Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along

The other morning I saw a Robin outside my window. Not an uncommon sight in spring, in Wisconsin, but a little more unusual in Southern California. Particularly in my yard, which is mostly planted in drought-resistant plants, rather than grass. And, where an earthworm would be unlikely to find a friend with whom to hookup. But there was this Robin, and it got me thinking about birds and spring.

My Green Bay sister-in-law writing in her weekly email to family and friends, talked about painting and cleaning the Martin house because a neighbor had spotted the first Purple Martin of the tear. California birds are much less migratory than the Midwest or the East and Southeast, but we do see more activity in the spring. When I golfed this week I noticed the Bluebirds, who have become much more prevalent over the last year.

The more interesting bird at the course wasn’t at his usual haunt, at the tee-box of hole 14. He is a Sandpiper, whose more unusual habit is calling out to the golfers as they swing. The kicker of that trait is that there is also a domesticated Parrot down the hill from the tee-box. The Parrot has learned to mimic the Sandpiper and they actually have conversations. Always good for a chuckle, unless you are the one trying to hit the ball. This week I received what was advertised as the first new Roadrunner cartoon in years. The link to it, in case you want to watch Wylie Coyote is:

I have a bird feeder off my deck. And a fountain that occasionally attracts a bird for a drink or a bath. For the first few years the only birds I got were house finches until I learned that there were dozens of goldfinches in the area who were just waiting for me to discover Niger. This small, black, and expensive seed lends itself to being approached with a small beak while hanging on a vertical feeder. Now I have all sorts of finches and Chickadees, an occasional thrush, some deck-feeding doves, lots of hummingbirds and, a few days ago, a Robin.

I started watching birds when we lived in a rural area of Rhode Island. Like God, we named the birds. There were the “red-booted doves”, the "upside-down feeding black and white birdies” and beautiful Blue Jays. East Coast birds are more colorful than West Coast birds, and this is particularly true with the Blue Jay. Since it is the male who generally has the color, and since the reason for distinction is to attract the female, I’ll leave it to you to draw whatever analogy you want about the difference in color on the coasts.

I’ve heard that there are only three times when a person can do absolutely nothing and not be considered lazy: one can watch a fire, one can watch the waves break on the beach, or one can watch birds, feeding and flying to and from a feeder.

I choose the latter, on a regular basis. Are there any other bird watchers out there?

1 comment:

  1. I have always thought the job of making up the thousands of different bird names would be kind of fun. After all, how much of a free thinker do you have to be to come up with Buff-thighed puffley and Racket-tailed coquette?

    Personally, I tend to call out "see that red one with the big beak?" It works for me.