TOO MANY BIRDS — Marilyn Armstrong

I took my empty glass to the kitchen to get something to drink. Or, anyway, that was the idea. I put the glass on the counter and looked at the plant hanging on the kitchen window. It needed some water.

Maybe they all (finally) needed water.

I left the drink where I’d stood it. Filled the little red watering can, then thoughtfully dribbled water across the kitchen floor while getting my socks thoroughly wet at the same time. I am nothing if not graceful.

I watered — finally — the two Christmas Cacti and all the other plants, including the budding orchids and the big Philodendron. Emptied out the rest of the water while dousing my feet a little more.

A downward traveling Nuthatch

I turned around and said “Oh,” because there were birds. One squirrel in the flat feeder — and maybe a dozen birds fluttering and a few more striding the deck. Some new ones, too. Mourning doves were on the deck, picking up pieces of seed the birds had tossed aside. Also, I saw a few Slate-Colored Juncos. Those are the strutting birds who clean up anything let by the flying birds and the “stuffing her face” squirrel girl.

Suddenly, all other thoughts were forgotten and I found myself taking pictures of birds. I couldn’t help myself. As if I’d been hypnotized, the fluttering birds were waiting for me. On the deck, on the feeders.

Far in the woods, I saw a big red-headed woodpecker. I couldn’t get a picture — he was outside the range of my lens. I just got a flash of him in the trees. He was a big one!

Slate-colored Junco

I noticed new birds — a dark-headed, white-bellied bird with dark eyes and a white beak which I finally decided had to be a Slate-Colored Junco because he was the only bird in the book the looked remotely like him … and the Gold Finch that had to be a Gold Finch even though all the finches should have already flown south. He had to be one anyway because there was nothing else he could be.

Part of the clean-up crew: a mourning dove

Garry pointed out that we’d had a lot of storms and birds do get blown off-course.

I have ascertained that when you are trying to figure out what a bird is, especially when there are a lot of birds that look very similar to that bird, after you have eliminated all the birds he or she cannot be, then he or she must be whatever remains as long as it bears some resemblance to the image you are staring at.

You would think, if you have a clear photograph of the bird and you know where you are, it should not be that difficult to figure out what bird you are looking at. You’d think that but you would be wrong. Or at least if you are me, you’d be wrong.

Gold Finch in the wrong region

There is a section of my “Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Birds” called “Confusing Fall Warblers.” They come in yellow, green, beige and many variations in between. Some of the birds interbreed too, so there are many variations on the variations and even though they are all supposedly gone from this area by now, the weather hasn’t been normal and neither have the birds.

I had to take the SD chip and stick it in the computer to see what I’d gotten and while I was at it, process some very pretty pictures of the blooming Christmas Cactus.

Bird in a tree

That was when I realized I was still thirsty and my glass was still on the counter in the kitchen and my feet were wet.

Birds. I’m totally hooked. Just as well, because if it weren’t for the birds, I’d probably be watching the news.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

14 thoughts on “TOO MANY BIRDS — Marilyn Armstrong”

  1. There can never be too many birds — or red Christmas cacti either, for that matter! This is a delightful post — I’m glad you were distracted from the news!

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    1. We are something of a crossroad between southern (wintering) birds who fly across us to go to Canada. Lately, more of them have not bothered to finish the flight and seem to have decided we are quite cold enough. You have (usually) fewer birds when you are at either end of a migration route unless you live in a warm place where there are simply a LOT of birds.

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  2. Marilyn, you are the BEST!
    You are not yet there where I was when I tossed aside my 2 quite detailled bird books in the UK…. because I just couldn’t – for the life of me – make up my mind on any of them! So they stayed from that moment on – ‘just lovely birds’….
    And how well I know the ‘diversity of women tasking’ – that’s me going down in the basement for bread from the freezer and coming up with the dried washing, coffee pods for the espresso machine, oil & some christmas decorations – going down again to get some more Xmas stuff, emptying the dehydrating machine in the basement and changing the towels in the 3rd bathroom – getting up again, still without the bread! Oh the endless fun – yeah, of course I also watered my plants at the same time, but only those in the veranda, the ones inside were still yearning for a drop of liquid…
    And bird watching is SO preferrable to watching the news…. We just have to wait for Stephen Colbert – that will do nicely!

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    1. At least I wind up with some pretty pictures. I don’t have anything to drink and half the mail is still on the counter, mostly unopened and I’ve taken down a cookbook because I need to look up the sweet-and-sour sauce for the Chinese dinner … but mostly, I’ve got photographs. Of birds. And maybe, a few flowers 😀

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