Over the past few years I have had a bumper crop of Carolina wrens. Last year I watched with excitement as the babies rustled around leaves in search for food while the momma sat nearby chirping. This year I saw a tiny wren hopping around in the slow-to-recover-from-hail-damage dragon wing begonia. Had it not been so cute I would have been upset seeing it carry my precious red blooms in its beak to the edge of the urn. I love my little ginkgo tree that I have potted on my back patio (which has had to struggle living at my house with monster hail, rain, and winter blizzards and ice); I had a Snow White moment when I saw several wrens light in it.
I have let the Euonymus grow unfettered to try and hide the metal shed that the neighbors put in their back yard. I no longer can see the shed, but I had to sacrifice a significant amount of square footage in the back yard. The benefit of this is that the birds love the Euonymus. I have spotted Brown Thrashers, Northern Flickers and even a humming bird settling in the shrubbery. The Flickers are like woodpeckers, but they have a spotted belly.
While outside the other day I saw a Red-bellied Woodpecker fly and land in the neighbor’s tree. They do not have red bellies, so I am not sure how they received their name. I had never heard one sing before, and I giggled to myself thinking that I could see how the Woody the Woodpecker got his signature laugh.
Last year there was a Mississippi Kite and her baby that hunted the neighborhood. A good thing about their presence was that they chased away (or devoured) the crows, and the noisy gang of blue jays moved down the street. I could hear the momma Kite cry out to her baby as they flew the skies overhead in search of food.
The bird that I was most excited about was the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. I was listening to my son’s friend play a song he had learned on the guitar. As I was listening to him play the guitar, I could hear a strange tapping noise coming from the window. I looked over to see this tiny bird leap toward its reflection in the window; as it leaped forward, the tiny patch of feathers on its head would fluff up to show its red top knot. Even though I knew that Hunter was so proud of himself for learning this song, I could not help myself and I started shouting for everyone to come and look at the bird! We all watched the bird that was no more than four inches from just behind the glass. It flew away shortly, and Hunter was able to finish his song.
I have seen American Goldfinches around, but not very often. One year I was watering and a male flew repeatedly through the spray. Just after the hail storm this year I saw a startled, but fine, goldfinch in my neighbor Emily’s front yard. Emily also has mallards that like to hang out underneath her bedroom window!
I have seen Carolina Chickadees in the trees. First I hear them and then follow their song to where they are hidden among the leaves. I also get the neighborhood regulars: Cardinals, Robins, Mockingbirds, Eurasian Collared and Mourning doves, the seasonal hummingbird and Junko, and all types of sparrows. I didn’t realize the variety of birds that were visiting my yard until I started to try to identify the more colorful ones. Whatbird.com is a great source, and we have a great book at the store called Oklahoma Birds that I use almost every day trying to identify birds. I don’t have feeders out back, but I do have bird baths and a fountain which I bet that I enjoy just as much as they do.