Friendy Encounters Always Preferred


Yes, here we are back in the marshy area along the Niagara River. A nice day to meet with friends. Not mine, I was by myself, but our Egret friend has a few buddies in the peaceful wetland. He is the one that took the long walk in Why Did the Egret Cross the Island? Seeing this made me think of the direction of the world today.

Heron-and-EgretThe Great Blue Heron was the one in the post, When You Just Don’t Expect It – A Bird Has a Good Laugh. All is well fishing along the river.


Good friends apparently. Or not? Why the ruffled feathers Big Blue? Showing the others who’s boss?


It is not unusual seeing these birds all in one place, but it really does make one think why cannot this interaction of species happen more often.


Seriously though, can we not take a cue from nature? I have seen photos on the internet of animals as friends that have no logical reason for being with each other.


I saw where one photographer caught a wolf in with a group of brown bears. They were playing and even sharing a kill. Another time I saw a lion protecting a baby chimp after the lioness just killed its mother. You see elephants all the time grieving over a family member. Of course, I cannot make these heart wrenching images, but just seeing wildlife interacting harmoniously really makes one think.


The list is so long of rival species interacting in ways we deem loving, friendly or caring. The news this week in Iraq has me saddened. I do not feel we belong there, but the slaughter of citizens of that country by rival factions really gives me pause. I see no sense, no understanding, no worldly reason.

Is this fighting done in the name of religion, or is it just because others are different? Not that one religion is right and one is wrong, but that it is used to justify slaughter. Where is the commandment or passage allowing that?


If there is a greater God in this world, what is the plan? It might just be what animals are starting to realize (OK, I know that is a stretch), we need to have compassion, tolerance, respect, play, fun, love, and all the other things we attribute to humans, but certainly don’t afford readily to others ourselves.Β  The stare above says…


Rather than toss those mean looks at others, we all may stare off into the distance one day wondering what went wrong along the way. Animals cannot really understand us at all and it seems we can’t understand each other either.

Next, the gardens at the Lewiston GardenFest. Garden Walk season has begun!

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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46 Responses to Friendy Encounters Always Preferred

  1. lulu says:

    I often wonder the same things as you. Why is it so difficult to have harmony?

    • Others said it so well. We are selfish. But not being a materialistic person myself, I often don’t see what others want that is not theirs, or ever even could be – like that nature that surrounds them.

  2. Sherrie says:

    I believe that in a past life you were one of these lovely statuesque birds.
    So lovely . You seems to have a deep attraction to them.

  3. Donna, you ask some serious questions, so I will give you a serious, though short response. First, I don’t think one should anthropomorphize animals. We don’t know what the lioness was thinking. I looked at the whole series of photos. Was the lioness compassionately protecting the baby or just toying with the baby, as a cat would play with a mouse?

    But to address your bigger question, why can’t humans all just get along? I think it’s because humans’ default position is to divide people into us and them. There are people who are in my family and people who aren’t. I have a responsibility to help my family. That means that I don’t help people who might be needier because I give my attention and my resources to my family first. And from there we just keep dividing up the world. Red states and blue states. My religion and your religion. My football team and yours.

    It’s easy to say we should just tolerate each other and get along. But we can’t tolerate the intolerable. And we don’t all agree on what is intolerable. If a person wants to beat their children, do we tolerate that? Think of just the issues that swirl around raising children. What one person feels is important, another thinks is intolerable: immunizations, circumcision, teaching girls to read and so many more.

    So humans will have conflict.

    • I know that we cannot presume to know the thoughts of animals. Most is attributed to a species’s behavior. Like what is natural for the species itself. But as far as emotions go, there is too much we don’t know on empathy and love animals may have for one another. Ask any dog owner and they will say their animal loves them. I do think animals have that capacity. Quickly it is dismissed because animals don’t usually have life long need to care, or ability to know to what happens to their offspring. Hence, they don’t love them. I am sure the lioness was not playing with the chimp only because in the photos the chimp was trying to nurse off the lioness. I think I remember the followup to this story. The male chimp came down to retrieve the infant after the lions left the tree. By then the baby was too dehydrated to live. Since I don’t have children, I don’t have that “necessity of responsibility”. Most other family members should be able to care for themselves. I agree it is unfortunate that people “divide” others into the the “yes group” and the “no group”. I don’t think it is the reason for what is happening in Iraq. Yes, wars and genocide has happened forever, but it just seems one day the question “why” will be asked. You would think they should be done with war. Too much for too long.

      • Family responsibilities don’t extend just from parents to children. It’s our relationships to our parents, siblings, cousins and in-laws. There are a lot of people in nursing homes and hospitals who could use a visit from a friendly person, but I only visit relatives. If a relative (or friend) asked you for help in their garden or help moving or a loan of $100 or any of a number of favors, you would probably help because they are family. A stranger, even a stranger who needed your help more, you might turn away.

  4. What beautiful images again. At the risk of sounding ‘preachy ‘ , the bible gives the reason and the answer to your questions – that when the first man sinned ( thought He knew better than God), it brought with it all the distress and death we see around us. Animals did live in harmony with man and with each other originally, and God has promised that He will restore everything ( the wolf will lie down with the Lamb) Unfortunately things in our sick world will be getting worse before they get better. But Jesus came to save ‘sinners’ and to offer new life to us. It is belief in that fact that makes all the difference , while ‘all creation groans’ … Romans 8: 14- 25 makes very interesting reading if anyone feels so inclined.

    • Yes, I believe, and yes the answers are in scripture. But why the evil actions in the first place? Some sins should never be forgiven. I will read Romans 8: 14-25. I am getting more and more concerned as time passes and do seek reasons (and guidance) for the way things happen. I don’t mind the preaching either. I have a lot to learn on that front.

      • Your open-mindedness is very refreshing Donna. I was an atheist for many years but eventually started to think more about the meaning of life etc. [Too long a story to go into here]….. so – why the evil actions in this world? simply put – God didn’t make us Robotic slaves but created us with free will and a choice to know and love Him or not. God does have an enemy – Satan, and Adam’s love and trust in God’s word was tested and he ‘fell’ bringing all the terrible consequence of death that God had warned him of.
        When we perceive sins that seem so unforgivable , you can be sure the devil is at work. He thinks up the most diabolical things to plant in the human mind and even deceives people into thinking the evil they do is God’s will! [Satan is called the god of this world in the Bible]. That of course in no way excuses them, anymore than our own sins excuse us. We are all responsible for what we do and what we believe.
        But God put within humans a conscience, whether we believe in Him or not, and if we don’t follow that then, eventually, we can end up with a ‘seared’ conscience.
        Regarding our relationship with the animals, God made us in His image:body, soul [personality/emotions] and spirit – the animals He made body and soul. They haven’t the God-consciousness that humans have. But we can interact with them and they with us and each other on an emotional level [within limitations of course] , though marred by the ‘Fall’. Hope this helps ….

  5. Donna, I think that the deaths in Iraq lead to the same questions about all kinds of wars. The Crusades addressed the same problem as do the masses of people killed in Africa both recently and over the ages. Do you believe that there is a devil?

    • Not all wars I think. Aren’t in both cases, these are the same people fighting the same people – ethnic and religious? The Crusades was differing religions. I do believe in a devil, but I would hate to know believing in him gives him power over me. Some religions don’t believe in Hell, I think there is too much evil in this world not to believe.

      • You’re right, I believe man has a free will to hate or to love; to kill or to encourage. But a mass movement of one group against another is more than religion, it is inspired by an intense sense of bitterness, hatred and pride. The greatest teachings on the devil and hell in the Holy Bible is by Jesus himself, yet his words are about love and not hate.

        The devil does have a power but Jesus with the Holy Spirit has even greater power. When a man kills an innocent baby, I believe that the devil must have been somehow involved.

        In these killings in Iraq, not only are the Shiite Muslims being killed in large numbers, but any Christian, Jew or Kurd is also being executed. In the early 1900’s there was a large Christian population that traced its heritage back to St. Thomas. I am told that few of those people escaped alive and most are gone today. There was a large Jewish population but the remnant that exists there are being obliterated. To me, it all points towards the evil one.

  6. alesiablogs says:

    Good Grief as Charlie Brown would say! Your blog today opened a HUGE can of worms with readers! I seriously think when we divide ourselves into us and them ( of which one of your readers brings up)–you do bring disunity. At the risk of sounding preachy, I will not discuss what the bible says on this matter, but what my own heart “feels” about it. Here goes nothing: People are selfish. We only think about ourselves. We even start out like that don’t we? When we are born, we are helpless-we need help. So the cycle of life begins from the moment of birth. We are selfish yet we want to help the helpless baby because it is the right thing to do. The question is the motive. Are we doing it out of love/responsibility? I suppose it could be both or one or the other. Yet–I am inclined to think it takes a special person that goes out of their own realm (ie own family unit) and gives to others in ways that are responsible and beautiful. Who said it is better to give than receive? Darn…I told myself I would not go to the Bible on this one…oh well….

  7. lucindalines says:

    I agree with alesiablogs, people are selfish. I believe in the integrity of all creation, and from your pictures and blogs, I think you do too. We don’t know what motivates animals, but I think we are selfish to believe that they aren’t higher thinking. Genesis may say that we as humans are to dominate the world, but look what a great job we have done. Not so much!! Love the thoughts you have provoked in all of us.

    • Thanks Lucinda. I never understood us dominating the world and all that is in it, but I did read that we misread the meaning of dominate in this case. Our world seems to get worse by the day. The more strife that happens, the more I want to just enjoy and appreciate what we have .

  8. My Heartsong says:

    You have raised some good questions. It seems to me if it is not religion we are fighting over, it is oil and money. Animals do the same when things are scarce. I have no answers except that my actions and thoughts can affect those around me and that an individual can make a difference. Often when something happens to the environment , we join together for a common cause.

    • It seems more than that to me. When this country fights, we don’t get the oil. They say for peace in a region, but that does not seem to happen either. I have no answers like you. The simple answer is just accept and get along, but the hatred runs deep. Since it is from hundreds of years on, I wonder what the fighting is for now? Same distrust and hatred? Since animals fight for survival, it is much different than people. People just fight for more. More of what I have no clue.

  9. Debra says:

    Wolves and ravens are good friends. They cooperate together and both benefit. The birds that come to my feeder also mix and mingle. Something I think is amusing is a posse of grackles in our neighborhood that flock with sparrows and doves. They travel from lawn to lawn eating pests and watching out for each other.

    • Some species do cooperate, where both or more get something in return. I have written on mixed flocks before and it is for the mutual benefit of all parties. Plus, in a group, any one individual is less likely to be on the day’s menu. I guess people do the same. If both parties cooperate and both benefit, the relationship continues.

  10. Victor Ho says:

    Egrets, herons, skittish and generally too far away for my telephoto. it’s always special when they are close enough to get a good image. Wonderful work as usual.

    • Thanks, Victor. Mostly, I have the same problem with them. I found in coastal regions the big wading birds are more plentiful and less wary of photographers. When there are less birds and more open water, they stay further away.

  11. I’ve really enjoyed this and the previous posts and pics. We have herons every day stealing the fish in my pond behind the house. I’ve never had the egrets and herons at the same time. Fun stuff and thoughts to ponder. I appreciate you!!!

    • I never see the smaller herons with the bigger birds, but they fish differently. Up here, the big birds hang out together because there are not many of them – I assume. Better to have company I guess – safer anyway. This was the first I saw ducks so near either of them. I have a photo of Big Blue giving the ducks the evil eye though. It did not fit in with my harmony post. He never did anything to them and they just ignored him. Maybe because it was three rowdy guys out for a swim and ready to rumble.

  12. AMAZING Captures πŸ™‚

  13. Those two last photos, Donna… so much in them.
    I agree with you, but harmony seems to be very far from us yet. We are out of balance.
    Beautiful post, my dear friend! πŸ™‚

  14. joepyeweed1 says:

    Beautiful pictures. We have some of the same birds in the lake not far from us.

  15. As I was hiking along the lake today a Great Blue Heron glided down to the edge of the lake and landed in the water that was about 6 inches deep. He stayed for just minutes before leaving, that was an amazing moment for me. I can not imagine how magical it was for you to spend the time to get your photos.

  16. Alisha says:

    stunning photographs …lovely birds…

  17. As always, a well written post and beautiful images. As to the issue you raise, I think about the same things. It seems that altruism and love can be found among people and in nature, but I fear they are the exception and not the rule. I don’t know much about Islam, but the Old Testament is full of slaughter, much of it at the direction of the Almighty. The New Testament seems gentler, from what I have read of it, and yet it has been used to justify some pretty horrendous activity. How do we get people to act from the better angels of their nature? I don’t know, but it seems scarcity, ignorance, and great concentrations of power and wealth all tend to bring out the worst in us.

    • I was aware of all the killing in the Old Testament, but so much seems without a reason as to why. Sure some made sense, like in Sodom and Gomorrah, but it is still hard to understand for someone not all that religious like myself. One clean sweep. So many ways to interpret the Word too, so the justification for killing still seems like something is wrong with that. I still think animals act more “civilized”.

      • Now I am somewhat familiar with the Old Testament and I can assure you there was always a reason why killing occurred. It wasn’t necessarily a good reason. Conflict over succession (Saul and Jonathan), or coveting someone’s spouse (David and Uriah), for example. But then there are instances as in Exodus when the Hebrews were instructed by Jehovah to wipe out a tribe for some transgression, and they received divine punishment for not killing the women and children along with the men. This is the kind of thing that keeps me from being religious. Even so, I’ve always had an interest in the Bible, because so many people take inspiration from it, or say they do.

  18. I wonder about these same notions all the time. Nature has such a harmony that seems to be missing in humanity. We all could take a lessen from nature… it seems “she” is living life right πŸ™‚

  19. bittster says:

    Beautiful pictures as usual, and I love the stories that go with them.
    I kind of disagree with the whole peace on earth, puppy dogs and kittens kind of world view. We’re the product of eons of kill your competition and vanquish the loser generations. You can argue that we should be something else but it’s a fine line between living together as a society and competing for what you want and need.
    Good luck with garden walk season, I’m looking forward to it!

    • I understand your feelings. I DON”T think those that do horrendous evil, joy kill or any of the hundreds of decrepit acts can ever be rehabilitated. They are wired wrong and should never have been born for what I believe. But nothing can be done about it now – well I could think of a few things but that is not very Christian. The stories you hear in the Middle East and Africa where woman are ganged raped by “soldiers” cut and mutilated, burned and maimed with acid, can you say this is “normal” for what we know and understand today? It is hoodlums destroying. This is not about a winner and a loser. The playing field is not fair. I know very little because I don’t care about politics and world affairs of state, I only look at it in the simplest term – right or wrong. I never read a report on animals doing what I said above. If I believed these groups taking over regions were doing it for “competing for what you want and need,” taking from those that have it good, it would be different. I really doubt that is the case. I would never support how they are doing now though.

  20. I too have been concerned about renewed violence in Iraq. I ponder why we cannot get along more. It makes no sense but I have found violence occurs over fanatical love/of someone for something and/or money. I do find the lessons from nature of many animals sharing space, food etc. as inspiring. Of course it is not perfect in the animal kingdom either. A wonderful post Donna with much to think about.

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