For the birds

Brown-Headed Cowbird, originally uploaded by renejo1951

I really am so happy that the birds are back; they make it so much more enjoyable to be outside, or even just to look out the window. When I go running in the morning I can often hear wild turkeys gobbling somewhere in the mist, or the lonely hoo-hoo of a barred owl. On my way home the belted kingfishers are sitting on the telephone wires, diving in the stream for their breakfast. I scare a great blue heron up out of the water and its giant wings beat heavy as it flies away.

We have a colorful bunch of new visitors at the feeders this year. In addition to the usual suspects--robins, mourning doves, blue jays and cardinals, house finches and house sparrows and chickadees--we now have goldfinches, indigo buntings, brown-headed cowbirds, and red-winged blackbirds.

As I was hanging one feeder this evening, a female downy woodpecker landed on the arch above my head to say hello. The other day I thought I saw a female oriole. I can't always identify everything but I'm getting better at recognizing colors and calls (I got two new used field guides and this is the best free online resource). Natalie is learning too. She saw a bald eagle riding the thermals high above our house: "look daddy," she said, "it's a airplane!"

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