Bird Watching

This morning was unusually quiet. I let myself sit. I didn’t do the laundry, or the dishes, or vacuum or answer e-mail. I just sort of sat there, at my desk, leaning back in my chair, computer open in front of me, gazing out the window into my backyard.  I don’t honestly know how long I watched the birds. But for sure, it was a while.

There were families of cardinals, bright red males and tawny females whose color somehow, miraculously matched the very color of the late-autumn orangey-yellow, leaves of the Magnolia. Blue Jays would periodically swoop in clearing out everyone else, their colors outstandingly striking with no other being around colored blue. I watched my favorite little chickadees sneaking in one at a time to steal a seed or two and quick back into the brush next door, every once in awhile announcing who knows what with their namesake call. The ubiquitous juncos constantly on cleanup duty on the ground under the feeder, chirping away, “waste not want not,” (I know birds must have these thoughts!) their white tail feathers flashing on flight. The different shades of finches all finding this food source (our yard!) over the past few weeks and looking more alike in their muted winter colors. Then too, the standout nuthatches both in their steel grey color and upside down methods eating along with all the others.

Right there in my backyard, coming and going all morning long. Next week I’ll start to take it all down, and make it official, two consecutive days a week for Project FeederWatch. I’ll keep track of all the individual species, and the maximum number of each, and any predatory birds, like the quietly majestic Coopers Hawk that drops by now and again. I love him and I hate him! He’s there not for the seed, but for a bird as his meal! And yet! He needs to eat too!

In the meantime, I just love the camaraderie of it all; the Juncos and squirrels foraging together, the cardinals hanging out next to the sparrows, waiting their turn on the fence or in the elms, all of them kowtowing to the Blue Jays, knowing their place (pecking order!).  I was thrilled to see a woodpecker land quietly at the feeder, a gentle giant among all the rest, trying not to let his size overwhelm the little guys. So polite! So handsome! I suppose all those sparrows are the chorus, greatest in number, always present, happy with their lot backing up the rest, waiting their turn, cackling and chirping and holding residence behind the basketball hoop and in the arborvitae. No doubt taking notes on all the comings and goings and absolutely taking over when it’s their turn.

And so it goes. What a wonderful morning.