brood x, baby.

It’s BROOD X, BABY! Brood X is back in a big way and they’re ready to crawl around and make some noise and breed and also get eaten by some birds! BROOD X IN DA HOUSE.

On the news I’ve heard them say “Brood ten” but I personally prefer the “Brood EXXX” pronunciation because it’s WAY MORE BADASS and these bugs are BADASS AS FUQ.

I spent some time communing with them this past weekend and I’d like to give you a full report.

First of all, I was super pumped for them to come out.

I knew they were coming because we all did, and I started to think about the last time they were here. When the cicadas came out 17 years ago in 2004 I was 19 years old, between my freshman and sophomore year of college. It was an interesting time. It felt tumultuous but I think I was just dramatic. I remember thinking about what my life would be like now, 17 years from then. And I reflected on it like “the next time these cicadas come, who will I be?” I didn’t think about how old I would be, it wasn’t a number. It was more a…vibe? What would my LIFE VIBE be. I kind of didn’t know. I just wondered.

It’s weird how something that happens periodically can be used to track growth or decline or whatever. The cicadas, the olympics, the seasons. A reference point for a place and a space in time and the person we were at that particular space and place.

Back then I was off school for the summer and working at our community pool as a lifeguard and also teaching cheerleading camp. I definitely had more than one “boyfriend”…IT WAS THE NAUGHTY AUGHTIES. Also I was 19. Like come on. Who DIDN’t have more than one “boyfriend”?!

I remember partying like all night every night and sneaking into the pool we worked at for late night swims. Legit scaling a large fence and running and jumping into the pool. Shh, don’t tell my old boss.

I guess that was probably illegal.

During the day the cicadas took over THE WORLD and crashed into everything and made little kids cry and many dogs ate them and barfed. It was a whole thing.

Back then I tried to think about/remember if I had seen them 17 years before THEN, in 1987, but I only would have been 2 years old so I didn’t remember. Apparently they were around, but more in Long Island. I guess. According to the Internet.

So fast forward to now and I am who I am now and only have one boyfriend (like a real one, no “quotations,” a significant improvement from multiple in quotations ones) and I was excited for them to come back around mostly because I love birds and especially my mom’s chickens and they love to feast on regular-ass end-of-the-summer cicadas so I thought they would be PUMPED to feast on a whole big swarm of them.

It’s part of their cicada strategy! There are so very many of them that they expect to, as a majority, get gobbled up by predators. They “expect” it from like an evolutionary level. I don’t think they really planned this with actual cicada thought processes.

Or maybe they did.

BUT there are so many that even though a ton get eaten there are still a healthy amount of them that breed and produce larvae and the larvae end up underground and the whole party starts again.

Unfortunately there weren’t very many at my parents’ house this time. They live in a river valley and I wonder if that has something to do with it but what do I know. My sister’s house, on the other hand, HAD A TON. And it’s very near the pool I once worked at that also had a ton. Both places are at a high elevation for the area. Maybe that has something to do with it but again what do I know.

Either way I made my parents take me up there so I could see more than the insufficient amount of periodical cicadas I was seeing at their house.

We got out of the car and could hear a low echoing creepy sound. They make the craziest weirdest robot dinosaur alien sound. I don’t even know what it comes from as far as a part of their body generating it but it’s kind of like a weird screech or scream. There are groups of them in trees and grass kind of constantly singing and calling out to each other, but if you pick one up or it flies into you and gets pissed it FREAKS THE HECK OUT. I mean I don’t know if they can get mad, I think they’re just disoriented and screaming out to their pals for validation or whatever.

They seem to have a lot of trouble navigating, overall. They just kind of randomly fly around and bump into stuff. I question whether their freaky red eyes can even see sight. I guess I should Google it.

If I looked up toward the sun, I could see them skittering past in a flutter of translucent wings. In some spots it was a cloud of them, in others just a few random stragglers.

There were a ton of them dead on the road, on the sidewalk, in the swimming pool.

One day we went back to the river at my parents’ house and the Brood X crew seemed to be having a ton of trouble dealing with open water. The dragonflies mocked the cicadas that fell to their demise, their thin wings so wet they could never fly again, screaming as they were swept away by the current.

I used a small stick to save a few, mostly because I wanted to pick them up and check them out. Fish jumped up out of the water to eat the others.

IT WAS A FRENZY.

Overall it was most weird to hear the cicada noise at the beginning of the summer instead of at the end. There are always regular cicadas every summer and I’m sure they’ll be back this year in August, but it’s a very “end of summer” feeling I get when I hear that sound and I had to keep reminding myself it’s still the beginning.

IT IS STILL THE BEGINNING, YOU GUYS.

I’m pretty sure they’re fading away now and they’ll all be dead soon, and the larvae will be safe underground to appear again in 17 years.

Who will we be then?! What will be our life vibe?! How many boyfriends will we have?! WILL THE ACTUAL ALIENS COME TO SAVE US FROM OURSELVES?! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

pantry moths.

What are pantry moths and who the hell do they think they are? The internet says they can be Indian meal moths, grain moths, flour moths, raisin moths, seed moths, tobacco moths, or almond moths. At least according to the chart below I came across when I Googled “types of pantry moths.” All I know is that they’re stupid dicks and I hate them.

It’s rare for me to talk shit on an animal and even more rare for me to want them dead, but I’ve had enough of these idiots. Why am I writing about this? I don’t know. Because it grosses me out and I hate it and I need to get it out there into the world. Maybe you have pantry moths too. I don’t know your life.

Pantry moths come inside your house as eggs or larvae INSIDE YOUR FOOD. I’m sorry to say it but they’re in there. We have a feeling these moved in with some birdseed we brought home when we first got our bird Elvis.

That was last spring.

I’ve been putting up with the moths since then because they kind of come and go. I don’t always notice them and there aren’t that many. Pet birds can also die from a number of normal household items in their environment so I was scared to even try any traps or pesticides out of fear that my avian children would drop dead.

Their lungs are delicate!

The pantry moths would fly around sometimes at night while we were watching TV and it was gross and weird and annoying and they are also hard to catch and smash. Like they fly around in an erratic pattern that makes no sense and they’re not even that fast but somehow they manage to evade your determined moth slap 80% of the time. I don’t believe science can explain this.

We also would sometimes see small larvae dangling and those just got smashed and trashed. Not even a chance at life for them. They actually really upset me, because at first I thought they were inchworms and I LOVE inchworms. They make me think of the summer and how they used to delicately dangle over our above ground pool when I was a kid. We would gently put them on our fingers and watch them do their little inching crawl, WHICH IS ADORABLE YOU GUYS.

But these were pantry moth larvae, not adorable inchworms.

AND NOW THEY’RE DEAD SO BYE.

The final straw came a few weeks ago when I wore I sweater I had only worn once and I noticed a hole in the shoulder. I thought that was strange but as the night went by I noticed more holes in the sweater and they were all about the same size and I was like WTF I wore this ONE TIME.

And finally I had a realization: IT WAS THE MOTHS. THE MOTHS HAD MESSED WITH MY CHERISHED WARDROBE IN MY SACRED CLOSET-ROOM AND THEY NEEDED TO BE ELIMINATED IMMEDIATELY.

Google actually said that moths that eat clothes and pantry moths are different so like I guess we have both in residence. Ugh.

But I think the traps I got are supposed to work for both. They have PHEROMONES that attract the male moths only but they fly into them and get stuck on them because they’re sticky and then they die. The females eventually die because they don’t live very long but without any males THEY CAN’T MAKE ANY MORE PANTRY MOTHS. And that’s what we want.

The traps advertise their “double potency and ALLURE” and that was making me giggle because that seems intense but as soon as I opened the sealed packages to set them up the moths CAME FLYING! They usually don’t come out in the morning and there were like 3 that literally came out of the woodwork and flapped around as if something had excited them.

It was the ALLURING PHEROMONES.

I don’t know if it was the males looking for females or the females LOOKING TO FIGHT rival females but no one got stuck in the trap…YET.

The traps were placed on the kitchen counter, in the pantry, and in my beloved closet-room. By this afternoon there was one dead moth in the pantry trap and I look forward to finding more as the days go by.

Hopefully one day the pantry moths will be eradicated. I’ll keep you posted.

meditation in lincoln park.

For me, one of the (frankly…MANY) good things to come out of COVID was getting to meet some new JC gal pals via Jersey City Women’s Collaborative…via Zoom. It’s an awesome group of women and a perfect way to connect with other like-minded gals about the town. Everyone has some kind of cool business or expertise or talent or art or cause and some people have ALL OF THOSE THINGS BECAUSE THEY ARE SUPER HUMAN AND I SALUTE THEM. And this past weekend, it was time to actually meet some of them in person at a meditation in Lincoln Park!

You already know I love Lincoln Park, and now you know I love Jersey City Women’s Collaborative too, so needless to say I was pretty pumped.

But also a little nervous! In-person event etiquette is rusty for all and I didn’t realize COVID’s impact on my social skills at first but I do think that they have definitely suffered. I’m an extrovert in the sense that I’m loud and I’m out there and I need to suck the collective energy from other humans around me to survive, but I also kind of really don’t like people overall and I especially dislike strangers. I don’t love to make small talk. I also have a lot of difficulty hearing…LIKE A LOT…so I usually prefer the written word for interactions. Like if I message with you all the time on Instagram and then don’t really talk to you when I see you at a loud-ass bar or concert or workout class…that’s why. Like I literally CANNOT HEAR YOU and it is MENTALLY EXHAUSTING to try.

Sadly there is another element to my nervousness and it involves caring what other people think. I know…ew. So gross. And I don’t usually care what people think, I really do not. But in a situation where the whole GOAL is to try to make new friends/acquaintances and possibly locate the social jackpot that is a kindred-spirit, a small amount of care must go into considering the thoughts of others. Like really just a “read the room” approach is acceptable here but even that makes me nervous that I’ll do it wrong. Whew. Human-ing is just too much.

Enough about me because I want to tell you about this meditation in Lincoln Park! It was led by Jennifer Wai, Intuitive Consultant. She has an incredibly calming and thoughtful vibe and also has THE BEST HAIR. Not to take it THERE and make it about PHYSICAL ATTRIBUTES, but…love her hair. When I arrived I looked across the park with her awesome hair in mind and when I spotted it I knew which group I should head toward!

This is a creepy photo I took because I didn’t want to be disruptive.

Okay but BEYOND THE HAIR she expertly led us through a really calming and relaxing meditation under a tree in Lincoln Park. We were invited to sit down or lay down and it was Sunday and I had my blanket and I was also very tired so I laid down on my back and looked up at the beautiful tree before closing my eyes.

IT FELT SO NICE.

She talked to us about using nature as a grounding force and how connecting with something alive can help us meditate. LOVE THAT. I personally avoided meditating for many years because I 1 – thought it was silly and 2 – thought I would suck at it. In the past few years I’ve been more open to it and have definitely seen real and valuable benefits, but the suggestion of using something alive/in nature to help in your meditation like COMPLETELY BLEW MY MIND. Which is what is ACTUALLY SILLY because I love nature and I’m always hanging out there anyway so I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

Oops. Sry.

Jennifer played some music and guided us through the meditation and I will say again that it just felt so relaxing and nice. The park is beautiful right now, and the weather wasn’t perfect but it was good enough. It was SATISFACTORY. We all just relaxed and listened to her voice and connected with nature and when she told us it was done and to open our eyes I felt very warm and fuzzy and float-y.

Oooooo ya.

I SHOULD DO IT EVERY SUNDAY.

But the fun wasn’t over because we got up and headed across the park to do another exercise! I couldn’t wait to see what it was and we found out soon enough when we gathered in a circle in a grove of big ass trees.

We partnered up, and usually partner things make me feel weird. Like in dance classes if there is partner work I will go hide in the bathroom until the class is done learning that part because I don’t want to do it. But for this exercise I was able to partner with a gal I have met via Instagram and I felt like I already knew her and she wasn’t a scary stranger and that was great!

It’s worth pointing out that no one there was actually a scary stranger and I’m just a weirdo. This one’s on me.

After we found our partner, Jennifer passed out some neat little blindfolds and told us that we would be taking turns being blindfolded and led around by our partner to a particular tree. Our partner would also try to disorient us by spinning us around. We would then be expected to touch, smell, hear, etc the tree. Also, and this is my favorite part, we were instructed to “Ask the tree for information.” AND I FELT LIKE I HAD BEEN WAITING MY WHOLE LIFE TO BE GIVEN PERMISSION TO ASK A TREE FOR INFORMATION AND I COULD NOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT. After getting to know the tree we would be led back to our starting spot, take off the blindfold, and try to ID which tree around us we had just had a moment with.

Whoa.

I didn’t think we’d be able to do it! I went first as the Blindfolded, and my new pal guided me around. It was super weird to not be able to see and totally freaked me out…so that was tough. But I met my tree soon enough and I hugged it and explored its surface with my hands and smelled it and spoke to it and ASKED IT FOR INFORMATION. Then we did the whole thing again with my partner blindfolded and me guiding her.

And guess what? WE ALL FOUND OUR TREES. IT WAS NUTS. MY MIND WAS BLOWN.

My tree friend is in the middle! 💕

What a cool exercise! I kind of want to go back and make my friends or my mom or my boyfriend do it with me. She DID let us keep the blindfolds…

It was an outstanding and memorable event and a perfect way to spend a Sunday, so thank you very much Jennifer Wai and Jersey City Women’s Collaborative. I’m looking forward to the next event, a summer clothing swap at Canco Park 6/12 at 1pm. Maybe I’ll see ya there!

notable animal residents of jersey city – lincoln park turtles.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about anything, and it’s been a longer while since I wrote about notable animal residents of Jersey City. So I would like to bring to your attention the Lincoln Park turtles.

YOU GUYS. THESE GOSH DARN TURTLES. HOW COULD YOU NOT LOVE THEM?!

I don’t know what kind they are. Don’t ask me what kind they are. Maybe YOU can tell ME what kind they are?

My biggest thing with them is that they live in the middle of Lincoln Park. Lincoln Park is an urban park! And it’s a lot of fields of sport and also regular fields and that doesn’t say “turtle,” to me. BUT they do have a seemingly man made (but I don’t know its life) lake/pond/small body of water and THAT is where the turtles of Lincoln Park reside.

Are they always there? Even when it’s cold? The truth is, I don’t know, you guys. I’ve recently been googling “torpor” and what that means for some types of animal pals and I have a feeling turtles are involved in a torpor-like situation once the temperatures drop. I mean, AT THE VERY LEAST, torpor ADJACENT.

JK I think it’s just straight up regular torpor. And if they’re doing what that post says they have been in the lake/pond/small body of water THIS ENTIRE TIME. THEY WINTER AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WATER WHERE THE WATER DOESN’T FREEZE AND THEY GET OXYGEN FROM THE WATER HOLY SHIT.

So that’s where they must go! NOWHERE. So freaking cool!

Either way they’re back now and they are SUNNING THEIR COLD-BLOODED BUNS right there on the cement shores of the Lincoln Park Lake.

AND THEY ARE LOVING IT.

They climb up out of the water to sunbathe AND I GOT A VID OF THE CLIMB TODAY AND IT WAS SO ADORABLE.

It did have this kind of Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High vibe but I’m not mad about it.

Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a TREASURE. Not like in Drop Dead Fred where she is a WIMP who SUCKS for most of the film.

But back to the turtles of Lincoln Park. I’m so happy to see them. I look forward to learning their spring and summer habits as I go to the park at different times of day and communing with them when they’re feeling brave and don’t jump off the cement and back into the water when humans approach. I know children like to commune with the turtles too but the turtles are braver when children aren’t around so do with that what you will.

Stay away from my turtles, kids. Is what I’m saying.

Okay, okay I’m sorry, it’s fine. The turtles of Lincoln Park are notable animal residents of Jersey City and we all deserve to be among them. Go check them out! BUT DO NOT SCARE THEM I WILL BE SO PISSED.

first day of spring 2021.

YOU GUYS, it’s the first day of spring 2021. This feels like a really big day. A really important day. I’m not sure why but I’d like to explore it here.

Last year, the year 2020, we did not have a spring. We were trapped inside for WEEKS. We could go for walks but we couldn’t go outside for too long and we couldn’t GO ANYWHERE. Last spring was really, really hard. Everyone really, really hated it. Okay, you get it.

I remember going to Target one day last spring, it was the only place I felt I could go that was fun but also a grocery store. Because we weren’t supposed to go to fun places. We weren’t welcome there.

JK because fun places WERE NOT EVEN OPEN. THERE WAS NOWHERE TO GO. TARGET WAS ALL THAT I HAD.

So anyway I went there and the last time I had been there the trees had been bare but then this particular time they had flowers and I realized in this moment that all of my fav spring trees around the town were currently flowering AND I WAS MISSING IT.

This is from April 2020. Knife in my heart.

And then I cried. Just cried right there in front of Target, waiting in line for my turn to go inside wearing a mask and feeling weird and sad about everything.

Flowering trees are important to me.

But more than that, spring is important to me and I think spring 2021 is going to make up for last spring and also be its own spring and we’re going to have a great time.

We’ve already figured out some safe ways to do fun shit and in some ways the fun shit is more fun than before. for example, I LOVE SITTING OUTSIDE. I want to sit outside and eat every day forever and ever, amen. It brings me so much joy and I’m glad it kind of became a year-round thing even here in the northeast.

Let’s keep it! CAN WE PLZ KEEP IT.

It’s also now normal to meet up in parks in a big group as a social event. Maybe that was normal for some people in the before times but for me personally it wasn’t something I saw happen often. I guess for folks without kids it was more like “let’s do drunk brunch at a restaurant establishment.” But now ALL people are into drunk brunch BYOB picnic in the park type events and I am HERE FOR IT, as they say.

We have so many options for fun and safe things to do this spring and our cups runneth over and again it brings a tear to my eye. I can’t wait to get out there and greedily drink in everything this spring has to offer.

It’s going to be double spring so bring your allergy medicine and rain boots and baby chickens and I’ll see you there.

*I wrote this on Saturday 3/20. I know THAT was the first day of spring and not today. Thx.

community cleanup.

On Saturday I was glad to attend a community cleanup on Pacific Ave in Jersey City. I walk and bike and scoot down Pacific Ave a lot to get downtown and I was like yes I’d like Pacific Ave to be clean let’s do this.

So we did.

The cleanup was run by Clean Green Jersey City. We met up on Pacific Ave and were given trash bags and REALLY FUN TRASH GRABBERS.

Like really fun.

They gave us plastic bags to collect trash in and plastic gloves to wear. The plastic gloves went right over my regular gloves! The ones I wear FOR WARMTH.

We were told to go in pairs or off on our own and I was like “I choose off on my own byeeee” and it was very peaceful and calming to zone out and pick up trash for an hour or so. I’d reccommend it.

There were a lot of empty alcohol bottles. Like an insane amount. I think I also came across some road kill that was in an advanced state of decay.

Cool.

But as I picked up trash I could see the street start to look better right before my eyes! I’m not making this up. It seemed really great. There’s a lot of trash around the town and it would be great if we could clean more of it up.

It’s as simple as that.

Before I went to the cleanup I was thinking about whether it would make me more sensitive to seeing trash around. Like if I didn’t notice trash before, would I notice it more now?

And for the last 48 hours…yes. I have been noticing trash WAY more. THERE IS SO MUCH TRASH OUT THERE.

My own street on The Hill is a huge trash fest. There is a local man that walks up and down the street with a grocery cart and he picks up some of the bigger trash and carts it away but street cleanup isn’t a one man job! It’s not a one SHAN job either, I think we should get a crew over here. And maybe we will someday!

In the meantime there are other community cleanups happening soon in our Jersey City community!:

You can sign up via their Google doc.

Go pick up some trash, it feels great and it’s great for the town and the land and the other folks that live here, too.

Woo!

snowfolx roundup.

I’m here today to present to you a snowman roundup. Maybe I should say a snow PERSON roundup? Or snow FOLX? I’m gonna go with snowfolx, that sounds fun. This is a snowfolx roundup, you’re welcome.

Watching over the Citibike rack by Van Vorst Park.

It has snowed a metric shit ton this winter but according to the forecast there won’t be snow for the next week AT LEAST so I think that calls for some reflection. Hopefully the snow currently on the ground will melt quickly and the snowfolx will soon be a distant memory.

My favorite pic of snowfolx taken by me.

But what a fun memory they are! I hate winter and snow but I actually do really enjoy snowfolx. Whenever I walk by one on the street or in the park it truly makes me smile. I think because snow disgusts me so intensely, it’s a nice feeling to see that someone has done something creative and even ARTISTIC with it.

Abstract and colorful snowfolk on a stoop in downtown JC.

Like, “snow is here and it sucks and is terrible but let’s USE IT TO MAKE ART,” is truly a brilliant and life changing idea.

Lost an eye. 😬

Snowfolx for pres.

Or probably more accurately, people who build snowfolx for pres.

TINY BABY SNOWFOLK ON FROZEN POND AND THEREFORE THIN ICE!

Snowfolx are most likely all built by children, but I know there are some adult-imagined snowfolx out there. If I didn’t hate snow so much I would make some!

Classic three balled snowfolk in Van Vorst Park.

But I hate snow and want it to die and don’t want to spend any time with it unless I’m skiiing and even then it’s a tenuous relaish.

ADORABLE MINIATURE MAILBOX SNOWFOLK.

So it’s just cool to see these snowfolx around the town and I wanted to give them some recognition and appreciation and show them my support. Winter is tough and hard and sad and stupid but snowfolx give me something to giggle about and be grateful for and I appreciate that.

A dog peed on this snowfolk in Lincoln Park. 😬

THX SNOWFOLX XOXO.

tia planta kiosk in mcginley sq.

On Saturday I forced myself to get up off the couch and go to the Tia Planta kiosk in McGinley Sq. And I’m glad I did! Or I would have missed out. On the PLANTS.

I’ve been wanting to go for a couple of weeks to check it out and I was pumped to finally get over there.

McGinley Sq is shaping up to become my favorite square and I can’t control my excitement any longer. Maybe that’s hyperbole but I do like cool places I can walk to in less than 15 minutes and not have to take the light rail.

And the Tia Planta kiosk is one of those cool places!

First of all, the actual building is really cool. It’s old, it’s HISTORICAL. It’s from another time when they built sturdy kiosks out of sturdy materials. Therefore it still stands.

But now with plants!

Per social distancing rules, only one customer can go in at a time. So it feels really special, like waiting in line to ride a roller coaster.

It felt so nice to step into a warm green space on a cold and windy day. I guess it wasn’t super warm but it was warmer than outside, and that meant a lot.

Once inside this happy little urban jungle, you can consult with Tia Planta herself (her name is Shayla) on what plant would be best for you. She has so much information and she is ready and excited to share it! I feel like I learned a ton just in the 5 minutes or so I was in there.

I was looking for a plant that would be okay in medium/low light because my apartment is filled with THINGS and I needed an additional THING to put in an empty medium/low light spot. This was actually the spot where we displayed our mini Xmas tree and it felt sad and empty with it gone. So we needed a plant!

After some discussion we arrived at the Alocasia Amazonica. Also known as Alocasia “Polly” and there is a parrot on its little plant tag and that is obviously adorable.

She mentioned that it can be a bit of a diva and I thought that might be a fun challenge for my boyfriend because he enjoys plant dad-ing and bragging about how he’s the best at plants in this family. Have fun with the diva, boyfriend!

She’s a very pretty plant! Still thinking of a name for her. Any ideas?!

I also was given a separate clipping/baby plant and instructed to put it in water until it gets a little bigger and then put it in a pot. So I went home with two plants! Hooray!

During this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year, I have been trying to find more things that can make me happy inside my own house. And plants are one of those things! I’ve had bad luck with plants in the past…but I will keep trying.

Go check out Tia Planta’s kiosk at 722 Montgomery St. if you like plants. Or if you like kiosks. The kiosk is very cool. BUT ALSO THE PLANTS!

notable animal residents of jersey city: red-tailed hawks of lincoln park.

The red-tailed hawks of Lincoln Park on the West Side are most certainly notable animal residents of Jersey City. I mean come ON.

Without even bringing up the fact that Lincoln Park is a full-on urban ecological TREASURE, although I just brought it up, the hawks are truly a sight to see and I’m so glad they call Lincoln Park home.

From my personal in the field research I would deduce that there are 4 of them, but I’ll look that up when I’m done writing this and post what I find, at the end. JUST SO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT INFO.

I’d also like to get this out of the way – I don’t have any good pics of them. I have one video that’s okay and a few videos that are very silly But I don’t have a great camera or even any camera skills to go with the camera I have so my bird photographs of actual wild birds living their lives are terrible.

Their noble visages are seared into my heart and mind because I love them very much but I have no concrete evidence of our relationship.

And I’m sorry. You can find a cool video of them earlier this year from Wild Jersey City here.

Also how about you go to the park and see if you can find them.

As we’ve learned before, red-tailed hawks are around! They are friends of urban life. Lovers of urban life. They ARE urban life.

They like to hang out in tall trees by open fields so they can scope out the area for pigeons, squirrels, mice, and teacup Yorkshire terriers to eat. I’m not joking about that. Yorkies HAVE been eaten by red-tailed hawks. And probably other types of hawks. My mom’s chickens would probably eat one if they could.

HOLD ON TO YOUR YORKIES.

Birds are dinosaurs and the sooner you accept it the better.

The red-tailed hawks in Lincoln Park are so cool to me because if you go to certain spots at a certain time you will almost CERTAINLY see them. And I love seeing them! It makes my day. Now that there are no leaves on the trees it’s even easier to see them, you just have to know where to look and then look there.

Where should you look? In tall trees, I already said. They hang out up there and watch you. They can see your face from up there. I swear it! They’re judging you.

JK they’re cheering for you. At least I feel like they’re cheering for me when I run on the track and I’m almost dead and then one flies over me like, “helloooooooo thereeee shannnn” and inspires me to run even faster. Hawks are inspiring! Sometimes they even do their loud ass screech as they fly over, which is the perfect hawk/large scary bird sound as heard in film and TV.

One day when I was running some little children were also running around as their mom did laps around the track and I yelled, “look at the hawk!” to them and I think they were scared of strangers or maybe just haters of cool stuff because they ignored me. I don’t really know.

I also don’t really know much about the red-tailed hawks in Lincoln Park, just that I admire them and wanted to talk about them here. It makes me glad to see something “wild” almost daily and it makes me even more glad that they are walking distance from my home, hanging out in my park.

They’re my friends. That’s all. Deal with it.

I looked up how many there are to get confirmation and I couldn’t find anything so the mystery remains for now.

Deal with that, too.

<hawk screech that fades into the distance bye>

flat rock brook birds of prey presentation.

This past weekend, during what I considered my birthday weekend and therefore an extension of my birthday, I attended a Flat Rock Brook birds of prey presentation in Ercel Webb Park.

IT WAS INCRED. I love birds and birding and all things bird and have been waiting for the opportunity to see one of these presentations. I saw their recent presentations at Lincoln Park and another park I forgot on social media and couldn’t wait for the chance to go to one myself.

THIS WAS MY CHANCE.

I do think that these presentations are probably intended for children and like…FINE. But I signed up and I went and I saw some birds and you’re never too old to learn something new and hang out with birds. Deal with it.

On Saturday afternoon I headed over to Ercel Webb Park and I was super pumped. First of all in my mind this particular park was called “Lafayette Park” because it’s by Lafayette Pool/Aquatic Center/whatever. I feel like I have even referred to it as “Lafayette Park” and other people have known what I was talking about.

It’s not called “Lafayette Park.” Sorry.

JK I LOOKED IT UP AND IT IS REFERRED TO AS “LAFAYETTE PARK” IN A LOT OF PLACES ON THE INTERNET. There must be some kind of transfer of power/responsibility going on but I’ll have to look into that another time because THIS IS ABOUT THE BIRDS. But PS “Friends of Ercel Webb Park” helped get this event going and introduced the birds and bird pros.

As I was walking over I saw two hawks flying over MLK Drive. I am NOT LYING, they were there. I don’t know what kind but I DO know they weren’t seagulls or turkey vultures because I checked. I CHECKED. So I was super pumped that I saw some birds on my way to see more birds.

When I arrived at the park I saw that they had a cute little pumpkin patch set up for the kids. Since I AM a kid and I had registered myself for the event I took a pumpkin and I don’t regret it. I love pumpkins.

They provided Thanksgiving stickers to put on the pumpkin which I felt was very inclusive and respectful to this most valuable but often ignored November holiday. Great work!

After securing my pumpkin and stickers I proceeded to an open area where there were circles spray painted on the grass, 6ft apart. This was the first place I saw circles like this in person! I’ve seen pics of them doing it in parks in NYC but never experienced it for real and I liked it.

I laid out my blanket, put some turkey stickers on my pumpkin, and took out some knitting to work on while I waited impatiently for the birds to be revealed.

They really built up the suspense with the bird reveal because they had the birds in dark boxes! I’m no expert but I do know that birds feel safe and calm and probably like it’s time to take a nap when they’re in a dark, enclosed space. My pet budgie really likes it and I think he’s qualified to tweet for all birds.

It felt like actual years went by but it was finally time to take the birds out and I’ll tell you all about what I learned!

tilly – eastern screech-owl.

Tilly the Eastern Screech-Owl was napping HARD when they took her out of her box. Since she’s nocturnal it was during her sleep time.

Tilly ended up with Flat Rock Brook because she got attacked by a cat and is blind in one eye. She wouldn’t be able to live her badass screech owl life in the wild, so she lives a badass screech owl life as a bird ambassador and I think that seems okay with her.

During Tilly’s time in the spotlight she started to wake up and move around a little and she was really, REALLY cute.

But also a fierce predator that dines on small rodents and insects. YUM.

Toward the end they played a screech owl sound for us. They said they were going to play it before they played it and I was like “OMG Tilly is gonna LOSE IT!” because that’s what my pet bird does when I play pet bird sounds.

Tilly did not lose it and actually didn’t even notice. I guess she’s just too cool for school.

titus – american kestrel.

Titus, on the other hand, LOST IT. As soon as they took him out of his little box he was yelling and flapping and seemed completely outraged.

Sorry I couldn’t get a good pic of Titus but he was a lovely bird.

Kestrels as a species maybe get a little outraged sometimes, I’m not sure. They’re a type of falcon and were described as “feisty.” They’re common in cities, so be on the lookout!

I also learned that Titus was hit by a car and had one wing that didn’t heal correctly so he couldn’t be released back into the wild. Because he can’t fly. HE IS A BIRD AND CAN’T FLY. HOW RUDE OF THE WORLD.

Honestly I think he’s still pretty pissed about it and I guess I would be too.

jones – red tailed hawk.

Jones! Hello! I love you!

Before they took Jones out they were like, “Just want to warn you, this thing is huge.” And they took her out and SHE WAS HUGE.

I’m used to seeing these guys in the sky in the field behind my parents’ house, up in tall trees at Lincoln Park, and in every state I’ve ever traveled, soaring over the highway. They’re all around!

But it’s super nuts to see one so close because they are ENORMOUS. So large and beautiful and perfect and asking to be my best friend.

Sure!

Loving. It.

Poor Jones was shot by a shotgun and honestly if I remember correctly I have met other hawks that were similarly disrespected. LIKE WHY?!

Additionally Jones has a female Red-tailed Hawk friend named Ramona she lives with, and SHE got hit by a car. I’m so glad there’s a place for the birds to live that will take care of them and watch out for them and also bring them out into the community to hang out with me and other children.

josephine – great horned owl.

Josephine the Great Horned Owl was hurt by garbage humans in a slightly different way. She was found as an owlet, and because she was very, very young, she imprinted on the (not owlet professional caregivers) people that were taking care of her and never learned how to live that owl life.

So now she needs human assistance to live some kind of owl/person hybrid life. SHE IS LIVING A LIE.

But she was very beautiful. VERY. And the most amiable of all the bird ambassadors, I guess because she was the most comfortable around humans and/or didn’t feel like taking a nap like Tilly.

They talked a bit about bird body language with Josephine, I think as a way to highlight how comfortable she seemed compared to the other guys. She really was just hangin out, owling around. And stuff.

I study my pet bird’s body language very closely and I think he wants me to get out of his face most of the time so I found this part very interesting.

And then it was over! It went by so fast! It also started to get cold as the sun went behind the buildings around the park, so I was ready to pack it up and go home.

I can’t wait for there to be another bird presentation in a local Jersey City park. I don’t care if it’s the same birds and bird pros and the same presentation with the same information, I will go INFINITE TIMES.

MAYBE I’LL SEE YOU THERE.