Sunday, January 17, 2010

Just When You Thought...

It's all well and good to enjoy birds in one's neighborhood, but it's not quite the same as having them visit your yard, your feeders, your birdbath. Just when I'd been lamenting the loss of the pine siskins and the emptiness of my backyard, the very next day I could hardly tear myself away from my binoculars with all the bird action. A generous flock of American robins descended on the property line trees to feast on the fruit, and they took turns sipping from my birdbath.

A closer look revealed other guests; several cedar waxwings were part of the flock, just as eagerly enjoying the feast, and a northern flicker stopped by to investigate one of the trees for a brief moment. It's a never ending lesson; you never know what may visit your yard, but you have to be looking to appreciate the guests. If I'd stayed in my office at that time, I'd never have known the brief burst of popularity my yard enjoyed.

There have also been a great number of European starlings romping through the neighborhood, flitting from one yard to the next en masse. While many birders don't enjoy European starlings because of their propensity to empty feeders and intimidate other backyard birds, I have to admire a bird with such lovely iridescent plumage and one with such a successful attitude and physiology to adapt to so many habitats and conditions with equal aplomb. They do love our neighbors' apple tree and its residual fruit, as do the American robins, but occasionally I'm fortunate enough to see the flock roost in the tree across the street, affording me a spectacular view from my office. When the ground thaws a bit in early spring they'll likely visit even closer, but they only seem to do so once or twice before the large flock disappears for the season.

I urge all birders never to take their birds for granted. They bring such joy and ask so little, what's not to love and enjoy?

1 comment:

Jube said...

Saw my first cedar waxwings of the season out in western Utah a few days ago. I was buzzed by one within arms length of my face. This individual then perched on some low branches not 15 feet from me. Very cool. Do you know if that is common behavior for cedar waxwings?