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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Even though I live out here alone in the wilderness, thereís almost never a time when I canít look out the window and see life in motion. (And Iím not just talking about the leaves and grasses blowing in the wind.) As long as itís light out (and not raining), if I look down, I see lizards scurrying. If I look up, I see birds flying. And if theyíre not flying, theyíre making themselves at home in the birdbath or on the feeder.

Sometimes I donít even have to get out of my chair to be entertained by the birds. Thatís the reason I have the feeder hanging off the back porch eave. I also keep the binoculars handy, so that I can get a close-up view. I keep the field guide within reach, but I rarely see a species I havenít already identified a hundred times before. The sparrows are the most common, but lately their dominance has been overshadowed by the finches.

The reddish house finches tend not to stay very long. Theyíll peck at the food and then look around nervously, seeming to forget why theyíve landed on the feeder. Sometimes theyíll sit on the slanted wood roof of the feeder, looking over the yard while sliding down the slope until they realize whatís happening and flit up to the top again.

The yellow and black goldfinches are more determined eaters. Theyíll really go at it when they have the mind to, but they will also at times hang from the rope that suspends the feeder from the eave, rubbing their beaks back and forth on it. Theyíre also more likely than the house finches to come in pairs, although sometimes they take turns. Iíve learned to identify some of the individual birds by their markings and the vividness of their coloring. I havenít named them yet, though.

29 May 2008

Soaring through the clouds.

Although I havenít seen them for about a week, I still have turkeys wandering through my yard regularly. And once I get to the point where I can work in the yard again and get the rest of the grass cut down to a reasonable level, Iím sure the quail will be back, too. They may be out there now, but you wouldnít be able to see them in the high weeds. Also: crows, doves, swallows, the red-shouldered hawk and an assortment of turkey vultures. Thereís always something going on.

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