Not the best photo but it’s all I had time for before he flew away. This is a new visitor to our yard; he was supervising the rowdy finches at the feeder this morning. He’s bigger than a finch, almost robin-sized.
We don’t get anything like the variety of birds to our feeders here that we got in Virginia, at the feet of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Gone are the charcoal-colored juncoes, the chipper titmice, the sweet chickadees, the nuthatches and downy woodpeckers and flickers. We used to have a nesting pair of bluebirds right outside my office window, and two cardinal couples who came for dinner every evening. Now and then a huge pileated woodpecker would dazzle us from the neighbor’s tree, and sometimes a hawk would swoop low and scare the mourning doves.
Here in the suburbs of San Diego, in this particular yard at least, there are only finches: house, purple, gold; and sparrows; and arrogant crows; and one inquisitive phoebe, a Say’s Phoebe, who likes to perch on our side-yard fencepost and survey the action in the street.
Oh, and parrots! A raucous flock of them, green and squawking in the treetops, fluttering up en masse and swirling together to the next tree. Always, by the time I’ve run for my camera, they are gone.
There is an elementary school on the other side of our back fence (I know, the irony is delicious), and last week my parents were walking along along the schoolyard fence with my three youngest bairns when they encountered a science teacher carrying cages of cockatiels. He let the kids play with the birds and told my parents he is putting a nesting box for the parrots in the big tree right behind us; he’s hoping for eggs so he can raise a pair.
So: parrots we’ve got. But I miss my Eastern birds, I do.
This fellow, the newcomer: I hope he’ll return. I don’t know what he is—yet. Any thoughts?
Roy G Biv, Portland spring edition
Borage, waiting for bees