A bird in the yard


I was making a cup of coffee this morning, which in turn had me standing in the kitchen for a few minutes accomplishing nothing more than looking out the window as I waited for the process to complete filling the mug.

Three blue jays were busy dancing around the yard.

Dancing isnít exactly the perfect word, but it works wonderfully well. They were on the ground and the deck, on feeders and fences, and basically just bouncing around from place to place in what was possible to enjoy as a choreographed effort.

Made me smile.

Not long after, I had returned to rinse out that coffee mug and work on lunch. A pair of cardinals were on the ground, pecking away in an area where some birdseed had been spilled while refilling the feeders yesterday.

It can be a busy yard.

Terry and I often see mourning doves outside. And not just a pair or a few. Weíve had times where there were as many as two dozen mourning doves hanging out in our yard.

They can be joyously hysterical just by their presence. They donít exactly do much. They definitely donít duck and dive and soar and swoop like the blue jays. But they have the way of appearing to have settled right in. Kind of like they found a recliner and an afghan, united with plans to clean out a few episodes from the list of the recorded shows. Not quite nesting, but definitely nestled.

I often find myself wondering why certain birds are in certain places at certain times. I get it in a specific sense. After all, I put out the seed and spread the bread crumbs. I invited them to stop and relax for a bit. But when two dozen mourning doves are cooing away, or resting along railings of your deck, it does make for a striking sound and visual.

Sure, an ornithologist would likely be able to rattle off plenty of details explaining it. They would be able to point out the trees that are (or arenít) near my yard. Thereís probably a great amount of information concerning bugs and flowers and more. The length of the day, the distance to bodies of water, the local wildlife, and on and on. There are lots of reasons why those blue jays and cardinals are having some fun outside. Plenty of reasons why they are here today in some unexpectedly warm weather for the season, and why they were here a few days ago in the unexpectedly cold, and why they will be here during the normal for right now tomorrow.

For me though, there are those days when a sight such as a seagull, hundreds of miles from any sea that I know of, catches me by surprise. Along the same lines, I wonder what nests and foraging patterns would exist if I wasnít making sugar water from scratch during the summer or stocking up on suet cakes for the winter.

We have to keep the vertical blinds drawn in kitchen a fair amount of time during the day. I donít know why, but there are moments during sunny days when birds have a tendency to fly straight into the sliding glass door if we donít.

(Actually, I looked that one up. As most of us would likely guess, usually it most definitely is the reflection of the landscape. The birds simply donít see the window, and often think they are viewing open fields, trees and more. The part I didnít expect to learn was that many territorial birds, ones that act aggressively to protect what they consider to be their domain, actually see their own reflections and misinterpret it as a threat. So apparently, yes, a bird can be attacking itself. (Take that dogs chasing your own tail!))

Right now itís the middle of winter. Not too many days that I can exactly step outside, settle in to a chair, and enjoy a bit of the great outdoors. (And when I do right now, itís often because Iím clearing snow and not full-on outdoor enjoyment.) But the show does continue.

The other day there was some snow in our yard. Deer tracks were quite visible, even though itís been a few weeks since Iíve seen any dear. Weíve had rabbits and turkeys and more. And Iím sure weíve had plenty come on by without leaving tracks in the snow.

In a few hours, Iíll be asleep. And yet, things will likely be happening outside around my home. (Not likelyÖ definitely.) Thereís always something going on.

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com