To describe my lifelong fascination with flight and with creatures that fly I like to echo the words of John James Audubon who in 1839 wrote of himself as "...one who never can cease to admire and to study with zeal and the most heartfelt reverence, the wonderful productions of an Almighty Creator."
Saturday, January 31, 2009
A small bird day
Even though today was clear and sunny, at first glance there seemed to be very little bird activity where I went walking near the Willamette River. There were a few large birds around (Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Canada Geese, Great Horned Owl), but I focused on the little guys. Down in the thickets and among the dense evergreen branches the Kinglets, Chickadees, Wrens, Creepers, Bushtits, Sparrows, etc., were busy but quiet. I spent a lot of time just standing still trying to see what they were doing in there and listening to the subdued conversations.
If you're not seeing Lesser Goldfinches at your feeder, maybe you want to check out the ones coming to mine. I don't know where they were before the snow came a few weeks ago, but since then they've become "regular" here. Click on the link to the right (I know - the camera is not REALLY in the Swallow nestbox now) if you want to try to catch them at it.
Today another unusual bird showed up in my yard. Actually, a couple of decades ago the White-throated Sparrow was considered only an occasional winter visitor to Oregon, and I saw one only every few years. (I saw my first one up north in central British Columbia in summer where they are a breeding species.) Now, like numerous other eastern and southern species, they have become regular in winter here in Oregon. In 17 years this one is only the third one I've seen at my feeder, although several come every winter to another feeder in my neighborhood.
Finally this weekend, for the first time in the new year, the weather and my schedule allowed me to do a little birding here in Yamhill Co. I saw nothing extraordinary, but the twelve Eurasian Collared Doves in one tree would have seemed so a year or two ago. They are multiplying and spreading so rapidly that it is hardly a surprise to see them almost anywhere.
In my own backyard a female Anna's Hummingbird has replaced the male that was here during December's record-breaking snow storm. He seems to have moved on, so I'm happy to have her here now to provide a little variation from the usual "menu" of finches.