Friday, May 15, 2009

We tweet!

by June

Twittering is big around here. Our kind
requires (almost) no computer -- though we have become enthralled with the birding  app on my iPhone. It plays the calls of Northeastern birds, and the girls used it recently to call down a starling trapped in an O'Hare airport waiting room (like us!). Of course it turned out the bird was not nearly as interested in our digital birdsong as in the French fries being eaten by our fellow travelers.

We don't just resort to bird watching when we are stuck in airports. It's one of the things that makes home feel most like home: I realized this year that I don't so much open the first window of spring to welcome in the freshening breeze -- but to welcome in the birdsong. No matter the season, we scan the sky, stare into the treetops, sip something warm and watch the comings and goings at the feeder. Friends got us through the winter with the gift of For the Birds, a guide to bird watching in sync with the calendar. All winter, the kitchen window gives us a view of the feeder, and it brims with activity even on the snowiest days. One of the earliest harbingers of spring is when the bright yellow comes feather by feather onto the breast of the goldfinches.

Please don't think we do it just for the pleasure (though is there a greater pleasure than watching the zig-zig-zag flight of a chickadee toward the sunflower seeds?). We also help track migrations through Journey North, one of our absolute favorite websites ever. Not only do we get to observe our tucked-away bit of the world, we get to share what we notice with scientists who plug our information into the grander scheme of data about the wider natural world (and what's happening to it, natural or otherwise). One of our biggest thrills came after studying robins on Journey North. We had been listening to different calls and trying to learn to distinguish a robin's come-hither song from its yikes-that's-a-hawk-up-there call. One day, I was weeding and heard a shrill whistle pinched so tight it was almost a wheeze. Sounded familiar. I looked up: There was the hawk!

It's been a rainy stretch here, but once the sun finally blazed through the clouds, we headed out to cut apple boughs for the house. We heard a Baltimore oriole's rackety call. Several pairs nest close to the river (though we have yet to pinpoint exactly where). They like to sip at the half-oranges we poke onto twigs in the honeysuckle hedge; they criss-cross the yard with their flashing-orange flight. We spotted this morning's male high in a gone-wild apple tree.

Later, oh glory, we saw our first-ever backyard scarlet tanager. It flitted from tree to tree, higher and higher, then away.

But the highlight came from tracking our dear, familiar tree swallows. They've been doing a graceful mating ballet in the sky over our meadow: flitting arabesques and synchronized spirals and fancy loop-de-loops. Now, they are down to work, bringing straw to one of our garden-post birdhouses: nesting.  We know from experience that this nesting pair of swallows will now be watching us as much as we're watching them. And when it's time for their little ones to fly, we had better stay low as we pick our peas. Seems peas plump up just as fledgling swallows try out their flight engineering. The parent swallows will dive-bomb us that day. Which is nothing I wouldn't do for Blossom and Fern. If I had wings.


ozark summers said...

the rainbow of color in our backyard feeder, which was engineered to an exact location for optimal examination, is so mesmerizing that I find that I get nothing done for the most part of the day. Almost to the point of making a second and third pot of coffee just to stand and watch out the window to see what may show up next. The wren is my favorite, only because of her tenacious courage of fending off any and all interlopers. Happy bird watching days to you all. That familiar chill will return ever so quickly and the rainbows will be tucked away behind the clouds for another winters rest.
love from the ozarks.

June said...

Oh, dear OS, I only wish we could share the coffee and the same view of the feeder. You're going to have to help me identify the little yellowish bird that's taken up residence in another birdhouse. Love from here...

Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B said...

Hello - I hope you don't mind - I found your great blog and recommended it on my silly little blog - I found yours to be just wonderful! The CEO of my company has 2 adopted little girls as well, so I gave him your site to visit (and recommended the book).

Your daughters are beautiful and my heat goes out to little Tuesday - what a darling post and tribute.

I'm rambling here, sorry! I tried your pea spread and it's wonderful! Quite a to-do in the kitchen involving the making of it though..seems I can't do anything without a "to-do" :-)

Have a great week and I talked hubby into our first bird feeder (can you imagine? I guess we've bee living under a rock !) Actually, this is the first year without cat(s) and Mr. B always said he thought it unfair to draw the birds in only to have their lived endangered.

I'll be back to visit again. Gotta go check on our neighbor's chickens, Ophelia and Eve, and the 3 new chicks they purchased to round out he "herd" -

June said...

Hi, Colleen,

Welcome! And thanks so much for making "world peace" with our whirled peas. You are really so funny; I always enjoy reading your blog.

Can't wait to hear how it goes with your bird feeder -- and the neighbor's chicks and chickens. I know it will be a treat to read about your adventures!

Unknown said...

lebron james shoes 2016
hollister clothing store
christian louboutin
michael kors uk
cheap mlb jerseys
ralph lauren outlet
pandora bracelet
nike free run flyknit
ralph lauren outlet
fred perry polo

raybanoutlet001 said...

michael kors handbags sale
pandora outlet
louis vuitton sacs
rolex replica watches
nike roshe run
christian louboutin outlet
texans jerseys
salomon shoes
titans jersey
carolina jerseys

chenmeinv0 said...

omega copy watches
michael kors outlet
supra footwear
adidas outlet
oakley vault
nike jordan shoes
tory burch outlet
fitflops sandals
michael kors outlet online
the north face outlet