“A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness”

-John Keats

 

Anyone who visits us regularly here at the Hollow surely knows that my love and adoration of one very handsome and talented Mr. Toad goes very deep.  One might even go so far as to say that my heart belongs to only him, and while that is mostly right I must shockingly confess of another who I happened to meet this past summer who seems to have stolen at least a tiny corner.  Someone who changed my perception and in a few tender moments taught me the real meaning of beauty.   Now, before any cards of condolence or bright bouquets of flowers with warm wishes of  better days find their way to poor Mr. Toad, let me explain…

You may recall our visit last summer to the Pacific Northwest Raptors where we met all kinds of interesting friends, both of the two-legged and winged variety, and launched our photo blog series “Birds Of A Feather.”  We had been meaning to visit for many months as it is literally just up the road and finally found a perfect afternoon to make it happen.  Our heads full of images of majestic eagles soaring in the clouds, velocious hawks diving for prey and agile owls noiselessly gliding into the trees, we anxiously parked the car and ran full speed through the parking lot to the first cage we came upon to behold our first… vulture.  Really?  A turkey vulture, to be exact.  Now, turkey vultures aren’t usually associated with words like “elegant” or “majestic”.    As I stared through the thin wires of her cage trying desperately to make sense of why she wasn’t more “eagle-like”, she almost seemed to be smiling back at me, her warm brown eyes twinkling as if she knew something that I didn’t.  Yet.

The Pacific Northwest Raptors - Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

The Pacific Northwest Raptors – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

Meet Jury, the most elegant and majestic bird I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Once out of her cage, and after a dazzling performance that delighted everyone in the audience, she offered to pose for some photographs in true movie-star style.  Her vivid colours and delicate features suprized me, and suddenly I realized how stunning she was.  Her little red face was soft and expressive and her huge personality filled her tiny body.  If anyone ever once said that turkey vultures were anything less than purely superb, she was surely having none of it.

The Pacific Northwest Raptors - Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

The Pacific Northwest Raptors – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

As the shutter clicked, she gracefully turned and posed, making sure all the while that her full beauty was visible as she glanced over her shoulder like any well-seasoned super-model.

The Pacific Northwest Raptors - Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

The Pacific Northwest Raptors – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

Mr. Toad will attest to the pandemonium that ensues each and every time we’re out and about in the car when all of a sudden I spot a soaring dot and we’re off on another round of ” Is it an eagle?” as the sunroof swings open to gain a better view.  It’s something that I just can’t seem to shake.  Ever since moving to this amazing island twenty years ago and unwittingly jumping up in utter excitement at a local eatery when I spotted a seal in the harbour, much to the apathetic yawns of the “locals”, I’ve marveled at the diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes.

The Pacific Northwest Raptors - Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada

The Pacific Northwest Raptors – Cowichan Valley, BC, Canada –

At the end of the day she came over to say goodbye to us and flew away with my heart.  I can honestly tell you that now when I look up, I am no longer looking for eagles but for turkey vultures.  There’s no telling how many people Jury has converted, my guess is many.  Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I found it looking through the eyes of an amazing little turkey vulture named Jury.

Please join us again soon as we visit some more interesting new friends at the Pacific Northwest Raptors, and as always, please do leave any comments or stories you would like to share, you know how much we love them!

 

Until next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad

 




  1. These birds are so cool, we used to have an old barn behind our house and had little vultures every year, they are very cool when they are young! Great Post!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      I would just love to see little vultures, you are so lucky Michael! Thanks so much for your comments and your visit today.

  2. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Excellent images Toad and nice write-up Mrs Toad. Every time I try to capture a bird shot they are flying too darn fast (explains why I photograph landscapes). Are one or both of you bird whisperers?

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks Len, and no bird-whispering toads here, we were just lucky that the birds opted to cooperate with us but believe me, it was on their terms and not ours!

  3. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Mrs. Toad I can see why he stole just a bit of your heart away. He is quite regal looking. Incredible images! Oh…I’m glad that Mr. Toad still lays claim to your heart 🙂

  4. avatar Mrs. Toad says:

    Hi Edith, no need to worry for Mr. Toad, his place is secure in my heart. He just needs to get used to sharing it now! Thanks so much for your visit, I always look so forward to hearing from you.

  5. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Amazing wingspan! I can’t imagine that thing flying toward me. Nice captures!