It is true. I’m an evolving bird geek. You know how as a teenager you scoff, or at least avoid, the things your parents are interested in? Yeah, my parents garden. A lot. Their parents gardened. I thought it was torture. You could say I came to gardening naturally, but is certainly was not without complaints. I was a ‘vocal’ teen & I was in no way interested. And, well, here I am.
Big ol’ edible urban garden. Several landscape design classes under my belt. Seedlings all over the basement under lights and spilling out into a small greenhouse on the deck. Shelves full of gardening-related books. Lover of trips to visit community gardens and local nurseries. I dig it. (pun intended)
As a random aside – are puns a dad thing? Because both the my father and the Ladyfriend’s father love themselves some puns. Does it go hand in hand with reading the comics? And trying to read them to others? Even though for perhaps 30 years you have said you don’t like them? Oddly on our vacation the other weekend the Ladyfriend couldn’t stop herself from making puns. All weekend. It was funny and bizarre. She was the Pun Lady.
But back to the story. Enter birds. My folks, and likely their folks (but especially my mom’s mom), are into birds. They have 2,684 bird feeders on their postage size stamp lawn. Rats be damned! They want their birds! And they get cool quail strutting across the fence line. They have gone on bird watching trips. Then went to Antarctica and I’m pretty sure it was just to see the variety of penguins. I say “just” like it is trivial… but really, I’m incredibly jealous. Penguins are awesome. But, as a kid I thought birds were pretty boring. At best they’d leave you alone. At worst they might poop on your head.
Needless to say, that has all changed as well. I am in to the birds. I love the birds. This officially makes me the queer & leftie version of my parents.
When the Ladyfriend and I moved into our house there was nothing. Weeds. Weeds and crows. On one hillside there are a few trees – a beautiful madrone, a good-for-privacy-and-protection-for-birds-but-annoying hawthorn and a topped/massacred cherry (that doesn’t fruit). But no birds, other than the crows. We took to calling them “fake birds.” Mostly because we wanted more variety. I had nothing against crows. I was not one of those people who finds them creepy. And, at that time, I also didn’t find them exceptionally interesting. Now that we have variety, I love them. They are fascinating to watch. And, have you read Crow Planet by Lyanda Haupt (from The Tangled Nest)? If you have any remote interest in birds, the environment or nature at all, do check it out. It is a fantastic read!
The local zoo operates a class in creating a backyard wildlife habitat. For the last 4 years our space has been a Certified Wildlife Habitat. And the birds have come! While I only recently became enthralled with species, I’ve loved them being present.
Then came chickens. Secret? I’ve been historically a little afraid of birds. No reason other than they are so… flitty. The thought of handling chickens had me questioning our decision to raise them. I wasn’t sure how I would go about picking one up. This would present a big problem for a chicken keeper. Though, I also realized that if I got them from chicks I would be used to handling them by the time they were bigger and I really wanted the eggs.
Wow, was I blown away by the chickens. I LOVE them. I find them endlessly fascinating. I got over my fear of handling them in about 3.7 seconds. I love to look at them, hold them and just check them out. Their world is just so… different. And they are so delicate and yet so bad ass. I get a kick out of the varying temperaments and personalities. I probably spend an embarrassing amount of time thinking about the chickens. I won’t even tell you. And they are fun pets. The Babylady loves to get Calypso to chase her (and she will). We spend a little time almost every day gathering dandelions to give to ‘her’ chickens. She is starting to love to carry them around and put them places. I don’t think the chickens like that so much, but she is being incredibly gentle and she talks to them, pets them and kisses their heads. Well, so do I, so whatever.
And now? I’m obsessed with birds. All birds.
I keep my binoculars out and ready by the windows & deck so I can identify who is out there. I keep my “Seattle Birds: An Introduction to Familiar Species” guide out and handy. The Babylady refers to it as the Bird Map and likes to read it. She also likes to point out what she saw. Which is usually a quail, heron, owl or eagle… something most certainly not in our back yard. But she does knows the names of several of the visitors. My heart swelled with pride when she was looking out the window the other day and asked “Mimi? What is that bird called? I can’t ‘member. It is purple-y black and has a yellow beak? Look! Its right there!” It was a starling.
Sigh. Gardening bliss. Sweet bird love. I guess puns & comics are next…
Anyway – I’m starting to pay attention to who is visiting and keeping track. I know there are many more as I am only starting to identify them. I started a new tab, Bird Visitors. So if you are curious about who has flown in, check it out.