Saturday, August 7, 2010
Birds of a Feather
It's raining this morning and watching the birds has taken up a chunk of my time - but well worth it. This year, for the first time since I moved here 10 years ago, I have seen both cardinals and chickadees. The more the trees around us grow back after the home development that started about twelve years ago, the more new birds we see.
At first there were mostly water birds because of our conservancy pond. Watching the geese fly into the sunset was magnificent. Later, though, when there were geese wandering all over the lawns, that thrill began to wane.
The first time I saw a heron land in "the pond", I was awe struck. By now, he or she is a regular fixture and sits on a birdhouse that one of the neighbors installed in the pond. I don't know why he thought birds would like that location, but it makes a great landing pad for Harry Heron, aka Claude by other residents of our street.
In the early spring, little merganser diving ducks and buffle heads were a revelation to me. Their black and white feathers and unusually shaped heads attracted my attention. I grabbed my binoculars and most of them were gone. But then they popped up in an entirely new location of the water. It became a game. When a merganser dived, where would he come up. I was usually wrong and spent a lot of time at the window trying again.
A little later in the spring, we had robins and red-wing blackbirds. For awhile I had a singing sparrow who sat on one of my miniature flowerbox trellises and sang his heart out. Watching his throat throb as he warbled, I called him my little Caruso. I wasn't so pleased when he tried to attack his reflection in my patio door and got muddy footprints all over the door and the two windows along side. The yellow finches delicately perched on flowers. What a variety of positions they can take! The purple finches, sometimes as many as seven at a time, crowded together on one deck trellis. Since there are three other trellises just like it, I can only assume togetherness or competitiveness is their motivation.
This early summer has brought a cardinal who, this morning, sat on my shepherd's hook in the flower bed and pecked at the fake leaves before flying off to look for something a little more tasty. Yesterday, a chick-a-dee perched on my little deck trellis and checked out this neighborhood that is still new to him.
Now I have it all - every bird I thought I'd lost when I moved from my last location and all the new ones I've learned to watch for.
What a lucky duck I am! Or maybe a lucky dove.