Beauty on the Wing
The world of birds is stunning and filled with wonderment. There is a wide variety in color, patterns, shapes and sizes. Each species unique in song and behavior. Bird watching is fascinating and rewarding. This year I have taken more time to learn the birds I see, though I still don’t know many of their songs. As long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed watching birds at feeders. I can sit mesmerized for a long time. This past winter and spring, however, I have watched the birds more intently, looking up the birds I didn’t recognize and trying to learn songs.
We have seen birds this year that mom hasn’t seen on our farm since she was a kid. Flashy blue of an indigo bunting at our feeder caught my eye; I had only seen them at Whitewater. It was exciting. We were also thrilled to see at least one pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks at our feeders. Several weeks ago, I saw a horned lark near the greenhouse; the size and colors were nothing I had seen before. The bright yellow chin and black horns were very distinguished features by which I identified it later. In December, mom and I observed cedar waxwings in our prairie area. A northern flicker was singing in the branches of an eastern white pine this morning. American redstarts were hanging out in the greenhouse this spring. We observed orchard orioles in the yard in late April, early May. Mom and I also saw a few warblers that we weren’t able to identify but that also haven’t been seen on the farm for a long time. We have observed more species of sparrows this year at our feeders and in the yard. Mom has seen a few bobolinks in the hay fields and pastures.
We were delighted to see a few pairs of Baltimore orioles eating at our feeders. One week, mom woke up to tapping on the window. A female Baltimore was perched on the window seal, hitting the window with her beak as if she was intentionally trying to get mom’s attention. Then the bird flew to the feeder and perched on it, perhaps asking mom to fill the feeder, which she did. The following day, several male gold finches were hanging around the feeders. It seemed as if they too were trying hard to get our attention since the thistle seed in their feeder was out. After filling that feeder as well, the birds were delighted and feasted. The female Baltimore came back to the window again, three more times. Shortly after we acknowledged her, she flew away. Her behavior interested us; it appeared she wanted something from us, her actions seemed calculated and not a mistake. She would come to a window on whichever side of the house we were.
The male red-winged blackbirds seem to fly up onto the fence posts to greet me in the mornings on my daily walks. Their cheery voices seem to be singing “good morning” as they rejoice in the dawning of another day. It is more likely though that they are trying to create a distraction away from their nesting females though I see them as well sometimes. This spring is the first time I have seen a female red-winged. When I first saw her I didn’t know she was a red-winged black bird. She was brown with white speckles, though not brightly colored, she was beautiful. I have seen more of the females since. We have had red-winged black birds around before, but there seems to be even more of them this year.
It is exciting that once you begin to pay attention to the creatures around you and open your eyes to the world of nature the more you are able to see. Since learning the birds, I now see more of them and see species I have never noticed before but may have always been around.