back of the napkin #32
Whoo hooo! It's Friday!

for the birds

BlackbirdwhiteI have to admit that I’ve allowed some of my property to become overgrown.

Some of it is due to wanting to feel secluded. A family to the south of me and an older couple to the west of me are beyond trees and bushes.  The obnoxious building supply store to the north of me is blocked by the barrier of thuja giant evergreen trees I planted years ago. The east is open – well, fairly open; it’s sometimes blocked by railroad cars on the tracks east of the house.  Two tall evergreen trees and an adolescent maple tree give me some blockage.

But, another reason for the overgrowth comes from a love of birds.

There is something about the skillful flight of birds that fascinates me. Earlier this year, I placed a feeding tray on the window of my study and have loved watching birds stop and taste the seeds I’ve placed there for them. Sparrows, chickadees, wrens, mockingbirds, blue jays, doves, robins, finches  – all have a special beauty and are regulars in my trees.

In the past I have played host to a hawk twice – that I know of –

There have been two visitors that do not normally hang around the property. I’ve tried getting a picture of one which is particularly unusual. It flew down into one of the bird feeders and instantly I was spellbound. It was so unusual that I kept staring at it and forgot all about grabbing the cell phone and taking its picture.

It was a white headed blackbird.

White-headed blackbird

Yes – the cheese has NOT slipped off my cracker. I’ve seen the bird two more times since the early spring.  It looks like a blackbird only it has a white head and some white feathering in the area from its chest to his neck. I keep looking for it and hope I’ll be able to get a picture of it sometime. One blogger said it was just a part albino grackle. There are white-headed blackbirds, but apparently only in the UK. So I may not know its origin or have it correctly identified, but I know what I saw, and I hope to see it again.

The other visitor was more brightly marked – and the encounter was very brief. It flew into the trees long enough for me to spot it and make a mental note of its markings…and then it was gone.

I had to look it up. It was a Baltimore oriole.


I’ve heard people call a red-winged blackbird an oriole – but rather than correct them, I’ve just let them alone. But this visitor to my backyard was NOT a red-winged blackbird. I regularly have those in the backyard. This bird was brilliantly dressed in the most obvious shade of orange along its breast and tail.

I'm sure there have been other visitors to my overgrown property of which I have not been aware. Yet for the ones I have seen, if only briefly, they are always welcome.


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