Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Colored birds, at last

Having to wait for a ride home from class today granted me a few minutes to look at birds; I seized the opportunity. Eastfield College was alive with birds of all different sizes. Sparrows and Chickadees sang from high up in the treetops. Mourning Doves waddled on the ground. Great-tailed Grackles paraded around campus. I pulled my binoculars from my backpack and merely smiled at the puzzled glances of fellow students.

Then I saw it … a colored bird. Outside of Blue Jays and Cardinals, I hadn’t seen one since I left East Texas. I followed this one, hoping to get a closer look. I had never seen them before, I’m sure, but the campus today was teeming with the gray-backed, yellow-bellied birds. They flew from tree to tree, across parking lots, above the heads of sightless students, and even into nests. I looked carefully, taking in every detail I could.

I wandered toward the Motley graveyard. Downy Woodpeckers bobbed on the tree trunks, a pair of Blue Jays called loudly, a scissortail stood, stately and dignified, in a parking space, and several of the colored birds perched on the iron fence.

When I got home, I searched for the colored bird in my recently-acquired Sibley. I flipped through, looking for the general shape, and landed among the Tyrannidae family. A quick hunt revealed a bird I recognized. Every detail was the same – the yellow belly, the white breast, the gray head and back, the darker area around the eyes, the black tail with the thin, white edging. A Western Kingbird. My first life bird to identify on my own.


At June 05, 2005 7:53 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

Sorry to be tardy in commenting on this one--congratulations on your first real on-your-own identification! Though it was probably not my first, the Western Kingbird was a significant step in my birding life as well--my first foray into birding photography, in fact. They are beautiful and they can sit still--what could be better?

You're a wonder, and the master will be proud.

At June 06, 2005 1:31 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

Cool. Do you do much birding photography? I think I'd like to try a bit someday.

At June 06, 2005 9:41 PM, Blogger Lynn said...

No, not much. I don't even have a good camera. But there was such a good, obedient kingbird on the fence and I had my camera with me. You'd do a better job at it than I; I have never been good at photography. To bad so many fascinating things are so darned expensive!

At June 06, 2005 10:46 PM, Blogger Courtney said...

Hehe. How do you know that I'd do a better job than you? What if I don't even know how to operate a camera?

And yes, the equipment is expensive. I'm grateful for my parents' binoculars. Perhaps they'd let me use their camera too ...
; )

At May 10, 2006 4:57 PM, Blogger Carnival said...

Hi, I was just wandering the blogosphere and here I am at your blog. I enjoy the style of how this all works.

This is one to watch.


how to birding


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