All About the Birds

We are not officially birders.  We don't walk around with binoculars hanging around our necks or identification books in hand.  More often than not, we ask each other what kind of bird we just saw at the feeder, which is kind of ironic since neither of us really has much bird knowledge.  The upside is that we ask, which leads us to the admission of not knowing and the joy of learning.  The resident master tracker owns binoculars that we put to good use, and I have acquired a small library of bird books over the years because I just can't stand not knowing what I am looking at.

We put the binoculars and the books to good use on the swake because birds seem to love it here.  The swake is opportunistically located very near a bird sanctuary where one is encouraged to read the trail signs that identify a variety of birds.  Fortunately birds are not legalistic about the boundary lines of a human designated bird sanctuary so we enjoy a wonderful variety of birds on the swake.  We only have to be present and alert in order to spot them.

Seeing them is not difficult.  Even a bird watching novice can spot the bold yellow finch at the feeder or the flash of yellow as it flits across the driveway as you come or go.  We frequently have to stop for the flock of geese as multiple families cross the road from one water body to another.  Hummingbirds regularly visit the hanging flower baskets on the deck.  The red winged blackbirds make pigs of themselves at the feeder, chasing off the chickadees, while the downy woodpecker ignores the posturing and pounds away on the pine tree within inches of the feeder.  Ducks of many types raise their young in the safety of the reeds along the waters edge.   From his vantage point high in the pines, the red tailed hawk watches the two and four legged shenanigans on the swake, eyes peeled for the next mouse dinner.  There are nearly endless opportunities for bird sightings if you are patient and willing to sit quietly.

We have become accustomed to most of this bird activity and the birds have become accustomed to us, so life just carries on around as we work in the garden or play with Kanti.  But occasionally there is a new visitor to spice it up, and this week we had one of those visitors.  A blue heron took up its post near the water's edge, within view from the driveway.  Minimal bird knowledge aside, we both recognized it and the bird has been accommodating enough to hang out for a couple of days allowing the resident amateur birders to verify the species.  In fact, it was still there when I came home yesterday so I am hoping that today I can walk quietly up the driveway and get a photo.  My success will depend on my ability to be present, alert, patient, and quiet.  Oh yes, and no matter how well I manage those things; I need the blue heron to pose.