Sunday, May 1, 2011


I counted nineteen birds on the back porch this morning and twelve on the front patio--our house is now a home. The interesting thing about these birds is the remarkable variety. At our old house, we had a flock of at least fifty house sparrows living in the Mustang grape vines. We also had an equally large flock of white winged doves in the back yard and regular visits from cardinals, titmouse, Mockingbirds, and one lonely, little male Painted Bunting.

I think one of the reasons why we had less of a variety of birds at the old house was because we had such a large quantity of birds! Now, we are seeing birds that leave us breathless.

A few days ago, I saw a large black bird in the backyard with a shimmering blue head and neck. It was, like most birds, very fast and difficult to photograph, but even with a blurry picture I could tell it is a type of grackle.

This morning, my husband saw a small bird that was completely blue. A deep, beautiful blue that caught the brief rays of sunlight shining through the clouds with a shimmer on its wings.

Later in the morning, we saw a deep green bird that resembled a female cardinal, though I've never seen a green cardinal before. We also saw two female Painted Buntings. They are easy to identify. Their color sparkles like the males, but their backs are a shiny green and their bellies lemon yellow. They seem much smaller than the males.

And, of course, dozens of house sparrows and doves. There is a pair of ringed-neck doves that likes to lie down in the dirt by the brick patio in the early morning.

There are two birds that interest me the most, though. There is a Mockingbird that follows me from tree to tree, just like the one at our old house. We have many Mockingbirds, but this particular bird clearly follows me around. I took the dogs out a few days ago and sat in one of the porch chairs. Buddy was on one side of me, Holly on the other, and Chewy the chichihuahua jumped onto my lap. The Mockingbird flew onto a branch directly above our heads, about ten feet away and sang and sang. Sometimes it appeared as if its beak was shut, but it was still making a trilling sound. I think we were out there a full half hour, and it never stopped singing. It also follows me to the front of the property when I go for my walks then stops at the last tree and calls to me as I walk down the street. It is always in the tree, waiting, when I return.

The other bird is the large female cardinal, the mate to the large, bright male who disappears the second he sees me move through the window glass. She is not at all shy. In fact, she will land on the table and eat seeds when I am standing a few feet away with my camera. Sometimes she lands on the ground while the dogs are walking around. At first, I though I was imagining her boldness, but my husband told me the same thing this morning, that he will take the dogs out early in the morning and the female cardinal will land on a chair, the table, or the ground, just a few feet away from him.

Each day I feel more comfortable in this house. It's amazing how the little creatures can make a person feel welcome. We just have to be aware of their presence.

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