When I began the process of purging my photo collection, essentially sweeping away the past to make room for the future, I started with birds, something you’ll see in this post and others to follow.
But why birds?
I have a lot of bird pictures. Yet that’s not really the answer to the question.
I think I began with birds since our avian friends offer a mix of challenge and ease that results in a veritable bounty of images.
Then again, perhaps I complicate matters when a simpler answer would more appropriately address the question.
While I could say it’s because I love birds almost as much as I love insects, even that would not provide the full truth of why I started with our avian friends.
It all boils down to this one fact: it’s winter.
Even here in North Texas, winter means an end to the bounty of arthropods and flora and reptiles and a great deal of nature’s many wonders. Most trees are left stark and barren along with the vast majority of plants as they wither into their cocoons of hibernation or death; cold-blooded creatures fade with the passing seasons into a frigid slumber or the end of their generation; insects and arachnids shrink away beneath the blanket of the first killing freeze; and ultimately most of the beauty I so enjoy disappears under winter’s cloak.
Yet birds thrive, at least where I live, and their numbers and kinds explode as residents leave for warmer days and nights at the same time migrants arrive trying to escape colder temperatures to the north.
So expunging historic photos of birds came naturally since, right now, I’m snapping a lot of bird pictures.
It’s no more complicated than that. Besides, I have yet to go through the arthropods, plants, mammals and reptiles that comprise the remainder of my collection. Rest assured they will have their time in the spotlight.
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 A male wood duck (Aix sponsa) who’s molting into eclipse plumage. He wanted to know who and what I was, but his curiosity never won the battle it waged with his sense of self-preservation. Instead, he followed me along the north shore of White Rock Lake, always staying near enough to keep an eye on me whilst simultaneously being distant enough to feel safe.
 A complete albino rock dove (a.k.a. common pigeon; Columba livia). I have seen partial albinism, incomplete albinism and imperfect albinism in rock doves (along with many other creatures), but this was the first time I ever saw complete albinism in this species. It foraged and flocked with the dule, yet it stood out like a lone redwood tree in a hayfield.
 A snowy egret (Egretta thula) with a small fish in its bill. This beautiful creature spent the morning wading in the shallows of Sunset Bay looking for something to eat. I watched it miss more meals than I could count. Just when I felt the poor thing would go hungry, it caught a small fish and enjoyed the fruit of its labor.
 A northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos). Perched in the top of a tree under which I stood unaware of its presence, this marvelous parent watched me intently as its offspring fledged a few steps away. I absentmindedly moved toward the child, and it was then the dutiful guard made its presence known with a sweeping dive at my head coupled with the scream of a marauder moving in for the kill. I snapped the photo as I moved away.
 A female brown-headed cowbird (Molothrus ater). On a cloudy day and from quite a distance, I felt certain this was nothing more than a sparrow (albeit a large-than-normal sparrow). Bad lighting can often hide the difference what is and what isn’t. I walked away from that moment feeling she was something else entirely, something boring, so I was thrilled I took the photo as it brought into focus what I had really seen.
 A scissor-tailed flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus). I watched this individual and one other as they performed their magical aerial ballet in the light of sunrise. Catching insects in flight is neat enough on its own; doing so with that flowing, unbelievably long tail creates an altogether different image.