“Keep Them Flying”

White Egret Greeting Card

Janthina Images offers newly redesigned White Egret Greeting Card for online sales – share of proceeds to be donated to Laura Quinn’s Florida Keys Wild Bird Center to help “Keep Them Flying!”

The White Egret Card image was captured in April of 2007 on a bright, beautiful afternoon in the Florida Keys!  I’ve always loved it for the tangible softness of the feathers against the very soft blue sky and the green leaves of the branch it is perched upon. In designing the card I capitalized on those greens with the bottom border detail and extended the sky across the back of the card for an overall soft natural look.  The inside has a muted sky with a feathery decoration. I loved preparing it and hope that you will enjoy it too!! I wish to offer a percentage of the sales of this card to the place which made it possible and needs funds on an ongoing basis to maintain its special role as a wild bird rehab facility and educator of the plight of many Florida birds.

This image is not a brand new capture, but it has over time remained one of my very favorite images. It was taken at a very special place. I discovered the Florida KeysWildBirdCenter in 2007 when my husband and I were having the tee top put on our boat. I’d seen the sign at Mile Marker 94 on Tavernier several times during trips to the Keys and always ran out of time to stop and see what it was about. So while we were waiting for work to progress on our boat, I was restless and took the opportunity to visit the center which was nearby the tee top shop.  It was truly love at first walk through! The first thing I saw once past the bird infirmary area was a Woodstork looking back at me with its black eyes, flinty neck, and bald head. Of course then I didn’t even know what I was looking at and wandered on. There were wild birds perched everywhere and of numerous species ranging from the White egret as pictured on the card, Brown pelicans, Roseate spoonbills, Great blue herons, Reddish egrets, Turkey vultures, the magnificent Great white heron, Louisiana herons, Snowy egrets…& much more. Accustomed to the presence of visitors, the birds were not alarmed (some less so than others) and so I had my first real chance to take pictures of wild Florida birds up close. That visit was probably the seminal influence for my love of bird photography. I did a lot of learning there over the course of several visits. Not just photography either! But, also why you ought to walk by a pelican perched above the boardwalk with its derriere towards you….quickly!!

Walking along the boardwalk on one of my visits, I spied an elderly lady in a very stained T-shirt cradling an injured pelican in her arms. We spoke for just a moment and she allowed me to pet its incredibly soft yellow head. How may people have actually touched a pelican? It was simply wonderful! I thought she was one of the volunteers you will always see at the center. This was in reality true, as by that time she had been working there 365 days a year for over a quarter of a century never taking a salary. But, she was much more! The lady was in fact the visionary Laura Quinn, founder and director of the Florida KeysWildBirdCenter.

Reported to be a somewhat obstinate character more comfortable with wildlife than humans, Laura Quinn dedicated the last 25 years of her life to rescuing and mending injured birds. In the mid 1980s she’d sold her Evening Shade Motel on Lower Matecumbe Key with a plan to live out her days in retirement carving statues of Florida Keys birds. Her hobby led to the awareness of injuries to birds and increased dangers to them due to ever increasing development in the Keys, and that there was no one to fix them up. She sold her dream retirement home and purchased the land at Mile Marker 94 to house her burgeoning rehabilitation efforts. She may have been stubborn and prickly, but those traits have served the birds well as with any good effort there is the government, permitting, and various forces which will work against it. Not to mention the sheer need for operating funds for such an enterprise.

The “Bird Lady” of the Keys whose only mission was to “Keep Them Flying” died in September of 2010 just 8 and ½ hours before the celebration of renaming the sanctuary as The Laura Quinn Wild Bird Center. She died on her 82nd birthday, September 18th and lived to see the sign erected in her honor.

Quinn achieved remarkable progress with limited funds and by the end of her life others did step in to make sure the work would continue. It is important to note that there is no entrance fee to visit this remarkable place and that even with new organization and supporters your donations are still needed. Sharing the proceeds of a card designed with the lovely White egret they enabled me photograph, will be one way I can say thank you.

Please visit the wonderful Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary and see for your self the work they are doing.

THE LAURA QUINN WILD BIRD SANCTUARY ADDRESS: 93600 Overseas Hwy MM 93.6, Tavernier, FL 33070 [Click for map]

“Keep Them Flying,”   >>The place to order the card from Janthina is HERE<<

A selection of pictures follows from the Wild Bird Center! I love this place and hope you enjoy them!

Judy

Florida Keys Wild Bird Center Entrance

Florida Keys Wild Bird Center as it was in 2007

Feeding Time at Florida Keys Wild Bird Center

3:00pm Feeding Time on Florida Bay at the Wild Bird Center

Patiently waiting his turn.

 

Pelican with fish in his pouch

Blue Eyed Adult Brown Pelican with a Pouch full of Afternoon Snack!

 

Great White Heron in soft lighting at the Wild Bird Center

Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret with its shaggy mane

Snowy Egret with mating plumage in his ‘golden slippers’

Elegant Great White Heron in its “Flasher” pose…drying its feathers!!

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~ by Judy on September 13, 2012.

19 Responses to ““Keep Them Flying””

  1. How wonderful… I can’t believe I’ve never been here!! ♥ Such a beautiful image / card.

    • LOL!! I knew you would say that and figured it would definitely be on your hit list of places to visit now! Anyone would love it, especially you! My recommendation is to get there in the early morning for the soft light and fewer folks around and the birds that seem to be there most often in the morning. Then enjoy a nice lunch or sightseeing nearby and be back at 3:00pm or so when they feed the pelicans and to enjoy the late afternoon light on the lovely birds. While there are injured birds there all the time, the sanctuary attracts wild birds from all around who come in and out as they will. Well and to mooch fish too!! The pelicans are loads of fun to watch. In fact, I did not realize the young pelicans have dark brown eyes and the adults the startling blue before my first visit to the center. Just never thought about it I guess..nor did I realize how different birds did appear between mating season and the rest of the year. It is quite dramatic really..the color queing.

      • Such a wonderful, amazing place… And I love your story. And the pictures! Wow. I’ve only been to the Keys once (can you believe this???). Appalling. And it wasn’t for a nature outing…

  2. Reblogged this on Serenity Spell and commented:
    A wonderful and soulful photographer from the area, Judy sells her images as well… And this particular image, so touching, in honor of the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center. Check out her amazing work and cards!

    • I don’t know what to say!! I’ve never had a post reblogged before and think it is just great!! The mission of Laura Quinn’s Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is so worthwhile on so many levels. It is hard to care about things that you do not get a chance to interact with. So there you get it all, up close and personal education as well as knowing that some injured birds are nursed back to fitness and returned to the wild skies where they belong!

      Thank You Serenity Spell!!

      • ABSOLUTELY!!!

        This cause, in combination with your most amazing and gorgeous work (coupled with detailed, fascinating, scientific overviews)? Of course a re-blog is *long* overdue!! 🙂

  3. Just gorgeous pictures of our feathered friends!!! Fey of Serenity Spell sent me here and I am glad that she did. You two must be great friends for both of you make such beautiful picture of Mother Nature’s creatures – big and small. Thank you so much!!!

    • I am tremendously thrilled about Serenity Spell helping me share information about the Wild Bird Center. She is truly a kindred in the cause of respecting our natural heritage and promoting interest in wild spaces!! You have to experience to understand, and you have to understand to want to preserve! It was my pleasure to have you visit. Thank you!

  4. beautiful photos 🙂

  5. South Texas and the Texas Gulf coast are well-known areas for birds, but they’re hundreds of miles from where I live in the central part of the state, so was pleased to find a white egret close to home recently:

    http://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/2012/09/11/the-shore-comes-inland/

    • The picture I saw on your site with the egret and white flowers was really pretty! Since I am an Army Brat, we did live in Texas for awhile and I loved Texas. The post was Fort Hood. My mother was born at Ft. Sam too!!

      Thanks for stopping by here to look at the egret card!

  6. YOU touched a pelican,, that is soooo touchy 🙂
    thank YOU for sharing these beautiful photos and the inspiring meaning of this post.

  7. Fantastic photos! Lucky you to have excellent pics of a great white egret, a bird I have never seen in person. Terrific work!
    It’s also outstanding that people work to protect these magnificent birds.

    • Thanks! I totally agree that I am so lucky to live near enough to where the Great White Herons are. They are truly a Florida Keys bird you may already know. The white color morph of the Great Blue Heron has a fairly limited range of the Florida Keys, Southern Everglades, and I understand parts of the Caribbean. You do not see them as far north as Broward County where I live. But, we can all use a good reason to visit the Florida Keys!! Which does mean Wurdemann’s herons are there too-the mix of a Great Blue and A Great White Heron with color variants in between.

      Visit me at: http://www.janthinaimages.com at the Florida Birds gallery to see more!

  8. what an amazing post! the information is great, and the images are incredible. my favorite is the final one – i watch the same birds from my vantage point on a river in ecuador, and i’ve never seen an egret contort like that one! great shot and great post!
    z

    • Thank you for your lovely comment!! I truly appreciate it! Egrets and Herons are in the same family taxonomically speaking, but the last image is of a Great White Heron. You might notice the light yellowish legs instead of the typical black of the White Egret. It is a bigger bird too. The Great White Heron has a rather limited range of the Florida Keys and the Southern Everglades (being a color morph of the Great Blue). But, I had heard that they were found further south in the caribbean too. I am wondering if the Great White Heron does occur in Ecuador? What do you think? Have you encountered them there?

      On the pose…when I first saw that I was sure I was witnessing a rarely seen mating ritual or something. Looking it up it seemed that the thinking is that the ‘flasher pose’ is the bird drying its feathers or sunning to avoid fleas and the like. I noticed that whenever I see this behavior with this bird and other herons too, that they are always facing the sun.

      I reviewed your beautiful work for quite awhile and just love the colors and native influences you have and must confess to not before knowing the art form word ‘mola.’ Ecuador is certainly a beautiful place!!

      Thank you for your visit here.

      • thanks, amiga nueva!
        when i lived in mississippi and louisiana, i often saw the great white heron.. how silly of me not to note the yellow legs in the photo! the only yellow i spot on the white waterbirds here are the stocking feet of the snowy egret. i think they visit the galapagos but not the mainland. we have a cocoi heron that’s quite elegant http://www.pbase.com/ahlman/image/140174491

        i had never seen molas either until i spent time in the republic of panama! they’re beautiful works of textile art that triggered a totally different style of painting!

        z

  9. The Cocoi Heron is beautiful! So familiar and yet different. I thought it would still be Ardea herodias and a variant like the Wurdemann’s and The Great White; but it does appear to have its own specie name. It is hard to tell but the bill might be slighly different. There’s always the issue of being a lumper or a splitter and how many differences mandate a new specie name! Would love to carve out time to visit Ecuador…a very photogenic place. I thought Guatemala was wonderful on a visit some years ago.

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