I spent about half an hour reclining on a comfy chair in my back yard, watching the grackles and the jays, earlier this afternoon.
It’s a sunny day, mostly, but then the clouds cover the sun and I’m reminded that it’s really only 60 or so out there. Sweater weather. It’s very windy, though, so the sunny bits feel perfect, but the cloudy times feel colder than they really are.
But back to the birds.
Grackles are surprisingly pretty. While, at first glance, they are jet black, like their cousins, the blackbirds and crows, when the sun hits them at just the right angle you can see iridescent blue, or striations of grey. This is natural coloration. And it’s quite stunning, but then, I can find beauty even in common pigeons.
While we had birds in California, they were rarely identifiable, except for the ubiquitous pigeons, and the odd stray gull. Here, though, I feel like a microcosm of the Audobon books, because, as well as the grackles, we seem to have a robin or two feeding on the front lawn, and a few blue jays who try to usurp the grackle’s territory.
I love that the back of my house is all glass. It gives me the bird equivalent of the sea otter tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Here in my office, I’m at tree-top level, and when I look out I can see them pausing on the uppermost branches, or climbing higher and higher to clear the trees and check out someone else’s yard. But from the living room, or from the breakfast nook, I watch them at ground level, playing follow-the-leader through the various tree trunks and low branches, taking off to flee from Cleo’s pathetic attempts to catch them (I wonder what she’d do if ever she succedded in this), sifting through the lava rocks and fallen leaves for bits of sunflower seed bread I left them (I’m shameless, I know, but I feel it’s an apology to them for having to deal with the dog), and, witnessed today, perching on the cement edge of the pool deck, and dipping up water.
I’ve told Fuzzy we need a bird bath, because I don’t want bird mites in my pool, and I really don’t want the birds drinking chlorinated water.
His response was a typically midwestern “We’ll see.”
And we will, because outside my window, it’s all bird, all the time.
Nature’s so very entertaining.
Birds by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.