Monday, October 26, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
It has been a while since I have sat down with my tea on a quiet morning and ran my fingers across a keyboard. Weeks have been spent getting the bees ready for winter, harvesting the fruits of our labours and making all kinds of wonderful plans. In amongst our many plans, there is one I am bursting to share, one that I think you will also be inspired by.
As you know, there has been much time spent with the honeybees this year. Much time spent in awe of their diligent ways. Much time spent learning about what more we might do to support these winged friends in their important work.
We have come to the conclusion that we must do whatever we can to help the honeybees at this particular moment in time, for reasons that you can read about in just a moment, if click on the link at the bottom of this page.
And so I invite you dear readers, to have a look at what we have been building and creating over here. Welcome to Beecause Pollination Project.
Posted by Nao at 9:14 AM
Sunday, August 16, 2009
There is much to be thankful for this season. The bounty is truly something to marvel at. The plum tree is heavy with fruit, the squash are hiding their full round shapes under canopy's of green, the honey is just now off the hive and sitting on the kitchen table like a sweet golden elixir.
My hands are cracked and dry from dirt and sun, my body is sore from lifting 80 pound supers of honey and my is heart filled to the brim with awe for this incredible earth. The satisfaction is deep, the gratitude is infinite, the happiness that comes when eating spoon fulls of honey from the flowers in my own garden is simply indescribable.
I have spent very little time writing this summer, very little time thinking about how to put my experience into words and this has been a great relief. My mind can be as unruly as the vines climbing up our back shed and pruning back the thoughts has been rather a good thing for me. Instead of thinking about how to write about the honeybees magic I found myself sitting by the beehive, in a warm place, just listening to the hum. I enjoyed steamed greens from the garden without thinking about how to describe their flavour. I waded into the water with my dog without wondering how to document the suns effect on the waves. I can't say I have mastered this technique of "being in the moment" by any stretch. I can't even say it happens as much as I would like it to. I am definatly nowhere near enlightenment and I am sure that the Buddhists have a heckofalot to teach me, but I can say, that there are moments, when for a brief time, I have not been thinking. And I can say, that I liked this.
One whole year has gone by since I began this blog. And what a marvelous journey it has been, what a lot of fun and inspiration, what a lot of lovely folks I have met. I am so thankful to have had your company and experienced your kindness. Your encouraging words have given me so much joy and courage, thank you.
And now I am going to push away from the computer keyboard and head back into the garden where I will be taking the advice of my wise dog and doing less thinking and more being. I am not sure when I might be back in my cyberspace living room, but until then I wish you all basketful's of goodness. I wish you sweet mornings of golden light. I wish you peaceful afternoons and enchanted evenings. I wish you health, happiness and wholeness. I wish you magic in each and every exquisite moment of your life.
Just think of how sweet my tea will be this year!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
I am not sure what it is about the garlic harvest that brings me so much deep down glee. This might be my favorite thing to harvest, if there could be such a thing. Perhaps it's the time that it takes a clove placed in the Autumn ground to mature into a complete bulb, 10 whole months. Sometimes it's the waiting that makes the goal that much more glorious. Or maybe it's in my blood, an ancestral inheritance from my Eastern European roots, perhaps this is a cellular love. Whatever it is, it is as strong and healthy as the garlic itself.
Garlic is my food and medicine, and it has been this way for as long as I can remember. There is no soup or stew complete without it, no better way to cure a cold or keep the flu away, of course you also run the risk of keeping others away too, but sometimes that's not so bad. Tis hard to tell, who's a vampire and who isn't sometimes. eh eh eh.
Otherwise these days have been spent far away from keyboards and indoor activities. There is an inch of dust covering everything in the house. There are 100 tasks needing doing, but I simply cannot give myself to them. The moment I am out of bed in the morning, I am outside, barefoot in the garden, as busy as the bees.
Posted by Nao at 1:08 PM
Saturday, July 4, 2009
There is a place in the wilds of British Columbia's interior where folks of all different kinds can live together in relative harmony. You don't believe me? Well, you should. I saw it myself, more than once, and I have marvelled at it for sometime now.
I am not sure what makes it possible for the redneck and the hippy to live on the same dirt road and manage to respect one another. I am not sure how the meat- eaters and the vegetarians can sit round the same campfire and marvel at the dinner before them. I still don't know what makes the hillbilly moonshine brewed in the back-shed still taste as lovely as the 10 year old single malt imported from Scotland's Isle of Islay. I can't understand what those who ride horses and those who ride Harley's have to talk about. And I can't figure out how the campfires built in those rugged hills can warm hearts as much as they do cold hands and feet, but you know, I don't think I care if I ever know the answer to these questions. I simply like that it happens.
Campfire and Kettle
I just spent a week camping beside the most magical lake, in the forested hills near my home town.
View from our tent
The mornings were spent with my little niece Senay collecting wild flowers and building sandcastles. The afternoons spent reclining on smooth soft drift wood with a good book, while Senay painted beach stones. The evenings were festive gatherings of good people.
Breakfast on the campfire
Out there, under that starry sky, miles away from the civilized world the most interesting folks found there way down the dusty path to our Gypsy campsite. When the sun went down over the snow capped peaks and the campfire roared with flames, the people roared with laughter. All kinds of people sitting round a campfire with almost nothing in common, except perhaps a deep appreciation for this wild and wonderful earth. There is something really delightful about that, something hopeful and inspiring about a group of people gathered together who have nothing more than their humanness in common.
Indeed, I must admit, that as the years go by I am more interested in what makes us the same as opposed to all of those things that make us different. And I have to be honest and say that this hasn't always been the case. My life for a longtime was dedicated to being different. Oh the pains of proving ones uniqueness.
When I was 18 years old I moved as far away from hometown as I could to celebrate my differences, to be known for my individual flare. Now almost 15 years later I have to laugh hard at the pull of my healthy and youthful ego. Sitting there with my wild family and those mountain people, I realized that what made me the most different from these good folks was my own harsh judgment, my own desire to be something other than what I am ~ a small town girl with an enormous love for the wild lands of my childhood.
So this post is dedicated to good hearted country people everywhere. What an honour it is to warm myself by your fires, to be accepted exactly as I am, for better or for worse. Ha! Your an inspiration!
Monday, June 22, 2009
The summer days are passing by and there is much happiness as we munch on greens from the garden like goats, as we water and weed and stop to smell the flowers.
There is no such thing as time when I step barefoot on damp earth and bend down to harvest the green sweetness of new peas. No such thing as stress when I watch flowers open and surrender to their fate, whatever that may be. There is nothing else to think about when watching bees come home after a long day laden with pollen and purpose. Nothing to want when you are eating a dessert of freshly picked strawberries and whipped cream. Nothing to worry about when you realize that all things are born, bloom, fruit and eventually go back to the earth, only to be born again.
And on the days that take me out of the garden into the world of 9-5, the world of bus stops and hot asphalt, of scrubbed hands and shooed feet, I have only to think of the oasis that awaits me when I cross the threshold back into the growing paradise that is my blessed garden.
There is so much to be thankful for.
Monday, June 15, 2009
There are bees buzzing and flowers blooming.
I cannot come in from outside.
These days, I spend my mornings singing with the bees down by the hives. The bees hum their musical drone and lull me into their world of vibration and sweetness. I watch the flowers opening to their honeybee lovers, under June's morning sun, and I marvel at the blessings all around me. Gus sniffs the sweet honey smells at the hive entrance, curious, intrigued and very cautious. The cats slumber in the shade of the raspberries, and Mark sips his coffee on the porch.
Tis a most magical time~
Thou seemest-a little deity!
Anacreon, Ode 34,
To the bee ( fifth century BC)
Sunday, June 7, 2009
The bees new home back behind the veg plot
Well, a week has gone by since the arrival of my honeybees. Their presence in my garden is as magical as I had hoped. Their industrious ways can only be marveled at. The urge to sit outside the hives and watch them for hours is constant. Every morning at dawn, you will find me there, teacup in hand, gazing in awe. Every afternoon I go into the garden and weed to the sound of their hum. Every night I walk down behind the veg plot and watch them coming home from their last forge, the orange and yellow pollen on their back legs weighing them down.
They arrived in the night. My good Dad was here to help me transfer them into their sparkling new hives from the small, hot wooden boxes that contained them, their queens, and frames of brood, honey and pollen. After 4 stings and much careful attention, they were safely transferred. By the next morning at 5 am, they were hard at work, buzzing around the garden gathering nectar and pollen in their expert style. They wasted no time, they didn't hesitate, or stop to wonder what next.
Dad and I picking the bees up
As they adjusted to their new home, they appeared perfectly at ease. I have to admit, the neurosis was all mine. My desperate desire to take care of them to the best of my ability was taken to extremes. I was worrying about everything. I worried about the health of the queens, the honey supply, the heat of the day, my own beginner's clumsiness whilst working in a hive.
By 4:00 yesterday I was a mess, collapsed on the living room floor in tears, saying to Mark, "I don't want any of them to die. I want them all to be happy and healthy and whole. I want good weather for them, the right food, and the perfect conditions..." and as I spoke between sobs, Mark lending a kind ear (as men sometimes do when their wives are weeping uncontrollably), I began to laugh, and the harder I laughed, the more I realized the absurdity of my wishes and the gigantic metaphor that the bees were offering my whole life.
Oh, my desire to control, to be God, to take away variables, to eliminate disaster, to avoid death at all costs...how very human of me. Perfectly forgivable I think, but not the most Zen style.
And as the summer breezed through the door, and Mark and I laughed at my hilarious and honest human quest, a small part of my "need to control" went with the breeze.
What was left was a kind of relief, a recognition that everything is unfolding without my helpful interference, and beyond this, that it always has been. That honeybees have been doing what they do for millions of years and who am I to think I can make their world perfect. Who am I to think I can make anyone's world perfect. And as my swelled ego shrunk a wee bit, my shoulders dropped and my breath deepened and something dissolved both physical and mental, something let go, something that I can only describe, as me. I let go, and this, was the relief.
Indeed, beekeepers do loose bees and sometimes they don't. Bees, like us, live and then die. Sometimes bees are sick and and sometimes they are healthy. Sometimes there is lots of honey and sometimes there is not.
Yes, if I learn as much about myself as I did this first week of beekeeping I am in for some fascinating discoveries, and if I learn nothing more about myself, well that will be fine too. (Relinquishing control is task enough)
For this day though, sitting by the hive in the morning, with my tea,watching these buzzing winged ones work, is profound enough.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Not so long ago I was bent down in my garden planting seeds. A few days later, I was there again, doubting their ability to sprout. Every year and without fail, I find myself wondering if my garden will grow, if the flowers will bloom, if the plum tree will fruit...and every year despite my disbelief, the garden grows, the flowers bloom and the plum tree fruits.. and every year I stand in awe at the miraculous ability of nature.
It occurred to me just recently that I might benefit from considering the possibility that this is also what is happening for humanity. That my part in the garden of creation is only that, just a part. That as much as our lives are governed by the way we think about them, there is also something beyond our minds, beyond our thoughts (which lets face it, are not always sweetness and light, at least mine aren't) beyond our "control." That beyond our thinking there is a magnificent indescribable momentum that propels all life forward toward bloom and fruit, death and rebirth.
On my knees, there in my garden, the sun beating down on my shoulders, the moist earth between my fingers, I felt relief as this thought washed over me. I let myself sink into the possibility that I was being carried, like all living things held in the arms of the Great Mother. Moving like a river does, destined for the sea. Perhaps life then is a balance between active and passive, between doing and not doing, between knowing and not knowing, and this, at least for today, is a great relief to me.
My book shelves are lined with books whose pages are dedicated to teachings that explain "how to create a glorious reality," and looking at their bold titles and colorful spines, on this quiet Sunday morning, seems really quite hilarious, like a lot of work and pretentious notions. Today I am considering the possibility that my reality is already perfect. Today at least, there is no better reality to create, no more perfect way of thinking or being anything other than what and who I am. As for tomorrow, who knows what new and clever notions will be taking for forefront, but I'll keep you posted.
Posted by Nao at 9:09 AM
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Papa Sigi (my grandfather) and I ~
Yesterday, I spoke with my grandfather. He turned 92 last week. He still looks like he's sixty; out in his garden on most days planting seeds and digging weeds. He's often found in cut off jean shorts and gum boots, chopping wood and stacking it against the shed.
He told me that it's hard to believe he's 92 this year and that he remembers 29 like it was yesterday. He told me that he has lived the best life and that he can barely believe his good fortune. He told me that the luckiest thing to have happened to him was to have lived through the hungry thirties. "After that, he said, a person is never in want of anything again. Yes, he said, I have had a good life, I am still having a good life, I am the luckiest person in the world Nao."
"What is the secret to such happiness," I asked him, and he said, three things: "not worrying, not envying and lots of sleep." After a half an hour of delightful conversation, I put the phone down, without saying goodbye of course, as my grandfather believes that there is too much finality in those words, and that nothing is ever final. So when we part ways, we only say, I love you, and then we hang up the phone, or walk away, and there is never a goodbye between us.
Later that same day, I spent the evening, in an old baroque theatre, listening to the 89 year old Sitar Master, Ravi Shankar. It was one of the most extraordinary things I have ever been privileged to witness. There he sat, on that elegant stage, in his Indian slippers, speaking only to announce each Raga and then he played with a radiant smile on his face, his eyes closed, his head tilted toward the sky. He played 2 songs over an hour and a half. It was like being inside a prayer.
While I sat there, the classical sitar music of India enveloping me in like sunshine, I thought, here is another wise man, who like my grandfather has also lived through the majority of this past century. And despite the fact that he has lived an entirely different life to my Papa Sigi, the quality of the smile on his face seemed to reveal the same sense of gratitude that my grandfather, in his little wooden house, in a small Canadian town, on the edge of a grassy field also knows.
The wisdom of one who has lived and loved and lost is truly a wonderful thing to experience.
This post is dedicated to Papa Sigi Kuraoka and Ravi Shankar, both Gurus in their own right.
Posted by Nao at 9:43 AM
Monday, May 11, 2009
Four months ago, on a rainy wintry day, I called the local honeybee center, and registered for a four day long, "Basic Bee Keeping" course. The course was to be taught by a local Beemaster and would include both classroom and field study. The cost was 250 dollars, which I paid without hesitation.
A week later, I bought all my honeybee equipment including the veil and safari type hat. Of course, once I had those things in my possession, I tried them on every chance I got, and stood in front of the mirror dreaming of bee keeping, like a child does Christmas. I was on the count down. And as the blossoms bloomed in the garden, one after another, the way they do at this time of year, I knew I was getting closer to the course scheduled for the beginning of May.
You see I have this "way" of looking forward to an event that has to do with what flower, or vegetable, or fruit is in season, on the day that the event is scheduled for. It's a childhood ritual I simply cannot help but still do, and it goes like this: I knew that on the 1st day of my bee course the plum trees would be in flower, and so instead of looking on the calender to when my course would be, I waited for the plums to bloom before preparing.
I invented this planning style as a child when I couldn't understand calenders and time lines. I could however, understand what time of year it was when the violets were out, or when the pumpkins were ready. I knew that my birthday was just before violets and Halloween was sometime around pumpkins. My niece understands this logic very well, and she asks "when will I see you again Auntie, and I reply, "when the raspberries are ready to eat, or when your mom plants the squash, or when the sunflowers are out." And she gets this, more than she might if I had said in two months and five days. For, what does two months mean to a child?
( Funnily enough this is how beekeepers think too, as they respond to the needs of their bees based on what is blooming, and they ask themselves "are we in dandelion season or blackberry?")
But back to Basic Bee Keeping, a course due to start when the plum is in bloom.
Two weeks ago the plum tree's bloomed. A week later I got in my car and drove for an hour into the fields where I met up with twenty others who wanted to learn about honeybees. And I have to say, as far as I can tell, people interested in honeybees, seem like a pretty good bunch. These folks were the most down to earth, unpretentious, good hearted group I have met in long time. I think it takes a certain kind of temperament to be interested in such things. Opening a hive of 60, 000 honeybees is not for the angry impatient ones, it really isn't.
And so together, with our unbelievably knowledgeable and inspired teacher, we ventured into the land of the honeybee. We donned our bee suits and headed out into the Bee Yard, we opened hives, inspected frames of bees, lit smokers, counted eggs and larvae. We read books, we took notes, we watched slide shows, and we were tested, both on the field and in the classroom. There was an exam which I proud to say I did rather well on (little geeky grin), and a certificate awarded to all of those who past the test. It was one of the most informative and interesting things I have done in a very long time.
I learned more over the course of those four days than I can fully integrate, but I expect I will figure much of it out along the way. It's a bit like all things that way, gardening, parenting, getting a dog, buying a house, going traveling, falling in love, first kiss, loosing ones virginity, all daunting things in the beginning. You can only prepare so much for any one of them, and then, you just do it, and you figure it out. eh eh eh. ( I hope I haven't offended any bee keepers out there by comparing bee keeping to "loosing one's virginity," but you get my drift, I hope).
So that said, here I go, two weeks until my Bee's arrive! I know a little bit more now then I did last week, and I will learn a whole lot more over the many years that I hope to do this. I have no doubt that this is going to be a life long learning, but I am truly okay with that, cause let's face it, what isn't?
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Image from interent
When I was a little girl, my grandmother used to take me to this tiny spot of green beside her house, where the wild violets grew, over the graves of the family pets. Only two things grew in that little shady patch of green, that lay between those two old buildings, on the main street, of that small mountain town. One was the wild violet, and the other, was the bleeding heart.
Image from Internet
The violets, she would tell me, grew there because flowers naturally grow on the graves of those we love. The bleeding hearts however, grew there to tell us a story. The story was of an unhappy princess who refused the love of a charming prince. Eventually the prince killed himself because the princess would not return his feelings. "Hearts bleed," my grandmother would say, "when we believe that only someone else can bring us happiness."
My grandmother was indeed a wise woman, she was also a heavy drinker and an angry woman. She was perfectly human, and in her humanness she was the most colorful, loving and raging woman I have ever met. To glorify her as a saint would be more than untrue, it would be unfair, for it was her ruckus laughter and big bellowing whiskey cheer that made the people love her. It was the way she sat on the piano bench and sang "Just a closer walk with thee" after a bottle of booze with her friend Dorris on a Sunday, that brought the house down. It was the upside down pineapple cake she made for us on our birthdays, and then force fed us, that was her charm.
Who am I to judge her way of coping? Who are any of us to judge anyone? I know there was a sad and secret story from her past. I know her heart was broken in a thousand places before my grandfather fell in love with her, and even the love they shared, it never fixed hear heart permanently. The love between she and my grandfather was strong and real, but it was more like the glue that holds a potted vase together after it has already been broken.
I know it was her brokenness that made her understand the sad wayfarer passing through. She had the kind of empathy that comes from experiencing the rugged and treacherous landscape of living. How many of those shoeless, womanless, penniless people, did she invite in off the street for a hot meal and a bath? How many broken hearts did she hold to her breast and with that big warm soft body, whisper that it would be alright?
When she died the whole town mourned. And I swear that little mountain town became a quieter place over night. "Just a closer walk with thee," has gone back to being sung by church congregations, and I am sure everyone would agree that it seems to have lost a certain kind of zestful deliverance.
I am not a believer in perfection. The more days that go by in my life, the more I am aware that our imperfections are what make us human. As far as I can tell it is the mud of who we are that is what really rounds us out, gives us depth and color and character, that makes us the passionate and perfectly imperfect beings that we are.
Joseph Cambell once said, "Be careful of the demons you cast out, lest they be the best parts of yourself."
And so, on this May morning, I am thinking of my Gramma Bell. Just a few days ago I noticed the bleeding hearts in my garden are in flower. Whenever I move into a new house I plant two bleeding hearts for my grandmother and every year when they offer there soft pink shapes to the world, I raise a glass to that wild and wonderful woman, who taught me so much about being myself.
~ To Gramma Bell
Isobel Elizabeth Kuraoka
Image from Interent
Posted by Nao at 6:22 AM
Monday, April 27, 2009
Last years Peony
There is something about encouragement that makes possibility grow and bloom and become. I think encouragement is a most vital nutrient for all living beings to thrive, to live radiant and happy lives. I know I could drink vats of the stuff and only benefit. If encouragement was a healing elixir, there would be thousands of different honeyed flavors. For encouragement is one of those wonderful things that appears to come in infinite forms. Sometimes it rides into our hearts on a phrase spoken by someone that sees us, and other times it is brought to us by a sunrise a dawn, or by dog licks on wet tears, or cat purrs, or a child's song, or a grandmothers homemade soup...
My little niece called me last week and said, "Auntie, Auntie, you will never believe it, but a rainbow stopped by our house yesterday, the most beautiful rainbow. It came to bring us the best luck Auntie, I wish you could have seen it, it would have brought you luck too, I am sure of it." I told her that was indeed a lucky thing, when a rainbow "stops by" your house. And when I put the phone down I thought isn't it wonderful the way the universe encourages us.
Senay (My neice making Easter Eggs)
All this is to say, I have had the most wonderful encouragement from so many beautiful people over my latest bee keeping adventure. Even the plants in my garden appear to be cheering me on. Somehow I can't help but thank you all for your kind and supportive and unwavering enthusiasm. Please know how very much it means to me.
Rose from last years garden
And now I leave you with a poem from our Dear Hafiz:
How Did The Rose?
did the rose
ever open its heart
and give the world all of its beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light against its being,
otherwise we all remain too
~Hafiz Sufi Poet 14th Century
Posted by Nao at 8:25 AM
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Image from Internet
Well, I think most of us in the northern hemisphere can officially agree that spring has at last come. There are flowers blooming and birds singing and seeds sprouting in all directions. If I had a favorite time of year ( which I don't) this would be it. Of course I feel like this at every turn of the seasonal wheel. I am like a child trying to decide my favorite color, at first I declare it's red and then swiftly change my mind to, oh no it's blue, and then, actually no it's green, before I say, "no it's all of them, give me the whole rainbow." Yes, I am somebody who loves it all, including spring, winter, summer and fall.
And speaking of loving it all, I will take this opportunity to share with you, my latest endeavour, Bee Keeping. Because, let's face it, spring would not be spring without adding BEES to the mix of birds, flowers and trees. Indeed, the earth as we know it, would not exist without these busy little pollinating friends, whose miraculous ways pollinate 90% of the earth's plants. In fact, if we really think about it, it is quite possible that we humans wouldn't exist without them. For, I believe it was Albert Einstein who said, "if the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live."
Image from internet
As many of you know, there is much discussion with regard to the decline of honey bee's. Indeed, this is a rather enormous problem on our planet at this time, amongst a very long and frighting list of other enormous problems. I don't know about you, but I could get very sad if I let my heart break for the present state of our Good Earth. However, after much thought on this difficult topic, I have come the conclusion that sadness is not the best style for me to adopt in an effort to make positive change during these troubled times. And so, Instead of cultivating sadness I am endeavoring to cultivate happiness and although this is not always easy, it feels like the best option. I, Nao Sims, choose to dedicate myself to loving the earth with nothing but joy in my heart and a radiant unwavering belief that we can indeed heal this beautiful world.
When I first learned about the problems with pollination I cried for two hours straight. And, when I realized that crying wasn't going to do anything for the bee's, I got up off the floor and got organized. Within a week I had ordered 20,000 honey bee's, two bee hives, and registered for a course with a Master Bee Keeper in a large field, under a big sky, an hours drive my house.
I spent the last days of winter cozied up with tea, reading books on back yard Bee Keeping, dreaming of my own honey, and remembering those long ago days when I was a little girl and my father was a bee keeper. There is nothing like the smell of fresh honeycomb, like seeing a bee on a dandelion after a long winter, or like the smell on my fathers hands when he'd come back from checking on a hive.
Yesterday, the boxes containing my hives arrived. After a song and a dance, Gus and I gleefully opened our packages. Gus was just as keen as I was to see what was inside, although his canine sense of smell gave the contents away well before I opened the lid, and the smells of honeycomb permeated the living room. What we found in those big cardboard boxes resembled a jig saw puzzle more than it did a bee hive. Apparently bee hives, like most things, need to be assembled. Our boxes were filled with parts of hives, and one poorly photocopied pink piece of paper, with very few instructions as to how to put the parts together. I laughed for a long time before I considered how to begin.
And then, without further adieu, I began...
And I painted.
I did it!
(This is Bee hive number one of two)
Gus and Mark cheered me on through my trials and tribulations and an old friend came over with lunch and together we shared the painting. All this said, my first day as a bee keeper, went very well.
The Bee's don't officially arrive until June 1st, but the preparations for their new life, in my garden, have already started. I shall keep you posted as to how it all goes.
To read more about what you can do to help support Bee's and the important work of these winged friends click here.