Joe Loved Birds

Rest peacefully, Joe.  I love you.

•• January 6, 1964 - May 17, 2019 ••

My brother.

Big Toe was his nickname.

He was an anchor.

For his family.

For his friends.

My heart still hurts with the

passing of my big brother

almost one year ago.


Joe is 6 1/2 years older than me.  He is the oldest of 5; I am the youngest.  Because of the age gap, we didn’t have a lot in common when we were young.  He was my protector though.   He protected all of us.  He was our Big Toe.

Joe was an avid fisherman and hunter (rifle and bow).  He hunted deer and duck and fished a lot on Lake Erie.   Ice fishing was a yearly thing for him.   He loved camping too.   A true outdoorsman.

He was already a lover of nature when he decided to take up birdwatching shortly after I did.  He hung a few bird feeders in the yard and bought a small camera.  He was always so excited to see something new at his feeders.  I remember he would call and describe what he was seeing.   The few birds that stick out in my mind are the Gray Catbird and the Carolina Wren.  I was able to photograph the catbird in his backyard and I’m sure he emailed a photo of the wren, but unfortunately I didn’t save it.  It was so great to share this new hobby with Joe.

I’ve never seen a Carolina Wren even though they are common in Michigan.   When he passed away last May, I stood in his backyard and asked him to send me a sign that he was there with us.  I hoped for that Carolina Wren to appear.  It didn’t appear that day but I know one day I’ll see that wren.   I’ll take his photo.   And I will think of Joe.  And I will smile.

Joe met the love of his life not long after he started watching birds.  She became his focal point.   And that was ok.  He was in love and he was happy.   He deserved to be happy.

Watching birds didn’t ever completely go away for Joe.   He still talked about birds at their summer campsite and the birds he saw at his friend’s cabin in the Upper Peninsula.   He called once reporting Sandhill Cranes and a fox at the golf course.   Joe loved birds.  Joe loved nature.

I miss him so much but he lives on in my heart.  I can’t wait to see and photograph that Carolina Wren.  I will watch him and smile.

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  • Julie Bloss

    2 weeks ago

    This is beautiful. I miss him so much. Maybe I will see the Carolina Wren when I am there Sunday. Love you sister.