gold “eye” markings that drag behind them as they walk in a colorful “train.” The tail is arched into a large, round fan during a mating ritual or courtship display. Females are called peahens, and they’re typically muted brown or green.

Parts of Florida with a Peacock Problem

  • Residents in many parts of Florida have been complaining about the growing peacock population for years. Neighborhoods from Cape Canaveral down to Miami have been overrun. Florida’s west coast, including many towns along the Gulf of Mexico, are among the areas that are most populated with the birds. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has reported receiving dozens of calls from angry residents about peacocks across the state.
    Many towns along the Florida coastline are home to peacocks.
    Many towns along the Florida coastline are home to peacocks.

Issues Peacocks Cause

  • Most Florida residents with wild peacocks around their home complain about them walking around their front yards, invading their backyards and even walking on their roof. The birds are noisy, and squawk loudly — even in the middle of the night. They knock out patio screens, their feathers clog air conditioning units, they will walk into homes if doors are left open. They also scratch cars and have even attacked dogs. Their droppings are found everywhere, such as in pools, and can make children sick.
    Peacocks are beautiful, but can wreak havoc in a neighorhood.
    Peacocks are beautiful, but can wreak havoc in a neighorhood.

A Growing Issue, Hard to Control

  • Peacocks are not endangered, but they’re protected by Florida authorities, who say that Florida is the bird’s habitat. Some communities control populations by moving the birds, and others have tried a contraceptive pill. These solutions haven’t been perfect, however, because populations can multiply again so quickly.

    One example is Longbeach Village in Longboat Key. The town has reduced its population of 150 birds down to 12 every year since 2008, but these efforts have proven useless because the number of birds quickly grows again. A couple in Redlands, Florida reported having 130 birds around their home in 2009. They were working with a local non-profit conservation group, Vanishing Species, to relocate the birds. The couple says that when they purchased the house 18 years earlier, there were just two peacocks.

Advocates for Peacocks

  • Many residents whose homes are overrun with the birds are angry that not enough is being done to address their issues, but others are fighting for the birds’ rights. Dennis Fett, who runs the Peacock Information Center website, says that peacocks like being around people and may even crave human company, which he told Fox News in August 2008.

    Many people say they don’t mind the birds because they’re a beautiful tourist attraction that prospective homebuyers love to see in a neighborhood. Some believe they even help to make a neighborhood safer for children because they slow traffic when they’re walking around. Others argue that they protect houses from being robbed, because their squawk is better than a burglar alarm and will quickly scare anyone away.

    Peacock advocates say they enjoy being around people.
    Peacock advocates say they enjoy being around people.

Birds of Florida

Birds of Florida

Bird Galleries – 1 2 3 4 5

On this pageFlorida Sandhill Crane, Green Heron, Great Blue Heron,
Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Yellow Crowned Night-Heron,
Roseate Spoonbill, Snowy Egret, Great Egret, Cattle Egret, White Ibis

Florida is home to over 500 species of birds that are either year-round residents, over-winter here or use Florida as a migratory rest stop, in fact with more bird species than any other state east of the Mississippi River, Florida is among the top bird watching destinations in the world.

The Great Florida Birding Trail, a project of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, was completed in 2006 and consists of four main sections – the Panhandle, East, West, and South sections, offers birding enthusiasts a highway-connected string of individual birding sites throughout Florida.

Click any image for a larger version

Florida Sandhill Crane –
Grus canadensis pratensis

Sandhill Crane in Florida

A pair of Sandhill cranes tending their nest

Florida Sandhill Cranes are a large bird with a body length just over 3 feet and a wingspan of 6 feet, adult color is predominately grey but is often stained rusty brown from preening with a bill muddy from feeding in iron rich soils, red forecrown, white cheeks, relatively short black, straight bill and long, black legs.

The Florida sub-species is a year-round resident, there is also a migratory group of Canadian Sandhill that over-winters here.

Habitat – Freshwater marshes, pastures, open woodland, they are frequent visitors on golf courses.

Sandhill Cranes feed on seeds, tubers, insects and their larvae, snakes, frogs and the occasional small mammal.

Sandhills nest in grassy areas within marshes, building a nest of vegetation up above the surrounding water level, laying 1-3 eggs with both parents building the nest and caring for the chicks.

Green Heron – Butorides virescens

A Green Heron crouches in its typical striking position just above the water. A Green Heron catches a big tadpole.

The Green Heron, also called the Green-backed Heron is a year-round resident of Florida found in fresh and saltwater marshes, ponds, lakes and rivers where it stalks its prey by wading or standing motionless on a branch, log or other structure close to the waters surface.

Green Herons are unique in that they will often drop insects, bits of twigs and other small objects onto the waters surface to attract small fish which it then catches with a lightning fast thrust of its beak.

The adult Green Heron has a body length of 19 inches with a wingspan up to 26 inches.

Great Blue Heron – Ardea herodias

A Great Blue Heron looks for fish at the rivers edge A white morph of the Great Blue Heron, note the band on its leg. Picture of a Great Blue Heron on its nest.

With a wingspan that can be up to six & a half feet across and a body length up to 54 inches long, the Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in North America.

Feeding on fish, aquatic invertebrates and the occasional small mammal, they are most often seen stalking prey in the shallows of freshwater rivers, lakes & marshes.

The Great White Heron is a color morph or variation of the Great Blue Heron that was once thought to be a completely different specie.

Similar in appearance to the White Egret, Great White Herons are most easily distinguished as having light colored legs whereas the Great Egret’s legs are black.

Little Blue Heron – Egretta caerulea

A juvenile little Blue heron on the hunt in a Florida marsh.

The Little Blue Heron has a body length of 27-30 inches with a wingspan of 40 inches.

Usually seen hunting in the shallow waters of inland waterways, lakes, ponds and marshes, catching fish, amphibians & crustaceans.

The Little Blue Heron will also hunt in grassy meadows for insects and amphibians.

Immature Little blues have all white plumage, as the birds mature they have a mottled or pied appearance, showing both blue and white coloration. Adult are blue and in breeding have reddish-buff colored necks and delicate plumes on their heads with a black tipped, blue bill.

Tricolored Heron – Egretta tricolor

A wading Tri-colored Heron

The Tricolored Heron (formerly called the Louisiana Heron) is similar in appearance to the Little Blue Heron.

Tricolored Herons are slate grey with a white stripe running down the neck and white underside, as well as white plumes on the head during breeding season, neck may also be rust colored.

Measuring about 26 inches long, the Tricolored Heron has a wingspan of 36 inches and can be found in marshes, ponds and the shallow waters of rivers where they hunt fish, insects and other small prey.

Yellow Crowned Night-Heron
Nyctanassa violacea

Yellow crowned Night Heron, Nyctanassa violacea Juvenile Yellow Crowned Night-Heron

Adult (left), Juvenile (right)

Although it’s name implies otherwise this bird is also quite active during daylight hours. The Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron has an average body length of 24 inches with a wingspan of 44 inches.

Adults are slate grey, have a black head, white crown and cheek stripe, reddish eyes and yellow legs. Breeding adults have a yellow fore-crown with white plumes from nape and orange legs.

Juveniles are grayish brown with amber eyes, white spotting and streaks above, gradually acquiring adult characteristics over a two year period.

The Yellow Crowned Night-Heron hunts crustaceans, insects, & invertebrates in Mangroves, fresh and salt water swamps and marshes, mainly near the coast.

Black-crowned Night-Heron
Nycticorax nycticorax

A Black-crowned Night Heron, Nycticorax nycticorax

Relatively short and stocky when compared to other Herons, the Black-crowned Night Heron is the most widespread of all Herons, populating all continents except Australia and Antarctica, they are year-round residents within Florida.

Adults are about 25 inches tall with grey wings, white to grey underside, black back and crown. Eyes are red and the legs are yellow-green, except during breeding season when they turn pink. As the name implies, this Heron feeds primarily from dusk to dawn, in doing so it avoids direct competition with other Herons in the same area, which feed during the day.

Roseate Spoonbill – Ajaia ajaja

A Roseate Spoonbill caught a fish for dinner! Roseate Spoonbill in a Florida marsh.

Juvenile Roseate Spoonbills have a white beak, an adults beak is grey. Adults have a bald head with a greenish tinge that turns a buffy golden hue during the breeding phase.

The Roseate Spoonbill with its pink color is sometimes mistaken for the Flamingo, as both birds have a diet which includes the small crustaceans that give their feathers the pink color.

The Spoonbill has a more “stocky” build with much shorter legs, another characteristic that sets them apart from the Flamingo is the difference in their bills.

The Spoonbill has a much longer bill that ends with the “spoon” shape, the Flamingo has a short black bill that curves downward.

Spoonbills (much like the Flamingo) feed by sweeping their bill back and forth, probing the shallow waters of marshes, rivers and other bodies of water.

Touch sensitive receptors in their bills allow them to feel their prey in cloudy or muddy water, when something touches these receptors the bill snaps shut, this adaptation also allows them to feed in the darkness of night.

Snowy Egret – Egretta thula

Snowy Egret preening A Snowy Egret shows its plumage.

Snowy Egrets can be found in marshes, swamps, ponds, lakes, rivers and tidal flats.

Snowy Egrets were hunted almost to extinction in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s for their breeding plumes, which were used to decorate ladies hats. The specie rebounded quickly after being protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

The Snowy Egret has a 36 inch wingspan, stands about 2 feet tall and is of slender build, has snow white plumage with a black bill, black legs and yellow feet and lores.

During breeding season this Egret develops long, delicate plumes on their head, neck and back. The yellow parts get a reddish tint during courtship also. Snowy Egrets feed on shrimp, fish, crabs, crayfish, insects, snakes, and small amphibians, such as small frogs.

Great Egret – Ardea alba

Great Egret - Ardea alba Great egret trying to swallow a large frog.

The Great Egret is a large, all white, wading bird common in South Florida. Body length to 39 inches, with a 55 inch wingspan.

One of several white members of the Ardeidae (Heron) family present in Florida the Great Egret is distinguished from the white morph of the Great Blue Heron by having black legs and feet, the Snowy Egret has a black bill and yellow feet and the Reddish Egret, (white morph) which has a black tipped bill and smaller stature. Breeding individuals have long plumes on their backs.

Cattle Egret – Bubulcus ibis

Cattle Egret -  Bubulcus ibis

The Cattle Egret averages 17-21 inches in length with a wingspan just over three feet. Often observed feeding in open pastures & fields away from water. Follows grazing animals and tractors, feeding on disturbed insects.

Distinguished from the Great Egret & White Heron by its much smaller size, from immature Little blue Herons by having an orange bill.

White Ibis – Eudocimus albus

A flock of White Ibis feeding White Ibis - Eudocimus albus wading in a Florida swamp.

White Ibis are often seen foraging in the wild for crustaceans & frogs, probing mudflats with their long, red, downcurved bill. Alternately, a frequent visitor to golf courses and cultivated lawns, usually in groups.

Adults are all white except for black wingtips, immature birds are a muddy brown with a white belly. The White Ibis has a body length to 26 inches, long legs and bill are red, flies with neck extended.

National Geographic Field Guides to Florida Birds

Great Florida Birding Trail: East Section Guide