Saturday, July 31, 2021


Over the holidays, my wife got me a Page-A-Day calendar from the National Audubon Society. So every day I look at a new bird. I'm no birder, but they have been a source of fascination for me. What's not to like? They're pretty, they sound nice, and they provide a gentle reminder that nature is all around us. 

Growing up in a city, the only birds I noticed were grey pigeons. I didn't pay them any particular attention, except when they didn't fly away as I walked towards them. Some pigeons seemed braver than others! I have memories of people sitting at park benches feeding pigeons, and the birds would be a bustling, murmuring swarm as they pecked for the food at their feet.

Where I live now I rarely see pigeons. Instead I see blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, mourning doves and crows. We live near a few ponds so sometimes we'll see an egret (or is it a heron). There are also plenty of Canadian geese, and though they can be a bit of a nuisance holding up traffic and defecating wherever they want, it's nice watching the small goose chicks become larger and larger.

My favorite bird sighting so far is the cedar waxwing, a pretty bird with distinctive stripe of color at the tips of its wings. We first saw them in the Spring of 2020, and it took us time to figure out what kind of bird it was. They perched on a tree right outside our window, and we could see them picking at the fruit. We haven't seen them this year though. It's possible they varied their migratory patterns, so our apartment complex is no longer on their route. 

One of the things I learned about birds is that they are always busy, building nests, foraging for food, finding a mate, or caring for children. One book says that they rarely take breaks, which made me a bit sad. I like to think every bird consciously enjoys flying around and seeing things from on high. I wonder if they notice us looking at them, when we stop to watch them in the trees or in the sky. Maybe we're their reminder to take a break once in a while!

Cedar Waxwing (photo by Stan Lupo)

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