Current mood: relaxed
I've never considered myself to be an ornithologist, but I've begun to realize that I'm very much in tune with recognizing birds. As I type, I've just come in from an evening walk around the house where I recognized several. To wit:
* Robins, as usual, probably three or four different ones. One was upset about something, another had two, three, maybe five words of a sentence, never seeming to quite complete it. Do robins get Attention Deficit Disorder? A third voiced a complete thought, over and over.
* A ruby-throated hummingbird has been a frequent visitor to the rhododendron in front of the house.
* A cardinal, in a tree a couple houses away.
* Friday morning's rare visitor, a pileated woodpecker. No, not a flicker, which is robin size. No, not a red-headed woodpecker, which is a bit bigger. This was a very large bird, standing well over a foot high. Woody Woodpecker is a pileated. This bird had a loud cluck, somewhere in the vicinity of the C# above a concert "A", and flew very close to the ground, maybe five feet up. It flew from tree to tree in the yard across the street, and made no attempt to hide itself. Had a cat tried to threaten it, the cat would have had a difficult time of it.
* A wren of some sort makes a seemingly continuous call all morning and afternoon, though it is silent now that it is evening. It's a tiny bird, roughly the color of a house sparrow. It gets right up on the porch, or sits in a low branch. I'm not sure if it's trying to attract a mate (not likely this late in the season, unless it's for a second brood), or just staking out territory. But its high, descending "b-r-r-r-r-rrr, b-r-r-r-rrr, b-r-r-r-rrr", for hours on end, is hard not to notice.
* On other occasions, I've written about the eagle, owls, and hawks. One quick hawk story: I was walking down Perrymont from the bus one afternoon, and saw a red-tail on a pole just a bit in front of me. As I approached, it sailed down to the next pole -- again, until I got close. This was repeated on every pole on Perrymont. I'm not sure if it was watching me, or was just looking for mice, but it was interesting that it and I were in such close synchronization.
And finally, we have the usual assemblage of house sparrows, crows, grackles, starlings, and a dozen other species I don't know the name of, or can't identify the calls. It's not high on my list of things to do in life, but I do pay attention, and file the information away as I run into it. Again, being a bus rider, I'm outside a lot, and so have the opportunity to notice these things.
Seeing that woodpecker was a real eye- (and ear-) opener. I had no idea we had such birds around here. I wonder how many an experienced bird-watcher might identify right here.