Saturday, May 17, 2008

Birds of the Neighborhood

Are you lucky enough to have purple martins living nearby? These handsome birds are the small jets of the bird world.

Yesterday, as I was mowing the lawn, five of them kept me company. They swirled and dove, glided and swooped, sometimes coming within a foot of the front of the mower. All in search of a feast of insects stirred up by mowing. My own personal air show.

I've seen sea gulls following fishing trawlers begging for scraps and hawks will follow a tractor in hopes of catching a startled mouse or rabbit. In the last two years, I've noticed the purple martins working the yard as we mowed, but this year they are really taking advantage of the mower, perhaps because our spring has been cool and there are not many insects yet. I thought a time or two one of them was going to misjudge and crash into me. I wasn't worried really. I've been around too many pilots and know that the flyer generally knows how far he can take it.

We enjoy having these guys as neighbors. Where they patrol we have fewer mosquitoes. Always a good thing.

In addition, a pair of cardinals have made this area their home. For the last three winters, cardinals have enjoyed our winter hospitality, but moved on in the spring, I think because we haven't had much cover for them. We live on a former cattle pasture, after all. This year, one pair seems to be staying, telling me they are appreciating all the trees and shrubs we've planted. I love seeing his bright flash of red across the tree's green background. She visits the feeder near my writing window, otherwise I might not notice her because she is comparatively drab next to the mister.

We've also got some sparrows I need to identify. They have black and white striped 'helmets' on their heads.

All the sparrows have discovered a dirt 'spa' in our backyard. In an area where we don't have grass, they come to wallow in the dirt. They fling dirt on their backs, fluff their feathers, and all but roll in the loose dirt. They leave small depressions behind. It is fun to watch them cavort. Anyone know why they do this?

Of course, then there are the mockingbirds. Loud, musical, flashy. I really enjoy watching them swabble and strut.

What birds sing in your yard?

2 Other Creative Souls are Saying:

DebD said...

I am a bird-lover and enjoy seeing what comes to my neighborhood each spring. This year we've been very blessed to have bluebirds take nest somewhere in our yard. I love seeing their flash of blue.

And we also have Cardinals and their red against the lush spring green is also stunning.

Enjoy your visitors.

Catherine said...

I think that when the birds, bees, and butterfiles choose your garden, it's a reward for all your hard work.