It is a cold rainy January morning here in Seattle. I realize that several of those words are redundant. ‘It is January in Seattle’ would have sufficed. There is nothing special about today; a hard rain all night, and a mere 37 degF now at midday. Uck.
On this unpleasant, unspecial day, my yard is filled with wild birds. I have not designed our yard to provide wild bird habitat (although a previous owner may have), but it appears to work for them. Besides chickens, I don’t know much about birds, but if they are going to come enjoy my urban yard, I think I should learn more about them. It’s only polite.
Taking a mental break just now, I gaze out the dirty window and see a Stellar’s Jay and some SBBs (small brown birds). I pull out a Bird Book and think these are white-crowned sparrows. A Northern Flicker roots among the green grasses – I recognize her by the bright orange underside of her tail feathers. Black-cap chickadees hoppity hop about, and an American Robin joins the scene. Finally, I see our teeny Anna’s hummingbird flitting about like a large feathered idea. Wow!
I like the idea of diversity. Ecological diversity, in particular. I had thought to put up a bird feeder to encourage such, but was worried only the squirrels and crows would benefit. I had no idea I already had so many types of visitors! We are also visited by a woodpecker (hairy or downy) who pits our large cedar, willow, and lilac. Starlings, and – of course – crows. So that makes, what, 9 species? Perhaps I will plant something native for them on purpose this spring and see if I notice even more diversity…
In the meantime, I plan to learn more about these feathered creatures, starting with this fabulous little website from UW.
All bird images used without permission from the Seattle Audubon Society