Winter Haven

The colors of autumn are ablaze in our forests of maples, poplars, elms and oaks.          Brilliant reds, yellows and orange painted on every leaf.  The panorama of color  is just breathtaking.  As the winds rush in, every leaf will fall and eventually drop to the ground.   A season of change when cooler temperatures become frigid as winter approaches.

October 1st–Migration Day.  One week away.  Birds of every feather are gathering to determine whether to stay through winter or to head south to a warmer climate for rest and  relaxation.  No time to waste.  A long flight ahead.  Hundreds of miles for many and       for some, a thousand mile journey.

Here is the dialogue among the flocks as they prepare themselves for their winter holiday  in Florida.  Destination–Winter Haven.

In lower Ontario.  Canadian Joe briefs fellow geese about what they need to do to get ready for next week’s journey to the Deep South.  “Eat hearty.  Store up fat.  In a week, we will fly south.  A long flight.  Over one thousand miles.  Bring ample supplies of grass and seed as snacks.  There won’t be any stop overs at any of the fast food establishments.  As a matter of fact, next week report to McDilly’s parking lot at 6:00 am sharp for a feast on left over burgers and fries.  Then up and away we go.”

“Our trip will take two days.  Five hundred miles to Tallulah Gorge in Georgia.  We will stay for the night in the oaks at the state park there.   The next morning we will scavenge the grill areas and trash cans for any morsels of food.  Then off we go to sunny Florida.  Destination–Winter Haven.  Our home til next March.  Then our flight back home to Canada land.”

“Attention everyone!  As you can feel, there is a cool nip in the air. Twenty-eight degrees expected low for tomorrow morn.  Next Wednesday, October 1st, is migration day.  We head south for the Winter.  Niagara Nell goes on to say.  We, as finches, can’t take the cold    of winter.  It’s more comfortable for us down south.”

“Wednesday morning, we will gather on the power line at the corner utility pole at American Way and East Falls Street.  There, I will do a head count to make sure everyone is present.  Must be on line by 6:00 am sharp.  After attendance and a moment of prayer for a safe journey, we will swoosh down into Helva’s Kitchen lot for a pancake feast.  After our fill, we will flutter up and away.  Florida bound.  One thousand miles away.  We will fly non-stop to Winter Haven.  Our sunshine home til April when we return home to Niagara Falls,”    said Niagara Nell.

Buzzard’s Nest.  Hoot n’ Holler, Arkansas.  Buzzard Sam–“listen up!  Next week is migration day.  On Wednesday, October 1st, we leave for a long winter’s vacation in sunny Florida.  Dude and Dudess Buzzards, remember, we buzzards need to stick together.  No straying away from the flock.  I know how many of us like to soar alone.  Can’t do, must fly as a flock together.”

“We will meet at 6:00 am sharp at the Pizza Shed lot for a quick pizza snack.  Then up and away, in unison, five hundred miles to Georgia’s Tallulah Falls State Park.  We will stay the night in the pines.  Try to rest, but we must take turns doing night watch.  Georgia black bears do climb trees.  Their favorite bird of prey–buzzard–us!” said Buzzard Sam.

“Okay, okay everyone.  Good Mornin.  I know we’re all excited about our flight to Florida.  But, it is another five hundred miles.  Let’s eat all we can from the trash cans at these shelters.  We must be ready to leave in thirty minutes.  Then, off we go to Florida.  Our vacation home for the next five months.  Then, in March, we return to our home in the Ozarks of Arkansas,” said Buzzard Sam.

“Hey, Buzzard Sam, we goin’ to Daytona Beach?”  “No, too cold.  Besides, there’s no spring break in Winter.” “Sam, where are we going?”  “Winter Haven.” “Whars’ that Sam?”  “Near Orlando.” “Great! Theme Park City.  A stop over there?”  “Nope!  All the way to Winter Haven for some real rest and relaxation.  Maybe we’ll plan a day trip to go ride the killer whales.  We’ll see.  But we got to get there first.  Everybody ready?”

“Ready! Let’s go!”  “Me too, can’t wait to sun bathe with all the babe buzzards at the lake.” “Mama Buzzard Belle retired to Winter Haven a few years back.  I will give her a ring when we get there.  She makes a great gator soup!  All right, up and away!  Remember, us buzzards must stick together.  We don’t want any one of us in a buzzard stew for dinner,”      said Mamie Belle.

Migration Day has come and gone.  All birds have left for sunny Florida.  They are just about to arrive in Winter Haven.  Complimentary sunglasses for all birds at the Sunglass    Station and, of course, samples of Florida orange juice for everyone.  Who can go to Florida  and not have juice from the sunshine tree?

Ah, Florida!  Home Sweet Home!  At least for a little while.


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