I earned my Birding badge in my ever-brief enlistment in the Girl Scouts. Lucky for me, the test was easy and even back then, I knew bluebirds from robins. That was pretty much my ornithological career, until I left my beloved urbanscape of New Haven.
We have a sunroom with birdfeeders at eyelevel. My husband keeps the feeders full. I keep my eye on the visitors as I drink my morning coffee and consider the day ahead. This Spring we attracted a righteous number of a variety of black birds and I’ve come to know them all. Crow, Raven, Grackle, Red Winged Blackbird, and Starlings bully the smaller birds and inspire dark poetic thoughts. Nevermore. High above: gulls and hawks swoop, scoping out the koi pond and chipmunks that dart across the lawn. Hopping along the ground, drinking from the koi pond, and cooing up a storm: mourning doves. A bright yellow finch has appeared, gaudy among its duller brethren. And the humming birds, because we do the nectar thing (homemade). So finally, I’m feeling I earned the damn badge already.
Then like a Jeopardy gone bad: “A larger bird that likes to feed at humming bird feeders.” Duh. Big Duh. Ask my husband. No clue. I described the bird that was medium sized, tan back with a light breast that went from cream to a rosy melon. Oriole, he says? Check Google because that’s why it exists, right? Nope…Baltimore Orioles are full breasted deep orange. But…wait….the female looks like our visitor and THEY LIKE TO FEED AT HUMMINGBIRD feeders! Gothcha my new feathered friend. I love when I learn something. Because someday, I am sure I will pontificate “did you know that Baltimore Orioles like nectar?”
Or maybe it goes in my next book.
( Photo courtesy of Audubon North America because I wasn’t wake enough to grab my mobile.)