I love these words. This is the way I feel when I watch the birds in my garden. I am not interested in building a list of birds I've seen. What I want is to KNOW the birds–recognize their flights, their lifestyles, their songs. Putting a bird on a list, or checking a box that shows you've identified one, does not mean that you recognize them as you would a friend in a crowd. I want to know them like friends.
Our tiny laundry room is a perfect bird blind. Perched inside I can watch the birds without them noticing that I'm spying.
Adjusting the close-up setting. Darn it, the birds turned out blurry in so many photos. Patience, just like in gardening and writing, will turn out to be my salvation, but I have a long way to go before I get any good shots.
Sweet little Anna's hummingbird (male). They love the bubbling fountain and arrive there for morning baths (without fail) at 7 a.m..
In flew the female, who chased away the male,...
...who returned and chased away the little female.
My tame Western Scrub Jay, who knows EVERYTHING that is going on in the garden.
The House Finch is checking out the feeder, where...
...the White-crowned Sparrow picks through the seed in the nyjer feeder tray.
Goldfinches take over.
High in the olive tree the shy Hermit Thrush watches quietly. I don't know why, but I think this might be my favorite bird. So understated, but with a song that will break your heart. Check out http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Hermit_Thrush/sounds (scroll down) to hear some of the songs and calls.
This is a sweet, little 3 1/2 inch Bushtit. Tit comes from the Old Icelandic word titr, which means small.
These birds are sociable and always found in flocks. Within seconds of this one landing, the others flew down to join him.
I call the Bushtits little bells, for their constant, ringing contact calls.
Often the Chestnut-backed Chickadees mingle with the Bushtits.
Chestnut-backed Chickadee on left, two Bushtits hide in the shadows, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler sits on the right side.
A Townsend's Warbler bathes in my Nonie Clarke's birdbath. I bought the birdbath for my Nonie in 1965. When she passed away, it came to me. This is the favorite bathing/drinking spot of so many birds.
Upside down and caught in the middle of a shower.
I think that the elusive warbler on the left is a first year Yellow-rumped Warbler, but I am not sure. This was my first sighting of this bird in my garden.
Here is what I hope for you. I hope that you nurture an interest and love for all the creatures that visit your garden–even the moles and beneficial snakes and spiders. Start learning about their lives, quietly watch them, photograph or draw them. You'll be rewarded by living a life that is far richer than you ever imagined possible. The birds and other visitors will become your friends, asking for nothing, but appreciating water, food, and myriad plants.
Enjoy every day,
P.S. Husband Jeff here. Read the interview with Sharon in The Tribune.
Listen to "The Morningline" on Newstalk 105.9, WLNI in Lynchburg, Virginia, Wednesday morning, January 30th, at 8:35 a.m. (which means we'll be up at 5 a.m.)
P.P.S. The winner of the fabulous book and gloves is FlowerLady Lorraine, a Grimy Hands Girls Club member. Congratulations, Lorraine!