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Look Who’s coming to Dinner – Our Feathered Friends

May 10, 2007

"Will Claire be a birder?  If it brings her joy I certainly hope she is, but in truth I care not a whit.  My wish for my new daughter is that she will be a true watcher of birds.  Or perhaps a watcher of mushrooms, or beetles or snakes, or rocks.  That she will choose her own lens into the natural world, know it deeply and well, with a wisdom cultivated in travel in experience of home, with friends, with love, through the whole of her life. " From Rare Encounters with Ordinary Birds: notes from a Northwest Year by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

ScarletChers Amis,

I just LOVE this quote.  I could have written it for Caddie, Scarlett or Pippin.  Isn’t this the purpose of nature study? I think my children are already watchers of these things and more! Rare Encounters is one of my current reads and it is very enjoyable.  I’ll have to write a review later, but it has been such glorious birding weather here it is hard to stay inside.  We have had   several new avian visitors this week (Note to self: I am really beginning to wonder if this is an obsession!  I am reluctant to go outdoors without my binoculars lest I miss a glimpse of our guests. Is this normal?)  My only regret is that my camera lacks a good zoom function because I would so like to capture a few pictures of our new neighbors the Scarlet Tanagers!   Scarlett  spotted the brilliant couple perched high in a Tulip Poplar in our front side woods yesterday morning and I saw them again this afternoon in an enormous Tulip Poplar in the back. Oh! how I hope they are moving in! 

We also met a family of Gray Catbirds that have taken to our suet feeder by the deck.  We actually discovered them not by sight, but by EAR before we could get a glimpse of them.  Yet another plug for learning to recognize bird calls.  Really, it has been the best thing I have learned in years.  We hear birds constantly in our caGray_catbirdnopy and see them quite infrequently.  Most species never approach a feeder, but flit about the tree tops. While I only have the equivalent of first semester Birdsong 101, it allows me to ‘see’ in a new dimension.  Without looking I can tell that the red bellied woodpecker must have pecked once too many times on the "Squeaker’s" – Brown Headed Nuthatch’s nesting snag, that the small
flock of the pernicious Brown-headed Cow Birds has roosted in the Red-Maple, or that the White-Chinned Sparrow is in the distant butterfly garden. 

Birdsong hasn’t yet helped me identify the tiny warblers that jet about so high in the tree crowns that my neck hurts from searching.  I know we have Pine Warblers and in the spring, Myrtle Warblers, but I am pretty darn sure I spotted a Magnolia Warbler yesterday and maybe a Black and White Warbler Tuesday.  I just need to slow them down to be 100% certain.  Well, I have a huge stack of books due today, so we are off to the library before I turn into a pumpkin or wander back outside with my field guide.

–Marjorie

PS – Photo from Wikipedia Creative Commons

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One Comment leave one →
  1. May 15, 2007 9:07 am

    Great post, Marjorie! You have really captured the spirit of nature-watching! I just might have to find that book for myself!

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