Thursday, February 21, 2013

Birds I Miss

It hasn't been a very birdy time lately; the season is deeply entrenched in cold and scarcity, and the birds are making themselves scarce as well - as is any time I might have to venture outside my property lines to see what other birds might be in the area. So for now, my birding is mostly limited to the antics of the house sparrows as they compete for seed on the deck, feeders, and wherever I've sprinkled a little treat.

Honestly, I do love my house sparrows - I've never had the misfortune to witness their less savory sides, and many times they're the first or only feathered company I might have. Their colors are warmer and richer than many people realize, and their behavior can be just as entertaining as any other bird as they flit about with an excess of energy. But while I might enjoy their visits, at this time of year I'm missing the visits of some other guests who have been absent or much less conspicuous for months...
  • The relatively cautious black-headed grosbeak family that nips at the hulled sunflower seed.
  • The lovestruck antics of the Eurasian collared-doves eager to get busy anywhere and everywhere.
  • The scuttling scratches of a hungry covey of California quail at the feeders and in the grass.
  • The obsessive-compulsive peanut caching by western scrub-jays, including the meticulous hiding of any evidence of their stash.
  • The suspicious glances of the rufous hummingbirds as they sit on their swing, eyeballing the yard for any intruder to chase away.
I know all these birds will return - and more I hope - and I keep them in my heart until they do. But a birder's heart has a wide range and enough seed for all, so until the days warm and migration ensues, I'll continue to love my house sparrows all the same.

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