SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Twilight softly glows as wading birds begin stirring before the sun rises untethered from a distant horizon.
Whether from the shores of South Padre where Brown pelicans glide sunlit surf or inland waterways where White pelicans soar with dawn, birds are winged emissaries greeting the opening of the day.
As the sun climbs steadily skyward, rafts of ducks dabble nosily while a vigilant Caracara peers intently before lifting off for morning’s hunt.
The life-giving sun illuminating this abundant avian activity radiates from some 93 million miles distant and takes approximately eight minutes to reach Earth.
Even with light traveling at an astonishing 186,000 miles per second, a lot can happen in that 8-minute interval to warming wings… plenty of time for a Ringed Kingfisher to catch and consume a fish for breakfast.
After a successful day of fishing, Brown pelicans gather onshore While white pelicans relax on a favorite island.
A caracara surveys waning light perched on a yucca in the warmth of the setting sun.
At nightfall, a flock of Brown pelicans returns to historic roosting grounds passing in a long line before the rising full moon. More than 50 birds flow by, with the last several briefly silhouetted in lunar light.
At some 238,000, miles distant, the moon rushes its light earthward in just over a second, but this will eventually take longer as the moon is drifting away from Earth at an inch and a half each year.
With 24 hours elapsing, twilight reveals a setting moon reflected in tranquil waters as ducks cluster amidst sprinkles of ephemeral moonshine.
As moonlight fades, warm sunlight gradually washes over wetlands, and winged emissaries gather for the promise of a new day.
From dawn to dusk, from sunlight to moon glow, birds connect us to the rhythms of the earth, and as nature’s most enchanting envoys, they remind us that where birds thrive people will prosper.