Al and I love to watch birds. We have put up birdhouses, birdfeeders of various types and birdbaths. Even thought the price of birdfood goes up, we continue to feed them all year round. When we travel, we buy bird books for the area we are in and visit birding and nature sites. We usually forget to pack our binoculars and end up buying at least another pair. I’ve photographed birds in flight, which means many times I end up with part of a wing, top of a head or a little, itty bitty black speck against a blue sky. I taken pictures of them in trees (who knew that your naked eye can’t tell they are camouflaged, but the camera can), in the water and nesting.
On one of our trips we learned that we are just minor birders compared to the “real” birders. On a trip to the gulf coast of Texas, we went to a nature/birding center. It was mid-April and many birds were coming up from South America to the states. The conflux of birders with their mega cameras on tri-pods and binoculars so huge I was surprised they could walk upright, amazed us. One would call out the name of a bird and everyone would converge to the site. We were just as anxious to see this bird (I think it was red) as everyone else, but evidently our novice birding was evident. We were standing quietly watching the bird flit from branch to branch, when a woman came barreling over, tri-pod with camera under one arm, binoculars tight her other hand. Suddenly we were shoved aside, and she planted her gear in our spot. Her squeals of delight over the sighting of this bird would have been entertaining had we not been nearly knocked on our respective tushes. Since her equipment was bigger than ours and she was probably in her seventies, knocking her back wasn’t a good idea. It was tempting, though.
There is a reason for writing about birds. Each spring we anxiously await the arrival of our birds. I have a birding book that I write down when each comes back. Most people get excited about the arrival of the first robin, but for me it’s the red-winged blackbirds with their trilling songs. It makes my soul expand – spring is finally here. Swallows, meadowlarks, killdeer and hummingbirds also are exciting.
And then there are the bluebirds. Since moving to our house two and half years ago and putting up birdhouses, we have gone from a single pair to several pairs and their offspring. Their beautiful blue feathers reflect off the sun as they swoop down from their perches to grab bugs on the ground. And here lies the problem – their perches. We have a wooden swingset for the grandkids, a camper, clothesline and a deck off the front of the house that they love to sit on. We also have trees, birdhouses and a special post Al put up for them to rest. But their favorite is the swingset and deck. Last year we finally bought some furniture for the front deck. One day I looked out the door and there were four baby bluebirds perched in a row, wing-to-wing, on the back of one of the chairs. Awwww, how cute, I thought. Cute, until I wanted to sit on that chair. Baby bluebirds poop – a lot – on every chair. Getting bird poop – by then dried – off mesh chairs is no easy task. So I bought covers for them – the chairs not the birds. They like to perch on the railings for the deck. We like to stand at the railings and look out at our land – just look out where you land your elbows on the railings. When I know company is coming, I scrub the railings down. When the grandchildren come and want to play on the playset, there is bird doo everywhere. So far I’ve been lucky not to have bird poop on my fresh, clean laundry hanging on the clothesline, but I figure it’s only a matter of time.
We were just as excited this year when they came back. We have a mature pair that have fallen in love with the front deck. They fly to our windows and watch us. They are perching on the ledge where the top andd bottom parts of the windows meet. One even perches on the front door and looks at me. And….they poop. Already one of the railings is covered with white drippings. I don’t want to discourage them, but geesh – couldn’t they poop at the neighbors? It’s going to be a long, long summer.