Remember when I told you that I liked to feed the birds in our backyard? Well, I think it is safe to conclude that I’ve taken my love for all things avian to a new level, as in I think I can officially call myself a birder. Since I first wrote about my fine feathered friends, I must say that my interest and awareness has only increased, finding my eyes peering through the binoculars (or “bins” as the veterans say) more and more.
However, what gave the stamp in my passport, so to speak, was participating in my very first Bird Song Walk this past Wednesday morning, organized by the Portland chapter of the National Audubon Society. We met at Mt. Tabor at 7:00, walking hither and yon through the park listening to and observing many a beautiful winged creature. An added bonus – the trilliums were in bloom!
Apparently it was a banner day, as we saw: a Merlin, two Red Tailed Hawks, Spotted Towhees, Orange Crowned Warblers, Creepers, Bush tits, Hummingbirds, Stellar Jays (six or seven enjoying a coffee klatch!), Flickers, Thrushes, Crossbills, House Finches, Goldfinches (American and Lesser), Sparrows, Nut Hatches, Pine Siskins, and more that I cannot recall at the moment. I remained in awe and occasionally on the verge of tears throughout the walk. That I was in my own neighborhood (a mere fifteen minute walk), among so many beautiful birds and people with such great knowledge (not to mention ears and eyes) was quite humbling.
Apparently, the Merlin was our greatest “get,” as many of the veterans had never actually seen one live and in person. It was beautiful and incredibly swift – gone in 60 milliseconds! One of the hawk sitings was rather cool, too. It was perched on a lamp post near one of the reservoirs, and remained there for the full five minutes we observed it. Once, as I was watching, I swear our eyes locked through the binoculars. I felt a wonderful sense of communion.
When I arrived home, I immediately turned to my Birds of the Willamette Valley Region to learn more about each species I hadn’t known before. Normally I am not one to make such statements, but the book is a must have for Portlanders observing the myriad feathered creatures here in the city, as there is no need to search through page after page of North American birds that may or may not inhabit or migrate through the region. Additionally, each bird is very well photographed, so there is relatively little guess work. I highly recommend it.
Who knows, maybe I’ve piqued your interest enough to see you at next Wednesday’s walk! See you soon…