Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back in Black

With a little identification help from Bill Fenimore (owner of the Wild Birds Unlimited store in Layton, my very favorite birding supply store), I've added another bird to my life list -- the Brewer's blackbird. This is a lovely glossy black bird (as if you couldn't have guessed) that closely resembles grackles but is significantly smaller. I spotted several of them during our walk last weekend at Liberty Park, but monochrome birds without distinct markings are quite challenging to identify. Nonetheless, I'm thrilled to add yet another bird to my list.

These are the types of birds that many birders miss, in fact. We so often focus on the rare, exceptional, and unusual that we fail to notice the devoted everyday visitors all around us. Is that a sparrow in your backyard, or might it be a house finch? Could that cedar waxwing really be the more unusual bohemian waxwing? Are you mistaking that rare winter wren for a more common house wren? Good birders will be observant every day, even when it seems they have seen the birds a thousand times before. You never know when you'll be rewarded with a surprise visit from someone new.

To bring new birds to your yard, how would you change it? Vote in the March poll today!


Larry said...

Excellent point about our common birds Melissa. We must be vigilant to notice the unusual bird in the flock and never assume that what we are watching is the more common bird. Is that a Common Goldeneye or the rarer Barrow's Goldeneye, is that a House Finch or a Purple Finch?

I never realized until just recently that the Brewer's Blackbird is iridescent in the sunlight showing a purplish head and greenish body.

Bob and Cynthia Kaufman said...

Congratulations on the latest addition to your lifelist, Melissa.

Melissa said...

Hi Larry - Yes, we do too often overlook our backyard birds in our quest to add more species to our life list. I try to use every opportunity to marvel at birds' diversity, and I enjoy every new find. Cheers!

Melissa said...

Thanks, Bob and Cynthia. It's always a thrill to add another species to the life list!