Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mountain Chickadee & Other Birds

I was outside in the yard the a few weeks ago, minding my own business, taking pictures of my favorite feline subject, when I heard an angry voice behind me.

It was this little fellow, a mountain chickadee.* 

Doesn’t itlook fierce?

I don’t know much about birds, and they often sound angry to me.

Then again, I often have a cat nearby, so perhaps they are frightened and angry.

Years ago, I was in a park with my cousin Margaret, who’s a professional singer. 

The birds were going bananas. 

To me, it was all loud, lively, lovely, complex chaos.

Margaret listened for a moment and reeled off the names 
of several species whose songs she recognized.
Then she listened a bit longer and added a few more.

Her musician’s ear could pick out specific voices 
where all I heard was beautiful noise.

Since then, I’ve wanted to learn at least the sounds of the species I see around our neighborhood, and to identify the species of the birds I used to hear around my grandparents’ cabin on the Deschutes River.

I haven’t had much success, 
although the Audubon website has some helpful information.

Back in my yard, 
our little chickadee kept flying 
back and forth between two adjacent trees.

We wandered off and left it in peace.

Millie inspected some old doors out by the shed.

She heard Luna’s tags jingling from the other side of Pop’s pickup...

and hunkered down to ambush her.

But Luna went the other way. 

Millie thought about climbing this tree,

but thought better of it.

We did see a few other birds. 
I’m not sure who this is.

Here’s a scrub jay in the top of a ponderosa pine.

I’d already taken several pictures when he launched himself down off the tree

but after this shot, I lost sight of him. 

I’m starting to think birds are much more interesting than I’d ever suspected.

* I originally identified this bird as a nuthatch. However, I'm pretty sure it's actually a mountain chickadee. Oops!

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