I admit to being fatigued; I’m even tired of being tired. The family cat doesn’t want to hear about it. She has her own remedies so I am reminded to turn to my own sure-fire ways of finding a little balance and respite in “these times.” I look out my kitchen window.
The local sparrows (Will I ever figure out which sparrows are which? It doesn’t matter today.) and glossy-headed juncos are taking turns pecking at the seeds I’ve scattered for them. Chickadees are swooping on the hanging feeder and choosing just the right sunflower seed before dashing away again. A buzz of bush tits erupts out of the bushes, congregate on the suet feeder and just as quickly head for cover. A brilliant red-eyed towhee with its smart black and rusty red outfit shows up for a snack. There is a lot going on outside!
These are my beloved “regulars.” Not quite as often, nuthatches show up for a meal, and there is always a commotion when a flicker arrives. For such a large bird it is shy and easily scatters at the slightest movement my side of the window, so if I want to watch it I need to freeze in place or slowly step back a bit to be less visible. It’s comical watching it contort itself to cling onto the small feeder. I haven’t seen much of the downy woodpecker lately; I hope it comes back soon. And of course, jays show up and starlings, always with a big clatter of wings and whistles.
But sometimes I am lucky and see something unusual. I have a secretive Bewick’s wren that slips in and out of the heavy cover of the Camilla bush to poke around and occasionally sample the suet in the feeder. The white blaze over its eye and perky tail draw my attention but it doesn’t stay for long. And one recent day there was…hey, what is that? An almost-pink raspberry colored bird showed up, pecked and looked about and stayed long enough for me to find my bird guide and confirm that it was a purple finch. A new bird for me! We used to get the red house finches all the time, although they have disappeared from our area for unknown reasons, but I had never had one of these. (I don’t know why they are called “purple” but they are clearly not red.) So far, that was my one sighting. Maybe it was only passing through the neighborhood. But it made my day!
Another bright light has stayed now for a couple of weeks, and my birding friend who knows this sort of thing assures me it may well stay for the season: a Townsend’s warbler. You can’t miss that flash of lemon yellow and black. It’s a tiny bird with a dainty sharp beak and bright eyes but when you see that color, you have to stop and search for it in the leaves. It’s in and out, flashing like a light bulb, hiding and then daring to try the feeder. I stand as still as possible for my reward of a glimpse. And I keep the feeder topped up! It may be the beginning of winter, but all color has not drained from the world. Hang on, be well. Look out the window.