Sunday, April 16, 2006

Spring is here

Remember the bird building the nest in my impatiens? The eggs have hatched, and I've enjoyed watching the little mother house sparrow flying back and forth to the hanging basket, bringing worms to her babies. Usually they're quiet, but when she shows up they go nuts, cheeping frantically to get their share of the goodies. I startled her the other day when I carefully tipped a little water into the impatiens pot to help the poor plant survive, but she didn't abandon the nest.

I know it's a house sparrow 'cause I looked in my Audubon Field Guide to Florida. Let me make a pitch here for having a good field guide when you're writing, even if you're writing about your own back yard. You may think you know an area, but a field guide will not only help you broaden the range of plants and wildlife you're writing about, it can also help "color" a scene by adding details. I'd be lost without my Nature of Florida and Audubon guides. And they're especially important if you're writing historicals, 'cause a good field guide will tell you what plants are natives and which are imports.

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