Birding from the window

2005 November 16
by David J. Ringer

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Since both of my regular desks were taken today, I set up my laptop by the picture window in the conference room. I couldn’t get the mini blind to stay up when I pulled it, so I tied the cord to a chair.

As I write, I am watching a Great Blue Heron stalk along edge of the pond. The sun has long disappeared behind the apartment complex, and the heron looks very dark and sneaky. With the sun gone, I can feel the cold air seeping through the window. We might get a frost tonight.

Rock Pigeons flew through the skies all day. They hung out on the apartment building roofs but never stayed still for long, taking off and circling around in groups of two or six or many.

A Red-tailed Hawk flew over late in the morning, wheeling and soaring on broad and capable wings. I couldn’t see the bird well, but its tail looked very pale.

House Sparrows dashed in and out of the pampas grass and other ornametals down below.

But my favorite today was the kingfisher. I watched him through much of the morning as he perched on a short post near the water. Occasionally, he gave his tail a slow, methodical twitch — up … down. I thought of the Sacred Kingfishers on the other side of the world. So different, so far away. But they too twitch their tails.

He caught a fish once. I didn’t see the catch, but I saw him sitting there holding it in his bill, trying to maneuver the slippery creature without losing it completely.

Late in the afternoon, he waited long on the fancy stone bridge that leads over the pond to the apartments.

Then with a primal battle cry, he launched himself from the stones and smashed into the water. He was back up in an instant, and the fish in his bill didn’t keep him from uttering a victory rattle.

And now the light is almost gone. It’s time to go home. The heron has disappeared under the bridge, and my fingers are getting cold. We might get a frost tonight.

Related posts:

  1. Birding at 70
  2. Illicit birding
  3. Waiting outside the window
  4. Birds out my office window
  5. Birding from the windows

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