Cherish is my favorite word, and I cherish the ability of turning the routine into a beautiful moment.
Nature creates in me, a spiritual and meditative time to bring peace, harmony and balance, into an otherwise ordinary day~
Mary Howell Cromer







Thursday, June 26, 2014

My Blogs Fifth Anniversary Presentation~


It really is a celebration not only of 5 years of blogging, 1,041 published presentations, including this entry, but the making of friends and sharing lives around this big beautiful world which has been extraordinary!  You all have been such an encouragement and so kind in my direction that this would have never been possible without you. 
Thanking each of you so very much!
  
I am not a huge fan of statistics, and yet some things are done by Google blogger for you from behind the scenes and it is a fun fact to view from time to time.
Here are a few...
Page views all time history for this blog 122,771
8,679 published comments
All time highest visits to any one published post is Waverly Hills Sanatorium 
12/ 7/2011, with 2,113 visitors to date~
The image above is from when the Red-Shouldered Hawks had begun the brooding process for this season.  A Gray Squirrel had climbed up to the nest rim and was checking things out, and yes, the hen was in residence. 

We had a long, hard Winter and following a month of brooding, the breeding and brooding process began all over again.  When the eyas were approximately 2 weeks old, it looked like we had 2 young ones, and the nest was a nice size for them.  What a big surprise when at 3 weeks of age, we learned there were 4 eyas...oh my and things got really busy, very quickly.  

I have to stop right here and thank some very special people...for without permission from the land owners none of this would be possible.  To Steve Lusardo, and Jack and Barbara Blombach... words do not adequately express my sincerest gratitude to you.  
I tramped around on your property for some 12 to 18 weeks and you never once complained about me being there.  I appreciate you all so very much!  

The image below shows the pair of hawks on the nest.  The male had just brought the female a Vole, which she refused, since he had already delivered enough for the time being.


Please feel free to read through and then afterward go back through and view the images as a slide show.  
There is lot in this presentation, but it delivers very quickly.
I hope that you will Enjoy~

Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slide show presentation after you have read the summaries below~
   
 I will also be linking up with Mary at:
Mosaic Monday
at: 
As well as I am linking up with Stewart at:
   Wild Bird Wednesday



After waiting 2 long brooding sessions it was so sweet to see that first bit of white down showing, just wonderful!  The adult pair got very busy, very fast, bringing in many frogs, voles, shrews, snakes and other assorted meals over the course of the coming weeks.





My own little birding club...ha ha... we had the best time and I so enjoyed them all.  
This was a real battle for me having been ill the whole time, and just not feeling myself, they so lightened my days.  There was Steve Lusardo and his wonderful parents Dick and Anita.  Then there was Jack Blombach and I never got a photo of his lovely wife Barbara.  
Friends/neighbors Mona, Reva and Laura to name a few, all came to check on me and the birds as well.  Every season, it happens, and every season, I get a little weepy when it is all over.  It is always just so very special~


Jack and Steve's property connect and one day I arrived to see that Jack had mowed a path to make it easier for us to get to the far side of nest site.  He had also placed a camouflaged tarp behind his barn, so that we could get some images without disturbing the birds.  Both Steve and Jack always had a chair available as well.  WOW how blessed I was~


They grow so quickly, and at the fluffy white down stage they are so sweet.  It is most endearing how the hen interacts and behaves with her young.  That is one very smart, very devoted bird, she truly is remarkable.  Everything she does is a lesson for them and they have only a brief time to get it down right.  The male delivers food, very seldom to the nest, but more often times to a near by drop off spot.  If too much food is taken and brought in, it is placed in a couple of cache trees where the hen can grab it the next morning to begin early morning feedings, before the hunting begins a fresh.  The hen will stay close to the nest until the chicks are 5 to 6 weeks old and then she will begin to make brief hunting trips near by as well.  The pair will take turns resting and protecting the chicks and giving each other breaks, but for the most part, the female is on the nest, or near nest site for the next 8 to 10 weeks.  When she goes soaring with her mate and she does, she can be back to her nest so fast, it is amazing~





The nest was the same one used last year, just across the lane from me.  It is some 60-70' high up in the tree.  Last season the hen had 3 chicks and 2 fell to their death.  This season she more than made up for her losses last year.  The voice of this species of hawk is the loudest in North America.  When food is being received, oh my, the sounds being made are unbelievable... excited, and happy and also a little agitated as in ...where have you been, give that to me, and now go get some more, you have 4 babies to feed~



The female is always trying to spruce up her nest with fresh greenery.  Even when the nest had begun to fall away, late in the season, she was doing this.  The hen found many a frog, just across the lane and not too far from being able to watch and hear her young ones as she hunted, once they began to get bigger~




OK, so here is where it goes from here on out when a meal comes in.  The hen tries to make sure for a long while that the chick who has not been fed, gets fed. However, that does not always happen and then well, feathers begin to fly, but the chicks, always respect their parent, each other...not so much.  She can only bring in one meal at a time and if it is small, only one chick gets it, if she can morsel it out, she will, but once the chicks get so big that she can no longer be on the nest and accomplish said task, she leaves them have at it, and will only step in, if she absolutely has to and she will too~





One of those days that I so remember capturing the next sequence of images. 
The hen brought in a small meal, a little young mouse and presented it to a chick. 
The chick tried to down it whole, and the hen could see it was struggling...she would cock her head and watch the young one and finally urged the young one to expel it. 
Then the hen fed the chick morsels of it in smaller bites as well as sharing with one of the other chicks.  Further down you can see that as the chicks got larger, they could down such meals without any help, and then they would also gang up on one another and many times steal food right out from under each other.  Many a battle was witnessed and surprisingly not a single chick fell from the nest this season~






It had to happen, but it did not come easy since there are no perpendicular branches off from the nest area of the tree.  That thing called branching, that these large birds need to do, before taking flight.  We had many a storm and one night a branch broke and ended up coming across the far left side of the nest...nature gives you gifts when at first you think it may impede the situation, it actually helps.  The young ones used that branch, the hen used that branch, it really was quite remarkable the way it all worked out.  The hen brought in a small snake seen in one mosaic, and then also you can see the nest from the far side, from where Jack had mowed the path.  The nest seemed small from one side, but from all sides, it really was quite adequate~




On June 8, three of the eyas flew from the nest for the first time.  On the next morning before going to visit Dad in town, I stopped to check on them and could only locate 3. When I returned a couple of hours later, I still could only locate 3 and the hen was perched near by.   I sat and watched her looking into a wooded area for a long time when she suddenly bolted down into the trees with her broad wings hitting branches as she flew. At first I thought that I was seeing her body hanging from a tree.  The closer in I got, I saw that it was the missing chick, hanging by a single talon from a tree branch.  The hen was trying to get the chick to release itself, but it was too traumatized and weary after hanging there all night.   I was able to gently shake the tree and down it came. It flew a short distance and I gathered it up into my arms, checked it over and placed it up into a tree.   It stayed there until my friend Chuck with Wingspan of Kentucky could arrive some 7 hours later.  The bird startled and flew deeper into the woods and would not get a meal for another long 2 days.   It was such a struggle, and the hen did her best to try and get food to him, and yet the larger sisters would always steal it away.  Then Jack found a dead Gray Squirrel one morning and I offered it to the hen, which would provide food for all of them.   In the images below, the hen is first feeding the starving chick and then later allows one of the larger females to take the remainder of the meal away~






I feel some kind of bond, a genuine nature bond with this gorgeous bird and I am in awe~


Once the birds begin to branch hop, you can see their individual personalities come out more.  All 4 birds had very distinct vocal calls, and Steve, Jack and myself could almost always tell which one was where. I think the common word used by the visitors, was that this had been a "fascinating encounter" with these magnificent birds~


The hen brought in a meal, 3 chicks arrived on the branch to receive it and a small battle ensued, leaving one of them hanging by a talon, being held by one of the others, as mom looked on directly to the right of them...I wonder what she must have been thinking ;) practicing for courting one day possibly~



Ha ha, this chick says never again will I sleep on that nest, for this is the leisure life right here, right now~


The Gray Squirrel was such a great success, that one day I brought in a large road killed Gray Rat Snake.  First the hen grabbed it and ate to her fill and then the young ones came down.  She fed some to one of the chicks and then allowed the chick below to have a chance to partake as well~


Not only are their vocal sounds very different, their colours were all quite different also.  My best guess would be that there were 3 females and a single male this season.
Three of them stick together fairly close and one has enjoyed hunting behavior from the time it first left the nest tree. They are all very used to me and often give me the cutest expressions.  The oldest would be 10 weeks old now and then one would have hatched about every other day for a week. They are harder to tell apart, unless I hear them yell, which is still most of the day~











They reside in a wooded area that backs up to a meadow for now and they are learning to hunt.  The parents will continue to care for them for several more weeks.  Our home is about 5 acres away...maybe one, or more will eventually come our way...that would be great...we shall wait and see.  That shall be another season in time~


It is a passion, I have held close since 1996 and one that I have been able to walk closer with now for nearing a decade.  Every season I glean so much from this experience. 
This year was made more difficult, in that I have not been myself, and things still need to get sorted out, and they will health wise.  Working on the medications and the side affects and hopefully it will all get taken care of.  Google...well every mosaic had to be uploaded one at a time, as I still cannot get them to upload as I once could, but then again, I can still blog and I am grateful for this opportunity.  It is always a pleasure~ 

Remember to double click on the first image, to view a larger slide show of the images I have just shared and enjoy them and please do share with your friends and family~




53 comments:

  1. Dear Mary.
    I am in awe of this fabulous presentation to mark your 5th Blog Anniversary. I can fully understand the joy and sometimes the disappointment each season brings with your hawks ... long may there be many more and hopefully one much closer to home.

    Best wishes ... FAB.

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    1. Frank thank you so much. I always appreciate your kindness as well as watching where you and Anita visit. You inspire. Take care~

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  2. 1st, congrats on 5 years of blogging! 2nd, you have some really wonderful and kind neighbors. 3rd, glad the young hawks are surviving thus far! even the one that went thru some trauma.

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    1. Theresa, thank you so much. You my friend, wow I do not know how you do it. I must say that no one knows blogging much better than you and I am thrilled to have you as part of sharing them together~

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  3. All my very warmest compliments for this amazingly fascinating documentation of wonderful wild hawks....absolutely incredible & created with so much love for details ! How enchanting and fantastic the mosaics, delightful, dearest Mary ...what passion and dedication ...you are truly an incredible talented Lady :) your finest photography & your perfect english writing, what a joy :)

    All my very best wishes :)

    ciaociao
    your tuscan friend elvira

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    1. Elvira, you inspire, and you encourage and you always make me feel worthy with your thoughtful words. Thank you so very much for being my friend as well~

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  4. Happy 5th anniversary to Tingsgrove and Beyond!!

    Mary, what a treat for us today, to celebrate with you, the history of your beautiful blog, as well as the miracle of birth that you had the pleasure to observe this past season of these amazing birds! I so appreciate the detail of your findings, your spectacular photos, and your sharing it all with us! How wonderful that you had such a group of lovely friends with whom to discuss your daily discoveries. Your love for these hawks, and all of your beloved birds, truly shines with each and every post. Thank you for teaching me so many interesting facts, and enlightening my understanding of red-shouldered hawks.

    Have a great weekend and hope you're feeling better, my sweet friend!

    Poppy

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    1. Oh Poppy, I am forever thankful for knowing you and being able to share with you. Your writing talents are absolutely incredible and your image shares are like eye candy...thank you~

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  5. What an amazing life you lead Mary with such close contact to these hawks who will actually take your proffered food. A wonderful season indeed with four chicks raised, it sounds almost like a record. Life becomes very interesting and full of promise when living close to nature. It was so good to hear how helpful, in all respects, your neighbours are, but then again, you are a remarkable woman. I pray that your health impediments sort themselves quickly and yyou can enjoy your birds all the more.
    Hugs . . . Arija
    You said you left me a message on FB but I could not find one at all.

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    1. Oh hugs I give you always dear Arija, such a fine heart you are. I absolutely appreciate you from the bottom of my heart...thanking you always my friend~

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  6. That was really excellent of Red-Shouldered Hawk photos was taken by you. I love each one of them.

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    1. Always a kind word, a kind thought Bob, thanking you so much~

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  7. wow Mary your passion for these birds really comes out in your post and amazing images. They really are incredible images. What a joy your passion for these birds must bring to you and your birding friends. Congratulations on your 5 years of blogging which has spread your images across the world. I always enjoy your posts. So thank you. I hope your health improves. I send you my hugs all the way from winter in Australia.

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    1. Jill, thank you. I am so grateful to so many for this journey and I absolutely adore what you share, and I am so thankful for those people that by one way, or another came into my life via this blog. Thank you for sharing your life and for being so caring to share time in leaving such supportive comments along the way~

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  8. Happy 5th Anniversay! You did a wonderful job with this post, and sharing with us your beautiful photos, collages, and experiences. You are very blessed, and I'm so glad I found your blog. I should be back to blogging full time next week. Have a super weekend, my friend!

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    1. Thank you Mona and I am thankful as well. I am thinking that I saw your lovely face leaving comments on other blogs and one day, I thought...hmm got to find out who she is and the rest is history. I enjoy so much your shares~

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  9. Wonderful and amazing! Thanks for sharing these.

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    1. Thank you very much Cal, you are always a very kind and thoughtful soul~

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  10. Hi Mary. You clearly saved the best for your fiftieth. The best pictures, the best commentary, the best facts and your best frends (man and bird). A fabulous story and a lesson in bird photography, observation and record keeping. I must say that your birding friends look to be such lovely, friendly people. What a nice community you have there. Keep up the good work, all of you.

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    1. Thank you Phil. Very kind of you. I must say though this being my 5th anniversary, I am not certain I shall be around for a 50th, but that sure would be a grand celebration if that happened. Your encouragement has always kept me pushing forward~

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  11. Congratulations on 5 years! Beautiful photos of the hawks!

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    1. Thank you very much Brian! Your new web site looks amazing BTW!

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  12. Mary....first off, let me say, I've never had problems with your posts...NOR this one. It loaded quickly for me without ANY delay. This was amazing. From the tarp to the babies to the celebration of 5 years...congratulations.

    Extremely awesome. I always enjoy your posts, and never ever would complain about anything you share. Trust me.

    I'm in my birding blog admin,...but just read your comment you left for me at Hootin' Anni's.

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    1. Yea, thank you so much Annie, I was hoping that was the case...just wanted to make sure ;)

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  13. Absolutely amazing....I was chuckling at the end at some of the looks you were getting...these are your babies too :) Loved this and everything you do :) Take care and get well :)

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    1. Thanks Deb and I loved those expressive looks and I so miss those sweet faces, but I know that they are out there learning their ways and doing what they were meant to do now~

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  14. That was fantastic. What a great post. I love that nest! Very talented mama. And I love that you were hauling in roadkill, too. ☺ Thank you for sharing your wonderful hawks with us.

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    1. Thank you very much Vee. Yes...the road kill...if it is there, it is just going to either be run over and mushed, or the Vultures might get it, or, I can place it in a plastic bag and deliver it near the female adult and then if she gets it fine, if not, I toss it out in a field somewhere and something will take care of it. With 4 young ones, a few road killed items made all of the difference~

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  15. Congratulations on your anniversary. I always love to come here and admire your stunning photo's like todays too.
    Have a nice week

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    1. I appreciate that so much Riet and I as well enjoy visiting your blog...such fascinating places you venture to and share...Thank you~

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  16. Mary, Happy 5th blog anniversary.. Amazing story about the hen and chicks.. Your photos are always amazing.. Awesome post.. Thanks for sharing, hope you feel better soon. Have a happy week!

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    1. Thank you very much Eileen and I will be fine, just trying to get those medications all sorted out and feeling stronger. The Hawks really are such an important part of what I do as far as my photography and it was a wonderful season for them~

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  17. Congratulations on your accomplishments! You've shared some amazing photos and my husband and I both enjoy your blog. I'll never forget the baby owls you've photographed. They are my favorites. Thanks for sharing your talent and observations with all of us. Sweet hugs, Diane

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    1. You have shared with me before about you and your husband looking at my blog together Diane and that makes me very happy. I am thankful to people like yourselves who take the time to scroll along and view the image shares and make comments, it is very rewarding~

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  18. This is quite a story. I hope you put your blog into a book from time to time to remember these treasures. I use blurb.com and it is so easy. This is just beautiful. Your photos are great the way they capture the feeling of the mother and the looks of the chicks. xo Jenny

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    1. Thank you so very much Jenny. I have actually done some Blurb books before, but not of the blog presentations. Next week, I will be posting individual images of my favorite moments during this season with the hawks~

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  19. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging, Mary! Reading this post reminds me of watching a nature program; I did go back and view the slideshow for a closer look at your beautiful photos.

    I hope your health improves very soon.

    Karen

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    1. Karen, thanking you very much...I think it is nice to be able to tell a story in written form, but also to be able to tell a story with the images and that is what I tried to do. There were just so many and I hated having to use so many but there were so many nice ones. Next week the favored singles~

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  20. hi Firstly congratulation on your 5 anniversary blog. that is quite an achievement. I also love statistic and was interested in yours. Now this post is absolutely tremendous. a wonderful story of the hawks and their babies and it was wonderful that you found a way to feed the smallest chick. my laptop in away for. Few days and although I saw thes fanatic shots on my mini ipad, I will go back and look at them in their full glory on. Bigger screen. hope your health improves soon.

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  21. Great post and well done on the anniversary.

    I'm on the road with less than perfect net access! Look forward to more posts.

    Cheers - Stewart M

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  22. What another fantastically interesting blog post - I do love hearing about your encounters, you are so lucky to be that close to these amazing birds. Congratulations on 5 years of blogging - it's a wonderful way to share your wonderful experiences and photos with others and an awful lot of people, including me, are very grateful. I hope you get things sorted out soon with your medications and such, it was lovely to see you over at my blog earlier - I haven't been blogging and visiting much either as I've been waiting for surgery since February - only minor luckily, but I find it hard to get motivated when feeling under the weather!

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  23. I am so sorry that you aren't well, but grateful that you were able to muster the strength to follow this beautiful family of Red Shoulder Hawks. You are certainly blessed with this opportunity and that the birds have habituated to you enables you to see things that few of us ever will. These are more than just wonderful, they are endearing ... more that once you brought tears to my eyes. Few people have a love for these birds like you do and I can so relate to that. Thank you for this lovely story and congratulations on being such a successful blogger. You have your heart in what you do which is why you draw us all into your beautiful stories and pictures. Be well Mary ... I hope time will allow you to gain back your strength and enjoy even more fully what you do.

    Andrea @ From The Sol

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  24. Congrats on your blogging anniversary! The hawks are gorgeous and I'm so happy the young hawks have made it this far. A wonderful post.

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  25. Congratulations on your 5th blog anniversary and this post is a great way to celebrate all those observations of very special birds. You are so fortunate to be able to watch them so regularly. Best wishes for a full recovery from the tick poisoning.

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  26. Hi Mary! How fascinating to read your account and to see the culmination of the season's efforts. I felt like I was kind of hanging on by my toenails, too, until I got to your rescue. That must have been a very satisfying experience. Glad you have such a good and supportive team, and I hope your health problems get sorted out very soon.

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  27. Congratulations on five years of blogging!
    These are wonderful shots of the hawk family at home. Love your header too!

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  28. Fantastic post celebrating your fifth year as a blogger! I am awed by this amazing experience and all the wonderful photos of the hawks and their young. What a fascinating narrative! I loved reading about the days you were able to watch them. I hope your health continues to improve. What a blessing the hawks have been, I am sure!

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  29. Oh my stars this was just amazing, awesome, fabulous, and wonderful. I loved it all. What a grand opportunity you've had. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  30. An absolutely beautiful Anniversary post -- congratulations. I always learn something new on your posts while admiring your stunning photography. Just wonderful as always. Thank you for this --- and thanks to your wonderful neighbors as well for making it possible (or at least easier) for you to share your bountiful and beautiful neighborhood birds (I would be in heaven if I had such wonderful neighbors, human and bird!!)

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  31. Congratulations on five years of blogging! And these photos are wonderful. I love seeing those babies peeking out of the nest and their majestic parent hard at work.

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  32. Hi Mary. Happy 5th year of blogging. I don't know when I started to follow you, perhaps over 2 years now, but I always enjoy your photos and 'essays' on the birds in your area. I have learned things here so I appreciate your efforts. I know you do a lot of work regarding the birds and nature of your woods and also with your blog to make the presentations. Thank you! Today's was exciting to see and read of the young hawks and how you and your friends helped them along. Admirable! Blessings to you. Keep on with what you you're doing. Pam

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  33. What a superb posting to mark a significant blogging milestone! Your observation and reporting of this life history of a Red-shouldered Hawk family is fantastic! We're blessed with a robust population of this magnificent species and I fully understand your "addiction".

    We wish you all the best and look forward to the future with you.

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  34. Congratulation Mary for your five years of blogging !! A lots of EXTRAORDINARY shots of hawks !!!

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I love and enjoy each visitor to "Red Shouldered Hawks of Tingsgrove and Beyond." I truly appreciate those who have become followers to my blog and really am encouraged by the wonderful comments. I also enjoy leaving comments and would like to ask that you please make your blog word verification free! You still have top security settings and you still have control over the comments published. It would make it so much easier, if you would consider doing this. I switched several months ago and am thrilled with the results~