Sunday, August 18, 2019


The moment I arrived home, I knew I'd be going to a lot of family events. One of those events was the family reunion up in the northern part of Wisconsin.  Many years ago, my father searched for his biological mother and found her in the forested little town of Antigo.  During times of ignorance, it was expected a woman go "visit her Aunt" up in the North if she found out she was pregnant out of wedlock. In my Dad's case, a woman by the name of Lorraine gave birth and gave up her first born, my Dad, for adoption. Because that is what you did. The biological father didn't want to have anything to do with Lorraine or my Dad. She was put in a difficult place. My grandparents couldn't have children and desperately wanted a child. It was here that they found my father and adopted him in the forests of the northern woods of Wisconsin. It was all "hush hush" back then. 

After a year of investigation, my father and his biological mother eagerly agreed to meet.  It was a very happy reunion. When it happened, he was exposed to a much larger family.  They embraced him as one of their own. This time around, I'd finally get to meet that side of the family.  And from a birding point of view, I knew I'd find some great birds around the cabins of the northern woods of Wisconsin.  

Swamp Sparrow
The forest surrounding the cabins was a lovely emerald.  I saw my first American Beaver and heard the nightly calls of Common Loons on the lake. 

Between family, I went off into the woods and watched the loons call to one another on the water.  It was beautiful. 

Common Loon
This was the first time that I've actually birded in the northern parts of Wisconsin. So I added many new birds to my Wisconsin state list. 

Night would arrive and we'd break piñatas full of adult beverages. 

My sister tries her hand at the piñata. 
My mother hits the piñata with a whack. She is a pro.  I mean, she did raise 6 kids:)

My mom hits the piñata with a resounding crack! and small bottles of liquid fire fall out.  Adults rush to the ground for these delightful beverages. 
I wonder (and worry!) about the immature American Robin nestlings that are a little too close to the main cabin.  Over 30 people sit around the nest while the adult robins try to feed their babies. In fact, there are baby birds everywhere. 

immature American Robins
This fawn is alone and cries for his mother. Humans freak out as the baby animal follows everyone to the campfire.  What the humans don't know is that the mother didn't abandon her baby, she was only feeding herself so that she could feed her baby later on.  Apparently, we were just babysitting:) It's a number one human "no no". Leave the fawn alone. The little deer will be okay. 

I watch helplessly as J-man discovers a nice chocolate doughnut. 

7 ways of attacking a chocolate covered donut

Then I see what the sugar has done to him.  A Sith baby!

All around us, the forest is alive with young birds leaving their nests. 

Black-capped Chickadee
And nearby, their human counterparts are chasing bubbles. 

 As I grow older, I find myself understanding some of my siblings better than others.  The distance and time have changed us all.  Each developing and defining their own lives in their own worlds.  If I am not careful, I could lose touch with each of them.  For the first time during my trip home, I felt a disconnect.  It was a bizarre feeling.   

Family is everything.  I wish I could fix and make everything better for everyone, but it is not mine to fix. I love them all. But ultimately we live our own lives.  I guess the most important part is to let them know that I am there for them.  I've always been an independent person so when I got home, I discovered new family dynamics. I find myself thinking about my family more than my birds which is how it should be.  But for the first time in my birding life, birds do not distract me from this visit. 

Eastern Kingbird
I've always tried to understand my grandparent's and parent's relationship with their own siblings. The idea of losing the familiar bond with a sibling is a scary thought.  I'm not a talker on the phone nor do I live near my family so the first several days home is like an overload of information.    

I had a blast with the nephews and nieces.  Some are growing up too quickly.  I was able to spend some time with quite a few of them, but there's never enough time to spend quality time with all of them. 

My nephew goes for a bird walk with me. We explore feathers, bugs, fish and birds. 
This trek was good and necessary.  Mixing birding into the mix was a fun challenge.  Over the next several weeks we'll explore some excellent areas for birding in Wisconsin while catching up with the family. Until next time......


  1. Fun, family, food and feathers - a great combination.

    When will you get the chance to see some Australian birds?

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Hopefully in the next couple years. I'm getting closer:) We've got several treks planned already for next year:)

  2. What a beautiful and heartfelt post! Thank you for sharing

  3. What a lovely post - you must have had a wonderful family re-union. The photos of the fawn are spectacular. I am so pleased your Dad tracked down his biological mother.

    1. We are too. He met her several years before she passed and they were able to catch up. Regardless of what some people may think, it was hard for her to give up the baby. She lived with the idea that she would never see her firstborn again. I'm glad they were able to reconnect before she passed. There had been a weight lifted on both sides and the healing could begin.


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